Attacked by Wild Dogs in Argentina

Where we were attacked by wild dogs
Mendoza Bus Station during the day

Who would have thought we would be attacked by wild dogs in Argentina!

Dealing with wild dogs had not been included in our top #101 rules of travelling in safety:

  • no night time buses
  • no arriving into bus stations after midnight
  • no plans on how we were going to get to our accommodation

Mendoza, Argentina was beckoning us.  We enjoy wine tasting and as we were in Santiago in Chile we decided to take off for a few days to Mendoza a little over 7 hours away by bus. The journey takes you through dusty valleys, barren hillsides and scraggy topped mountain ranges and the road can be quite dangerous. Not to mention the skills or the non-skills of your bus driver.

Its a dangerous road to Mendoza Argentina

Its a dangerous road to Mendoza Argentina

 

Traffic Delays on the Way to Mendoza Argentina

Traffic Delays on the Way to Mendoza Argentina

Construction works on the road that is known as Los Liberatados/Uspallata Pass prevented two directional flows of traffic at the same time.  The road to Mendoza from Santiago was only accessible at night, and the return from Mendoza during the day.  This road is notoriously known for delays at the best of times from the amount of traffic, landslides and bad weather which you can expect at the peak of the mountain.  Delays at both Immigration Departments are a fact of life in this region which double the time it takes.

Immigration

Immigration

With the construction works and the delays, our 7-hour bus ride became a 9-hour bus ride and put our arrival time in Mendoza at 2 am.  Mendoza Bus Station is large with many bays for the several companies that operate out of there. At night it is empty, scary and feels so huge.

We had printed a map from Chimbas Hostel where we were going to stay, which showed the location of the bus terminal to be a 5-10 minute walk away. But which way?

Our Biggest Mistake 

Why hail a taxi when we could walk? We stared at the map, turned it around, turned it upside down and turned it around again. With no sense of direction, we headed towards a major road believing we were heading towards the Hostel.

The ground rumbled, snarling wild dogs hovered around us, dozens of eyes watched us.  A quick count, there were at least 8 wild dogs.  To be honest, we thought this was the end!  Our daypacks shoved in front of us for protection whilst we shouted expletives in English back at them.  As we moved gingerly back the way we had come, the wild dogs kept coming towards us.  Just around the corner, we saw the welcoming POLICIA sign.  The wild dogs seemed to sense the situation had changed and slinked back into the darkness leaving two relieved travellers banging on the door waking up whoever was inside.

Still shaking with fear or relief, we tried to communicate in our very limited Spanish and sign language that we needed help to find our way to Hostel Chimbas.  Our sleepy policeman pointed us to the other end of the building with the universal word – Taxi! Gracias!

We walked nervously out into the darkness and encountered two travellers heading our way who could speak Spanish and English.  Saving the night for us, they walked with us to the taxi rank and explained to the taxi driver where we wanted to go.  As we jumped in, we heard laughter from the other drivers.  Two minutes later we found out why when we arrived at our accommodation –  Hostel Chimbas.  The driver charged us the equivalent of 45 cents USD, but we tripled it, relieved to see the hostel door open to a very sleepy night reception guy welcoming us in.  With keys in hand, he showed us to our room.  We had spied a fridge in the kitchen full of beer but locked.  Fortunately, he handed us the fridge keys on his way to bed and said we could sort it out in the morning.  A few beers to calm the nerves and a vow to stick to our 101 rules of travelling we too headed off for some much-needed sleep.

Those wild dogs taught us a very good  lesson. Never arrive at a bus station at night with no plans on how to get out of there!

Having learnt our lesson we really enjoyed and would recommend a visit to Mendoza.

What To Do in Mendoza

If you enjoy horse riding we can recommend a sunset ride to the Andes.

Mendoza is famous for its wines especially Malbec.  Taking a wine tour in Mendoza is a great way to visit 2 wineries and learn about their process of making wine.  Click here for more information.

Other Tour Options:

 

 

Where to Stay in Mendoza

We stayed at the Hostel ChimbasHostel Chimbas is very popular, good value, with a swimming pool and good wifi and as our story tells close to the Bus Station (as long as you know where you are heading).

Attacked by Wild Dogs in Argentina

 

 

 

For other accommodation options:

Attacked by wild dogs in Argentina

 

 

 

 

Before you head to Mendoza you may want to check out some of our recommended travel guides to assist you in planning your visit there:

 


 

 

 

 

Attacked by wild dogs in Argentina

5 Comments

  • Hi Jayne, it is frightening isn’t it – but a learning experience..

  • What a terrifying experience! I got back from Southern Argentina last month and was amazed by the number of stray dogs. More than I have ever seen anywhere else.

    • Hi Erika…we are amazed at the amount of street/stray dogs as well. Mexico has their fair share. We have cared for many street dogs rescued in Mexico in our house sitting assignments.
      Enjoy your weekend.
      cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Jennifer McGirr says:

    I actually had a much closer call with wild dogs on a deserted beach in Fiji. I had walked along the beach for a mile + from my small hotel then about 10 of them came out of the mangrove trees and started running towards me growling and snarling. I really thought I was a goner but knew that running would be futile.
    I don’t know what made me do it, it was purely instinctual but I made myself look as big and fierce as possible with my arms above me then I threw my head back and howled like a wolf as loudly and as best I could. The dogs stopped dead in their tracks about 75 metres from me. I looked at them with really wide eyes then suddenly jerked my body forward with arms outstretched, I did it again and this time the dogs, as if one, turned tail and ran back where they came from.
    I had a personal best time covering the mile or so back to my hotel. I told the staff what had happened and they called the police. The policeman said he would arrange for poison to be put down in the area of my horrific experience. I felt guilty for a nanosecond, they would have killed me I have no doubt. I asked the officer if this was an isolated incident and he admitted it wasn’t, others had fared much worse than me he said. I didn’t press him for more information, him getting up to leave signaled there wasn’t going to be any more.
    I changed my flight and left Fiji the next day. What kept going around in my head was the cliched “they don’t mention that in the brochures” which I had overheard Brits say so many times in Spain, obviously referring to more mundane things than I had encountered. Sometimes what the powers that be choose to leave out of the glossy brochures can actually cost you your life.
    I don’t mind admitting that I am not so adventurous these days. Not for me the solo travelling the world with a naive and cavalier attitude, I stick to the safer well worn tourist paths. There’s more than enough of them really and if you take the trouble to find aspects most overlook they are just as interesting. I have to say there are many places with questionable systems of government that we shouldn’t be helping to prop up by spending our tourist dollars/pounds there anyway, a point too many people completely ignore in my humble opinion.

    • Well…that would have been one scary time, at least there were two of us. Great idea about looking as big and fierce as possible…hope there were some strong expletives as well….sad about the poison but if it wasnt you could be someone else the next day….continue with your solo travels….as we say chase time not money!

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