America del Sur – Buenos Aires and El Calafate, Argentina – By Claudia Tavani
America del Sur hostels are, possibly, the best ones I have ever been in South America. There are two: one located in the San Telmo area of Buenos Aires, and one in El Calafate, in the Patagonia lake region from where travellers access the glaciars. I stayed in both and I am glad I did.
Rooms in America del Sur Buenos Aires are as good as those of a good hotel: modern design furnishing, tv, air conditioning, private bathrooms, comfortable bed, a nice common room. Top this off with great staff, good asados and parties, tours of town and tango lessons.
However, the hostel in El Calafate has that extra kick that makes it excellent for backpackers. Located an easy 7 minutes walk from the centre of town, there is a huge common area, with cozy couches, a wooden furnished attic with comfy pillows, a huge dining area and well equipped kitchen as well as a book exchange corner. What is striking about it is the incredible view over the lake. Wake up at sunrise for your early breakfast to start an early day of hiking and you will enjoy the most incredible view – not bad for an hostel.
Dorms are comfortable – the largest ones sleep 4 and they all have a private bathroom (if only, with a smallish shower) and great lockers. To fight the cold air that sweeps the region even during the summer months, heating is kept on and comes from the floor so you can walk around barefoot.
There is wifi in the hostel, and a few computers for guests to use. Personnel is always available to provide information on tours around the area, which can be booked directly via the hostel. The extra bonus? They even prepare your packed lunch should you need one. And, once you are back, you can join the fabulous and abundant asado (barbecue) which is served in the dining room, for a real bargain price: a real saving compared to the prices in town. Grab a plate, a drink, and a seat, then join the line to serve hearthy portions of delicious grilled beef, lamb or chicken and as much salad, vegetables and side dishes as you like.
What makes America del Sur hostels special is the atmosphere: backpackers can easily get to meet each other while enjoying the asado, recollecting funny anedoctes of their travels. Staff is incredibly kind. Animal lovers will find a donation box to support the local animal shelter and help the non-profit organisations to fund their work.
What more could you want?
NB – Hostel images have been reproduced with kind permission of America del Sur
An Italian human rights lawyer, animal lover and academic, Claudia is more than anything a traveller who craves to see the world. On November, she decided that it was time to live and embarked on a 6 months trip through Central and South America, which changed her life and gave her the final input to live as a writing nomad. Her mission is to let people dream through her travels, providing guidance and inspiration to other backpackers. You can follow her adventures through www.myadventuresacrosstheworld.com or through her facebook page My Adventures Across the World.