A country with a noticeable Italian influence, the tradition of sharing a mate, tango, and good wine.


On our way to Córdoba we had a night in Salta in a hostel. The owner gave us with his friendly nature a great start in Argentina. In Córdoba we were first hosted by Felix from couchsurfing who is very knowledgeable about his country and areas for trekking. We had many nice conversations in his home and out with his friends. After we were hosted by Celeste for almost a week. She is such an amazing and sweet girl with a big heart and cute smile. I loved our stay in Córdoba. The city is modern, historical, has many calm areas, a great nightlife, many trees, and organic stores. Every Wednesday all museums are free. I really enjoyed the Museo Emilio Caraffa (15 ARS). The Paseo del Buen Pastor and the Paseo de las Artes are nice areas to walk around.

Buses inside the city are 12.55 ARS per way. I liked the donation-based La Docta walking tour at 5pm. There is another one at 11am. Both take around 3 hours (


When we arrived in Rosario, our couchsurfing host, Franco, welcomed us with a delicious vegan dinner. Together with his boyfriend Federico, they spread a great vibe which made us feel home. One evening they invited us to join them to an event (Ciudades felices) they helped to organize. They work for an NGO that develops citizen participation projects around the country. It was a great and interesting week with them. Rosario is one of the greenest cities in Argentina (e.g. Parque de la Independencia). I loved to walk along the river. People lay on the grass, share mate, and play music. Rosario has a reputation as being a dangerous city. That comes from the surroundings of Rosario where most poor people live. The city centre is safe though. I was positively surprised when I found a commune garden with herbs and vegetables in one of the many parks. A sign of trust. Rosario also has a bike share with tandems (Mi bici, tu bici). You have to register 72 hours ahead for using it. The city also closes one main road for cars every Sunday from 8 am to 12.30 pm so anyone  can use it with their skates and scooters. The centro cultural “La Toma” is worth a visit. We bought peanut butter there (69 ARS).

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires was built to impress. Some parts of the million city are very modern, others very historical, and others contain slums. Tango is part of the identity of Buenos Aires. One of my hosts is a professional tango dancer and took me to a Milonga. The waterfront of La Boca is famous for its brightly coloured houses, many tourists, and is supposedly where tango originated. Every afternoon at around 4 pm (especially on Sundays) couples dance tango for tips in Plaza Dorrego. The trendy Soho Palermo neighbourhood has some nice coffee shops and some of the best nightlife. The Recoleta Cemetery is interesting in that respect that the people are buried in small, well designed mausoleums. Some were in good condition, others seemed ignored. I liked how plants and trees were growing around them.

The El Ateneo bookshop is one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. Converted from a beautiful theatre it has retained many of its original features. Riding the metro put me in a bad mood. Many people are stressed and spread a very negative vibe. But Buenos Aires does have a lot of things to do and many beautiful parks to recharge energy. My favourite was Centenario Park. A great place to lie in the grass, have a picnic, drink mate, listen to street musicians, or exercise. Some people were selling vegan sandwiches.

Buenos Aires has a bicycle share (free the first hour on weekdays). Accessible either by an app (you need internet, BA EcoBici) or with a card (you need to register and pick it up). There are bike lines but I did not feel so safe. Mainly because of pedestrians and motorcycles that are not aware of this bike line. To use the metro (subte) you need to buy a SUBE card (25 ARS, unlimited number of transfers). With each journey costing 7.50 ARS.

One day, through Hangout on couchsurfing, I met Dano in El Tigre. El Tigre is a great, green, and quiet place along the river north of the city for those who would like to escape the busy city life (12 ARS from Retiro with the SUBE card). Dano’s dad used to work for a boat company in El Tigre so he gifted me a free ticket for a boat ride. We were on the boat for 2.5 hours and talked nonstop about nutrition, motivation, psychology, his ketogenic diet, apple cider vinegar, intermitted fasting, writing, and more. It was very inspiring and the next day we met up again with my boyfriend. It was a great day.


We volunteered in Chascomús in a permaculture eco community. I was responsible to cook each day for 15-20 people. Conscious, organic and vegan food based on cereals, legumes, oilseeds, nuts, and seasonal vegetables. I loved it. My boyfriend helped in the beginning building a house with natural construction techniques. Later he helped me in the kitchen. It was a good experience. I learnt a lot about different dynamics in a community.


