(CNN) - Gov. Mark Sanford did not spend the last five days hiking the Appalachian Trail - as his staff had indicated - but was instead in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the South Carolina Republican told The State newspaper Wednesday.
Spotted returning from the trip in the Atlanta airport Wednesday morning, Sanford said he had considered hiking the Appalachian Trail after his state's busy legislative season came to end but instead decided on a more "exotic" trip.
"I wanted to do something exotic. It's a great city," said Sanford of his five-day getaway that appeared to leave his entire staff and family in the dark about his whereabouts. Sanford also said no one else accompanied him on the trip.
Sanford wouldn't tell the newspaper exactly what he did in the South American country, besides take a drive along the coastline.
The South Carolina governor also said he hadn't planned to return until Thursday, but came back earlier after his chief of staff contacted him to say the story of his whereabouts was drawing widespread media attention.
Sanford expressed surprise the story was attracting such attention, saying it's not unusual for him to take such trips.
"I would get out of the bubble I am in," he said.
In a short interview with CNN Tuesday, Sanford's wife Jenny said she still has not talked to her husband since he left last Thursday and did not know where he went.