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Third fabulous trip to Argentina - Trip Report

Third fabulous trip to Argentina - Trip Report

Old Apr 6th, 2009, 09:26 AM
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Third fabulous trip to Argentina - Trip Report

Just returned from another fabulous trip to Argentina (our third). We’ve become totally hooked on the country, the people, scenery, culture, etc.

To make the trip even better, I scored frequent flyer first class tickets from LGA – MIA – EZE. We took the late flight from MIA-EZE, so after having dinner on the flight from LGA to MIA, cocktails in the Admirals Lounge during our layover, we were ready for a good nights sleep on the 11:30 p.m. flight. I have to say, those flat beds on AA were a real treat for the long overnight flight. Woke up pretty refreshed around 8:00 the next AM, in time for a little breakfast before landing. The only complaint, the FA didn’t give up the Immigration Papers to fill out (and I forgot to ask), I was a little PO’d they didn’t make sure we had one before we landed. Then, after we landed, there were none around, but we asked a few “official” looking people and the next thing we knew, there were stacks of them

After successfully navigating immigration, our driver met us and we were whisked off to the Park Hyatt (again, using points), for the night. Our room was ready and we were escorted up to a nice corner room, overlooking the city, on the 17th floor. It’s a beautiful hotel, but very American and the prices reflect that, not what we usually go for, but for free and one night, we weren’t going to complain. After a quick shower we met with our TA to obtain our vouchers and go over the rest of our trip.

After that DH and I went to find some local pesos at Citibank, where I had no problem withdrawing $1,000 AR (except the branch on Calleo was out of money, so we walked over to the one on Santa Fe). Then we had a little lunch and I went to have my hair done ($86.00 for a full head of highlights, shampoo and cut), probably paid too much, but it’s still a lot less than what I pay in NY. DH headed back to hotel for a nap.

That evening we were lazy and just strolled down to El Mirosal for dinner (three blocks from the hotel). Had a very nice meal and met some locals who were fun to talk with.

Next morning, back to EZE for AA flight to Calafate. We flew AA from EZE-Calafate and Calafate – Bariloche with absolutely NO problems, (I had a huge suitcase too). The flights left either early or on time and luggage was delivered promptly at each location.

Upon arriving in Calafate, we were met by a driver from Los Cerros, El Chaltan where we spent the next two nights. The first thing we noticed as we stepped out of the terminal was the wind, we were literally being blown away.

Anyway, after a pleasant three hour drive, we arrived (still being literally blown away), at Los Cerros where we were met with a nice glass of Malbec while we planned our next day. I decided to go on a horseback ride, DH would take a hike w/a guide. Los Cerros was very nice, all inclusive (except for wine, of course). Our room was simple but very clean with a nice bathtub that was also a jacuzzi. The service was excellent and the restaurant staff was a lot of fun to hang out with. We had a pleasant dinner that night, food was a little too contrived for me, but was very good.

Next day, DH took his extreme hike (do the winds ever stop here?), while Itook an extreme horseback ride with Carlos, who spoke very little English. Found my DH w/his guide as I was riding, he was not happy about trekking into the wind, but was a real trooper. Heading back was much easier. After lunch we took a boat ride to the largest glacier in AR.

El Chaltan is a really cute town, very small, but laced with nice looking hosterias, restaurants and shops.

Next day we were taken to Calafate where we spend three nights at the Kosten Aike hotel. We had a suite with a balcony overlooking the street, very nice, until the dance club across the street closed at 4:30 AM and the people leaving had to see which car was the loudest (I don’t think they have mufflers on their cars in this town), or the next night when the dogs decided to start barking. But, besides that, the hotel was very nice, staff was excellent and we did enjoy the room and being able to walk the two blocks into town. The third night we didn’t have to get up so early as our flight wasn’t until 3:30, so I popped an Ambian and slept through whatever noises that were going to happen that night .

Again, thanks to Bill J for the restaurant suggestions, we ate at all three he advised on. First night was Pura Vida, made the mistake of ordering two entrees, but did enjoy what we ate. Went on the Perito Moreno tour the following day….it is amazing, and again, Bill J. did a great job in his descriptions. We too were lucky and had great weather.

We also did the three glacier boat tour, but the Onelli straight was closed due to congestion of icebergs (ended up going to the Perito Moreno again). We did see a really neat calving of an iceberg the boat had stopped to hover near, the boat was almost a little too close. We did upgrade to the VIP area, it was nice having someone bring us coffee, etc. whenever we wanted and it was away from the crowds (the boat was big and full). Didn’t go up front as it looked very windy and cold. Stayed in the back of the boat when we ventured outside, seemed less crowded and the views were just as nice.

