highlights of Chile & Argentina??

Old Jul 5th, 2005, 06:24 PM
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highlights of Chile & Argentina??

My husband is a professional translator and university professor in Spanish but has not been to South America since childhood. I've never been. I love to travel and he says he's game for a 3-4 week trip to South America this September. I hate really hot weather so thought the further south we go at that time of year, the cooler the weather. So we're thinking of either Chile or Argentina or both. To anyone who's traveled in these countries, what would you say are the most memorable sights or highlights of your trip? We would no doubt be traveling independently (not with an organized group). How is driving a rental car in these locations? We like outdoor activities and cultural sights. I'm just starting my research and would appreciate any opening or general type information you can give me. Thanks!
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Hello, Marion!

Since no one answers, I'll try to help with the areas I know or have heard about. I have never been to Chile.

September is late winter/early spring in Argentina, so it certainly should not be warm, unless you go to certain northern areas. It should still be cold in the South.

As said in other threads, maybe you could ski in September, if you want to.

I suggest reviewing this Argentina forum for more ideas and then asking more specific questions.

The most popular places to visit are: Buenos Aires, Cataratas del Iguazú, the Bariloche general area and Calafate. There are many others.

It is a matter of taste, but I do not suggest driving long distances in Argentina. I would fly, rent a car, fly again, etc. You should be careful driving in Argentina. Many roads are bad and the drivers are worse. Changing lanes suddenly is par for the course, so be ready for it.

When you have more specific questions, ask away!
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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I have been to both countries and really enjoyed them. You can certainly drive without too much difficulty there, but I agree with the previous post that many of the distances are quite long so it is easier to fly. They also have a pretty reliable bus system that I found easy enough to use.

Buenos Aires and Iguazu are definitley must-sees. While in BA, you might also want to work in a trip to Uruguay. Santiago has alot to offer, and from there you could drive thru the Andes (past Aconcagua) to Mendoza, AR. Nice wineries there.

Chile and Argentina are both interesting countries. Argentina has the benefit of a much better exchange rate for the dollar/euro, so if you're looking to save money, you might want to spend more time in Arg.

Keep reading and gather ideas. Happy planning!

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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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I have been to both and absolutely love Chile. Santiago has nice things to see, plus there are numerous side trips. Vina del Mar is a nice seaside town (although you won't actually be able to enjoy the beach due to weather). Wonderful seafood --also in Valparaiso. You can drive to Portillo to ski--very pretty. South of Santiago there are numerous quaint pretty towns. I think the region near Osorno (Villa Rica, etc) is beautiful (if it's not too cold). One time, years ago we took a train from Santiago to the area--loaded the car on--it was an overnight trip and when we woke up (after a nice dinner, cocktails and movie on the train) we were at our destination. Don't know if that still exists--that was in 90, I believe. Or you could go north--you go go up to La Serena, birthplace to Gabriela Mistral.
YOu must try the empanadas--deliciosas! And also a little Pisco.. yum.
Argentina has it's charms also. Buenos Aires is a wonderful cosmopolitan city, you could day trip over to Colonia, Uruguay, maybe take a trip to Iguazu or down south to Ushaia.
You will have a great time either way!
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 08:27 PM
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You will love Buenos Aires. Actually South America has so many great places to visit. I've hit many of them.

I've never been into organized group trips. Doing the independent thing is always the best. I really love Argentina so much I moved here permanently. No real need to rent a car in Argentina (at least Buenos Aires) and air travel is the most convenient. I really loved Patagonia and I especially Villa la Angostura. Definitely hit it if you go to Bariloche or the South.

Honestly, I found Santiago overrated. If you are American, remember that you and your husband will have to pay a u$s 100 fee immediately when you land. As Americans we must pay a fee to ENTER the country. Crazy if you ask me but we do it to Chileans so they do it to Americans. It's good for the life of your passport.

I wasn't crazy about Santiago even though it was pleasant. I found it expensive compared to other places I have been in South America. The food I thought was really horrible and expensive compared to Buenos Aires.

Vina del Mar was a beautiful city that I enjoyed. They did have some good seafood restaurants. I stayed in a GREAT apartment that was huge and had an amazing view. Even though I went with only my girlfriend, we rented this 3 bedroom apartment - http://www.elpresidente.cl/english/p....php?zona=vina VERY affordable and the views were amazing. Pay with cash to save the most money.

I found the taxi drivers very shady in Santiago. The metro system is good though.

Peru should be a consideration as well. Cuzco and Macchu Picchu are really inspiring and amazing. The Peruvians are really great people and warm and genuine. Simple people. Climbing to the top of Macchu Picchu will give you a sense of peace that you've probably never experienced in your life. I have fond memories of my trip to Peru. Take the first class train (Vistadome) from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes. The entire roof of the train and the side is glass so the views are amazing.

Good luck!

