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ARGENTINA:

 

  

 

To understand Argentina and its people, one must digress historically.  While Argentina’s 1853 Constitution is modeled after the United States’, it is Great Britain who provided the capital to develop the nation.  There are many British landmarks around Argentina.  Sparsely populated Argentina began actively attracting immigrants from Spain and Italy between 1869 - 1914.  By 1914, the nation’s population had grown from 1.8 million to 7.8 million, with approximately 30 percent of the population foreign born.  Immigration peaked in 2001, when a sour economy made the nation a bargain to relocate. 

 

The name Peron, President Juan Domingo Peron and wife Eva Peron - the beloved first lady - is virtually inescapable in Argentina both for their admirers and detractors.  Peron ruled ruthlessly, a champion of the unions; he nationalized the nation’s industries, free press and radio, as well as silencing his opponents. 


The nation attracted an estimated 3,000 - 8,000 fleeing Nazis during World War II.

 

Eva became a vocal advocate for the poor, a mediator between her husband’s administration and the unions.  She helped to build schools for the less fortunate and pushed for women’s suffrage.  Eva died of cervical cancer in 1952 at age 33.  Her surviving husband Juan Peron was ousted from power by a military coup d'état in 1955.  He returned from exile in Spain eighteen years later in 1973, and won the Presidency for a third time.  Juan Peron died of a heart attack in 1974 at age 78.  Peron’s third wife, Isabel, his Vice-President during his third term, became President for two years.  She, too, was ousted by a military coup d’état.  The post Peron period of the 1970’s - 1980’s ushered in years of an oppressive military-ruled government, which ended in 1983.  An estimated 30,000 people disappeared, were tortured and imprisoned or were assassinated.  In a controversial move, the military rulers were pardoned and granted amnesty by the new President in 1989 - 1990. 

 

But wait, there’s more: In 2005, Argentina’s Supreme Court declared the amnesty and pardons granted the former military rulers for their human rights abuses, unconstitutional.  New trials commenced in 2007. 

 

Memorial Park and a Monument to the Detained and Disappeared, honoring the victims, opened in 2009.  It lists each known victim and the date of their disappearance.

 

 

 

The Escuela Mecanica de la Armada, the most notorious of the 340 known terror detention/torture sites, is also now a museum/memorial.  Only group tours are available.  

 

Juan Peron is buried at Quinta de San Vincente, a country home he shared with Eva.  The home, 40 miles from Buenos Aires, is open to the public on weekends.

 

The Peron’s presence is inescapable with remembrances in practically every neighborhood of Buenos Aires. 

 

Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world.  It is home to 47 major glaciers including one thirty miles long.

 

Its mountain peaks are equally impressive: Cerro Aconcagua in Mendoza province is at 22,835 feet high! 

 

SNOW SKIING IN ARGENTINA:

The Argentine skiing season is mid-June through mid-September, sometimes into October (South America’s winter).  In addition to skiing, one can also snowboard and heli-ski. 

 

THE BEST TIME TO SNOW SKI IN ARGENTINA:

Some of the best skiing takes place the first two weeks of September.  You will have the place more to yourself, as it is less crowded than July and August when the rates are less.  Come mid-September through October, the snow can become slushy in the afternoons.

 

Two weeks around mid-August attract the South American college student crowds.

 

Try to avoid: mid-July, when South American schools are on winter break, as there are maximum crowds and increased rates. 

 

   

 

Major ski resort areas are: 

·         Les Lenas: Argentina’s largest Andes ski resort area.  Direct flights from Buenos Aires are available.  World-class skiing abounds with 25 square miles of ski terrain, 40 miles of trails, 14 lifts with an uphill capacity of 10,000 per hour, out-bound skiing and 10 miles of cross country trails.  There is a vertical drop of 4,200 feet. 

·         San Carlos de Bariloche: the main ski area is Cerro Cathedral, 12 miles west of San Carlos de Bariloche.  The resort provides 15.5 miles of skiable terrain, 35 different trails catering to all levels of ability, 38 lifts including ten double chairs, 2 triple chairs, 4 quad chairs, three T-bars, 7 pomas and one cable car.  It is Argentina’s most developed ski resort area.  Tiny Cerro Bayo, with only 494 acres, is more mom and pop local skiing.  It pales in comparison to Cerro Cathedral. 

·         San Martin de los Andes: Chapelco is nine miles from St. Martin.  The resort offers areas 4,100 - 6,500 feet high with a vertical drop of 2,500 feet.   The area has 500 acres of ski terrain with 26 tracks for alpine, Nordic and adventure skiing including twelve chair lifts - two double, one triple, two quadruple, two poma lifts, and one gondola accommodating six skiers. 

 

LANGUAGE: Spanish

 

CURRENCY: Pesos (1991 - present) $

 

TIME OF DAY: Argentina is two hours ahead of Eastern Standard U.S. Time. 

 

ELECTRICITY VOLTAGE: 220 volts, 50 cycles AC

 

PINCHING PENNIES: TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP:

Tipping is prohibited and illegal in Argentina.  Restaurant waiters, nevertheless, expect a small gratuity: be extremely discreet in rendering.

 

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN ARGENTINA:

The best time to visit Argentina is during the summer and fall months – the seasons are the reverse of the United States.  This makes for the perfect time to cruise the glacier of Argentina and Chile.

