Tips for Argentina

Old Apr 10th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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Tips for Argentina

Although I posted a very long trip report, I thought I would condense a few tips and suggestions from our fabulous trip to Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls.

1. GO TO ARGENTINA!!! It is a wonderful country with fabulous people who want you to have a good time. Even with the language challenges (my high school Spanish is VERY rusty - actually it was never very good) we were able to get around very easily.

2. Taxis are a greta way to get around, especially if you are with several people. We had four of us and we took cabs all over the place. I don't think we ever spent more than 10 pesos (and that was usually rounded up from 7 or 8). Radio cabs are easy to spot because they have a lighted sign ready "Radio" in the front windshield.

3. Make sure you keep lots of small bills handy. We kept running into situations where we needed small bills and didn't have them. I also found that in general stores will ask you if you have something smaller when you try to pay with a large bill (which was all the currency exchange would give us), but if I said that was all I had they would willingly take it.

4. If you want your steak a bit pink, ask for it rare. it wil be medium rare. That was a suggestion I found here and it was absolutely accurate.

5. Great restaurants we went to in Buenos Aires: El Mirasol (wonderful steak), La Biela (great pizza), Cafe Tortoni (atmosphere). In Tigre: La Terraza (fabulous gnocchi). In Iguazu: El Quincho (incredible grilled surubi - local river fish).

6. If you want to experience the jungle outside of Iguazu and don't mind a bit of a drive to get there, the Yacutinga Jungle Lodge is very nice. You won't see many animals except for the capybaras in their breeding program, but the surroundings are very nice and the facilities are quite comfortable. The staff is wonderful and very knowledgable.

7. Hotels: In Buenos Aires we stayed at the Amerian Buenos Aires Park Hotel. The location was fabulous and the hotel was very comfortable and reasonably priced. In Iguazu you should splurge and stay at the Sheraton in the park. We got a jungle view room and had a great view of the sunset. Some of the falls view rooms are right over the bar and would be less private and noisier, but the view is great.

8. Markets: Everything you have read about not missing the San Telmo Antiques Fair is correct. There is so much more there than just antiques. On the streets leading into the square itself are rows and rows of artisans selling the most beautiful jewelry, leather, and clothing. Also street musicians and tango dancers. The other fair not to be missed in the one in Recoleta which is both Saturday and Sunday. Again - rows and rows of wonderful items. And very reasonable.

9. Check out the rhodochrosite jewelry, especially at the markets. The stuff in the jewelry stores is very polished and very expensive. The stuff at the markets is much more reasonable and, imho, much prettier. I have gotten lots of compliments on it since getting back.

10. Plan more time in Buenos Aires than you think you will need because you will find that one of the things you want to do is to just wander and sit in a cafe and take in the atmosphere.

11. Visit both sides of Iguazu Falls. yes, I know it means getting a visa for Brazil, but believe me it is worth it. You will not have seen the falls from all angles if you don't. And as with Buenos Aires, plan for more time than you think you need just becaues you won't want to rush. yes, you can see the falls in about a day and a half, but you wil have missed just experiencing their magnificence.

12. Take one of the boat rides under the falls. it really brings home just how powerful they are to be underneath them. We did the Macuco Safari from the Brazil side and loved it. I'm sure the one from the Argentinian side is excellent also. What I liked about the Macuco Safari is that we got right up into the Devil's Throat which the other boats don't do.

13. Fly LAN if you can, not Aerolineas. Our flights were on time both ways (which I guess is unusual), but there were many problems with them, most especially having stuff stolen from our luggage and I have yet to hear from their claims department. It is now going to require me to call Argentina to get them to send me a settlement statement so I can file with our insurance. Given that it has been two weeks since the incident, I'm not going to wait any longer to hear from them, but it is frustrating that I have to make an international call to get it settled.

14. Take the train up to Tigre from Buenos Aires. Not only is it a plesant day trip, it is also a great way to experience the local commuter run and see some of the suburbs passing by. But don't expect Tigre to be remote and unpopulated. It is quite the bustling suburb and a popular destination on weekends and holidays (we went on a holiday).

If you really want to go to Colonia and have limited time, book the ferry ahead of time. We thought we could book for Monday whe we got there Friday and they were already sold out. Of course we didn't realize that Monday was a holiday. Fortunately we weren't heartbroken, but I would have liked to go there. Guess we'll just have to go back!

That's what I can think of right now. If I think of others, I will add them on. Enjoy your visits to this wonderful part of the world. We plan to go back one of these years and go to Bariloche and other parts of Patagonia and possibly the NW. Much left to see.
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 12:54 PM
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Thank you Jen!

Keep those tips coming!

If you can think of any more, of course. LOL!!!
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 01:27 PM
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Fabulous list Jen!!
I wish you were here now, I want to go hit the markets for some jewelry..some people around here are no help at all and just keep saying, that looks good, can we go now..