Went to La Tabilita for our meat fix that night. Very good and busy (especially for a Tuesday night). Also had a nice pizza at La Luchuza (sp) (the owl) for lunch before our flight to Bariloche..

Flew to Bariloche on AA, again, our flight was early. Was met by car rental rep, and we were on our way to Villa La Angostura. This was the R&R portion of our trip. Made it to the hotel just as evening came, it’s very lovely, right off the main road but far enough away to not hear the traffic (there really wasn’t a lot of traffic though). Had a beautiful room overlooking the lake. It was nice and quiet.

After settling in, had a very good dinner at the hotel. It seemed easier than driving back to town (which is maybe 2 miles away).

The following morning after breakfast we took a nice hike around the area, then a drive into town (which is very cute) for a little shopping and lunch. Came back and I arrange for a massage. It was excellent! Again, had dinner at the hotel.

Our second day we decided to venture to San Martin de los Andes, only 80 kilometers away, but at least 50 of them are on an unpaved road. It was an adventure and an awesome drive, the scenery was magnificent. Had lunch in SM and headed back. That night a huge group of Brazilians had checked in (we had almost the place to ourselves before that), so they suggested we head into town for dinner. Ended up at a Tapas/fondue place just down the street on the main road. Very good, chef was German, DH has spaeztle and goulash was very happy. I tried the local trout, a bit fishy for me.

Next day we took a boat ride to the Arranayes Park, nice walk on a boardwalk through the trees (I forgot what kind, I want to say sycamores, they smelled great), but they are the largest representation of these kind of trees in the world. A front came in while we were there, so our captain dropped us off for a taxi to take us back to the hotel (very small boat). Arranged another massage and then went back into town for a little more shopping. Had another fabulous massage, dinner at the hotel again (the service and staff were great).

Left the hotel at 11:00 next AM for our 1:20 flight on LAN from Bariloche back to BA. Dropped off the car at the airport and off we went again. We were met by our driver and stayed at the Park Tower for our final two nights (again, using points). Very nice hotel, great service, etc. Scored a late checkout for our last night (it’s nice being a Starwood member) so we could keep our room until our driver picked us up at 5:00.

After we settled into the room, we took a nice walk over to the tulip. It was very hot. Came back to the hotel, freshened up a bit and headed over to Amici Meia (sp) in San Telmo for dinner. Thank you, Scarlett, for the recommendation. We had a nice dinner outside on the balcony overlooking Plaza Dorrado. It was very lively.

On Sunday, we went over the fair in San Telmo, it was crowded and reminded me of every other “flea market” I’ve gone to. I guess if you’re a serious antique collector you might be impressed, I’m not. Again, a hot day.

For our final dinner we ate at another restaurant in San Telmo called Jardin…..(don’t have the card handy). I do know it’s on Bolivar. It was the most fabulous meal ever. Nine course tasting with wine pairing. Every course was more spectacular than the last. Very creative and expertly prepared. Major kudos to the chef.

The final day, woke up to no cold water, how’s that for a change? The hotel looked into it very quickly and when they couldn’t fix right away, gave us a key to another room so we could shower, etc.

We then hit Florida Street, picked up some new handbags and also stopped at Maria Silvano (near the Marriott) for some nice silk/cashmere sweaters. Headed back to the hotel, did some final packing and off we went.

The flight home was uneventful, had dinner on the plane, was very good and a decent nights sleep. Had an AR flight crew who were great. Left EZE almost an hour late, we only had a two hour connection for our flight back to LGA, but flying up front, first off the plane, quick trip through immigration, luggage came off quickly, fast through customs and made it to our connection with no problem.

Final thoughts, we felt very safe in BA, contrary to other people’s reports, and had no problems with taxis (made sure I had lots of $2’s, $5s and $10s), except for the driver from San Telmo who didn’t know where the Park Tower was, just told him near Plaza San Martin and off we went.

Sorry this is so long, hope it doesn’t bore anyone. Feel free to ask questions!
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 10:11 AM
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WONDERFUL!
I have to read this again when there is no pup waiting to be walked.. sooo glad you got upgraded, the flight is sooo much better. And the Hyatt.. heaven
Glad you liked Amici Miei ... I will be there later this week ... was Opera man there? lol
Thanks for posting... I will read again in a little while. chau !!
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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Nice report. We're also using ff miles to go to Argentina (next year), but unfortunately we'll be flying in coach. First class really is much nicer ........
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 11:53 AM
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Thanks so much 4 your report...enjoyed it. I think our next trip to Arg will cover some of the same territory, so its helpful to get all the information in your report.

