Itinerary help - Argentina and....?

Jan 17th, 2016, 07:51 PM
  #1  
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Itinerary help - Argentina and....?

Hi, I am in the beginning stages of planning a trip for our family of 4 to South America from Nov 17th to Nov 29th or 30th. My original tentative plan was to spend 4-5 days in Rio (love the beach/ocean!), fly to the Iguazu Falls (1-2 nights), fly directly to El Calafate to see the glaciers (2-3 nights) and then fly to Buenos Aires for the last 3 nights. However I am a little shell shocked by the amount of the reciprocity fees in both those countries and since Argentina seems to have more to see, I will probably have to save Brazil for another time, regretfully!

Given that, I am not sure how to use the days I had planned for Rio. Since Chile and Uruguay do not have reciprocity fees, we could fly into Santiago & out of Buenos Aires (am unable to get a mileage flight INTO Buenos Aires for our dates) On a side note, does anyone knows if the reciprocity fee applies if you transit through Rio? I read a post saying that it does not, if you have an onward flight within 24 hours but not sure if this is true?

Is there enough to see in/around Santiago? The flight from Santiago to El Calafate is a lot more expensive, are there any less expensive connections or airports that we could use?. We could also go to Uruguay but again, I am not sure which places to visit. We mainly like natural beauty, a little hiking,- nothing too challenging and do enjoy a lively town/area as well. Are there any beaches worth visiting in either of those areas? I have done some research and see that both Chile and Uruguay do have beaches but not sure if any are amazing and how easy/difficult they are to get to given the rest of my itinerary.

Would really appreciate any opinions/advice/suggestions on my itinerary and the feasibility/costs. Looking for places that we would feel fairly safe in, especially since we have 2 young adults with us who do like to go out at night.

Also, would we be giving up a lot by viewing the Iguazu falls only from the Argentinian side? I am assuming we could not go to the Brazilian side if we do not have proof of having paid the fee?

I don't think I could plan any trips without the advice I get on this forum, it is sooo helpful, thanks so much to everyone who answers!
excited_confused is offline  
Jan 17th, 2016, 11:18 PM
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I have no Experience of reciprocity fees as I am a UK citizen and don't pay them but I would have thought that if you are in transit in a country, you don't normally go through immigration ( the whole point of the transit process) and so would not pay. Best go direct to the brazilian govt website for current info.

Sometimes in the travel planning process ( and I too am in this position at the moment) rather than trying to amend a current plan, it is better to start over with a completely fresh eye. I am trying to plan out an itinerary for two friends to join us for a month on our longer trip around South America and am getting very confused!

A few random thoughts

In your case I would forget about Uruguay. Although it is on the same side of the continent as Iguazu it is a little difficult to get to in terms of time and/ or money. We did it by overnight bus via Salto to Montevideo and Colonia and then by ferry to BA.

I think the only direct flights from Iguazu are to Salta and BA which adds time and expense getting there from anywhere else.

When we were last there the border crossing process from Argentina to Brazil at Iguazu was very lax, with many people ( on the advice of the drivers) just not bothering. Whether that is still the case I don't know. Would you be giving up a lot by not seeing the Brazilian side? The falls are hugely impressive whichever side you visit but they are very different. Brazil is more about the panoramic view, Argentina about getting up close. A long way to go just for one day.

Santiago doesn't have a great deal going for it itself imho, although I do love Valparaiso which is 2 hours by bus and Vina del Mar which has nice beaches is and hour further on.

Going south, November is a great time to visit. We didn't get as far as the glaciers but did enjoy renting a car in San Martin de los Andes and driving down to Bariloche. From there we got the bus to Peninsula Valdez - November is the best time to see the whales. We also liked Pucon a lot. Great scenery, bike rides, hiking up villarica volcano (assuming it is not too active!)

If it were me, I think I would be leaning towards flying into Santiago, heading south to Patagonia and then back from BA.

In Chile, sky airlines seem by far the cheapest fares in chile and to Argentina.