Mike
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 01:31 AM
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Thanks to everyone who has left a reply message so far. Much interesting information! Thanks for the tips on driving too....hard to believe we could encounter worse drivers then the time we drove from Zagreb to Lubijana in Yugoslavia (a totally packed 2 lane road, with people passing 2,4 even 6 cars at one time in the middle where there was no lane at all!). No one has mentioned trains. Is there any decent train service in Argentina or Chile?

msteacher mentioned going to Uruguay from Argentina. Just today my husband said he'd like to go to Montevideo if he could (which really suprised me as he grew up there and has always spoken of it with loathing in the past). Anyone know the best way to get from BA to Montevideo?

Apartmentsba suggested Peru which I would also very much like to see...I'll have to check into the weather situation in Sept. as I want to avoid anything that would be in the 80s or hotter, but maybe I'm wrong in thinking it might be hot there in Sept.

Thanks all and any other suggestions/information for the neophyte are most welcome!
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 03:26 AM
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You can take the ferry or fly from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. Depending upon the airline you fly from the U.S. to Argentina, you might explore the possibility of booking a round trip to Montevideo with a stopover in Buenos Aires. This might be less expensive than booking rt to Buenos Aires and a seperate air fare to Montevideo. American offers some flights to Montevideo with a stop in Buenos Aires.

If you can't work out a stop over....The high speed ferry takes about 3 hours from BsAs to Montevideo. Flights are more like 45 minutes.
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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the ferry is Buquebus
they have a website
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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Montevideo is a really tranquil city. The Uruguayans are really laid back and friendly. You will see people drinking their Mate tea everywhere on the streets. It's interesting. I posted a Montevideo trip report last year. You might want to do a search for it.

Montevideo isn't super exciting but it's a laid back place that is good for a 2 night trip. I have taken the Buquebus there and that is the cheapest way. I have also flown there but that isn't the best way as the taxis to/from the airport can add up.

You can find VERY affordable hotel rates on expedia.com I stayed in the Hotel NH Colombia and paid much cheaper the 2nd time booking it on expedia.com instead of a travel agency. Also, Buquebus has weekend specials that include the transfer on the ferry with hotel included. That is a good rate as well.

Peru is often overlooked. Many people told me that I wouldn't like Lima. Initially I only booked one night but I found it interesting so I extended my trip after hitting Macchu Picchu. The centro historico (historic downtown area) probably is one of the best out of anywhere in South America. It surprised me. Very beautiful. The Parque de Amor at sunset was really beautiful. I got lucky and get terrific weather but I guess Lima can be really cloudy.

I have been all over South America and I maintain that Peru is probably the most culturally rich country in South America. Definitely hit Macchu Picchu if you go. You will know that there truly is a God when you are at the top of the mountains there.

I may have never been more at peace in all my adventures around the world then when I was up at Macchu Picchu

I will try to post some photos in my online diary from my trips. I'm trying to find time to write a book about my life. Hopefully I can finish it someday. Everyone tells me my life is a movie script in the making

http://threeyearstolive.blogspot.com/

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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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apologies for subject change. but drdawggy, how did you find rates for the hotel madero for $80?? the cheapest i can find is $130.
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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 07:13 PM
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I was in Argentina - first time to Latin America - earlier this year and LOVED it. We went to Buenos Aires (5 days) and the Iguazu Falls (2 days). We did not have time for Patagonia but some friends went and they raved about it. I found BA easy to navigate by public trasnport, cheap, great dining options, lots to do - I would def reco including it in your itnerary. Iguazu was also amazing - the falls are breath taking and the setting gorgeous. I agree with Mike - our next trip to the region we def want to go to Macchu Picchu and Peru.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 01:59 AM
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Gottabe,

I stayed at the Madero last November.
The $80 rate was a "grand opening special" and was in effect until January. The rates now range from $110-130 depending on date.

excuse the interruption...
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Old Jul 11th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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I enjoyed Salta and NW Argentina the most. We did spend a lot of time in BA and Cordoba because my husband has relatives there. We also spent a very nice long weekend in Montivideo and Punta. There's so much to see in Argentina and Chile.

We rented a car in Salta drove down to Tucuman. I DON"T recommend driving a rental car in Tucuman, unless things have changed (we were there in 1999). There were roadblocks everywhere. We did get pulled over by the police at one of the roadblocks in Tucuman and were told that it was a approx $90 fine for a broken taillight. My husband gave the policeman $5 and we were on our way. The local guide recommended that approach to get out of the ticket. When we got to Tucuman there was civil disobedience in the streets, fires and parades. I couldn't wait to get out of that province, but there was one more roadblock to make it through. In retrospect, this experience was one of the definite highlights of our trip!!
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Old Jul 11th, 2005, 07:20 PM
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You will probably never see those kind of prices again at that hotel. Some hotels have raised their prices 50% - 100% in the past year alone. It's all about supply and demand. There is a LOT of demand. I always predicted that tourism would boom here. I still think Argentina is only still being discovered. It's now showing up on several books best cities to visit in the world list.

The hotels are relatively expensive but it's still one of the cheapest cities to visit in the world. Food is dirt cheap and so are taxis. Your biggest expense will be on the airline ticket and hotel. Everything else is dirt cheap here.

I went to Europe over 15 times for vacation the past 2 years. The cost of a decent meal there was insane. Expect hotel prices to continue treading upwards.....
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