Even if you'renot a gardener (or a painter) the colours of Argentina's flowering trees and shrubs in Spring are a delight. From the glowing red of the ceibo (the national tree) or golden shrubby calafate bushes in Patagonia (a variety of berberis - they say if you eat the berry you will come back to Patagonia) there is always something to catch the eye. Golden broom lines the roadsides all around Bariloche - it's not a native and is very invasive but there's no denying its beauty. The native berberis there is a brilliant orange - you'll see it all through the forests.
The jungles of Iguazu are home to all sorts of strange plants - including aerial-rooted epiphytes that crowd the branches of trees along the walkways.
It's the jacarandas of Buenos Aires that fill the eye completely though as they cast a glorious purple haze over the city.
If you'll be wanting to call home while in Argentina there are several options. There are locotorios which are telephone booths inside a building but are somewhat expensive, you can bring an international phone card from home though you'll be charged quite a bit for this.
I discovered while I was down there that you can go to a locotorio, ask for an Hablemas phone card (they come in different amounts 5, 10, 20 pesos) and call home using that. To call the United States I got 1 hour and 6 minutes for a 10 peso card which at the current exchange rate of 3.12 works out to be less than $.05 per minute! The connection was wonderful and the number you dial initially is a toll free number so that you can use it anywhere.
Parque Nacional los Glaciares is definitely the best place to stay. There are two parts: the northern and the southern parts. North, you have El Chalten, very liitle town of the end of the World. It is definitely more an End Of The World town than Ushuaia, for example. It is the little town where all climbers go before going for Fitz Roy. You really feel this mountain atmosphere, which I really love. From there, there are many trekk trips available, close to the FR. So many beautiful landscapes... Just remember that abandoned wooded bar in the middle of nowhere in the mountain, that little pacific blue lake on the top of the trip, just at the foot of the Fitz Roy. Very lonely and desertic place, but amazing and beautiful by its representation. Very strong and cold wind there!
South, El Calafate.
Don't hesitate to take the one day trip by boat, at the Uppsala glacier. There I met very nice people. Just hope we will stay friends for ever... Remeber this lake with icebergs, whereas the outdoor temperature was around 18° ! Just imagine how cold the nights must be there :-)
And of course, 10 kms from El Calafate: el Perito Moreno. Just one of the most beautiful glaciar in the world... and still active. I remember this big part of rock falling down in the water, and showing its 100000 year old crystal blue ice ....
just amazing, fantastic....time stopping
I had been warned that the Argentines are fond of meat, but there's some other things on the menu that are Argentine staples:
Milanesa - Like a flat Chicken Kiev (not entirely sure the meat is chicken) covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried. usually served with chips - mmmm, healthy!
Empanada - Like a mini cornish pasty - usually served as a starter.
Salad - Unless otherwise stated, the salads are just lettuce and tomato.
Mate - The Argentines are addicted to the mate, which is a hot water added to leaves and sucked through a metal straw. A sociable drink, the mate is passed around groups for everyone to share.
Chivito - Another artery blocker, this is a mound of chips, topped with a few animals worth of meat and served on a tiny portion of salad.
Vegetarians will have a pretty hard time in Argentina, although there are quite a few pasta options on the menu - the Italian immigrants influence!
As for drinks, the Argentine Malbec wine is very nice, the coffee is great (but they find it strange if you ask for a milky coffee after 6pm) and dulce de leche is a dream for lovers of sweet things!
Is the official government web site and offers some really useful information as well as links to the provincial tourist web sites. I find it most helpful in traveling around the country.
Off course all travellers have their passports when crossing the Argentinean border. Sometimes we forget to carry one if making day trips or when shopping. I would recommend always to carry a (copy) of your passport when travelling or touring IN Argentina.
There are a lot of occasions where you have to show your passport or a copy, for instance:
- paying with a credit card;
- sometimes when visiting special sights (for instance the Palacio del Congresso in Bs As);
- changing money;
- renting a car;
- checking in hotels etc;
- police check points on the roads;
- buying tickets (bus/plane);
- (off course your original passport) making a day trip out of the country (Brazil, Uruguay or Chile).
(If you are entering or leaving the country the immigration officers ‘love’ to stamp your passport.)