U stayed at Park Hyatt and said that's a Starwood member? Curious because I wanted to use Starwood pts 4 our stay BA and didn't see Park Hyatt.
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Thank you for another great trip report, Owlwoman!
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 12:07 PM
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Great Report...there will be four of us leaving for Buenos Aires Monday after Easter. It looks like it will still be pretty warm there. Do you have any no, no's as far as clothing that they wear in Argentina? We don't want to stand out in the crowd. Is there anything that you did not bring that you wished that you had? Thanks for your imput.
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 02:34 PM
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Owlwoman no! Your report is anything but boring. I enjoyed your trip, in absentia, and have made good notes on particulars for our next trip. Many thanks.

~MarnieWDC
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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Hello, Owlwoman. You are too kind. Glad to have provided something of value to somebody. I'm jealous of the first class. But the ambien does help those of us consigned to coach. Highly recommended.
Glad you came back and gave us the full report. It is truely awesome at the glaciers, and you have given me a couple of names on my list of places to see.
We'll just have to keep on travelling!!!
Chau!! (As they say in Buenos Aires.)(Thanks for the spelling, avrooster.)
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Old Apr 7th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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Scarlett, I looked all over for you during our walk in Recolata, lots of people walking dogs, but none with Pup No opera man at Amici, but really cute waiter!

Yestravel, I used Hyatt points for the Park Hyatt, Starwood points for the Park Tower. If you have enough Starwood points for the Park Tower, which is connected to the Sheraton, (they just lowered the # needed for a free night), highly recommend. Good location and hotel was very nice.

Phyllis, If anything, I packed too much! You will want to leave room your bag for shopping. All the summer clothing is on sale.

Everything goes here, it was very hot our two days in BA, lots of people wearing shorts, capris, etc. Monday when everyone went back to work, girls in pretty sundresses, men in suits or short sleeves and nice pants, reminded me of NY, everything goes....my philosophy is just wear what you're comfortable in.

Bill J, the timing of your trip was perfect for mine. It was great to have the timely advice. And yes, keep on travelling!
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Old Apr 7th, 2009, 08:06 PM
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The trees in question are called Arrayanes
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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owlwoman,
Welcome back! Glad to read that you enjoyed the trip, I saved it for when I'm going to plan my own trip to Argentina (hopefully soon).

I was wondering, is it always so windy in the Calafate area? Would another time of the year be better?
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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This is a great report. My husband and I are leaving in May for our first trip to BA. How did you arrange transportation from the airport? Any helpful hints are appreciated. We are staying at the Marriott and I wrote down the name of the store for sweaters.
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 05:26 PM
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Transportation...there are several booths for remises (private cars) just after you leave customs--VIP, World Car and Tienda Leon among others. The price should be about 135 pesos to downtown. Or, take a taxi from the blue and white stand in the arrival hall taxi ezeiza...taxi fare is (or was as of mid-March) 98 pesos to downtown.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 02:27 AM
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Thank you for the transportation information. I will check into the remises you suggested.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 04:58 AM
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Our travel agent in BA always arranges the transportation for us, but Dr. D's recommendations will work fine (he is an expert on these things).

The store's name is Silvia Y Mario (I don't know where I got that other name from). It's across the street from the Marriott and has a good reputation. I've enjoyed the sweaters very much, they also sell leather goods too.

The Marriott is a great location, we've stayed there twice in the past.

Have a great trip.

xyz, Calafate was not that windy compared to Chaltan, where they told me it was windy all the time!
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 08:06 AM
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owlwoman, thanks for pointing this report out on another thread. Very interesting, and I'm copying it for my file for a possible trip in the next year.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Another successful Argentine sojourn for Owlwoman! Hurrah!

Glad Correntoso was so nice. Isn't that setting spectacular? I spent two full days just hanging out by the pool at our hotel, which was very close to the Correntoso. I wanted to get to Correntoso for dinner and drive a little north, but DH got food poisoning on our last day, so those plans were scuttled...

Where are we following each other to next?
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 07:02 AM
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Hi Skatedancer, thanks for the nice words, too bad you didn't get to the Correntoso for dinner, it was quite good, and the pool there was very nice too, an infinity pool.

Thinking of heading back to Europe next year, maybe a Budapest/Prague/Croatia combination, so many places, so hard to decide!

How 'bout you?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 04:53 AM
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nothing planned yet....
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Old Aug 12th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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Dear owlwoman,

We are planning a trip to Argentina in November. Will be in Bariloche for 1.5 days. How did you go to Victoria Island/Arranayes Park? Did you go on your own or booked a tour? I had impression that it is impossible to get there on your own... Also , did you do "Small Circuit" or "Grand Circuit"? We just trying to figure out what is the best we can do out of 1.5 days. Thanks!
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