Rio, Buenos Aires & Iguazu trip report

Old Jan 30th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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Rio, Buenos Aires & Iguazu trip report

My family (2 teens, husband and I) just returned from a 3 week trip to South America and since I got great advice on this board, I thought I'd share my experiences for others.
First of all, we found Rio to be very beautiful. It was a hassle and quite expensive though getting the visa. It took us 3 months to get our visa (by mail from the Houston counselate) and it cost almost $500 for the 4 of us including mailing fees. We left Rio before they started the fingerprinting so we didn't go through that. We flew back through a Sao Paulo connection and we just stayed in the sequestered area of the airport so we didn't have any hassles. I also found everything to be very expensive especially compared to Buenos Aires. Save your shopping for BA!
In Ipanema we stayed at the Everest Rio hotel. We had a very nice large suite on the 22nd floor overlooking the ocean from 4 huge windows. We negotiated a rate of around $200 U.S. a night for the suite for 4 people. You can negotiate rates either by email or telephone - we used email.
Everyone in Rio was very nice and we hired a cab driver for a day (recommended by the hotel)
We mainly stuck to tourist stuff (Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, beaches, etc.)
We then went to Iguazu Falls and stayed at the Recanto Park hotel in Brazil. The Recanto Park is a nice hotel several miles from the Falls. We toured both the Argentina and Brazil sides and found it a gorgeous place. We did have to show our passports so you may need that Brazilian visa after all if you travel there.
We stayed 10 days in Buenos Aires at an old apart-hotel called Crystal Suites. It's right in the center of the city and was very convenient. While very basic and old, it was quite clean. We also negotiated a $60 peso per night ($20 U.S.) rate per room for 2 rooms. We saw just about all the highlights of the city and we loved it.
We also took a ferry to Colonia Uruguay. This is not to be missed. If we had known what it was like, we'd have arranged to spend a night there. Well worth it.
The food in all places was fabulous. Enjoy!


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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 04:44 AM
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Often I have encouraged friends to go at this time to Argentina and Uruguay and I am so pleased that you and your family enjoyed your trip. You obtained real bargains, ....good for you. Recently we visited Chile and again not only they charged us a $100 dollars entrance fee but I found everything more expensive, ...much more , than in Argentina.I am not saying this inciting people not to go but to make them aware that both Argentina and Urugauy due to the prevailing exchange rate are real bargains and beautiful places to visit too. Bsides both countries do not charge an entrance fee.
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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 04:56 AM
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Nice report, thanks

Do Argentina and Urugway charge departure taxes?

Any suggestions what places we have to include in our itinerary if we are more intersted in outdoor activities than shopping? Hiking, birding?

When is the best time of the year to go? We would like to visit both countries in 2005 but when local kids are in schools. Does anyone know when kids in Argentina and Urugway have vacations? Thanks
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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 06:27 AM
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I just came back from Argentina and absolutetly loved it. Have to admit it was a great time to visit for us since everyone was on vacations, locals told us that most of the people use the month of January as their vacation time, February is also a slow time as this is still vacation time. Kids go back to school in March and with that the normality. Many art galleries and art venues such theaters were closed for the month which was somehow dissapointing, but still we loved it. I have to say things looked a lot better than we expected (economy wise). Had a daytrip to Colonia, and yes is a must, very calm and laid back but beatiful and warm. Iguazu shouldn't be missed and we didn't have any trouble crossing the border to see the falls from Brazil. Brazil has a great bird park with exotic birds, within the park you can see lots of birds in the wild. I'd recommend you stay at the Sheraton, inside of the park, and get a falls view room, it's such a treat. The waterfall are in your balcony. For local trips I'd recommend Cinthia from WOW Argentina, great person and very professional. Enjoy your trip.
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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 08:29 AM
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The school schedules in Buenos Aires are opposite the U.S. I think the kids there are off school from mid-Dec. to mid-Mar. When we were there late December to early January a few things were closed but not much. We went to museums, etc. without any problems. The locals kept saying that everything shuts down and everyone leaves the city but it looked pretty full to me.
I'm sure there are many wonderful excursions and hiking opportunities outside the city. In BA we primarily focused on the city so we didn't inquire about those things, though we walked miles and miles in the city. Obviously in Iguazu it's all about hiking, etc.
Also, in Colonia, you can rent mopeds and take some lovely day trips.
Finally, Argentina does charge a departure tax. This came as quite a surprise to us as we didn't have any cash or pesos left. They also only accept Discover cards in the airport for some odd reason. We had to go to an ATM to withdraw pesos to pay to leave. I can't remember how much it is but I think it was around $30 U.S. per person? Uruguay didn't charge at the port though they might at the airport. Brazil includes departure tax on your airline ticket.
Enjoy!
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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 11:41 AM
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Hi guys, there is an airport tax in Buenos Aires for international flights other than its neighbors that is $18 dollars per person
In Uruguay there is also an airport tax but is less like 10, there are also airport taxes in the US but they are included in the tickets. Like in Miami is $40
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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 01:45 PM
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hcgonz, I would like you to recommend some nice restaurants at Iguasso Falls, please.

