A trip to Argentina - tango, gauchos and amazing waterfalls.
by jessparkin on May 28, 2010
The Buller Pub and Restaurant was a place that we stumbled across after having walked the streets of Buenos Aires all day. We were in dire need of a refreshing beer and wanted to try something local. The concierge of our hotel recommended the Buller Pub to us saying that it was a favourite with his rugby team due to its sensational beer. The Buller Pub is a micro brewery selling a great range of beers that they make on the premises. You therefore don't have to worry about "food miles" - it is just there. The pub has a lovely garden and on a sunny evening you can sit out (as we did) enjoying nibbles or dinner and a drink. Even if it is raining there are garden heaters and a cover to make sure that you can still sit outside. Inside there are plenty of tables for eating and drinking.The staff are fantastic, friendly, welcoming and pleased to be asked for a recommendation of what to drink.Type of foodRanges from the Buenos Aires staples of pizza, pasta and steaks through to bar nibbles - try the onion rings which are unmissable. They are the largest I have ever seen and taste fantastic. BeersThe pub sells a great range of beer includingLagers - blond, wheat, strawberry, strongBitters - a wide varietyThe Honey beer - now this, is again not to be missed. It is the yummiest tasting beer, slightly sweet but not overly so and very light and refreshing. The downside? well of course there is one and it has to be the 8% yes 8% alcohol content. I ordered a half pint and was feeling it after less than half so had to order a wheat beer and give hubby the rest. Overall this is a fantastic place to eat and drink. Great tasting beers, succulent steaks and good salads and sides. The dulche de leche icecream is also worth tasting.Prices were very reasonable, hubby had a 300gm steak for £4 with chips and salad on the side and swears it was one of the best he has ever eaten. If you are in BA give this place a try!
Iguazu Falls are one of the great natural wonders of the world and I would suggest a must see for every visitor to Argentina or Brazil.They are located on the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and can be viewed from both the Argentine and Brazilian side.When we visited we stayed in Foz de Iguazu - the nearest town to the falls on the Argentine side. From here we visited the falls from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides.How did we get there?A flight from Buenos Aires to Foz de Iguazu. We were incredibly lucky it was an amazing sunny day and the pilot decided to show off his piloting skills by doing a scenic fly past of the falls themselves. He flew round and round allowing both sides of the aeroplane to get an amazing view and take some good pictures. Not only was this great fun but it saved us having to do a helicopter ride at the falls to see them from the air thus saving us lots of money.Where to stay?There are hotels in Foz de Iguazu to meet all budgets and the local tour companies will pick you up and take you to the national park containing the falls for day trips. If you have got lots of money stay at the Sheraton Hotel in the national park. You can sit on the verandah and watch the sun setting, listening to the rush of water and watching the amazing wildlife. How long do I stay?I would recommend at least two days. It is worth spending a day on the Argentine side of the border at the falls and another day on the Brazilian side as they are completely different experiences. You could also spend a day chilling out in town or at your hotel.The Argentine sideWe did this as a day trip and were picked up from our hotel and taken to the national park. On the Argentine side you get to see the falls individually. So you walk around trails, spotting wildlife as you go and getting wet from the spray. The trails take you very close to the falls and you have to be there to appreciate the sheer beauty and strength of the falling water. You can walk right out along a walkway called the Devils Throat. This takes you out above one of the waterfalls and is completely exhilerating!Additional options to just being in the park include paying extra for a jungle ride and a boat ride. We did both. The four wheel drive vehicles take you steaming through the jungle, you can spot all types of marsupials and other strange creatures including lizards and birds. This is fun. We also took a power boat ride up to three of the falls. Prepare to be soaked to the skin and take your swim wear and wear it, otherwise you might be cold and damp afterwards! The boat takes you as close as you could possibly go to one of the most powerful waterfalls and was again an experience not to be missed. The boat is bumpy and I challenge you not to laugh, and scream when you think you are going to be dunked under the waterfall!OVerall a fantastic, active day. The Brazilian sideThe next day we went over the border to Brazil, so remember to take you passport. If you go on an organised trip (booked in town) then it is very easy on the border. Again you enter the national park and it is mainly a walking day. The big difference on this side of the park is that you get a panoramic view of the falls. Instead of walking around and seeing one at a time you get to appreciate the whole lot. It is a stunning contrast and I would definitely do both. Expect to see monitor lizards and humming birds too. The trip included a fantastic lunch at a Brazilian barbeque restaurant before heading back to our hotel.We had an amazing time at the falls and I cannot recommend them enough to anyone!
