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Trip Report Buenos Aires/Iguazu Falls

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In early March my wife and I flew to Buenos Aires for 7 days before catching an Oceana Cruise that would stop in Rio and end up in Barcelona, Spain. We decided to do Barcelona on our own, but had our travel agent use Brendan Vacations to do our transfers, hotels, Iguazu Falls, and a 1/2 day city tour. We stayed at Americas Towers in Buenos Aires which has a fantastic location where just about everything is walkable and great restaurants abound. The hotel was very reasonable and has many reviews on this site. The city tour came with a guide, car and driver, but was only so-so. The guide gave me his card and I promised to call him if we needed him. Before leaving San Diego I had booked a local guide that was recommended by another guide (recommended on this site) who was already booked. Well, Pedro was in the hotel lobby at 9:00 as we had e-mailed about. Even though I had booked him for 3 days, I wasn't too sure about Pedro because he didn't have a car and said that we could use local transportation. We discussed a plan for day 1 and set out about 15 minutes later. We walked and saw buildings, bookstores, libraries and places that you would never see on your own. We talked with local dog walkers and inquired about how they could walk 10-15 large dogs at one time down the city streets with each dog behaving better than some children. If we got tired, Pedro hailed a cab and we rode a few blocks. He knew every local restaurant that had been in business for years that served the most delicious food. We had coffee at Cafe Tortoni which has been open for 150 years and didn't have to stand in line to get in as Pedro knew when the crowds would subside. We rode the "wooden train" built in 1913 and is the oldest subway in South America. On day 2 we took a local train out to the Delta area (Tigre) and took a boat tour of the delta and saw where all of the rich people from Buenos Aires either lived or had a vacation home. The train ride was a real hoot as venders walked up and down the aisle selling a variety of items. On day 3 we went back to La Boca and really saw the heart of the tango area up close. Pedro introduced us to some tango dancers who posed with Judy and me for the best photos. Pedro paid for the cabs, trains, boats etc. so I wouldn't have to dig for pesos all the time. (I paid him back in the hotel lobby). At the end of 3 days Pedro became a friend and we invited both Pedro and his fiance to dinner on our last evening, however, they had a prior commitment. I guess what I am saying is that if you really want to see Buenos Aires and understand its history, I would highly recommend Pedro Werberg www.amigodebuenosaires.com or e-mail him at (clickonenglish@yahoo.com). He is a very friendly and likable local who just makes it fun. We spent 3 days in Barcelona and didn't enjoy it half as much as we did Buenos Aires, where we would return in a heartbeat. Anyhow, on to Iguazu Falls. We planned 2 full days at the falls and insisted on a Falls View room at the Sheraton Hotel on the Argentine side for 2 nights. We were met at the airport, driven to the hotel, and were down to the river for a boat ride to the falls within an hour. The zodiac plows right into the falls and we became totally drenched. It was over 100 degrees, so it felt great. This ride made the "Maid of the Mist" at Niagara Falls" seem like child's play. We took a jungle tour afterwards that was just o.k.. The next day our guide drove us to the Brazilian side of the falls. They were equally spectacular. We took a helicopter ride over the falls and Judy loved sitting next to the pilot. (Great photos) We visited the bird park and obtained more great photos, especially of the toucans. (highly recommended) Back to the hotel to enjoy the view, coctails, and dinner. The Sheraton isn't fancy, but due to the location, the only hotel within the national park, it was worth the splurge. The next morning we walked the trails and ramps on the Argentine side until it was time to fly back to Buenos Aires. Both sides of the falls are spectacular and I am glad that we were able to see each one. Two full days was perfect. We returned to Buenos Aires and enjoyed a great dinner about 1 block from the hotel. The transfer driver told us about a great pizza restaurant 2 blocks from the hotel, so we asked him to pick us up at 2 instead of 12 for the transfer to the ship. The restaurant had pizza that was better than we had in Naples! The week in Argentina was the highlight of a month long trip. The cruise and Barcelona came in tied for a distant second.

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