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abdm May 16th, 2007 06:13 AM

need help with two weeks in Argentina
I am planning 2 weeks in Argentina starting October 28.Will appreciate recommendations on how to split time between BA, Iguassu Falls( 2-3 days?) and NW(5 days?). Also, we do not speak Spanish, though I am trying to learn some before we go.Is it safe and does it make sense just to rent a car in Salta at go around on our own, or should I get a guide? We usually travel on our own. Also is it possible to travel in NW without reservations ( Chaci, Cafayate, Jujuy?)

owlwoman May 16th, 2007 07:14 AM

You do not need more than 2 nights at Iguazu Falls, take an AM flight from BA, arrive by noonish, then you have 1 1/2 days to see everything before you leave two nights later, then I would fly back to BA, and connect to Jujuy.

We had a guide in the NW, we met people who were driving themselves. I think we saw more with the guide since he did know the roads really well and they were a bit rough, we followed the road that ran next to the Train to the Clouds, on the way to Salta, glad we were NOT driving. Plus, if we were driving, I would have been like "is this really a road?" Maybe we missed a turn :).

All in all, fly in Jujuy, go to Pumamarca, spend a night, then Salta for a couple of nights, then I would head down to Cachi/Cafayate for a night, back to Salta for one more night before I flew back to BA.

Hope this helps.

avrooster May 16th, 2007 07:34 AM

Should you decide you want a guide, I suggest you research "Giena" and "Angie" on the Argentina forum.

She is a Salta independent guide, who posts here as Flintstones.

abdm May 16th, 2007 09:18 AM

Thank you both. Did you have a guide just for a day or for the whole NW part of the trip. Should I stay in Jujuy or in Pumamarca?

owlwoman May 16th, 2007 10:04 AM

We had a guide for the whole time we were in the area. He picked us up at the Jujuy airport, then we spent a night in Pumamarca at the Manatiel del Silencio (very nice). The next day he picked us up and we drove to Salta via the Salt Flats, then two nights in Salta at the House of Jasmines, where he left us on our own as you do not need a guide in Salta.

We were then picked up again and he took us to the Estancia Colome (highly recommend) where we spent two nights, then we made our way to Mendoza over the next three nights going to two parks in the San Juan area.

We used a travel agent in BA to arrange everything - Argentina Escapes, they are wonderful, we worked with Mercedes.

abdm May 16th, 2007 11:03 AM

How you long in advance did you organized this trip to Salta. Did you have air tickets or that was part of the deal ? And the Hotels? Did you like the guide?

skatedancer May 16th, 2007 11:20 AM

we spent five nights in the Salta region last November, and hired a guide to take us around. We, too, usually do not use guides when we travel, but for this trip I felt it was definitely the way to go, particularly with such limited time and if you want to go to Cachi. That route is fantastic, but the drive itself is very difficult!

We flew into Jujuy, also stayed at Manantial del Silencio, then the next night in Salta, then two nights in Colome, then our final night in Salta. This itinerary worked out fine for us.

Don't stay in the city of Jujuy. Definitely in Purmamarca, or else in Tilcara as a second choice.

I do recommend booking in advance. We were four people and were waitlisted for our second room at Manatial. If you go to Colome, it is only 9 or 10 rooms. I think some of the places in Cachi are small as well.

If you do the Cachi- Cafayate loop, you definitely need to plan on spending at least a night en route.

Our guide was Martin Alamo, and I give him 110% recommendation. Another Fodorite recently used him, too (based on my report; too bad we can't charge commissions...) and posted a very favorable report recently. I will post later with his email; have to look it up (not sure if this will save if I switch screens!)

Many Fodorites and TA forum posters have used Angie (Flinstones) and have been thrilled with her as well.

we had a fantastic experience in the NW. The travel time between places is longer than it would appear on the map, though. But, most of the drives are beautiful.

I booked everything on my own, except for our domestic flight in Argentina, because it was a little cheaper than I was able to obtain online myself and through a US travel agent.

skatedancer May 16th, 2007 11:25 AM

okay, it's [email protected]. (that's martin underscore alamo; not sure if it comes our right when I post).

Also, regarding dividing your time, we had 8 nights total in the country, and split it 3 in BA, and 5 in NW. If I could have had two weeks, I would have done 5 nights in BA, 2 in Iguazu, and 7 in the northwest. But, you will be okay with five days in NW if you want a full week in BA.

abdm May 16th, 2007 11:41 AM

If you had 7 nights in NW, how would you divide your time? Also, did you get Martin after everything was booked?
Which agency did you use to get domestic air tickets?

skatedancer May 17th, 2007 05:14 AM

I think we booked Martin sort of concurrently with our planning. Will have to get back to you about the travel agent; husband has that info, and he's traveling. She was a friend of a good friend of ours who lives in BA.