Mendoza Province is Argentina’s most important wine region. We went with the bus to Maipú for some wine and olive oil tours (bus Nr. 171-173; 11 ARS; ask a local from where). The bus dropped us off very close to Mr. Hugo’s bike rental where we rented a bicycle for the whole day (100 ARS each). Some tasting and tours are free (e.g. Bodegas López). Others between 60 and 200 ARS for 2-6 glasses of wine. Check the opening times. They are usually between 10 am and 6 pm. I enjoyed the tour and tasting in the Bodega Familia Cecchin most. Their wine is organic. They planted fruit trees to attract the insects so they won’t eat the grapes. In between the grapes they planted rosemary and oregano to fight against the bugs. After the fermentation they use the skin and seeds of the grapes as compost. At Atomo Conviene LAUR TURISMO we tried a lot of different olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and a delicious bean and olive paste (50 ARS).

Our couchsurfing host had a beautiful house with garden. He ususally rents it on Airbnb when he is not there. We are very lucky that we could enjoy there some days.

San Rafael

We visited the Dique Valle Grande. A stunning artificial lake with a hike down to a river. For that we took a bus from the Terminal Nestor Kirchner to Valle Grande (last stop, 57 ARS). There are only three buses per day during low-season. The earliest bus leaves at 7.20 am on weekdays and 8.50 am on weekends. Unfortunately, the public transport in San Rafael is not very good (10 ARS per way). Therefore most people use their car, bicycle or walk.

Another day we visited the donation-based wine tasting tour at Finca y Bodega La Abeja. The first opened winery in San Rafael. If you would like a tour in English it is necessary to write them before. I learnt a lot about the history of San Rafael, that the earlier you stop the fermentation process (through cooling it down) the sweeter is the wine, and that the microorganisms turn the sugar of the grapes into alcohol.


Neuquén is a windy city that has a nice river. Sol, our couchsurfing host, welcomed my boyfriend and I with a super delicious vegan cake. She took us to a contemporary museums night where we met up with another couchsurfer. It was a great night. Sol helped us with getting the bus ticket, showed us her art, and even brought us to the bus terminal the next morning.

San Martín de Los Andes

The moment I got off the bus, I had a big grin on my face. Everything seemed familiar to me. I felt at home. The smell of sturdy wooden houses, the lake, the mountains, the forest, the mild climate, the roses. I was surprised what triggered this supposedly familiar environment in me. A peaceful happiness. I realized how much I miss Switzerland. San Martín de Los Andes has a beautiful scenic outpost (Mirador Bandurrias). The hike is around 30 minutes from the city center and leads through a forest. There are a couple of natural food stores (e.g. Mystica Natural), some nice coffee places (e.g. Cafe Danes) and parks.

Christian, our couchsurfing host, was amazing. He invited us to many places and events with friends. We had many meals, laughs, interesting conversation, and walks in the mountains together (e.g. Cerro Colorado for sunset, five hours there and back).


From San Martín de Los Andes we hitchhiked the Route of the Seven Lakes to Bariloche. Some of the lakes around Villa La Angostura are turkish coloured because of the minerals of the volcanic eruption of Puyehue in 2011. Bariloche is a windy city that is mainly famous for its beautiful surrounding nature.

We stayed there with Martina, a friend of mine from primary school. She has lived in Bariloche for more than ten years. She and her mum received us with open arms in their house with a garden full of beautiful roses. Martina showed us some hidden spots in Bariloche, and introduced us to many of her friends. She also plays many instruments. My boyfriend mentioned wanting to learn the basics of playing guitar and she invited a friend over to teach him. One night she invited us to a relaxing gong-bath. It was my first time and I enjoyed it very much.

We made a day trip to El Bolsón together. A city known to be artisanal. Even the hairdresser is artisanal. We booked a tour in the Earthship Patagonia Hostel (each day at 4 pm, free).

After spending Christmas together we all went to Frutillar in Chile where we rented a cabana for a few days. It was a fun and relaxing time with lots of great conversations. For using the bus in Bariloche you can use the same SUBE card as in Buenos Aires.



Mate is a caffeine-rich infused drink that is fundamental to the culture of Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. Over 90% of the population consumes it. It is prepared by filling a container, typically a gourd, up to three-quarters full with dry leaves of the yerba mate, and filling it up with water at a temperature of 70–80 °C usually from a thermos flask. It is served with a long silver straw with a filter at the bottom. Mate is usually shared. It is spending quality time with friends and family. Everyone drinks from the same cup and uses the same straw. You finish the whole cup and give it to the next person. There are unspoken rules. One person acts as the sole server for the group. And if you say “thank you”, you don’t want anymore. The last rule I did not know for a long time and was always wondering why they left me out after my first cup. One guy explained me how to pour and how to rearrange the pile of tea leaves after each serving. The first time I tried Mate I was in Costa Rica. My couchsurfing host was originally from Argentina. It tasted very bitter and I was wondering how it is possible people like it. I had been offered to share a cup many times after and each time I liked it a little bit more and I started to want another sip. Like my experience with coffee. There is no doubt that it has addictive qualities. Later I learnt some people in hotter areas drink mate cold (called tereré), add sugar, dried orange skins, ginger, coconut, or cacao shells. The imagination knows no limits. I really enjoy the mate tradition and I think we can learn a lot from it.

