Argentina Trip advice needed

Old Oct 13th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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Argentina Trip advice needed

My husband & I are considering a January 2011 trip to Argentina and are looking for your advice. Neither of us has ever been to South American, but really want to see Buenos Aires and the wine country.

Can you give us some insight? Looking for itinerary suggestions (how many days in BA? in Mendoza?) Any must-do's? I've read lots about Iguazcu Falls, but not sure if we should venture there or not. We only have about 10 days and would rather check out wine country than the falls.

Any thoughts, suggestions, advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 06:07 AM
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You will have so much fun! I recommend at least 2 nights in Buenos Aires and 4 nights in Mendoza. Iguazu Falls really is amazing, and you can probably squeeze it in if you really want to. An overnight there is adequate.

In Buenos Aires there are a few really great bike tours that I recommend, regardless of your fitness level. They are pretty easy and safe and take you through all the cute neighborhoods.

If your main interest in Mendoza is seeing the wine country, there are some fabulous Mendoza Wine Country tours that you can fully customize. There is a half day cooking class where a gourmet chef teaches you how to prepare traditional dishes and pair them with the finest local wines. Each person has their own cooking station and once your meal is ready, everyone in the class sits down with the chef and eats and drinks all the best wines.

Enjoy yourself!
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 08:44 AM
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We were in BA last March, and ended up staying there 10 nights. Original plan was 7, but the whole trip was turned upside down because of the earthquake in Chile. I'm glad we had the 10 nights, although 7 would have been fine, I guess. Two nights in BA is definitely not enough time! Maybe split the time up 1/2 and 1/2?
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 12:46 PM
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What about Salta and the NW area??
You would be amazed of all the wonderful sceneries, the History, the Culture, the Architecture!!!! Wines and food!!!
Colourfula mountains, rock formations and salt plaisn are some of the wonders you will enjoy of.
Make your own research and I am confident you will choose NW!
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 05:38 AM
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If you like big cities, Buenos Aires is for you. We don't, though, so let me offer my favorite suggestions for when you get Buenos-Aires-ed out. I know you don't have enough days for them all, but time rationing will be your problem, won't it!

1) Iguasu Falls is the grandest sight in South America. Eleanor Roosevelt once described Niagara as a mere kitchen faucet compared with mighty Iguasu. You can easily spend a day just exploring the national park, with its walks along the falls. Brazil has its won national park, boasting the best single view of the falls. If you can manage it, see Iguasu from both sides.

(I saw where one writer thought Iguasu merited an overnight, while lavishing four days on Mendoza, but we've done both and I'd turn that allocation on its head.)

2) Punta Tombo, home of the grandest penguin colony outside the Antarctic, with thousands of birds dotting the campo. It's an hour's drive south of Trelew, in Chubut province.

3) The northwest, around Salta. Not so much Salta itself, which is an ordinary provincial city, but two spectacular long drives away from Salta.

a) The first is southwest on Route 68 to places like Cafayate, the Inca ruins of Quilmes, Tafi del Valle and the Infiernillo Pass. The rocks and vistas here are splendid. We overnighted near Tolombon in a charming wine chateau in a valley between two mountain ranges, with room, gourmet dinner and breakfast for two, all for US$125, taxes-in.

b) Even more astounding is the Altiplano. Route 52, the main highway from the northwest to Chile, starts out from the Inca town of Purmamarca, then climbs by a boot-lace pattern of hairpin turns to reach altitudes of 15,840 feet, crossing salt lakes and passing guanaco, the only animal that can inhabit places so high. We loved it, but carry oxygen (or make sure your bus and driver are equipped with oxygen) if you're seriously interested.

4) Route 25, connecting the Welsh country west of Trelew with the Andes at Esquel, features scenery taken right out of Road Runner cartoons, with high mesas, spindly pinnacles and fallen boulders, doubtless pushed off the top by the Coyote.

5) Tigre is a small city at the edge of the Parana River delta. You can shop in the market, stroll the canals, go to the big amusement park, Parque de la Costa and, if you just wish to get away from it all, choose a B&B out on one of the islands and stay there. It's only an hour by train from downtown Buenos Aires, and a world apart.

6) Lujan, Argentina's answer to Lourdes and Fatima. Not only is there the grand miracle basilica, but shopping and, near the outskirts, a famous zoo.

7) Bariloche is Argentina's best resort area. It draws skiers, mountaineering types and those who like the lake country scenery. Shop and stroll in the town itself, or drive around Lake Nahuel Huapi to Villa La Angostura, on the opposite shore of the lake. If you don't like to drive, boat cruises will take you there. In fact, from Bariloche, you can join an excursion to Chile. (Or do as we did and drive to Chile.) A half-hour drive west if Llao Llao, Argentina's swankest and most famous resort, if money is no object for you.

8) I don't even want to include Mendoza. It's an ordinary provincial city with an unscenic wine region, stuck as it is in suburban streets from which there your only view will be of walls and gates, unless you go inside. (Doubtless the wines themselves are more appealing, but we found that the scenery is not.)

Before writing off Mendoza, though, don't forget the Uspallata Pass and Mount Aconcagua Provincial Park, two hours drive up the valley. The Andean scenery is stunning, then you come to the mountain itself, the highest outside the Himalayas. You can park and stroll in the two-mile-high air to a viewing point from which the perpetually snow-capped peak is visible.