 

Argentina is only two hours later than Eastern Standard Time.

 

  

 

The seven best months to visit are October, November, January, February, March (which typically offers lower lodging rates in the early part of the month), April, and May.  Wine harvest time is traditionally February through May.

 

November and December are polo months, offering the highest rates and biggest crowds.  One must reserve at least four months in advance!

 

TIMES TO AVOID:

The months to avoid visiting Argentina are July and August.

 

July is the coolest month, as temperatures often dip into the 30’s.  The average temperature is only 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Spring and summer are the rainy seasons.

 

MAJOR HOLIDAYS IN ARGENTINA:

May 25: May Day Revolution

 

ARGENTINA CUISINE:

Argentina cuisine consists of alfajor, a double-decker cookie filled with dulce de leche and covered with dark or white chocolate; café con leche; chico, strong thick coffee; lovers of hot chocolate can’t resist submarine, a chocolate bar in steamed milk; cheeses; yerba male, a drink made of leaves of the rain forest male tree - served nationwide.

 

Popular charcoal-grilled meats are beef (bife), chicken or pork, local vegetables of corn, quinoa, beans and peppers.  Empanadas, small meat pies covered in a bread shell, are popular fare, as well as pizza, and Argentinean Wine: Malbecs (red) and Torrontes (white varietal).

 

 

 

BUENOS AIRES:

 

  

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina, is known as “The Paris of South America.”  This cosmopolitan, 3 million in population, world-class shopping city is known for its love of sports: soccer, polo matches, horse racing, snow-skiing, ice climbing, scuba diving, white-water rafting, and golf.  It also has a vibrant nightlife and is home of the tango.  Buenos Aires is relatively inexpensive to visit.  Non-stop air from New York City to Buenos Aires is 11 hours. 

 

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN BUENOS AIRES:

The best time to visit Buenos Aires is in late February and early March.

 

November, December, April, and May makes for a great second choice, as the weather is pleasant.

 

September through November tends to be far less crowded with moderate temperatures in the 70’s.

 

AVOID: January - many businesses and restaurants close.  January and February offers excessive heat. 

 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN BUENOS AIRES:

Late February through early March: The Tango Festival

February 21 through March 3, 2008: National Grape

March - 3 days: Recoleta Wine Harvest Urbana-Mendoza

April – 3 days: Recoleta Wine Harvest Urbana-Mendoza

May - 3 days: Recoleta Wine Harvest Urbana-Mendoza

Carnival-Sambadrome Parade

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN BUENOS AIRES:

 

 

 

Airport arrival at Ezeiza International Airport: As a matter of security and honesty in transportation costs, it is recommended that you pre-book a taxi in advance (sign up at the airport kiosk for $25.00 - $30.00) rather than utilizing a curbside pickup where the cabbies are often unlicensed drivers that will either fleece or rob you.  It’s a 45-minute ride into the inner city.

 

Buenos Aires is the most cosmopolitan, European-style city in Latin America.  Its wide boulevards and varied architecture are reminiscent of Paris, Madrid, or Milan. 

 

The day is long in Buenos Aires - it is not uncommon to dine at midnight.  No wonder they enjoy siestas!  The only thing that closes early is the cemetery at 6:00 p.m. 

 

Despite its sophistication, agriculture accounts for sixty percent of its exports.  It is also the world’s largest producer of soya oil for biodiesel and the world’s largest biodiesel exporter. 

 

Getting around Buenos Aires: Taxis are plentiful and reasonable.  Taxis can be hailed in the streets, but is not recommended.  It is best to stick with the taxis with the word “Radio Taxi” above on the roof.  Do not try to cash large denomination bills in taxis. 

 

  

 

The city’s subway system dates back to 1913.  Make time to ride in one of the unique, well-preserved old wooden cars on the Subte Line.  The doors are old-fashioned - manually operated.  Avoid during severe rain storms as some stretches and subway stations close.  The best subway connections are in the Palermo district. 

 

Be on the alert as a pedestrian in Buenos Aires you can’t assume that you have the right of way.  Drivers tend to be aggressive and you become fair game. 

 

Weekends are the best time to sightsee in Buenos Aires, as maximum activity and street fairs take place. 

 

Football, not America’s NFL version, rules supreme throughout Argentina and particularly in Buenos Aires.  Buenos Aires has seven professional teams.  There are a total of twenty teams in the Argentinean League.  The Tournament (first half of the season) runs from August through December with 19 games.  The second half of the season, the Clausura (closing), includes another 19 games, runs January through the end of June.  Each season has a champion. 

 

The Boca Juniors are a legend in Buenos Aires, the most popular team in Argentina.  Their stadium, La Bombonera, holds 60,000.  Good luck snaring a ticket. 

 

 

 

River Plate is the winning nest team in Argentina, having won 43 championships.  Their stadium, El Monumental, is the nation’s largest, holding 77,000 fans. 

 

Games (90 minutes in duration) are held daily, but Sundays are special football days, as millions attend the games in stadiums or watch games on television.  Locals are fanatical in support of their teams - interestingly, they sing throughout the game.  

 

You would be remiss to visit Argentina and not attend a game.

 

El Obrero in the La Boca neighborhood pays homage to the Boca Juniors with its walls covered with football memorabilia.  It’s not fancy but serves good steaks and offers friendly service. 

