Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   South America (
-   -   Uruguay, then Buenos Aires in early March (

caseyhen Oct 16th, 2016 01:45 PM

Uruguay, then Buenos Aires in early March
Hi all,

I have such a soft spot for Fodor's forums and never miss an opportunity to sing its (your) praises when I talk to friends about trip planning. With the support of the good folks here, we (now a just-retired couple, healthy, energetic and mobile, with little affinity for canned tours) have planned trips all over Europe and to Iceland. Now it's time for a new adventure, this time to Uruguay and Argentina.

We have friends with a place in Punte del Este, which is the anchor for our trip, beginning in mid-February. They've advised us to fly into Montevideo where they'll pick us up and we can spend a couple of nights with them there. Then they'll drive us back to PDE, where we'll relax at the beach for a few days until we fly to BA on 2/27. These dates are not negotiable, as they're flying back to the US on 3/1.

So...we'll be heading to Buenos Aires on 2/27 and really have no firm plans from there. I can and most certainly will do a little more homework on the forums and learn about all the city has to offer. Any suggestions here would obviously be welcome.

But we're also wondering about trips out of BA. We've read about Mendoza and Iguazu Falls but see that they're both a considerable distance from the city. Most advice seems to point to taking a quick flight to either of these places as opposed to driving or taking the bus. Novices that we are, we know there must be other destinations or places to see closer in that we just don't know about yet.

Specific questions:

Suggestions for trips out of Buenos Aires, must-sees, best modes of travel, suggestions for lodging.
Suggestions for things to do and where to stay within BA. We've enjoyed renting apartments in many cities in this as viable an option in South America, and in Buenos Aires in particular? Are there specific parts of the city that are better locations to use as a base? We definitely enjoy staying where we can walk to restaurants, etc., and will feel safe walking home late at night.

This post obviously comes early in our trip planning and I will definitely continue to research. However, the most pressing thing is reserving our airline tickets and it's tough to do that without a general idea of how we picture our stay in BA will look.

As always, a million thank yous to the experienced travelers here.


thursdaysd Oct 17th, 2016 01:28 AM

You may find the first part of my SA TR helpful (just skip the Rio section). I highly recommend the side trip to the falls, they are truly spectacular. You could take a bus, but flying will be easier. I did not rent an apt. In BA, but I understand that a lot of people do. You do need to be careful where you stay - I was in Palermo, which was fine.

crellston Oct 17th, 2016 02:39 AM

I agree with Thursdaysd that Iguazú is a must, preferably both sides. We have visited there twice, once by bus and last month by plane. Both methods have there pros and cons, time being the main issue.

Most long bus journeys are done overnight and if you opt for first class, are very comfortable making sleep entirely possible.

Personally I am not a fan of Mendoza and much prefer salta and a visit there could easily be incorporated with a visit to Iguazú. Renting a car and driving a circuit of the region will take you through some amazing scenery. Great food and wines abound.

In BA we have taken apartments both times. The first was with Bytargentina and last month we used

The latter were great. We got a discount code via the Accor hotels loyalty program ( not sure if it is still available but try google)

We got a nice spacious apartment in Palermo for a week. It was in a reasonably good location but next time I think I would go for Palermo Soho which has a greater array of restaurants etc. Recoleta is another nice area. We felt safe everywhere in BA

Any guide book will give a list of places to visit but La Boca was interesting, if touristy. San Telmo market on a Sunday morning is well worth a visit. The Tigre delta is worth a day trip and can be reached by train. A tango show should be on anyone's list of things to do. There are many some hugely expensive some less so. We went to Cafe Tortoni. Recoleta cemetery is v. Interesting and English speaking tours run at 11.00am each day from the main gate.

If around Recoleta on Sunday and you feel like splashing out, Sunday Brunch at the Alvear Palace is amazing - see my trip report of our lunch with avrooster there last month @

As an alternative to flying to BA, you could also get the ferry from either Montevideo or Colonia del Sacramento. The latter is only a few hours from Montevideo by bus and is well worth a look. It is a long time ago but here is a link to our old blog from 2008 which has some photos of these places

Have a great time in avrooster's city :-)

avrooster Oct 17th, 2016 06:11 AM

Thank you, crellston!

"avrooster's city". Wow!!!

Down to the business of answering Casey's questions:

Some ideas:

1) Skip Montevideo.

2) At that time of the year, I suggest visiting the South of our country. It won't be too warm and most of the locals spending their holidays will be gone. Obviously, it is NOT near BA.

3) If you will be staying for at least about a week in BA, renting an apartment could be a good idea. The area: Recoleta or Palermo, but there are several different areas within "larger Palermo", as TOP poster crellston says above.