There is a beautiful little seaport about two hours from Buenos Aries just off routa 11 named Gral Lavalle.
It is so quaint and from what I am told has great fishing. There is a little seafood store there where you can buy the days catch.
The water is blue and the weather is great.
I am looking forward to scuba diving there.
Fondest memory: When we went to see a peice of property nearby that we are buying I rode a four wheeler to the shore. While crossing the plain I saw a deer in the distance running. Apparently we had startled him along with the flock of pink flamingos we saw wading in the water. They flew out about 100 yards off shore and I took a couple of pictures. They came out as very nice little black dots. Hmmm.
I need a new camera.
Favorite thing: When I was in Patagonia in March of 2005 I saw a great newspaper called "Traveller's Guru." It was all about Patagonia. The website is travellersguru.com if you'd like a preview. The newspaper's audience is intended to be for backpacker, adventure travellers and anyone looking to save a few pesos. It seemed quick common as I found it in Buenos Aires and almost every bus stop south. It's all in English so it's accessible to many different travellers (I suppose English is the new Latin).
Favorite thing: W.H. Hudson was an Anglo-Argentinean writer of the 19th century. His training and passion was the flora and fauna of South America and especially the study of birds. For anyone wanting to read a good book about tavel, adventure and the nature of Patagonia then read "Idle Days In Patagonia." (It's especially meaningful during or after a trip. It does whet one's idea of the region before, however.) It also wrote of Uruguay in "The Purple Land."
Favorite thing: Argentina shares the Iguazu falls with Brazil but has the more spectacular side of it, where you can get closer to the falls and take a boat ride on the river. The Brazilian side offers more of a panoramic overview of the falls. To appreciate iguazu, it is recommended to visit both sides.
....., I would take her to see the Tango and dance.
if she likes Natures..going countryside..such a diversity this Country has.Patagonia, the Andes
and there is the wine in Rosario or Mendoza
Fondest memory: it was not an easy going Country, lots of tension then, but also with a lot of passion!!
Mare del Plata and the Atlantic Ocean, Argentinas Costa del Sol or french Riviera. ....but be aware, Argentina has quite a coolish winter season
Fondest memory: having a good time, summer sun and ocean
Favorite thing: http://www.dolarsi.com/ is a great web site for monitoring the exchange rates. One word of advice many of the cambios lower their rates on the weekend and then raise them again on Monday. One close to me last Saturday posted a 2.82 rate and on Monday it was 2.92. So exchange your money on Thursday or wait until Monday/
There are many schools in BA offering Spanish classes. Shop around.
I went to the CENTRO UNIVERSITARIO DE IDIOMAS, which is the language school of University of Buenos Aires. It is NOT the cheapest but I found it good. There are 6 levels and you have to sit for a placement test.
Unlike the language schools catering for TOURISTS (which can be more expensive and very intensive), in this centre, the students are usually living or working in Buenos Aires.
As a result, the course is not a cramp-every-morsel-down-your-throat sort. It is a slow and steady course. There is a lot of drilling of the same thing during a level. While you may learn 'more' in a tourist-oriented language school for the same period, you learn DEEPER here.
It depends on your preference. You may not have the luxury of time and hence, need to study Spanish like a tourist and not like a foreigner living there.
School is located at Junin 508.
website : http://www.cui.edu.ar
There are some advantages and disadvantages of studying Spanish in Argentina.
Firstly, the pronunciation here is very different for many words and the speed is very fast.
For a pure beginner, after learning Argentine Spanish, you may have problems understanding Spanish spoken in other countries like Peru, due to the differences in pronunciation because this is the only pronunciation you know.
For someone who already knows some Spanish, you may have difficulty understanding Argentine Spanish in the beginning but this just needs some time to get used to.
But due to the fact that they speak very fast and unclearly, after being trained in Argentina, you will find it a breeze talking to and understanding people from Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba.
Favorite thing: Witness to the most important events in Argentinean history, Plaza de Mayo is surrounded by such symbolic buildings such as the Cabildo, the Cathedral, and the Casa Rosada, offices of the President of the Nation.
Spent three nights there in April 05. My eyes roll to the back of my head when I think of their...more
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Have to give this place 5*s. lovely accomadation, great hosts that really look after you. A short...more
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