 

Polo – both as a spectator and participant is also immensely popular. 

 

The city’s grand mansions, foreign embassies, and palaces are concentrated in an area called Little Palermo.  It is the center of most visitors’ sightseeing.  The area is filled with the city’s best lodging, restaurants, and shopping.  The television and movie studios are located here.

 

   

 

Botanic Garden in Palermo is worth a look-see. 

 

The affluent Puerto Madero waterfront neighborhood is Buenos Aires’s most modern area - an attractive area for visitors to check out.  The Santiago Calarrava-designed Puente de la Mujer Bridge is a dramatic, eye-appealing modernistic structure and a nice photo opportunity.  These former dock buildings now house upscale restaurants and offices.  High rise condos are home to some of the city’s most affluent residents.  This once rundown seedy area is enjoying an amazing renaissance.

 

Nearby is the “Versailles-like” Palacio Paz, the largest private house ever commissioned in Argentina.  It now serves as an exclusive officers club but is open to tours.  The club is located at Plaza General San Martin, 750 Avenue, Santé Fe, 4311-1071. 

 

La Boca is old Buenos Aires waterfront neighborhood, an Italian area of multi-colored (pink, green, blue, and yellow) houses and synonymous with the tango and football.  The cobblestone streets of Carlos Gardel are an open air tango museum and market.  The neighborhood is located at Aveninda Pedro de Mendoza 1800. 

 

La Boca is also the home of the Boca Juniors football stadium, La Bombonera, so named as it resembles a box of chocolates.  There are several Italian cantinas and seafood restaurants. 

 

Nearby San Telmo, with its Bohemian culture (also see Window Shopping in Buenos Aires), is the city’s oldest residential neighborhood.  See several interesting museums and churches in this area.  It is also a center of tango and jazz clubs. 

 

  

 

Recoleta is an upscale residential and commercial area home to the elite of Buenos Aires.  Recoleta’s Plaza Francis is a hub of nice restaurants, crafts markets, and cultural facilities.  The Recoleta Cultural Center, established in 1718, is one of the city’s most popular venues. 

 

The Cementerio de la Recolet (Cemetery of Recoleta) is where the remains of Eva Peron and the who’s who of Argentinean aristocracy are interred.  The tombs run the gamut from Greco-Roman temple design to replicas of family banks.  Any piggy bank replicas?

 

It’s all a little creepy, with faded extravagant bronze, granite, and marble mausoleums invaded by stray cats roaming the pathways.  The mausoleums are located at Junin 1760 in Recoleta. 

 

The Evita Museum is housed in a former home for destitute single mothers, a cause she championed.  The museum traces the life story of the onetime actress and displays several items of Evita’s wardrobe. 

 

The narrow streets of Microcentro, the center of commerce and government, buzz with activity.  In contrast, just east is Avenida 9 De Julio, 425 feet wide with grassy squares and fountains, the world’s widest avenue.  

 

The 70-foot-high Obelisco (Obelisk), the city’s best known symbol, affords stunning panoramic views of the city.  Football fans congregate to celebrate here after major victories.  The Obelisco is located at Avenida 9 de Julio.  The street with ten lanes is the widest in the world.  The plaza with the Obelisk is enormous. 

 

  

 

A must visit is the two-block long Cazenave, Plaza de Mayo, the city’s main square of lawn, flowers, statuary, gardens, and fountains, center of government, and the traditional center of mass political speeches and demonstrations including those of Juan and Eva Peron, nicknamed “the Plaza de Protestas,” (Eastern end of Av. De Mayo).  It is also home to the Casa Rosada (the Pink House) and its balcony from which Eva Peron gave many a speech, the Presidential Palace, the Cabildo Government House and the Metropolitan Cathedral, known for its beautiful interior and exterior.  The Cabildo (Town Hall) is a museum commemorating the May 25, 1810 revolution against Spain.  To this day, many Argentines remain loyal to Spain.

 

The Boca neighborhood, near the Old Port, once the hubbub of immigrants, and its Hotel de Inmigrante, is now appropriately home to the Immigration Museum. 

 

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP: Sundays are special as Caminto Street is filled with souvenir stalls and tango dancers. 

 

Belgrano, an upper middleclass neighborhood, is home to the Enrique Larreta Museum of Spanish Art.  The Plaza is busy with weekend artist’s fairs.

 

China Town is a Taiwanese immigrant enclave with Asian merchandise stores.

 

Art connoisseurs will not be disappointed in Buenos Aires.  There’s a choice of several outstanding art centers:

 

 

 

Museo de Bellas Artes is the city’s best with a diverse collection of modern as well as sixteenth and seventeenth century paintings by Renoir, Monet, and Gaugin, alongside with Argentine artists Eduardo Sivon and Xul Solar.  The museum is closed Mondays but open Tuesday through Friday: 12:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 9:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.  The building is located at Libertador 1473.  For more information, please call 00-54-11-5288-9900. 

 

The Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat Art Collection displays the personal collection of Argentina’s most wealthy woman, ala Loma Negra cement manufacturing fame.  It’s all housed in a modernistic structure overlooking the Puerto Madero district docks.  The city’s most expensive residential area is nearby along with upscale hotels and pricey restaurants. 

 

Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires offers contemporary works.  The museum is located at 350 Avda, in San Juan. 

