The best thing we did in Argentina is our Work Away experience. Argentina and Chile in particular are very expensive countries to stay in hostels. Especially compared to the cost of hostels or even hotels in South East Asia. To save some money, Jordan and I looked into Work Away. And boy did we luck out with our experience. We had heard some terrible stories from people in hostels about their experiences. Jordan and I worked hard on our profile and selection of who we applied to work for. We did not bulk send out messages to many farms, but hand selected and catered out letters to who we wanted to spend a few weeks working for and doing a cultural exchange with.
We ended up at a farm (una finca) in a tiny town called veintecinco de mayo (25 of May, or the Argentinian Independence Day) with a lovely Dutch couple who have been living in Argentina for years and years. We spoke English with the couple, as they were easily tri-lingual. We were the first Americans Peter and Inga accepted. They said they took a chance on us because their friends who take American workers all say Americans are too opinionated to work with. I think Jordan and I had a good experience with our global couple and we really enjoyed not only talking with them over a glass of wine at the end of the day, but also the work they had us doing.
La Finca Penultima is a holiday rental throughout the year. it is a gorgeous little get away tucked into the wild of the Argentinian outback.
On La Finca Penultima, Jordan and I leveled the long gravel road going into the farm, dug irrigation ditches for their orchard, painted the main house and did some gardening. We learned about water wars with neighbors, the culture of taking things that might not be yours but happen to be lying around and the Argentinian way of fixing anything and everything (alhambre, or a bit of wire you find lying around.)
At night, we would get one glass of wine and apertivos from our hosts. Inga’s lunches would be big, filling, delicious and gave us heaps of energy for our physical labor. We really loved talking with our hosts. They have travelled for years themselves and now find themselves living in a foreign country, fluently speaking a foreign language, and quite frankly living the dream.
Jordan and I got to enjoy the guest cabin (cabana) during our work stay. The cabin was so very cute with a tiny fire place and full kitchen. When we arrived, the cabin was covered in lady bugs – a sign of good luck and fortune.
The village of 25 de Mayo is small. The town is one street with farms surrounding the outside. There is a damn that the locals go to on the weekends to bbq and listen to cumbia while they drink beer. The next biggest town is called San Rafael. Jordan and I went there a few times to check it out, and visit one of their many wineries (bodegas).