Merlo, San Luis

If you have more time to explore Argentina or if you living in Buenos Aires for an extended period of time and have covered all of the usual tourist destinations, then I would highly recommend you visit Merlo in the province of San Luis.

San Luis is a province in the west of Argentina and if you are travelling there from Buenos Aires you hit San Luis just before you hit Mendoza. Merlo is a tiny little town in the province that is set beneath a hilly mountain range and is famous for its micro climate. I had to look up the definition of micro climate before I went but basically it just means it is a pleasant temperature all year round.

I went with my boyfriend exactly one year ago. We spent three days there not going all that much and really enjoying it. We travelled there by bus but if you can I would really recommend driving or flying. Our bus went through the night and took around 15 hours.

15 hours that we spent playing charades, sipping on Malbec from a polystyrene cup (they serve free wine here on the buses in Argentina and meals) and napping.

When we finally arrived we got settled into our accomodation. We didn’t know it before going but Merlo is a really popular destination with Argentines and as we went on a public holiday it was really busy.

Luckily we had managed to book in advance and we had a private room in a hostel. It wasn’t at all grim like some of the hostels I have stayed at over the years. It was cosy and it felt like a little cabin in the woods.

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Plus, there was a cat!

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I wanted to get some exercise in while we were there, my boyfriend had not come with that same idea in mind, yet when I suggested we rent some bikes he made no objections. It wasn’t until we were 500 meters into a 5km uphill cycle that he pushed his bike to the ground, refused to go further and tried to return to the hostel leaving me to go it alone.

That wasn’t part of my plan so I used my powers of persuasion (and gentle bullying) to get him back on the bike. It worked and we huffed and puffed up the hill till we finally reached the top. Our final destination: Pasos Malos, a lovely look out point with a stream and rocks and places to have a picnic.

We then we got to cycle 5kms downhill which was most definitely the part I enjoyed the most.

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After that we spent our days out taking slow walks and reading. We cooked our meals, ate, had beers, played cards all in a perfect not too warm but not too cold micro climate.

There is a lot more to do in Merlo than what we did. We thought we might do more bike tours and possibly some paragliding but when it came down to it we were both happy just to chill.

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I was less happy when I had to get on that 15 hour bus again but I felt like I was able to escape from the chaos that is Buenos Aires to relax for a few days so it was worth it. A year later I remember the trip fondly and would love to go back.

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