by jessparkin on May 17, 2010
Buenos Aires is a big city with something to see on every corner. Now you can walk and take your chances of missing something really cool or you can take a guided bike tour to see many of the highlights.Lan and Kramer run guided bike tours daily, morning and afternoon from the San Martin monument. Each tour has two guides who speak both English and Spanish and numbers are limited for safety. Bikes with super comfortable seats (yes really) helmets, bike locks, child seats and water are all provided so you just need to turn up, possibly with some sun screen. There are a choice of routes - so you can ask when you get there. We chose to do the Tigre, San Isidro tour which lasts for around 4 hours and is low difficulty. It leaves at 9.30 and 14.00.The tours attempt to stay off the main roads for the vast majority of the tour (which is just as well as the traffic is VERY SCARY!!!!!) but there is some cycling in traffic to be done. The guides, Barbara and Jessica were fantastic - they looked after us all and helped us through the very short difficult bit. After that the cycling was easy and there was little traffic to worry about. If you had fallen off and hurt yourself they did have medical kits.The guides really know their stuff. We rode through some of the most interesting areas of town including parks, revolutionary sites and past the huge football stadium. The guides were able to tell us all sorts of interesting facts about gossip, politics and history. They made good jokes and took great photos too. We also got a free ice cream which really made the afternoon.What is brilliant about this tour is that you get some exercise while getting to see the flavour of the city. We got to watch some live tango on the streets which we would never have found by ourselves. We were kept safe and really felt that we were well informed by the guides.The prices are cheap for what you get and the guides were gracious and surprised when given a tip for their services. Both were medical students working for the summer so you are helping the country by tipping. If it is raining you will be given rain gear and it is very unusual that a trip is cancelled. I was also very impressed by the choice of routes. As BA is a huge city you probably could not do the whole city by bike in one day (although there is a full day trip with lunch) but I thought that 10 hours of cycling would be too much for me.This excursion is suitable for families or young couples alike or any reasonably fit and active adults. The cycling is manageable and you are given lots of photo stops. There was one hill on our route which had us panting but you could stop at the top for amazing views of BA so it was totally worth it.Overall with the great guides and amazing sites to be seen this is thoroughly worthwhile excursion.
by jessparkin on April 23, 2010
Recoleta Cemetery is a strange tourist attraction in BA. It is, as is often quoted by the Argentines "free for the living and very expensive for the dead!". It is known as the place to be buried in Buenos Aires if there is such a thing and everyone who WAS anyone ends up here!Now why is that? Well, your final resting place will be with the great and good including (but not limited to)Evita22 different presidentsNumerous politiciansDancersActorsThe list goes on! Many families spend their life savings getting their dead in there!To visit - is easy, entrance is free although you can buy a map of the many famous graves.Once inside the cemetery is unusual in that it is laid out like a city with streets and each house is a family plot! grisly though it is many of the plots have subsided somewhat and you can see bones if you look in. Not one for the squeamish!The atmosphere is spooky but strangely restful. Wander around the gothic stone streets admiring the architecture and avoiding the skulls! There are cats everywhere in the cemetery, they sun themselves on the roof of a tomb or wander around making spooky noises. Definitely adds to the atmosphere!Once you have had your fill of looking at the amazing building structures take a stroll across the road to one of two locations. One is the ice cream cafe opposite which sells the best duche du leche ice cream. The other is a micro brewery and bar selling the delicious but lethal honey beer 8% alcahol. Either is a good place to toast being in the land of the living!
by jessparkin on April 21, 2010
We stayed at this hotel which is a relatively small, but very comfortable hotel in central BA. It is walkable from here to main parks and squares, plus the recoleta cemetery (where all the rich and famous are buried!).The rooms were very comfortable - we had a king sized bed which was a perfect firmness, not too hard or soft. There was also a sofa and a giant TV with satellite services and english speaking channels. Each room has heating and air conditioning which is really important as it got very humid and hot in BA. It was lovely to come into a nice cool room. Each room is ensuite with a toilet, sink, shower, bath and bidet so you are well set for taking your time in the bathroom. We had a fridge too and were able to keep our own beers cool plus our water. The rooms are cleaned to a very high standard and are also turned down for you in the evening. A yummy chocolate on the pillow is just an extra treat when you go to bed. Free internet access is offered in the lobby - but be prepared to queue at peak times - there are just two terminals. Breakfast is included within the price and takes the form of a buffet. The food was pretty standard fare - the fruit juice was not freshly squeezed and is best avoided and the coffee is a little rough around the edges. I would recommend sticking to tea as there is a great selection of tea bags from Earl Grey to Peppermint and lots of other herbal teas too. The food was great, lots of fresh fruit, pastries, breads and cereals. Definitely try a croissant with Dulche du Leche which is basically a caramel flavoured jam (although not technically a jam - more like chocolate spread). It is out of this world and we now regularly eat this at home for breakfast!The staff at this hotel are extremely helpful and friendly - get the concierge talking about rugby and he is your mate forever. We even had to swap an All Black hat for a Pumas one before we were allowed to leave! That said we had received such great service that we wanted to give him the hat but he made us promise to wear the Pumas hat at an All Black game! At least some of the staff speak English - ask anyone on reception for assistance and they are only too happy to help. We were able to book day trips and were given recommendations for fantastic restaurants here. If you want to know where to buy a great steak just ask.Overall a reasonably priced hotel with friendly staff and centrally located. Highly recommended.
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