阿根廷法例把巴士分 5 個等級，最低兩等為平民級無空調及有空調，一般用作巿內公交。接著兩級是半商務及商務位，車上有洗手間及茶水供應，兩者分別在於座位可後仰 40 度及 55 度。最高級是頭等位，座位必須可後仰至少 85 度，幾乎是一個床位。
我們從布宜諾斯艾利斯到西北部的 Salta，車程約 20 個小時，只有商務位和頭等位選擇，價錢相差 700 披索（約 290 港元）。上次由巴西聖保羅到伊瓜蘇瀑布的通宵車，我們坐商務位，16 個小時坐得腰酸背痛，今次決定豪一次。頭等車票每位 3,000 披索（約 1,243 港元），付款時還以為自己在買機票。
我們一上車，看到頭等位有如飛機商務位可變成床，還提供枕頭毛毯、自助咖啡茶水、Wi-Fi 及自選荷里活猛片娛樂，便知道這 20 個小時會過得舒服。晚上 8 時開車後，有職員遞上晚餐，我們以為要額外收費，搖頭不要，但看到其他乘客無一付款，兩小時後送上宵夜時，笑著接受。180 度床鋪一覺睡到天光，沒有酸痛，但有甜夢，醒來沖杯咖啡吃自備乾糧作早餐，看齣電影消遣。
An Disappointing Day Tour on Route 68／Kimberlogic
If we travel to a city, we will always figure out the public transportation system, we will rarely take a taxi and we never hire a private driver. If we want to cover a large area over a few days, we always prefer to self-drive, it gives us more freedom. But sometimes the only way to see certain places is to join a tour.
About three hours south of the city of Salta is Quebrada de las Conchas. This was a place that we both wanted to see, but debated on how to get there. Many tour companies offered tours to the town of Cafayate and stopped in Quebrada de las Conchas along the way. Cafayate, although not as famous as Mendoza, is known as a wine producing area. We weren’t too interested in the town or the wine, but the tour was cheap and sounded nice.
Since most companies were closed on Sundays, we decided it would to be better to join a day tour rather than try and find a company open on New Year’s Eve for us to rent a car. We also opted for the tour this time because we couldn’t find much information about Quebrada de las Conchas and also because we knew it should only take us part of a day to see the sights.
We woke up early the next morning for our pick up and before the van even arrived, we both started to regret joining a tour. First, the van was over an hour late to collect us. Next, the tour guide seemed as if she was on drugs because she wouldn’t stop talking and could never finish a thought. The ride to Cafayate was long, but we smiled and joked through it.
We arrived in Cafayate and visited only the tasting rooms at two different vineyards. I’m not an expert on wine, but I couldn’t finish either tasting, it just wasn’t for me. We then spent thirty minutes picking up more people for the tour and then had two hours for lunch in the small town. After eating lunch and walking the entire town, we still had an hour to kill, so we took a nap in the shade.
Back on the van, we were finally headed for the stops in the Quebrada de las Conchas. Since we felt most of our day was wasted on the rest of the tour, each time we stopped we were told we had only 10 minutes, but we stretched it fifteen or even twenty. All of the stops were beautiful with giant red rock formations. Many years ago these canyons and other oddly shaped formations were carved by the river and waterfalls. It was our first experience of the desert landscape in Argentina.
The stops in Quebrada de las Conchas did not disappoint and saved the day from being wasted. Joining this tour cost us less money than renting a car for the day, but limited our freedom and enjoyment. When traveling, we like to be in control of where we go as well as how long we stay and what we do while there. Day tours just don’t fit our style of travel most times, so we both agreed from now on to only join tours if it is the absolute only way to see a place.