 

Al Malba is another privately owned collection (Edruado Constantini); it displays over 500 artworks by prominent Latin American artists including Botero and Kahlo.  The collection is on display at 3415 Avda. 

 

Malba is the Latin American Art Museum.  It’s open until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.  It is located at Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415.  

 

Ruth Benzacab’s studio in Retiro for avant garde artworks by new and established Argentine artists is located at 1000 Florida. 

 

Faena Arts Center, in a renovated grain mill, is the city’s newest, located at 1169 Aime Paine. 

 

  

 

The Museo Historico Nacional is Argentina’s military museum.  It is found at Defensa 1600. 

 

The Jardin Botanico, also known as the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden (1808) is the city’s botanic gardens with displays of worldwide flora (5,000 tropical plants and trees), sculpture, and stray cats.  Jardin Botanico is located at Santa Fe 2951. 

 

Finally dealing with its sordid past, a monument to the victims of state terrorism was dedicated in 2007.  A walkway leads to tall walls that list each known victim and the year he or she disappeared.  It is located next to Memorial Park. 

 

The now demolished 22-story Casseros Prison and its torture facilities has been symbolically converted to an art project.  By strategically smashing 48 window panes over 18 stories of the structure, it lives on in photographs as a reminder of the terrible past. 

 

If you are super-energetic and enjoy bicycling, you may enjoy taking a guided bike tour after sunset.  The tour, provided by the Urban Biking company, covers top restaurants and Puerto Madero’s quayside to the Boca district.

 

17 miles north of Buenos Aires is the Parana Delta S lakeside town of Tigre, home of el Parque de la Costa amusement park and slots casino.  The park is accessible by rail via Line Mitre from Buenos Aires (40 minutes one way) or via a cruise along the waterway and around the islands of the Parana river delta.

 

IN SEARCH OF A GOOD NIGHTS REST IN BUENOS AIRES:

 

  

 

The all-suite (10) Algodon Mansion is considered the city’s most exclusive boutique hotel.  The restored mansion is located in the upscale Recoleta district, convenient to the city’s best dining and shopping.  Amenities include 24/7 butler service, rooftop swimming pool, as well as an elegant restaurant and lounge.  The rooms are $480.00 per night and up.  The mansion is located at Montevideo 1647, and can be reached by calling 54-11-3530-7777. 

 

Another boutique superstar is Legado Mitico, where each room is themed after a famed Argentine figure.  The hotel provides antique furnishings.  The Palermo nightclub district is handy. 

 

Other top-notch choices are the Four Seasons Hotel, as well as the luxurious Alvear Palace, established in 1932, the ninety-room Buenos Aires Grand is popular with business people, and the Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, which are all located in upscale Recoleta. 

 

Soccer fanatics will enjoy staying at the soccer-themed Hotel Boc Junior, located at 235 Tacuari.

 

TASTY DINING IN BUENOS AIRES:

Dinner tends to be late, no earlier than 9:00 p.m., but preferably at 10:00 p.m.  Some folks dine at midnight!

 

Don’t be surprised when a restaurant adds a $AR 4 - 10 table service charge to your tab. 

 

Huge hunks of moo-cow steaks rule supreme in Argentina parrillas (steakhouses).  The consensus best is Cabana Las Lilas.  Wood-fire grilled Baby 8 ounce steaks are served with empanadas and sausages on the side.  It’s a little short on atmosphere, but their Angus steaks are difficult to beat. 

 

Parilla 1880, Miranda, and Fervor are other winners amongst the steakhouses.

 

  

 

The ornate Café Tortoni, with its wood paneling and stained glass windows, is the city’s oldest and most famous café.  It dates back to 1858.  The restaurant is located at Avenida de Mayo 825, and can be reached by calling 4342-4328.

 

Las Violetas, established in 1884, is another ornate café that is highly popular.  It is located at Av Rivadavia 3899 and can be reached by calling 00-54-11-4958-7387. 

 

If you tire of beefsteaks, try El Muelle, which serves excellent seafood: fresh king crab and grilled wreck fish.

 

Exquisite French cuisine and formal tableside preparations are featured at the deluxe Le Bourgogne of the Alvear Palace Hotel.  For more information, please call 54-11-4808-2100. 

 

Café Cruz provides continental dining in elegant surroundings.  It attracts an international clientele.

 

Spanish cuisine?  Oviedo rules the roost and provides a classy décor. 

 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN BUENOS AIRES:

Buenos Aires is one of the world’s greatest shopping cities.  Look for jewelry, leather goods, furs, antiques, knits, and quality crafts.

 

The best sales months tend to be in April and September. 

 

Siesta time is 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  Try to avoid shopping during these hours to avoid closures. 

 

Beware that many merchants charge 10% extra when you use a credit card. 

 

 

 

Avenida de Mayo is Buenos Aires’s “Champs Elysees.”

 

The European influence of elegant Parisian architectural influence is evident: the art noveau décor is stunning.

 

Harrod’s – yes, the same as in London, has a large department store in Buenos Aires. 

 

By all world standards, Buenos Aires’ bookstores are exceptional: the most impressive is the Liberia El Ateneo Grand Splendid - “The Metropolitan of Bookstores.”  The huge store is what was formerly a theater.  Bookshelves ring the theatre’s balconies.  This is open 24 hours daily. 