You really got to see so much.. you should plan trips for other visitors !
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 01:31 PM
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jen:

This is great info! I'm headed to BA in just a few weeks. I have some questions - hopefully you'll see this post

1) I especially appreciated the bit about Tigre and Colonia. I can't find in my guidebook how to book the ferry ahead of time - did you do this online or at an office in BA?

2) How did you book your LAN flights (online, or with a TA?).

3) Did you have to leave your luggage unlocked on the Aerolineas flights (e.g on flights within Argentina)? I know that I'll have to leave it unlocked when I depart the U.S., but I'm just curious about how it is within Argentina. Were you able to lock your luggage when you departed BA to go home to the U.S.?

3) What type of clothes did you bring? (E.g, super dressy or more casual) and did you find that what you brought was adequate? I'm not sure if I should bring a lot of jeans or if I should dress up more during the day.

Thanks!

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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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I'm obviously not Jen, but:

1) You can do it both ways.
http://www.buquebus.com/cache/HomeARG.html
or click on "Puntos de venta" and it shows they have an office in the Recoleta.
or use a TA, I supppose.

2) You can do it both ways, too.
http://www.lan.com/country_selector.html
or use a travel agent, I usually suggest Isabel, but you know that.

I leave 3 and 4 to Jen.
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 06:00 AM
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Thanks for the great information.
I'll be in Buenos Aires by myself. Did you find it safe?
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 06:04 AM
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We are heading there May 5 and we find your information invaluable! Thanks for taking the time to compile the info!!!
 
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 07:21 AM
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Thanks, avrooster!
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 11:32 AM
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Magellan_5: Since Jen posts her e-mail, according to this forum's rules and customs, that means it is OK to mail her your questions, if she does not see them.
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 09:07 PM
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Hi Magellan (et al). Yes, avrooster, it is fine to e-mail me.

In answer to question 3: I can't blame the mishap totally on Aerolineas (although I am still naive enough to hope that maybe there are more honest people in the world than dishonest). We decided at the last minute to check our luggage since the flight was very full and we weren't sure there would be enough overhead space (we were actually correct on that). We had carried our luggage on our international flight so didn't have locks with us. I took what I thought was all of our valuables out, but I had forgotten that we had brought the iPod with us. We are brand new iPod owners and don't normally bring it. My objection now is that they have not sent me any kind of settlement statement and so I will have to call Argentina to ask them to send me what I need so I can file an insurance claim.

Question #4: I actually brought clothes that were a tad more dressy than I normally do, but I didn't necessarily have to. I had read that Portenos (the name for people from Buenos Aires) tend to dress up in the evening. I decided that if I had room I would throw in a skirt and a couple of tops to wear in the evenings. Otherwise, during the day I lived in my shorts and tank tops or t-shirts that are my standard travel wear.

Scarlett - I wish I could go shopping with you right now! Since getting home I have thought of so many other people I should have bought things for. Guess I will just have to return! And yes, I love to plan trips - but if I plan them for other people I just get jealous and want to go ;-). I have been helping DH and his brother plan a trip to Istanbul in a month and I have to stay home and work . My friends joke that when I retire from education I should start a new career as a travel agent. I prefer to just hang out here and help people for fun. And I couldn't have planned such a full trip without all of the help I received here. So thank you all my friends!
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 08:18 AM
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Jen - thanks so much for the response to my (never-ending) questions - I appreciate it. - M
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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No problem - if you have more, just ask. That's the beauty of this site!
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 05:46 PM
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Well - actually I do have one more question!

I've read that you always need to have your passport on your person when traveling around Argentina. However, I've also just read that it's ok to just carry a photocopy of your passport.

I'd prefer to just leave my passport in the safe, and just carry a photocopy with me while I'm in BA. Is this ok?

Can any of you chime in on this? Do I need to carry my real passport all the time in BA?

Thanks!
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 07:08 PM
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Just a copy, M.
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 09:32 PM
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I have to say that we rarely carried either with us while in BA. We had both with us, but tended to go out with minimal on us - just a bit of money and maybe one credit card. We were never in a position where we got asked to show our passport. Except of course at the airports and when we went into Brazil.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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Wonderful - thank you!
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 02:17 PM
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You are supposed to have your passport with you at all times but I never have. I just carry a photocopy and my drivers license.

I have been stopped once at a police check point set up on Posadas street in Recoleta. My photocopy and DL worked fine.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 04:56 PM
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Guess we have always been lucky and haven't been stopped. And since my driver's license was in the hands of the local police when we took this trip (due to an accident, not serious crime on my part !) I wouldn't have had that to show them.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 05:03 PM
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Every time we paid with a credit card, we were asked for our passport..but then, we live here now and no one ever asks...and believe me, I don't sound like a local.

But a copy works..
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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Good to know that I'll need it for credit card purchases - hopefully a color copy will work ok for that too. Thanks!
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