Talking to other travellers we found out that hitch-hiking in South America in general is quite a good alternative to always taking busses or even flights. Latinos are known for being helpful and kind-hearted.
Our experience was very interesting. Me and another guy from Austria decided to hitchhike from the border-town Mendoza to Cordoba, a 700 km drive.
In the morning we walked from the hostel we stayed in towards the main street that let to Cordoba. On the way we found a carton on the street that we used as a sign by writing the name of the city on it, in order for people to know where we were heading. When we reached the road towards Cordoba we placed our backpacks on the floor close by and started the “project Cordoba” by keeping the thumbs up, always smiling 🙂
As it was our first hitch-hiking trip we were very enthusiastic at the beginning but soon we realised that it would be a challenge. For the first two hours no car stopped offering a ride. Many people gave us thumbs up encouraging us to keep trying, others would smile at and with us from inside their car… Once in a while cars would stop asking us for directions, that we hardly could give. No idea why they asked us as foreigners.
We even asked bikers if they could give us a ride. One of them laughed at us heavily because obviously she couldn’t take us on her bike, neither were she gonna ride more than 2 kilometres. But on the way back the nice lady gave us each a small delicious cake. Awesome!
Finally, after two hours a car with two girls sitting in front stopped to offer their help. Unfortunately they were going to a different direction. But that encouraged us to believe that it is not impossible. We kept on keeping our thumbs up, switching every now and then. One hour later an Argentinian traveler stopped and took us for a 2 hour ride to San Luis. It was a really nice guy that traveled around the whole country plus Chile for 4 weeks, sleeping in his car. Therefore, one guy slept in the back of his car, while the other sat in front exchanging travel experiences with each other and drinking Mate. We were extremely happy!
In San Luis we had lunch and drank a beer with the guy. Then he suggested to keep on going another 2 hours. In fact I and later my friend Hannes were driving the car as the Argentinian was tired of driving after having traveled through the whole country.
We ended up in a small town where we had a drink again and then he brought us all the way to our hostel, at 12am! Nice guy!
Next day we walked about 30 minutes from the hostel to the highway that leat to Cordoba. Finding the right spot is very important when you hitch-hike. This time we thought we found the right spot. Right next to a gas station, where people were still driving slowly and at a road that directly leat to Cordoba, which meant that everyone at least was driving in the direction towards Cordoba.
However, it was much tougher than the day before. Even though the 5th car stopped right away, willing to take us, we ended up waiting for 4 hours in the heat of more than 30 degrees celcius. The guy somehow explained he would take a different route.
Anyways, after 4 hours a very nice guy from the countryside gave us a lift for about 70 kilometres. He dropped us off in a village on the way to Cordoba, saying he would come back to continue driving further our direction but he had to drop of the meat 🙂 🙂 :). He offered that he would take us again if we would still be at the spot when he would come back in 40 minutes. Great guy.
We didn’t see him again because after 20 minutes a pick-up truck driver stopped and took us for another 30 minute drive to another small village, where we slept at a hotel with slighter higher prices than the hostels we are used to. But in such villages you will not find hostels. Another way to save money is by sleeping in tents somewhere in the countryside. We met many travellers who have done that and can recommend it.
As the main road to Cordoba was like 6 km from the town we decided to go by bus for the last 120 km. It was the best bus ride ever. We almost forgot the comfort you get in a bus. When it becomes the usual you don’t get to appreciate it anymore.
Therefore, after all it took us almost 3 days to get from Mendoza to Cordoba, a distance of 700 km. Besides saving money by not having to pay the buses we had a great experience meeting funny people. Definitely gonna do it again!