 

Calle Florida (Florida Street) is a pedestrian mall in downtown area.  Street vendors hawk their wares every evening: silk scarves, trendy clothes, handmade shoes, souvenirs, handbags, and street artists. 

 

Other upscale shopping zones are on Avenida Alvear and Avenida Quintana.

 

The Galeria Pacifico mall on Florida Street hosts major luxury brand stores.

 

The Alto Palermo Mall is another good choice for local fashions.  The mall is located at Avenida Coronel Diaz 2098. 

 

Plaza Serrano Fair in the Palermo neighborhood has a great Saturday and Sunday street markets: hip clothing and accessories.  The fair is located at the intersection of Borges 1600 - Honduras 4700, Serrano 1500. 

 

  

 

The cobblestone streets of the central neighborhood of San Telmo, once home to the city’s most affluent with many a mansion and its Plaza Dorrego is now instead the place for strolling art studios and galleries, especially on Sundays when arts, antiques, tango dancing and crafts street fairs are held.  The San Telmo Antiques Fair is the city’s largest street fair: street musicians and tango performers.  Search for fine brass samovars, telescopes, assorted gaucho gear, bird cages and birds, coins, stamps, and old silver.

 

The area also houses several excellent restaurants.  San Telmo also holds the distinction of being the birthplace of the tango.

 

There are several worthwhile antique dealers on Defensa.  

 

Recoleta Fair (Feria Plaza Francia): Saturday and Sunday street fairs with merchants (pottery, leather, crafts, wood and metal items, musicians, street performers).  This offers higher prices than other street fairs.  You pay for the rarified surroundings! 

 

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN IN BUENOS AIRES:

Avenida Corrientes is Rio’s lively theatrical district with brightly lit theater facades.

 

It takes two to tango!  A tango here, a tango there, tango everywhere!

 

The tango, a sensual flow of the bodies to music typically with sad song lyrics, is seemingly unavoidable when it comes to nightlife in Buenos Aires.  Few tourists visit without seeing at least one or more tango shows.  Others seek private or group tango lessons.  There’s certainly no shortage of choices: there are at least ten venues that offer elaborate major productions with orchestra, singers, and multiple dancers.  There are multiple tango dance halls, each catering to a different age clientele.  Things don’t begin swinging until 11:00 p.m.

 

A few of the best places include: 

 

  

 

·         La Confiteria Ideal: Both recorded and live band-combo of locals and professional dancers.  Expect a sedate, older 60’s crowd.  This gives off a 1950’s American dance hall ambiance.  Afternoon sessions are five days a week.  La Confitiera Ideal is located at Suipacha 360, in the Recoleta district.  For more information, please call 54-11-5265-8069.

·         Salon Canning: community center atmosphere.  Mondays are best.  Salon Canning is located at Scalabrini Ortiz and can be reached by calling 54-11-4832-6753. 

 

Take in a tango show at one of the city’s milongas (tango dance halls).  They range from small neighborhood informal gatherings of locals who simply enjoy the tango to the big and brassy theatrical productions that cater to tourists.  Be forewarned that the fancier tango palaces charge an arm and a leg, often averaging $175.00 - $200.00 per person for a dinner, show, and dance.  If you’re willing to get down and dirty, there are many places where you can dance with complete strangers for considerably less.  The main plaza in San Telmo even has an outdoor demonstration of tango practicing on Sunday nights. 

 

Rojo Tango at the Faena Hotel and Universe Cabaret is the most popular and one of the more elaborate tango shows in town.  It’s a large cast with five-piece orchestra, two singers and sixteen dancers trace the evolution of the tango.  It’s a major production with 26 songs.  Dinner is served with a choice of three entrees.  The intimate red-curtained theater seats only 120.  Performances are nightly with dinner at 8:30 p.m. and a show at 10:00 p.m.  It is expensive: AR$ 779 for dinner and a show, AR$ 545 for the show only.  The building is located at Martha Salotti 445.  To book reservations, be sure to call 5411-5787-2536. 

 

Other major tango shows: Shows tend be at 10:00 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.

 

·         Senior Tango: The biggest, brassiest show in Buenos Aires: the cast of forty includes a live orchestra - Broadway type production with stage backdrops, special sound and lighting effects.  It provides a classy décor.  Shows are AR$ 320.  Dinner shows are AR$ 720 - 1500.  Senior Tango is located at Vieytes 1655, and can be reached by calling (0)11-4305-0231. 

 

  

 

·         La Esquina Carlos Gardel is a major production with six-piece orchestra, singers, and twenty dancers, as well as colorful stage sets.  It provides a grand theater setting.  The building is located at Pasaje Carlos Gardel 3200, and can be reached by calling 011-4867-6363.  Dinner takes place at 9:00 p.m. and the show begins at 10:30 p.m.  Dinner and a show are AR$420, while just the show is AR$295.

·         Tango Porteno: Even larger production with 12 musicians, 16 dancers, and two singers. 

·         La Ventana: Not one, but two orchestras, dancers, singers, and as a bonus: a gaucho show.

·         El Viejo Almacen: El Viejo Almacen is a more traditional tango bar.  It is a small, intimate revue. 

·         Piazzolla Tango: This offers a theater setting.  It has excellent acoustics.

·         Gala Tango:  This is an elaborate show with Gauchos.

