South America is big. Really big. This means that traveling outside of my host city, Buenos Aires, is not as easy as many of my friends' programs in Europe allow. Twenty-five-hour bus rides and expensive flights are fun and everything, but don't exactly fit into the abroad budget in terms of time or money. However, over the past couple of months, I've had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are a lot of cities you can visit via a short plane ride or cheap bus.
Here are a few I picked out that are great weekend trips!
1) Mar del Plata, Argentina
I arrived to BA about a week before my program started, so my roommate and I planned a one night trip to Mar del Plata, a beach town a few hours south of Buenos Aires. It's actually a pretty big city with cute little restaurants and a great (though crowded) stretch of beach. Be sure to stay in a hostel by the beach and check out the casino. Also--wear sunscreen. We learned the hard way that the Argentine sun is not as forgiving as its counterpart in the U.S.
2) Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Iguazu Falls requires a two-hour plane ride to the north. The main attraction of the area, the waterfalls, are a little bus ride from the airport. They are massive and incredible, especially if you get a few rainbows in your pictures! Other than the falls, there's not a lot to do, so I would recommend just one night. Be sure to spend lots of time exploring the park surrounding the waterfalls, keeping an eye out for tropical birds, monkeys, and other animals. Also, definitely invest in the extra 200 or so pesos ($20 US) for the boat ride that takes you under the falls! Don't expect to stay dry.
3) Valparaiso, Chile
Valparaiso is one of my favorite cities in South America. It is a port city, similar to Buenos Aires, but has a completely different vibe. Valparaiso is situated in the middle of about 100 steep hills. The little stores, restaurants, and hotels are built right into the sides of these hills, and colored brightly. There is vibrant street art covering the entire city which makes for great pictures. Be sure to eat at a bunch of the restaurants and check out the local artisan markets!
| Some of the incredible street
art in Valparaiso, Chile
Mackenzie Baird is the Spring 2015 MOJO Photographer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is currently a junior at Ohio State University.
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