Some photos of some of these places from our first trip to South America @ http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog...ai/1/tpod.html



It may be worth googling cruce andinos a trip across the Andes by bus and boat - something I have always wanted to do
crellston is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 01:28 AM
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Any flight from Santiago to El Calafate is going to be expensive as you are going through Buenos Aires. Since many people combine both sides of the Andes when visiting Patagonia, they fly down the country they want to see first and then cross by land to the other. If you only want to visit Argentine Patagonia, then you should fly from Buenos Aires. There are no scheduled flights between points in Argentine and Chilean Patagonia. If you want to see both sides, you would fly down Chile, cross by land and up Argentina.

You do not pay a reciprocity fee if you are connecting between two international flights and do not go through passport control. For this you need to have your tickets for both flights on the same or a partner airline so the luggage can be checked through to your final destination. If not you have to collect it and check in for the second flight, meaning goin through passport control.

Chile is not really a beach destination. The cold current off the coast makes the water very cold for swimming. But there are certainly beaches you can visit, although the best would be in the north of the country.
Huentetu is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 06:00 AM
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Pay close attention to what Huentetu said about flights, vis-a-vis needing a visa to transit Brazil. Make sure you understand this thoroughly.

IMO visiting only one side of the park at the falls is not worth the time and flight expense involved.
SambaChula is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 06:35 AM
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We didn't visit the Brazilian side of IF and thoroughly enjoyed just the ARG side. Click on my name for our TR describing our time in Chile and ARG. We did the bus boat bus trip and it was beautiful. We also loved Valparaiso and was not wowed by Santiago
yestravel is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 06:53 AM
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Are you a U.S. citizen traveling on a U.S. passport?

If so, you need a visa for Brazil. The visa needs to be obtained in advance, costs US $160, and is usually valid for 10 years. If Rio piques your interests then go; we loved it! We also thought it was worth it to visit both sides of Iguazu, especially considering the overall cost of the trip. http://cgwashington.itamaraty.gov.br...rist_visa).xml

Argentina is slightly different in that it does not require visas for U.S. passport holders but asks us to pay a reciprocity fee of US $160, which is the equivalent of what an Argentine would pay if he or she applies for a U.S. visa. You simply pay the fee online and print a copy of the receipt to bring with you to show to an immigration officer at the point of entry into Argentina. When the immigration officer verifies your fee payment he or she will place an entry stamp in your passport as any other country. The reciprocity fee is also good for 10 years.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2016, 05:03 AM
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Sorry for the long absence, after some debate, we went back to our original plan of flying into Rio & flying out of BA. Though after zika, maybe that's not such a good idea!

I really did want to see Rio & I was not getting mileage tickets to BA in any case. Will just have to bite the bullet & get the visa for Brazil & pay the reciprosity fee for Argentian. Yestravel, we are US citizens. Thanks for all the info.

Now that that is settled, here is the tentative itinerary:
Nov 18th am - Arrive in Rio
Nov 22nd am - Fly to Iguazu - Brazilian side but staying at the Grand Crucero, Argentinia
Nov 23rd evening - IGR- BA
Nov 26th - BA- El Calafate
Nov 28th - El Calafate - BA
Nov 29th pm - Kids leave
Nov 30th pm - We leave

How does that sound? A little hectic maybe but we are used to that! Any rearranging suggested?

Moving on to accommodations- first an apt in Rio. If anyone has rented an apt through an agency etc, I would love to hear about it/the apt. Based on my research on Flipkey & vrbo, here are my 3 top choices.

I absolutely LOVE Option 3 but reviews are not great and I have not heard back when I asked about the cancellation policy. Both Option 1 & 2 have great reviews, though no direct ocean views. Can anyone help with the location of these apts? Either location better than the other? Other thoughts?

https://www.vrbo.com/164888?arrivalD..._medium=email#

https://www.vrbo.com/280233?utm_camp..._medium=email#

https://www.vrbo.com/3834258ha?utm_c...m_medium=email

Thanks again for all the help!
excited_confused is offline  
Feb 4th, 2016, 05:22 AM
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Yestravel, I just read your TR. Wow! So interesting and so much useful information. I wish we had the time to see as much and as in depth as you did, that must have been an amazing trip. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it in such detail!
excited_confused is offline  
Feb 4th, 2016, 06:18 AM
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Very hectic! What time does your flight get into El Calafate? You rally need two full days there - click on my name for my TR that includes El Calafate. Maybe you can take a day from Rio.

BTW, Uruguay is not difficult to get to from BsAs, you just take the ferry. I flew from Iguazu, but I did have to change planes in BsAs.