Interesting to know

  • In 1947, Argentina got women’s right to vote. In Switzerland only in 1971 (at federal level). At cantonal level 1958-1990.
  • Since 2010 same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina. In Switzerland a registered partnerships for same-sex couples is legal since 2007. A constitutional amendment to legalize same-sex marriage is currently pending in the Swiss Parliament.
  • In the middle of the 19th century began the Italian immigration and reached its peak in the first two decades of the 20th century. In Argentina live many people from other countries as well (e.g. Germany, Spain). Many native people got killed.
  • Universities are free for everybody. Even foreigners.
  • Going out dancing starts at around 2 am.


Eating in Argentina has its own blog entry: Vegan eating in Argentina. The tap water at most places is safe to drink. Not in Chascomús.


  • Couchsurfing is popular in most bigger cities in Argentina. We found a host in each city besides Salta.
  • Hostels are available for 140-240 ARS per night in a dorm. The south of Argentina is more expensive.
  • Volunteering is a nice option to spend a few weeks at one place.


The transport system in Argentina is organized for South America. There exist no bus maps but on Google maps are most bus connection with times, numbers, and location from where to take the bus. Long-distance buses are very expensive and cost about 60 to 100 ARS per hour, do not stop, but do have a working on-board toilet. Local collectivos inside a city are usually 8 to 15 ARS.

Buses we took:

  • Bus from Salta to Córdoba: 1’197 ARS (12-13h, FlechaBus).
  • Bus from Córdoba to Rosario: 520 ARS (7h, Sierras de Cordoba).
  • Bus from Buenos Aires (Retiro) to Chascomús: 178 ARS (2h, Condor Estrella).
  • Bus from Buenos Aires (Retiro) to Mendoza: 1’050 ARS (17h, Nueva Chevallier).
  • Bus from Neuquén to San Martín de Los Andes: 570 ARS (8h, Albus).

Car sharing: CarpooleAR (app and website). Similar to BlaBlaCar in Europe. It is not very known yet. Therefore it works better in the north of Argentina. We used it from Rosario to Buenos Aires (150 ARS each). It is double as fast than the bus.

We hitchhiked for shorter distances (< 3h).


Like anywhere else it is important to be careful and use plain common sense. Ask which the neighbourhoods you should avoid are. Petty theft and slashing (of bags) is rare.


There is a public and a private healthcare. The public one is free. Also for people from other countries. The private healthcare is around 30 USD per consultation (tests, treatments, and operations cost extra). The quality is one of the best in South America.


Argentina’s weather differs greatly depending on topography and degree of latitude of the region. It is the 8th largest country by area with all four seasons. The south of Argentina is best to visit in summer from December to February. In Winter (June to August) the sun goes down very early during the day and therefore it is much colder than it already is. The north of Argentina is nice to visit from Spring to Autumn (September to May).


Spanish is the official and predominant language. English is taught since elementary school. There are at least 40 spoken languages in Argentina. They include indigenous and immigrant languages (e.g. Italian, Arabic, German).

One notable pronunciation difference found in Argentina is the “sh” sounding y and ll (e.g. yo, ella, llave). In most Spanish speaking countries the letters y and ll are pronounced somewhat like the “y” in yo-yo, however in most parts of Argentina they are pronounced such as the sound the “sh” makes in “shoe”. The Italian immigration influenced Lunfardo, the slang spoken in the Río de la Plata region. In Argentina they use the pronoun vos instead of tú (“you”).


Official currency: Peso (ARS). Since the late 20th century, the Argentine peso has experienced a substantial rate of devaluation, reaching 25% in 2017. At most banks it is only possible to withdraw less than 1000 ARS each time.


No entrance or exit fees. The Visa is for 90 days (free for most countries). If you want to stay longer in Argentina you can either leave the country for a few hours and return with a new 90-day visa (free) or you can extend your visa for a fee.


