Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How to Hitchhike from Mendoza to Cordoba

A lot of people have been asking me how to hitchike from Mendoza to Cordoba and avoid having to pay the 500 pesos for a bus.  Argentina is a hard place to hitchhike.  Its not like Canada where you have the number one highway that runs across the country and is your best option.  In Argentina, there are endless amounts of highways that splits the traffic up into all sorts of different directions and picking the right one where you will find a ride is hard.  I picked the wrong one but it was what god willed and it led to a great adventure.

First you have to leave the city of Mendoza.  A city of three million people in Argentina is hard to leave because its sooooo big.  Plus the outskirt towns are usually flavalas and not safe to try and hitch a ride.  So I paid 180 pesos and took a bus to the next big town in San Luis.
In San Luis there was a giant street market and food was cheap so i ate.  

I also bought my first musical instrument in many years a small electronic piano for 30 pesos.  I stayed in Pupy Hostel which is definitely the best hostel in all of San Luis.  Owned by Italians and a luxury house converted into a hostel with a big backyard.  There had been a bmx tournament in town and i became friends with some of the best bmx riders in the country.  Ezequiel Helmriech from Villa General Belgrano, Cordoba was one of those guys and he had won the tournament that weekend.  Check out this vid he made:

He is only 18 years old and in a special school for youth in sports.  He wishes he didnt have to go to school and could just practice BMX all day long.  But in the end he told me about all sorts of cool projects he works on in school and he enjoys.

From San Luis I took another bus to Merlo.  75 pesos.   Except I lost my ticket and had to pay twice so 150 pesos.  Again San Luis is a big city and a hard one to get to the outskirts so I paid for a bus.  I ended up in Merlo which is a touristy town in San Luis Province Argentina.  I ended up staying here two nights.

 Merlo Phone Booth
Hippy Baclyard in Merlo

Unfortunately there was no Merlot Wine.  So after two days I had no more reason to stay.  Off next to hitchhike to Cordoba.  From the town of Merlo I had to take a public bus to the highway costing 10 pesos.  I waited there for much time with no luck.  There were no cars and the cars that were going by did not stop.  After about an hour, and nearly about to quit, a guy stopped and took me to the next town.  He was a chocolate salesman.  In the next town I had to walk for about half an hour to the next edge of town and another guy gave me a ride to the next town.  At this pace I was never going to make it to Cordoba... just crawling across the country town by town.

After buying a avocados, bread and cheese and having a good lunch I got to the side of the road and stuck out my thumb.  When a guy stopped and offered to bring me to the next town, I turned him down.  I wanted to go far!  People kept coming by and telling me I had a bad spot and I should go back into the middle of town.  But I didn´t quit.  Eventually someone stopped in a pimped out 1969 Ford Mustang.

My saviour!  He was going all the way to the town right before Cordoba.  He was on summer vacation and driving back to Buenos Aires over the course of two days.  Just my luck!  It turns out he owns a tango bar in Buenos Aires that I really wanted to visit... Catedral.  He gave me a card for free entrance with a plus one.

Along the way we drove through some beautiful mountains with great views.  It was a beautiful summer day.

I made it to the town of Alta Gracia (home of Che Guevera) where he dropped me off and I had to pay another 20 pesos to take the bus to downtown Cordoba.  In total I paid 360 pesos on transportation, not including piano, food and hostels.  It was expensive yes but it was an adventure and I got to see many small towns along the way that many tourists pass over when travelling.  But I wouldn´t suggest hitchhiking as a way to save money.  Just a way to see the country differently.

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