Pity you're not going earlier, I believe that the visa fee is waived during the summer because of the Olympics.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 5th, 2016, 12:38 PM
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Thanks thursdaysd, will definitely check out the visa fee, and see how long the visa is good for if I apply early.

Anybody with any input on the apts?
excited_confused is offline  
Feb 5th, 2016, 12:57 PM
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Thanks! Hope the TR helps you with your planning.

If you are just visiting the glacier in el Calafate than I think it can be done in 2 nights and 1 full day, iS that all you areplanning to do in El Calafate? but of course more time is better.
yestravel is offline  
Feb 5th, 2016, 02:08 PM
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If they just want to visit Perito Morino then that can be done in one full day, but it would a pity to go so far and not see any of the other glaciers.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 16th, 2016, 06:50 PM
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Thanks all, sorry for the long silence, I was out of the country for 5 weeks, on my other long trip of the year! Anyway, I am back and it's time to move on to planning the next, which unfortunately is not until November!

So basically our flights into Rio on the 17th and out from BA on the 29th/30th are booked. No internal flights booked yet so I guess it's time to firm up the itinerary. This is what we have so far but it's totally flexible yet.
Nov 18th am - Arrive in Rio
Nov 22nd am - Fly to Iguazu - Brazilian side but planning to stay at the Grand Crucero, Argentina
Nov 23rd pm - IGR- Buenos Aires
Nov 24th and 25th - Buenos Aires
Nov 26th am - BA - El Calafate (Could leave on the 25th if necessary - right now we would have 2 half days and one full day in El Calafate)
Nov 28th pm - El Calafate - BA
Nov 29th night - Kids leave
Nov 30th pm - We leave (So we have 2 days in BA on the way in and on the way back too).

thursdaysd and yestravel, which other sights would you recommend in/from El Calafate if we gave it the extra day??

It does seem crazy to spend so much time and money to see one glacier (internal flights are expensive!) but it really seems awesome! Is there anything else equally amazing that we could see instead of Perito Moreno?

Also, on a side note, where does one leave luggage when we land in Iguazu on the Brazilian side to see the falls from that side first before heading to the hotel on the Argentinian side?

Thanks again for the help!
excited_confused is offline  
Mar 16th, 2016, 06:57 PM
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El Calafate - more than one glacier:

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...more-glaciers/

Can't help with the luggage question, I headed straight to my hotel.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 16th, 2016, 08:37 PM
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Nice to see you thursdaysd! And thanks for the info - was the trip on the 2nd day a full day too? Wondering if we can see do something for half a day if we take a late evening flight back to BA.
excited_confused is offline  
Mar 17th, 2016, 04:38 AM
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I think the second day was longer than the first. My memory isn't all that good these days, but I think you might could visit Perito Moreno and catch an evening flight, provided it was late enough. Worth asking your hotel or one of the many outfits offering tours.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 19th, 2016, 10:09 PM
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Thanks! Will check with the hotel.

Also, for all of you familiar with Brazil/Argentina, is it a problem to take internal flights that arrive late at night, say around 11pm? Since we are only spending one night at the Iguazu falls, I would rather take a late flight into Buenos Aires.

Also trying to decide if we should spend the next day in BA & then leave for El Calafate (as per the itinerary) or if we should continue on to El Calafate the next morning? Unfortunately we will arrive from Iguazu at the domestic airport but will have to fly to El Calafate from the international airport EZE, where we have to report 2-3 hours early? Sounds terrible!
excited_confused is offline  
Mar 20th, 2016, 02:14 AM
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No problem, but remember you should NEVER board the black and yellow cabs waiting in line OUTSIDE the two BA airports.

Only board transportation which can be PREPAID INSIDE the airport at an official-looking booth.

Have a great time in my country.
avrooster is offline  
Mar 20th, 2016, 09:36 AM
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Thx, also, is it necessary to book internal flights for Nov now or can I wait? Do fares usually go up as the time gets closer?
excited_confused is offline  
Mar 20th, 2016, 10:17 AM
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I would wait and take a look every once in a while, but I don't really know.

I DO know, that as the plane has less seats available, the fare obviously goes up, but I believe that happens all over the world.

Have a great time in my country.
avrooster is offline  

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