·         Café de los Angelitos: This is a tiny bar tango show, but with elegant décor, excellent costume design, and providing a gourmet meal.

·         El Querandi: This is a traditional tango in old 1900 bar décor.  This is a spectacular show, band, and three singers. 

 

The La Baco working-class district, where the buildings are colorfully painted, is where the tango originated.  Observe gauchos performing the dance. 

 

If you are willing to get down and dirty, visit a tango bar (penas).  The tango bar consists of guitar playing gauchos with group sing along of local folk music.  Group merriment abounds.  You’ll rub elbows with the locals, so brush up on your Spanish and manners.  You’ll probably be the only person singing in English, so practice your karaoke! 

 

Not all nightlife is tango.  Revista Portena (Cabaret-style revues), featuring satirical skits, showgirls, and political humor rule the roost at clubs along the Avenida Corrientes. 

 

 

 

The 3,000-seat Teatro Colon, established in 1908, is recognized as one of the world’s great opera houses.  The stage is immense - almost a block long.  The theater offers ornate Baroque and Renaissance architecture.  Tours are available year-round.  Opera season is March through November.  Men are expected to wear jacket and tie.  This building is located at Avenida 9 de Julio. 

 

Palermo Viejo is the former headquarters of Che Guevara.  Palermo Viejo showcases its nineteenth century old buildings and cobblestone streets which nowadays sports multiple restaurants and nightspots.  Weekends are particularly busy. 

 

Club 31 of the Buenos Aires Grand offers a refined atmosphere for enjoying a cocktail. 

 

The Cervantes Theatre is home to classical drama. 

 

 

 

CASABINDO:

 

  

 

To visit this small village one must really be determined.  Access is via a grueling, bumpy dirt track road through the 11,400-foot Argentinean Andes. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN CASABINDO:

The only redeeming reason to visit this remote locale is to view Argentina’s only remaining Toreo de Vincha - legal Bullfight of the Ribbon - albeit bloodless.  If bullfights you crave, best high tail it to Spain.  Bullfights are otherwise banned in Argentina.

 

It’s only a one day affair every August 15 culminating in a one week festival. 

 

 

 

CHALTEN MASSIF MOUNTAINS: Challenging mountain peak for mountaineers.  The Torre Traverse was successfully scaled for the first time in history in January of 2008 by two climbers.

 

 

 

EL CHALTEN:

 

  

 

El Chalten is a small town in southern Patagonia (see separate alphabetical listing for Patagonia). 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS AT EL CHALTEN:

El Chalten has often been termed the “Trekking Capital of the World.”  It is near two of South America’s most rugged mountain peaks: Mt. Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. 

 

 

 

IGUAZU (IGUASSU) FALLS (ARGENTINEAN SIDE):

 

   

 

Fly from Buenos Aires to Iguassu Falls Airport, a 90-minute flight. 

 

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP: While an overnighter is possible, plan on a minimum two-night stay, three days if you wish to go bird viewing.  Don’t risk disappointment as weather often makes the falls viewing less than ideal. 

 

Visit both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides of the falls (also see alphabetical listing of Iguassu Falls listed under Brazil).  Both sides offer a series of walkways from which you can view the falls from an over, under, and around perspective.  Nothing will prepare you for the roaring, thundering sounds and immensity of Iguassu Falls.  Devils Throat is the largest and most impressive of Iguassu’s Falls.  La Garganta del Diablo - Devils Throat also can be accessed by a short train ride through the jungle.  One hike across a series of metal bridges - butterflies are everywhere.  There’s no question that Devil’s Throat is the highlight of any Iguassu Falls visit and should not be missed.  La Gran Adventura offers all-terrain vehicle rides through the jungle to the boat tour: the Zodiac boat ride is highly recommended as you will access the most spectacular falls of Devil’s Throat from a totally different vantage point.  Be prepared to get wet, as the mist is inescapable.  With the tropical heat, you will welcome the refreshing mist. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS AT IGUASSU FALLS:

Iguassu Falls is the widest waterfall in the world, but not the tallest.  Both Victoria Falls in Zambia and Angel Falls in Venezuela are higher.  It is visited annually by over one million tourists. 

 

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP: The Brazilian side of Iguassu affords the best panoramic views.

 

 

 

The Argentine side, however, is more accessible.  The sunset views, mists mixed with rainbows are at their best from the Argentine side.

 

The best viewing months are August through October.  January through March is also opportune for seeing the falls, but the tropical temperatures can be intense and lodging is at a premium.

 

Avoid Easter, July, and January when the falls visitation is at its max. 

 

Aside from the obvious, viewing the falls, one can hike the tropical ecosystem and view the plants and wildlife, swim, and kayak. 

 

IN SEARCH OF A GOOD NIGHT’S REST AT IGUASSU FALLS:

Lodging and meals at the modern American Portal del Iguazu are excellent.  The property is located nine miles from the falls. 

 

 

 

MOUNT ACONCAGUA:

 

   

 

Mount Aconcagua provides 22,841-foot peak-mountain climbing. 

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT MOUNT ACONCAGUA:

The best time to visit Mount Aconcagua is during December, January, and March.

 

 

 

MENDOZA:

 

  

 

Mendoza is Argentina’s premier wine zone in southwest Argentina, which produces some of the world’s finest red wines – Malbec (pl: the Malbees), a plumy full-bodied red wine.  20,000-foot high mountains provide a backdrop over the city.  Greenery and the ever present poplar trees seemingly totally surround you - the direct opposite of a desert landscape.  Mendoza is a 90-minute flight from Buenos Aires. 