Vegan eating in Bolivia


Vegan eating in Bolivia

Bolivian food is heavily meat and potato based. I was told that it would even be hard as a vegetarian. Especially since there is a lack of kitchens in hostels in Copacabana and La Paz for example. So I am really happy that I found delicious restaurants with vegan options. Some of them opened recently. In Copacabana I stayed in a vegetarian/vegan hostel called Hostal Joshua. In La Paz I was very lucky to have had a great Couchsurfing host who is very interested in a whole-food, plant-based diet. I taught him how to make peanut butter and hummus. In Cochabamba I stayed with a wonderful family. Aida, the mum, cooked delicious food and made something extra that is vegan for me. Same for my host in Sucre who made me Papás a la Guancaina, a traditional Bolivian dish, an almost vegan version (contained eggs) one evening. That was sweet.

A meal in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant is between 20 and 45 Bs. Food in Sucre is most expensive. In La Paz food is very cheap. The famous peanut soup (sopa de mani) is worth a try. Just ask to leave out the meat if you do not eat meat. It comes with pasta and french fries.

I bought most of my food in little stores on the road and at big vegetable and fruit markets. Some examples: 1 avocado (2-8 Bs.), 1 pound tomatoes (5 Bs.), 25 bananas (8 Bs.), 1 pound peanuts (10-40 Bs.), 1 pound quinoa (8-20 Bs.), 1 pound chia seeds (10 Bs.), 1 pound peanut butter (12 Bs.). I only found the peanut butter in La Paz at Mercado Rodriguez.

Often in corners of big markets are women with massive pots of cooked beans, vegetables, and rice — offering plates for 5-10 Bs. The most famous Bolivian street food is Salteñas. Baked empanadas with mostly meat. Only a few only have vegetables inside. Supermarkets (e.g. Hipermaxi in La Paz) do have tahini (Pasta de Sésamo, 200g, 25 Bs.), hummus (200g, 22 Bs.), and coconut milk (15 Bs.).

La Paz

Namas Té (vegetarian with many vegan options)

Paul, the owner, let me help to serve in his restaurant in exchange for the menu del dia which is always vegan (29 Bs.). Each meal starts with bread and a sauce. I had a lentil salad, vegetable fidelo soup, Sajta (a traditional Bolivian dish), and a juice. Everything was so delicious!

Dishes from the menu are between 29 and 35 Bs. I had Peanut-thai (rice noodles, tofu, peanut sauce, veggies; 29 Bs.) and Barbara (boiled habas, carrot, soy meat, onion, potato; 33 Bs.). The smoothie Choco Loco with cacao, banana, coffee, and peanut butter was so delicious (21 Bs.). And the oat cookie is a dream 🙂

Café Vida La Paz (100% vegan)

The restaurant is run by the admirable 22-year-old Ninneth. I was very impressed by her age, her passion, and the offer. She showed us the kitchen and took time to explain everything to us. The chill area in the back, the music, and her sweet smile made the whole dining experience wonderful.

Most of the vegetables come from an organization of women farmers who grow organic products. The lunch offer (veggie bowl plus the soup of the day) is a great deal (35 Bs.). We got a beetroot soup and had the option to top with hummus, seeds, and bread. Included, as much cold tea as you want. For main courses we chose the Hippie bowl (quinoa, hummus, tomato, sweet potato, and avocado) and the Quinoa burger (rye bread, avocado, hummus, salad, and baked veggies). As a desert we had a chaí ice cream with coco. So delicious! It is possible to buy there a menstrual cup, nutritional yeast, and some other interesting products.

Lupito Cocina Vegana (100% vegan)

On my first visit I had an amazing Calzone with vegetables and melted vegan cheese (20 Bs.). Still remember the taste of the cheese. My second time I had a thick delicious vegetable soup and bread with a spicy tomato sauce. As main course chicharrón based on soybeans, mote, and Chuño (small dried potatoes). As desert a coconut flan with hibiscus caramel. The menu del dia is 23 Bs. And changes daily. The main focus of Paola and Lupita, the owners, is to reduce suffering for the animals. But they also encourage to bring a hermetical box for leftovers. Great people with exemplary character.

MagicK (vegan options)

Stephan, the owner, is living his dream. The restaurant is a great place for a romantic date or another rendezvous. On some evenings they have stand-up comedy shows or concerts. We had a chickpea and aubergine curry with rice, fruit chutney, and chapatti (flatbread) (45 Bs.). And a traditional Bolivian dish with tunta (dried white potato), beans, and salad (42 Bs.). As desert we had a mousse au chocolate with seasonal fruits (26 Bs.). Everything was very delicious and the presentation beautiful. They do catering as well.