Have a great time in my country with your DH, Casey.

mlgb Oct 17th, 2016 06:35 AM

I spent 4 nights in Palermo Soho. Can't say I would return. Didn't have a single memorable meal.I did enjoy Montevideo. The art deco architecture and steak inside the Mercado del Puerto. I am sure your friends willl show you a good time. A friend used to go to Punta every year, slightly off season to enjoy the beach and steak at discount prices (steak much better in Uruguay now). We found it less expensive than Buenos Aires.

ClementineLdn Oct 17th, 2016 06:57 AM

Yes, skip Montevideo!

Iguazu is a must-see. I really liked Mendoza too, for the wine tours, biking and scenery. I flew to Mendoza but the bus is supposed to be fine. You can do it overnight. I went to Iguazu by bus and it was a VERY long journey, but fine. There was a thief on the bus who robbed several passengers and this led to a 5-hour stop at a police station when his thefts were discovered, which was a bit of a drag. Be careful with your luggage and don't put valuables in the overhead lockers if you take a long distance bus. Also make sure you get a 'cama' or 'cama suite' seat, with a 160-180 degree recline. I wouldn't much fancy a 20+ hour trip sitting upright!

Tigre is a nice, easy day trip from BA and you can take a boat ride there (but remember the insect repellant!). There are also a number of estancias within easy driving distance where you can go horse riding and eat asado. Mar del Plata is supposed to be a nice beach resort but I've never been myself.

As for BA capital, I also recommend staying in Palermo - it's well connected by bus and Subte, has loads of good bars and restaurants and some great parks. Recoleta is also a great area with some interesting sights like the Cemetery (don't miss it!) and the Museo de Bellas Artes (free entry and lovely building). I would not stay around the Microcentro - it's busy, noisy, polluted and can be sketchy at night. There is a lot to see around there (Catedral, Cabildo, Casa Rosada, Cafe Tortoni etc.) but it's very easily reachable by Subte from Palermo, Recoleta etc. I absolutely hated La Boca and found it to be a tacky tourist trap, but I did quite enjoy the tour of the football stadium. Not a big fan of Puerto Madero either. It's quite nice for a stroll, but the bars and restaurants are overpriced and substandard, in my opinion. San Telmo is lovely looking neighbourhood with some good restaurants, bars, tango shows, Sunday market, etc. I'm not too familiar with it myself though.

mlgb Oct 17th, 2016 07:58 AM

Recommend you read Clementine's report on Montevideo to see what her issues were..We had none of those problems I thought the central city near the Rodo neighborhood was far more attractive than Palermo Soho..which has lots of ugly 70's apartment flats, graffiti not of the artistic type, parks with homeless men, dog poop and busted sidewalks..

ClementineLdn Oct 17th, 2016 08:45 AM

I didn't even get into the harassment I experienced, mlgb. Maybe I just had a string of bad luck on my first day/night which soured the whole experience, I don't know, but I did not find it to be a nice city at all. There were homeless men camped out on the sidewalk near my hotel shouting very vulgar abuse at people walking past, some very sketchy looking characters in the nearby square and plenty of dog poop and trash dumped everywhere. And this was in Punta Carretas which is supposed to be 'upscale'. I didn't even have high expectations of the city at all - I was really only going to visit a friend - and it still managed to disappoint. Maybe I just had some really bad luck, who knows.

caseyhen Oct 17th, 2016 12:35 PM

Thanks so much to all! I'd already happened upon a post from Clementine and had discovered that avrooster is the expert on all things BA. Now to sit and digest, cross reference with maps, and make a plan. I'm thinking Iguazu Falls is a must and also a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento.

Montevideo is not possible to skip as our hosts have already made this part of our itinerary. Less worry on our part as they are residents and know it well.

Just looked at a studio apartment in Palermo that was extremely reasonable ($60 night) yet looked lovely - don't know which section of Palermo but near del libertador avenue and Parque Las Heras - as well as another that was reasonable ($132/night) and palatial in Recoleta. Are rates typically reasonable in BA as opposed to Europe?

mlgb Oct 17th, 2016 01:16 PM

I paid approx $69/nt in Palermo Soho but that included a breakfast. However the bedrom was small..and the bathroom althou private was across the hall.A different part of Palermo.also. That is at the low end of prices I think. YOu can pay much more.

Whether they are reasonable..judgement call.Compared ot other major cities in South America, not really. I think it was better when you could get an unofficial
exchange rate for that is over and the exchange rate isn'tas good.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:37 PM.