There's more that I didn't have room to detail, like the sierras west of Cordoba, Route 40 between Mendoza and Bariloche, beach town of Las Grutas in northern Patagonia, and the cosy towns of the southern Pampas like Tandil. We also went across to Chile for a few days, and we liked the Chilean Lake Country and the island of Chiloe a lot.

And we didn't even get to the far south and Tierra del Fuego. They'd probably be on my list if we had, but I only write about places we actually visited. You can see that there's a lot more to see in Argentina than just Buenos Aires!

Happy travels, and let me know if I can help further!


[email protected]
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 11:26 AM
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We were here (BA) for 2 weeks on our first visit. We had plans to visit so many places outside of the city and we ended up never leaving and feeling like we only barely scratched the surface.
Capetien has a fantastic list of info for you.
It does depend on how you like big cities.
January it will be quite warm and getting out of town to the beaches or the mountains/cooler places will be more expensive and more crowded as to accommodations and airlines.
(I would live at that fabulous hotel < Lao Lao> if I could )
On a 10 day trip, I would stay in BA, take an overnight to Iguazu Falls, there is nothing like it. Take a day trip to Colonia Uruguay by high speed ferry or just take the train to Tigre.
Both day trips will have you back in town by nightfall and ready to have steak somewhere :
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 11:24 PM
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Totally agree with capetian's superb list of suggestions. We did something very similar in 2008 detailas and photos on our blog:

Entries #70 on cover Argentina.

With just 10 days my preference would be for:

5/6 days - hire a car in Salta and drive the NW region from Salta
1/2 days in Iguazu (either flying from BA or from Salta if you can find a flight)

If you like cities then the balance of time in BA with a side trip to Colonia (which I much preferred to Tigre)
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Old Oct 19th, 2010, 04:23 AM
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If you do not want to spend a large portion of your visit time in transit, then I would select either 3-4 nights in Mendoza OR 4-6 nights in the Northwest (Salta, Purmamarca, Cafayate, etc.) with a nice wine country visit there.

The other half of your visit could be well spent exploring and enjoying Buenos Aires. And there are good wine-tastings in Buenos Aires, as well. If you wanted a day trip during your Buenos Aires stay, then either Tigre (by train) or Colonia (by Ferry) would be pleasant, depending upon your interests and preferences.

Capetien and others make excellent suggestions; I am only adding that I would not want to spent too much of a 10 day visit in airports and in transit.

Enjoy your visit, whatever your plans.

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Old Oct 21st, 2010, 04:37 PM
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We spent a month in South America this summer and had a great time. We stayed at the Hotel Babel in the San Telmo area of BA. It was inexpensive and the service was great. They picked us up from the airport and were extremely helpful. Very easy to get around from that location.

We went to Iguazu Falls and really enjoyed our visit. Very dramatic falls. Check to see if it will be a full moon since they do special moonlight tours.
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Old Oct 21st, 2010, 04:39 PM
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I forgot to mention-we got a Visit South America Pass through LAN and it worked out very well. It brought our flights cost down about 40% and they really catered to us. If you plan on flying to a few places then I recommmend getting one to use since airfare can be very expensive.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 11:51 AM
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In order to get a SA Pass thru LAN u have to fly into SA on LAN (or perhaps one of their partners.
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Old Oct 24th, 2010, 09:42 PM
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We just returned from 2 weeks in BA and Wine Country on what was our third trip to Argentina -- you will love it and want to return. This time we made our first trip to the Northwest and it was unbelievable. My advice if you like wine is 3 days in BA, 4 in Salta region (the Torrontes in Cafayate is fabulous), and 3 in Mendoza (you can return from Mendoza connecting through Santiago -- a short hop over the beautiful Andes).

In the Northwest I would hire a guide since you will want to be viewing the awesome scenery not navigating the curves. I would spend a night each in Salta and Cafayate and try to spend a night in a couple of the smaller villages such as Cachi and either Purmamarca or Tilcara -- you will only regret not doing so. We used a fabulous guide ( named Tracy (she is a Brit but knows the language, people and region well). She can set up everything for you, her rates are very reasonable, and I have never seen anyone work so hard to ensure a great adventure and succeed so well. The food was also fabulous in the NW including the absolute best empanadas.

While the scenery in Mendoza may not be as dramatic as it is in the NW there are three great wine regions very close to Mendoza and the vineyards are as tourist friendly as any we have been to and in addition to great tastings we have had fabulous lunches at Altus, Ruca Malen, and Zuccardi among others. I would also highly recommend Dolores Montero's Tasting Menoza Wine Tour company ( She will recommend a varied itinerary and provide an outstanding driver and guide. If you are in Mendoza on a Wednesday evening, I highly recommend producers night at the Vines of Mendoza.

In BA if you want to stay in a hip area I recommend Palermo. We could not believe how much it had come alive since our last trip.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 06:12 AM
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OK, PEGGYMIAO, we get it ! Your are advertising on each and every thread on this and other Fora.

Basta !

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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 06:51 AM
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Hi, Marnie!

Fodor's is to blame too, because they should have deleted peggymiao and her friend angelia0071 HOURS ago.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 09:44 AM
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Right you are, AV. Hope all is well with all the roosters.


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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 10:15 AM
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We are fine. Our best wishes for you and Dr. Sig. LOL!!!
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