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2 week trip to Argentina - Need help with Itinerary

Old May 16th, 2005, 07:46 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 108
2 week trip to Argentina - Need help with Itinerary

My husband and I are planning the trip to Argentina this fall, Oct 2nd -Oct 15th.
So far all we have is the air travel fron NYC to BA.

I just learned that there's no flight btw BA and Iguazu on Oct. 2nd so I guess we'll have to start our trip in BA.

Our Itinarary so far:
BA: Oct. 2nd - Oct. 6th (4 nights)
Iguazzu Oct. 6th - Oct. 8th (2 nights)
Bariloche Oct. 8th - Oct. 11th (3 nights)
El Calafate Oct. 11th - Oct. 12th (1 night)

This leaves us 3 more nights till our plane leaves from BA. Where elase should we go? Or should we spend more time in BA? What about going to Urugway or Chile?

We're in the late 20s - early 30s, very much city people but would like to see lakes, glasiers, etc.

Any comments on our itinarary and suggestions will be highly appreciated.

Thank you so much!

anuta_n is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 07:47 AM
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I apologize for posting it twice, just wanted to make sure it will appear under the Argentina category.

anuta_n is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 11:52 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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I would go to Ushuaia for three days and tour the Tierra del Fuego and see Penguins, or do the lake crossing into Chili from Bariloche, stay in Puerto Vargas for a night then bus it back to Bariloche (we met some people who did this, they said the buses were great there). I'm also from NYC, Argentina was one of the most exciting vacations we've taken (and we've travelled extensively). We used a local travel agent (which I never do, usually plan all myself) out of BA, Mercedes Garcia Torres at Argentina Escapes. She arranged all airfares/hotels/transfers and did an amazing job. We went from BA to Iguazu - Ushaiai - Punta Natalas (chile) visited the Torres del Paine (amazing park), then up to Puerta Montt, lake crossing to Bariloche (loved Bariloche, treat yourself and stay at the Llao Llao), rental car for 3 days, then flew back to BA for last two days (shopped until we dropped). Hope this helps. We're already talking about going back next winter.
owlwoman is offline  
Old May 16th, 2005, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 243
If you enjoy big cities , B.A. for only 4 days its just not enough , i would suggest a minimum of 6 / 7 nights and would spend a couple of days on day tours.
1) Estancias . Horse ridding +BBQ + outdoors activities .
2) Delta Islands boat tour . Maybe staying 1 night in an Island lodge as La Pascuala Delta Lodge
3) Colonia . Colonial historic city in Uruguay .
I suggest skip Bariloche and spend a few more days in a Calafate Estancia .
Or skip Calafate and stay in Bariloche city + a short stay in a close Estancia.

santiagov is offline  
Old May 17th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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Thank you both so much for responding! I do want to spend time in BA so I guess we're going to go to Iguazu, Barloche and Patagonia and spend the rest of the time in and around BA.

Are 2 nights enough in Calafate? Will we see glaciers, whales, pinguins, etc out of there or do we need to stay in another town for that? Should we stay in Ushaiai instead?

Owlwoman, can you please give me e-mail or phone number of your agent in Argentina? Did they meet you at the airport there and gave you all tickets, reservations, etc. or did she mail it to you to the US?

Also, did you fly direct from Iguazu to Ushaiai?

Thank you!
anuta_n is offline  
Old May 17th, 2005, 08:09 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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The travel agent's e-mail is: [email protected] and their web-site is Phone numbers, address, etc are on the web-site. I was extremely pleased with their services. Mercedes arranged for a driver to meet us at the airport when we arrived in BA, then met us at the Marriott w/all the vouchers, etc and spent time with us to explain all. I should also mention we went through 12 itineraries before all was set in stone.

As far as Calafate, we skipped this town (it was on our original itinerary) as we did not have any interest in walking on glaciers. We met an older couple (in good shape) in Ushaia who went there, while we went on to Chile, ran into them on the Lake Crossing (very funny) and they told us they hated Calafate, it was too cold and it was difficult walking on the glaciers. I was very happy to see the glaciers via a boat. Mercedes will advise you as to wildlife you will see, you are going in a different season than us.

As far as flying from Iguazu to Ushuaia, no, there are no direct flights. We had to fly back to BA, changed planes, which was direct w/one stop (1/2 hour in Rio Gallogas). We left the falls on a 12:30 flight and reached Ushaia at 8:00 p.m., it was a long day, but worth it.

If you use Mercedes and let her know your interests she will put together a great trip for you. Everyone raves about Cintia on this web-site, I also contacted her about our trip, but I found her to be slow in response with a bit of an attitude, again, just my opinion. Mercedes was always gracious and patient.

Anyway, feel free to contact me any more questions.

owlwoman is offline  
Old May 17th, 2005, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We visited Argentina from March 17 through April 5, 2005. Our itinerary was BA (3 nights), Iguazu (4 nights) El Calafate (4 nights) and BA (3 nights). It is so interesting to read this forum and listen to the preferences of others. The following is my very personal opinion.