Go Green comida rápida (vegetarian with vegan options)

Gabriel, the owner, also has an architect’s office that tries to generate harmony with the environment. We enjoyed a very delicious fruity Terranova salad with lettuce, quinoa, a seasonal fruit, beans, morron, cilantro sauce, and sesame (25 Bs.) and the Mexican Panini with beans, pico de gallo, and cilantro sauce (23 Bs.). All dished are available as vegan.


A Vietnamese restaurant with tofu as vegan option. One of the only options without sugar is Kung Pao with roasted peanuts, lemon grass, garlic, chilies, and tofu. It comes together with white rice (58 Bs.). Unfortunately the tofu was very stale. But the sauce was nice.



Karott (100% vegan)

A new opened restaurant by such a sweet couple. All meals start with whole wheat bread and two delicious sauces. One spicy and the other with zucchini, cilantro, lime, and salt. The menu del dia changes daily (20 Bs.). I was lucky to be there when they served a typical Bolivian dish named Saice. Rice with vegan meat, peas, vegetables and tomatoes with onions that are sprinkled with vegan cheese. The soup that consisted of potatoes, green leaves, and nuts was delicious as well. The owner, Rodrigo, is very attentive and open-minded. His wife is behind the tasty dishes. Since the number of tables are limited and the restaurant is well-attended you share a table with somebody. I love that 🙂 It is possible to buy homemade peanut butter, tahini, and other delicacies.

Menta Restobar (vegetarian with vegan options)

Famous for their huge variety of burgers (29 Bs.). All available as a vegan option. So fresh, filling, and delicious! The falafels are crispy outside and warm, soft, and creamy inside. My couchsurfing host, an enthusiast meat eater, fell in love with the falafels. So did I.


Drinks include healthy juices (10 Bs.). I loved the one called Remo: beet, apple, celery, and ginger. The restaurant has tasteful decoration and wifi. Check out their Facebook page for the menu del dia which comes with a salad, soup, and main course (21 Bs.). It is not always vegan.

Paprika Restaurant

Leo, the supervisor of Paprika, welcomed me very warm, advised me well, and we shared lunch together. They do not have a vegan meal per se but it is possible to leave out the cheese in some dishes. We had the Mediterranean quinoa that comes together with olives and dried tomatoes (43 Bs.). And we tried the Spring fetuccine that comes with lots of vegetables and mushrooms (56 Bs.). I could even visit the kitchen and see how they prepare the food. It was such an interesting and delicious afternoon.


El Germen (vegetarian with vegan options)

Dishes are big and delicious. The staff is very nice. All meals start with bread accompanied by a spicy ají sauce. The menu del dia which changes daily consists of a vegetable soup, two main dishes to choose from (one vegan), juice, and a desert (24 Bs.). One of my juices was with sesame seeds. Que rico 🙂 From the menu I tried Falafel with rice, peanut sauce, and cooked vegetables (40 Bs.). Such crispy falafels and tasty peanut sauce. The curry with vegetables is another vegan option from the menu. I ate there three times during my stay in Sucre and hope to go back one day.

Koi Sushi Bar Sucre

A new opened sushi place by such a warm hearted couple. I could feel that they devote all their love and time in their restaurant. The restaurant is not vegan per se but they do have a few vegan options and are very flexible. As an appetizer they made me crunchy vegetables tempura. The vegetarian spring rolls are vegan as well (4 pieces for 20 Bs.). I had Uramaki with avocado, sweet potatoes, and champignons (8 pieces for 45 Bs.) and Hotmaki especial con crema de palta. Such a delight!


An Arepas place. Not vegan but you can mix as you want. I had an arepa with avocado, beans, tomatoes, and fried plaintain (18 Bs.). Super delicious!


Prem Sucre (100% vegan)

Prem Sucre at San Alberto 54 is a small, well-attended restaurant. I had the menu del dia (22 Bs.) which started with a salad, cornbread, a carrot soup, and a Melissa mate sweetened with stevia. Main course was rice and potatoes with fried, breaded eggplant. Desert was rice with soy milk and stevia.

Condor Café (vegetarian)

I went there a few times for their delicious Cappuccino with soy milk. The menu del dia is vegetarian (25 Bs.). The only vegan option is a salad. But it is possible to get their Falafel sandwich which is served with salad, hummus and tabouli without the bread (contains eggs) and the yoghurt sauce (25 Bs.). They have avocado to replace any dairy products. The beautiful ambiente and board games invite to stay for a few hours. All profit goes toward community projects around Sucre.