What was your best meal in Rio????? Any recommendations?

Cheers, John G.
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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 02:07 PM
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BRAVO-At Iguazu falls when you say, no trouble going to Brazil side of falls was that because they didn't hit you for the $100 and no finger printing. Also how did you get to other side;ie taxi, bus or did you hire a car and driver? Going the 20th of Feb. but was not going to pay the $1oo for a couple hours of viewing on Brazilian side. Thank You
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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 05:29 PM
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John C. - At Iguazu we were on a tour that had been arranged by an Argentine travel agent so we didn't leave the hotel for meals. The Recanto Park hotel has a very good buffet where we ate each night.
In Ipanema we really enjoyed a neighborhood restaurant called Paz y Amor. It was a friendly, patio atmosphere with very good churasco. We also ate at Garota de Ipanema (mostly for the atmosphere), Dombri Edo (sushi), and La Forneria (very good pizza). Several times we just ate empanadas the many wonderful cafes.
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Old Jan 31st, 2004, 06:30 PM
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Just came back from Argentina and Uruguay. Argentina charges 18 US dollars for the exit fee. Uruguay did not charge however I traveled from buenos aires to montevideo and punta del este in the buquebus.
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Old Feb 1st, 2004, 05:51 AM
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Thank you for the information.
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Old Feb 10th, 2004, 10:22 PM
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I would like to know how did you go from Rio to Iguassu falls? Did you cross to Paraguay by the bridge at Iguassu Falls? I plan to go there mid April, plan to go to BA, then to Brazil

Any help is appreciated
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Old Feb 14th, 2004, 05:32 AM
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hcgonz, This is exactly the trip we are planning for next winter. Thanks for your very helpful post! A few questions:

We visited Rio about 10 years ago and LOVED it. From articles in the newspaper I am concerned, though, that street crime has increased. Any thoughts & suggestions?

Also, someone on this thread mentioned Punta del Este. If we do go to Rio & enjoy the beach there, is it still worthwhile to go to PDE? From photos, it looks like PDE is very "highrise"? Is there any natural beauty? Charming restaurants or hotels? (Rio is gorgeous!) Appreciate all tips & advice. Thanks!
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Old Feb 15th, 2004, 08:08 AM
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NO...PUnta del Este is not very high rise , Punta is very spread out and there are many beachs without a high rise in sight.
Just think that brazilians adore Punta del Este, if they can afford it they go there.
It is a place full of pine trees, beautiful beaches, and some kind of jet set life, casual yet elegant. Good luck. Of course beauty wise there is nothing like Rio...
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Old Feb 15th, 2004, 10:29 AM
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Any recommendations for hotels in Punta Del Este?
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