 

A three-night stay is ideal, with one day reserved for touring the vineyards and wineries, and another driving into the Andes to see the boundary statue of Christ the King and view the towering heights of the Aconcagua. 

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT MENDOZA:

The best time to visit Mendoza is during early March and April.

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN MENDOZA:

While you are in cowboy gaucho land, the presence of greenery and wineries tricks your mind.  Make no mistake; this is primarily wine country Argentina style with over 150 wineries.  The most visited wineries with wine tastings are all within a thirty-minute drive of Mendoza.

 

Keep in mind that things come to an abrupt halt come siesta time in Mendoza. 

·         Santa Julia Winery, located in Maipu, rewards you with both a nice winery experience and exceptional dining experience.  Guests marvel at the cheese and beef empanadas. 

·         La Garde: Old Country feel, a virtual wine museum with stacks of 1942 Semillon bottles. 

·         Finca La Anita: Another culinary treat/winery visit.  Gaucho grilled meats. 

·         Catena: Catena is located adjacent to the Finca La Anita.  Dine at Finca La Anita, but enjoy the high-tech winery techniques employed at Catena.  This is a nice wine tasting facility. 

 

Beside visiting wineries, area bicycling is extremely popular.

 

 
 

Besides grapes, Mendoza is rich in fruit orchards: visit and pick your own cherries, peaches, and loquats in November and December.  In January and February, its figs, peaches, and plums harvest time. 

 

TASTY DINING IN MENDOZA:

The unmistakable Gaucho influence shows up in the charcoal-grilled barbecued steak oriented cuisine.  Steak, however, is accompanied by local wines.  Restaurant 1884 is one of the better outposts. 

 

 

 

PAMPAS:

 

  

 

Pampas is cattle ranching, gaucho country just outside of Buenos Aires, a 1.5-hour bus ride.  It’s a page out of the American West. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN PAMPAS:

Enjoy a stay at a ranch, go horseback riding, play polo, fish or hunt.

 

The grasslands are popular with North American hunters for game birds.

 

 

 

PATAGONIA:

 

  

 

Patagonia is the southernmost tip of Argentina.  Patagonia’s landmass includes both Argentina and Chile.  Don’t expect traditional resort accommodations when visiting the area.  Adventure seeking travelers and active sportsmen will be more at home.  Hiking, fly-fishing, bicycling, scuba diving, white-water rafting, ice climbing, horseback riding, and hang gliding are all possibilities. 

 

Despite the popular lure of Magellanic penguins at Punta Tombo, Patagonia is no Serengeti when it comes to wildlife.  As a matter of fact, wildlife is scant.  The wildlife is concentrated along the Atlantic Coast at the Valdes Peninsula.

 

You should allot a two-night stay in the vicinity around Peninsula Valdes and another minimum of three days to continue to Calafate to visit Lago Argentino.  To visit the south and include Ushuaia, plan on at least a seven-night tour.

 

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN PATAGONIA:

The best time to visit Patagonia is from October through April, when there are long days and mild temperatures.  Penguin watching takes place in October.

 

Patagonia’s peak season is mid-December through February. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN PATAGONIA:

The nearest town is El Calafate.

 

Patagonia is a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.

 

While it Patagonia, enjoy hiking, horseback riding, excellent fishing (mid-November through mid-April), and viewing the iconic Magellanic penguins. 

 

  

 

Glacier Perito Moreno in Los Glaciares, in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Glacier National Park) is, in a word, spectacular: 200 feet high with waterfalls, glaciers, ice-covered mountain spires towering over bottomless fjords and green pastures.  It is Patagonia’s most photographed glacier.

 

At the base of Glacier Perito Moreno, listen for the abrupt cracking and thunder as huge chunks of ice calve into the deep and mineral rich water.

 

The area’s massive winter snowfall replenishes the glaciers annually. 

 

One could easily spend hours here.

 

The glacier is best viewed from a catwalk boardwalk viewpoint.  If adventuresome, you can ice climb the glacier’s jagged surface.  You can also hike to the panoramic overlooks of Upsala Glacier. 

 

Another day, a boat tour of the glaciers that border Lake Argentino is recommended.  Dress warmly.

 

Peninsular Valdes is the place to visit in Patagonia.  Take a custom kayaking tour for close up views of the elephant seals, Magellanic penguins, southern right whales, armadillos, rheas (native-ostrich-like birds) and guanacos (relatives to the llama). 

 

 

 

SAN ANTONIO DE ARECO:

 

  

 

San Antonio De Areco is a small town surrounded by gaucho-cattle territory. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN SAN ANTONIO DE ARECO:

Visit the Museo Gauchesco for a display of belts, buckles and blades of the Argentina cowboy.

 

The modern Museo Las Lilas displays the humorous caricatures famed country folk art illustrator Florencio Molina Campos, creator of Bambi for Walt Disney. 

 

Stay at an Estancia (ranch) and experience gaucho lifestyle firsthand.  The local estancias range from luxurious to basic-functional cattle ranch.  Enjoy the barbecue cookouts.