I would have liked to lengthen the time I spent in Cachi and Colome. We did not spend the night in Cachi, but we really fell in love with this little village, and would have loved to have had more time to hang out there. (not that there seemed to be much to do, but we would have liked to just absorb the area more, do a hike, etc.). We had a full day at Colome, and we certainly would have loved another day to take more hikes, enjoy the beautiful resort, relax, etc.

By adding more time as mentioned above, we would not have increased our sightseeing time, but would have added more to the R&R vacation aspect.

Or... I might have added nights to do some of what we didn't see. We didn't go to the Salt Flats, for example, so I really don't know what we missed! To do this, we would have needed two nights in the northern circuit.

We only spent a few hours in Cafayate, and I know there was more to do in that area....

Another possibility to consider is to stay on an estancia, such as Bordos de las Lanzas, and have them take you on excursions. You might read a report on TripAdvisor by "ihopeihelped" on her stay there.

abdm May 17th, 2007 05:23 AM

What is Colome? I could not find any references to it in any of the tour books. I did not see a trip report about Bordos de las Lanzas, but I will check it out. Thanks!

skatedancer May 17th, 2007 06:04 AM

Colome is a working bodega (winery) and also an inn / resort. It is located near Molinos. Colome wines are among the best in Argentina. (Wine Spectator included them in an article just as we returned home, so we had to battle some of New York's finest restaurants to get our hands on a case of their best reds!)

Colome is the oldest working vineyard in Argentina and was recently purchased by the Hess Group, and I think they're the ones who built the inn. They have been very philanthropic in the local area, building a school and other facilities.

the website is If you book there, ask for a room facing the pool. You don't look directly on the pool, but that is the better view. The rooms have fireplaces and private terraces.

Also, take a walk around the property along their designated trails and go for a horseback ride! not to mention order lunch poolside....

I found out about it from reading a post by Owlwoman. She called it one of the top ten places she'd ever been.

it was the most expensive hotel we stayed in (US$225 a night, including breakfast only), but from an American perspective and from the viewpoint of a luxury stop, we thought it was a bargain! They did not gauge you for the other things you had to pay for once you were there, which I thought was great, especially since you are literally in the middle of nowhere!

If you can't stay there, there are some places in Cachi that look very charming as well. They don't have quite the same facilities as Colome, but I think would offer a nice respite.

owlwoman May 17th, 2007 07:17 AM

Skatedancer, where did you fine Colome wines in NY? Have not seen them anywhere here yet? Also, didn't you get lunch/dinner with the stay at Colome? The only thing extra we had to pay for was the wine....

abdm, I arranged this trip w/the travel agent in Sept. for a March 15-30 trip. Did the NY-BA leg myself. All internal travel/hotels were arranged by the TA. They do a fantastic job.

skatedancer May 17th, 2007 07:46 AM

well, maybe the advantage of working with the TA is that you get better deals at the hotels with meals included. Oh well....

will have to get back to you on how we got the wines. our friend who was traveling with us took care of that. I am pretty sure, though, that the hotel manager gave him the information on who the US distributor was and he called them directly.

CollegeMom May 17th, 2007 08:51 AM

Also toured in NW last Sept., and never have traveled with a guide before. Some posters here say a guide is not necessary in NW, but with the condition of the roads, lack of road signage, and lack of gas stations plus the benefit of having information and history from a local guide, it was well worth the cost. The driver really has limited opportunity to enjoy the area's beauty because driving is a full time job there. Connie at Marina Semisa in Salta was our TA in the NW and would recommend her highly. Flintstones is alsoo a TA from Salta who posts here, but we didn't know of her before our trip. Our itinerary was to fly to Salta from BA. Stayed in Salta (Hotel Salta) that night and left with driver to Cafayate stayed there that night, saw Quilmes ruins the next morning, returned to Salta. The next day we drove to Tilcara with a night there and then to Purmanarca with a night at Manantial Del Silencio and back to Jujuy for flight back to BA. The road to Chaci was too foggy the day planned for that so we have a wonderful excuse to return! It is a beautiful part of Argentina, and we were very pleased with our driver. The food and the wine were excellent as well!

avrooster May 17th, 2007 09:12 AM

We only used Angie's services for going to Cachi, but when we go to Salta again, we may use her every day.

My VERY LONG Salta report in

Have a great time in our country.

abdm May 17th, 2007 09:54 AM

Now I am convinced I need a guide. Can anybody recomend a good TA? Thanks!

CollegeMom May 17th, 2007 01:25 PM

Connie at [email protected] was our Salta and NW area TA. The office is located doors from Hotel Salta, and her services and provided driver/guide with car were fantastic! She is bilingual so English or Spanish is fine for phone communication. Flintstones who posts here is also a Salta TA. She is independent so may not respond as quickly because she is out with clients. Be sure to sample empanadas and torrentes wine while in Salta!

avrooster May 17th, 2007 01:58 PM

As I said, Angie Valdez, a guide, not a TA, but more knowledgeable about our NW than any TA.

[email protected]

avrooster May 17th, 2007 02:01 PM

Fodors messes up e-mail addresses, so make sure you get that right. It is:

angie_ AT

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