The highlight of our trip was staying at H. Los Notros outside of Calafate. I posted our experiences at the glaciers on this forum. If you cannot find it, let me know and I'll give you more information. Hosteria Los Notros has a website if you would like to see what is available in the area. There are no whales or penquins in this part of Patagonia, plus it might be the wrong season. We spent no time in the town of El Calafate.

Our weather was absolutely beautiful. We wore a fleece and a windbreaker, or just a windbreaker. Activities can be as active as you wish, trekking the glaciers, guided hikes, spectacular boat rides, 4WD on the steppes, horseback riding, estancia visits. We were busy every moment. I don't know how you could really enjoy the glaciers with only one night as that really gives only 1 1/2 days. If you do go, try to arrange the 3 glacier boat tour.

One of the problems traveling through Argentina is that there are limited direct flights. Most planes go back to BA in order to connect to other flights. So a lot of time is wasted traveling and I suggest you plan wisely and eliminate sitting in the airports as much as possible. For example, there is no direct flight from El Calafate to Punta Arenas.

We chose not to go to Bariloche as I did not think that the scenery was so different from Switzerland and other US mountain/lake areas. However, I did not go so I might be wrong.

I was told that Ushaiai was mainly a port town for trips to Antarctica. Check this out before you finalize your plans.

We didn't go to an estancia near BA because the BBQ ones seemed very touristy and the working ranches were more like a restful resort and not what we went to Argentina for.

We thought Colonia was not all that interesting. Nice, but another quaint, cobblestoned European town. We really enjoyed BA. The musuems, parks, fiars, walking tours and even the zoo, were outstanding.

I think Iguazu needs three nights. We did four, but three would have been perfect. Walking on all the circuits and the boat rides takes almost two full days. The third day could be spent hiring a private taxi and going to the Brazil side, the bird park and a fascinating, primitive Indian village.

Although it wasn't our first choice, breaking up our visit to BA into two parts worked out really well. Going from city to country and back to city was a nice change of pace.

We are were very pleased with Cintia at WOW Argentina.

evelyntrav is offline  
Old May 18th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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I am currently in the process of finalizing my Argentinian trip with Cintia right now. She has been nothing but courteous, professional and highly informative. I recommend her highly and without any hesitation.
Danielle is offline  
Old May 18th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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Yes, everyone has an opinion so you will just have to decide for yourself what you want to do.

We loved BA and our nine nights there weren't enough.

Even though we spent three weeks in Switzerland in the fall that didn't stop us from going to the Llao Llao Resort near Bariloche and loving it!

We were in Iguazu for two nights and that was enough for us. I am very glad we stayed at the Sheraton.

Danielle, Cintia is all that you said and more....she and Matias are adorable! I can't imagine her having an attitude. I would recommend taking a city tour with her; it was a highlight of our visit.

Anuta, if you click on my name you will find a report on our trip to Argentina. We loved it and plan to return soon.

I know you will have a wonderful trip!
Judi is offline  
Old May 19th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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I agree that Argentina Escapes and Mercedes are great choices. My husband and I will be in BA in July and Mercedes has been great making arrangements for our trip to Iguazu. [email protected]
pili is offline  
Old May 20th, 2005, 06:23 AM
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Thank you all again so much. I wouldn't be able to do all our planning without wonderful people on this board.

I contacted Mercedes from Argentina Escapes and she's been very helpful in planning our itinerary.

This is what we got so far:
Oct.2nd - Oct. 3rd - BA (2 nights in Art Hotel)
Oct. 4th - Iguasu (one night in Sheraton)
Oct. 5 - Arrive to Bariloche in the late afternoon
Oct. 6-Oct.7 - Bariloche (Llao Llao resort 3 nights)
Oct. 8 - arrive to Calafate at 4pm
Oct. 9 - Oct. 10 - Calafate (Los Notros resort - 2 nights) Leave Calafate at 7 pm for Valdes
Oct. 11- Oct.12 - Valdes (whale watching, penguins watching tours)
Arrive to BA at 9pm
Oct. 13- Oct.15 - BA

Please let me know what you think of this itinerary.

Evelyntrav, you mentioned that you stayed in Los Notros. Is it really worth the money? Was the 3 glacier tour included in your stay? We have less time there than you did so I want to make sure we get the best out of it.

We're actually flying to Spain today but I'll be checking this forum whenever I have the connection there.

Thank you all and talk to you soon!!!!
anuta_n is offline  
Old May 20th, 2005, 12:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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A couple of things.

We were at Los Notros for 4 nights so the 3 glacier tour was included. It was the thing I remember most, just magnificant. You can email them and ask how much extra they would charge as you would not be taking any of their excursions that day as it is an all-day trip. Have them book it in advance as there is very limited availability in the first class cabin which they use.

Next, check to see if there will be whales at that time of year. It was my understanding that they would be just a few if we were lucky. When I considered going to this area I had read some reports that said that it was a very long drive from the hotel to the whales and penguin areas. Also, whales and penguins are not unique to Argentina so I wanted to concentrate on things I could not see anyplace else.

Also, have you checked the flights. We would have had to fly from El Calafate to BA and then to the Valdez area, possibly having to sleep over in BA as the flights did not connect.