 

 

 

SALTA:

 

  

 

Known as “the Beautiful City,” Salta offers tropical landscape and breathtaking scenery – it’s a best kept secret outside Argentina.  It borders on Bolivia and is convenient to Peru.  Salta is a two-hour flight northwest from Buenos Aires, located in Northern Argentina.

 

The Nevadas de Cachi mountain peaks soar to 22,000 feet.

 

If visiting Salta and Jujuy, you should allow at least four days. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN SALTA:

Salta is a popular warm weather retreat for retirees, especially during Buenos Aires’ cold weather spell during July and August. 

 

Salta is blessed with Argentina’s largest central square - it is surrounded by tall Bologna-like arcades.

 

Visit the Basilica of St. Francis Assisi that sports Latin America’s tallest bell tower. 

 

Within a 300-mile loop of Salta, head towards Molinos, you’ll encounter natural scenery reminiscent of the American Southwest - an incredible array of colors including dramatic bright red peaks and mounds, rock formations, canyons and ravines - an unexpected visual treat ala New Mexico, Sedona, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.

 

 

 

Cafayate, at 6,000 feet in altitude, is rapidly becoming a competitor to Mendoza for its wineries.  White wine Torrontes is the specialty.  This is similar to Muscat-Riesling.  Michael Torino is the winery to visit. 

 

An excursion train to San Antonio de los Cobres operates April through November.  The train climbs to practically 12,000 feet during the excursion and passes through spectacular scenery in the course of its 160-mile run.  You return to Salta from a bus. 

 

Jujuy, pronounced: (“who-WHO-ee”), is nearby.  It is significant only for its colonial cathedral, the Mitre Theater and the local artisan market. 

 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN SALTA:

The Artisanal Market is known for its Andean handicrafts and Argentine folk singers performing samba.  It resembles U.S. country-western music. 

 

 

 

SEVEN LAKES DISTRICT (Argentina’s Lake District):

 

  

 

The Seven Lakes District is a 113-mile drive, 25 miles of which is unpaved, through the snow-clad Andean mountains.  The district is located two hours south of Buenos Aires near the Chilean border. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN THE SEVEN LAKES DISTRICT:

Begin in San Carlos de Bariloche, a Bavarian village straight out of the Alps, with ski shops, sweater boutiques, art galleries, fondue restaurants and chocolate shops.  Continue to Villa de la Angostura on Lake Nahuel Huspi, popular with fly fishermen.  Hiking, spa treatments, mountain biking, and kayaking are other possibilities. 

 

Continue north on Route 234 past several more lakes: biking, canoeing, trekking, kayaking, condor viewing, horseback riding, more fly-fishing and hiking. 

 

San Martin de los Andes, on the shores of Lago Lacar, is the terminus of the drive. 

 

Fishing season for salmon and trout in the Lake District is mid-November to mid-April.  President Eisenhower enjoyed fishing here. 

 

IN SEARCH OF A GOOD NIGHT’S REST IN SAN CARLOS de BARILOCHE:

 

 

 

If you’re in search of a good place to stay, visit Llao Llao Hotel and Resort Golf and Spa.

 

 

 

ARGENTINA’S PENINSULA VALDEZ REGION: (Patagonia)

 

TRELEW:

 

  

 

Trelew is the gateway to Patagonia’s Peninsula Valdez, a 90-mile drive north.  Driving at night on poorly lit gravel roads can be hazardous as one might unexpectedly encounter a collision with the ever present guanacos herds.  The tiny Guanacos, averaging twenty pounds, resemble a hare with short ears and rat’s legs - sounds awful, but kind of cute. 

 

The Peninsula Valdez is divided into 57 ranches, most bearing sheep.  12,000 elephant seals inhabit the nine miles of private beach at Estancia Rincon Chico ranch.

 

Another major sea lion enclave is at the Punta Loma reserve. 

 

If you are really adventurous, you can dive off Punta Loma and snorkel with the playful sea lions. 

 

The lagoon of Caleta Valdes and the Estancia La Elvira ranch is home to a colony of penguins and gray foxes.

 

Visit Punta Norte between February and April 8 and you’ll view orca whales as they hunt sea lions at the peak of their pupping season. 

 

 

 

The highlight of most visitors is to view the penguins at Punta Tombo, located 72 miles south of Trelew.  Punta Tombo, with upwards of 30,000 - 40,000 penguins, is home to the largest penguin colony in Patagonia.  At peak season, as many as 1.3 million penguins inhabit the area.  A boardwalk leads through the crowded burrows and bushes to the throngs of penguins.  Prime penguin viewing is from September through March, with the peak being late January through March.  There is a $7.00 fee to enter the Punta Tombo sanctuary.

 

 

 

USHUAIA:

 

  

 

Ushuaia is Argentina’s portion of Patagonia.  This former penal colony and port city is the southernmost place on earth, a three-hour flight from Buenos Aires.  It is only 620 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN USHUAIA:

The End of the World Museum is appropriately housed in a former prison.  It is filled with memorabilia of the 1800’s. 

 

Ushuaia is the gateway to visiting the Tierra del Fuego National Park. 

 

 

 

The best way of seeing Ushuaia is to ride the End of the World Train from the End of the World Station thorough the gorgeous mountain scenery.  Since you are in Patagonia, expect towering mountains, glaciers, icebergs, rugged seashores, and the famous Beagle Channel.  The train operates daily.