2023 Trip to Argentina: Buenos Aires (and Tigre), Mendoza, Bariloche and Iguazú
September 17th to October 1st, 2023
Our trip through Argentina (and a little bit of Brazil) began and ended with the city of Buenos Aires. Our first hotel was the Loi Suites in the Recoleta neighborhood, very close to the famous Recoleta Cemetary and a short walk to some nice parks and museums:
When we had a free day, I got a close look at the Generic Flower sculpture, then went to the Japanese Tea Garden, MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
We toured the city, stopping at the Plaza de Mayo where the main government buildings are located. The equivalent of the U.S. White House is the Pink House, i.e. Casa Rosada on one side of the plaza.
We later went to the colorful neighborhood of La Boca, famous for the Boca juniors football club, walking down the Caminito to the small port area. Later we went to the Puerto Madero neighborhood, a newer port area along the Rio de Plata, for dinner at Sorrento restaurant.
Another dinner included an elaborate Tango show; actually Tango, Andean folk ensembles, a spirited tribute to Evita Peron, and an impressive boleadora dance which turned the bolo weapons into rhythmic accompaniment.
We took a short ride out of Buenos Aires by bus to the nearby city of Tigre. It was a cool, windy day, but the only way to see Tigre is by boat. We floated by, looking at the houses of this unique riverfront community, where boats are the only means of transport. When we got off at the Tigre Puerto de Frutas waterfront market, we were ready to warm up at a Havanna: an Argentine chain specializing in coffee, chocolate and alfajores.
From Buenos Aires, we flew West to the Uco Valley city of Mendoza: Argentina's Wine Country. Mendoza has a nice central park, which was filled with students: the first day of Spring is Students' Day in Argentina. Rather than look around Mendoza city, some of us went up to where a resevoir feeds the Uco Valley and had a nice lunch, watching people go zip-lining. The main attraction, of course, are the wine tours. I especially enjoyed Salentein Winery, and tried to bring home a bottle, which had a tragic end as we went to board our flight to Bariloche.
Bariloche looks like Switzerland! We took the Aerosilla (same as a ski lift, and pronounced "Aero-see-sha" here) to get a great view of mountains and lakes, having lunch where the house specialty is Apple Strudel.
We stayed at the Estancia Peuma Hue, in cabins at the base of the mountains by a lake. Most of us hiked, sometimes accompanied by Evie, the owner of the Estancia, who manages it in a very "new age" style. There were hand-drawn trail maps, often hard to follow, but also helpful dogs who would somtimes lead the way. The horses had free run of the field around the cabins, and were incredibly friendly.
From Bariloche in the South, we flew to Iguazú in the North, where the famous Falls border Brazil. We stayed at La Reserva Virgin Lodge in Iguazú National Park, but spent most of our time touring the Falls. Some of us took a boat directly into the Falls: very wet, but a lot of fun.
We had time to cross the border and see the Falls from the Brazilian side. Same Falls, but very different views.
The cloudy weather led to our Full Moon tour of the Falls being cancelled, but we had time for a visit to the Guiroga refuge for injured and abandoned animals before heading back to Buenos Aires.
Back to Buenos Aires
Back in Buenos Aires, we stayed at the Anselmo Hotel in the lively San Telmo neighborhood - especially lively when a festival started directly outside the hotel. We had time to tour the famous Teatro Colon Opera house as well as enjoy the festival and nearby museums.
We were able to reunite at dinner with our guide, Fede, at La Brigada Parrilla restaurant, which is decorated floor-to-ceiling in football (soccer) paraphernalia. Another San Telmo attraction for me especially was the Eureka record shop, a great place for vinilos (vinyl LPs).