Personally, I would add a day in El Calafate and one in Iguazu or BA rather than do so much moving around. Each airport trip takes a good part of the day between transfers to and from the hotel, wait time and possible delays. For example, the El Calafate airport is about an hour from Los Notros.

About Los Notros, the food, service, personnel, ambiance, rooms, were all terrific. Since it is an all-inclusive deal including the excursions, I don't know if it so much more than any other really nice place in the area. In fact, I don't think anything else compares to it. Did you check their website for the list of activities? People we met really enjoyed the ice trekking and the horseback riding at a nearby estancia. My husband has bad knees so we could not do either. The 4WD on the steppes was just mediocre.

I like reliving the experience with you so let me know if you have any other questions.

Also, we did not have to pay for any excess weight on the airlines. Someone said it was because we were going to more than one destination.
evelyntrav is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2005, 07:59 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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Hope you're having a great time in Spain, we were there last year (you're doing our trips in reverse) at the same time and had fabulous weather.

You are in good hands w/Mercedes, I'm confident if you have given her your interests, she will make sure your trip is efficient and adheres to those interests.

Evelyn/Danielle, no disrespect to Cintia, I'm sure she is wonderful, it's just when I originally e-mailed her requesting assistance with my trip (the day before I had found Mercedes on my own, then read how wonderful Cintia was, so I wanted to work with Cintia) in the time Cintia got back to me with an itinerary, Mercedes and I had corresponded at least 6 or 7 times, so at that point I felt more comfortable with Mercedes.

Pilli, have a great time in Argentina! It's our second most favorite country now (behind Italy).
owlwoman is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2005, 12:36 PM
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I'm back from Spain and finally back on this forum. Hopefully, some of you who've been so helpful to me are still checking the forum from time to time, too.

So we're back at planning our Argentina vacation.

For those of you who've been to the country before I have the folowing question: Should we book private transfer from the travel agent or is it safe and cheaper to take cabs at each airport? The TA's rate for the roundtrip transfer between the airport and the hotel in BA is $50. This seems more like NYC prices to me but maybe that's what it costs over there too?

Another question is for anyone who took a 3 glacier tour and a minitrcking tour in Calafate. What do they cost? The TA's prices are $100 per person for each tour. Does this sound right?

Other than that, we have the airfare booked and almost all the hotels.

We're staying first 2 nights in 4 Seasons in BA then one night at the Shearton in Inguazu, then 3 nights in Llao Llao resort in Bariloche, then 2 nights in Calafate (not sure where, not Los Notros - too expensive), then 2 nights in Puerto Madryn and 3 more nights in BA.
Any recommendations for the hotel in Calafate????

Thank you!!!!
anuta_n is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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about the transfer: EZE international airport is out of town quite a distance....about 35k as I recall. The normal fare by taking a cab from the airport to downtown is 50pesos (16 or 17USD)...the trip back to the airport is usually slightly less, so figure 32-35USD,,,so if the fare quote you mention is for a round trip, the price is slightly high, but not outrageous by local standards....

Hotel Choices....great choices in Buenos Aires and Iguazu...The Sheraton's location can't be all means opt for a falls view room...
The 4 Seasons is an excellent hotel in a great location in BA. I have never stayed at Llao Llao, but have heard great things about the day, I will stay there!

Sounds to me like you are getting some good advice.....
drdawggy is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2005, 11:49 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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Hi Anuta,

Just wanted to say welcome back, hope you enjoyed Spain as much as we did last year.

Sorry I can't help you out with Calafate, we did not stay there. If you're using the travel agent, I was happy with the places she picked out in our budget range (some very inexpensive, like the place in Ushuaia).

I also wanted to say you will LOVE the Llao Llao resort, make sure you rent a car so you can see the area and get into Bariloche to buy chocolate (very easy driving),have a massage and take a 1/2 day lake tour if the weather's nice. We're still thinking about going back next year....decisions, decisions
owlwoman is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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Hi, I just returned from Buenos Aires, we stayed this time in the Four Seasons, a great choice. It is a little over our budget but Cintia got me a great rate and I could not resist and I was right. I enjoyed everything the great breakfast a lovely room with such a magnificent view ...well the service was outstanding. Good luck.
Graziella5b is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2005, 07:49 AM
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Owlwoman - What was your trip itinerary (do it by date please)? Thanks.

gnrbernstein is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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Graziella, Wow...the 4 Seasons. Nice! A jump up from the Argenta Tower! Congrats.

I am staying at a new hotel on my next trip, the Regal Pacific...downtown location, but it has a pool and a decent grand opening price.
drdawggy is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 07:04 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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GNR, sorry I haven't replied sooner, been out of town...
BA - March 1-2
Iguazu Falls March 2-4
Ushuai - March 4-6
Torres Del Paine, Chile - March 6-8
Puerto Montt - Lake Crossing - March 8-10
Bariloche - March 10-13
BA - March 14-15 - home

It was a very doable trip, if you're interested, I did write a trip report when I returned
owlwoman is offline  

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