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martin mallia
New member
Username: Martboy

Post Number: 1
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 5:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi everyone

I am new to this forum so hello to all. I have just booked my holiday to Argentina with my girlfriend. We arrive in BA on 4th December in the morning, and leave BA on 23rd December in the afternoon and am trying to get together an itinerary for the 3 or so weeks. I know you must get this a lot, so apologies if this seems repetitive, but these are the places that we would like to see:

BA, Iguazu Falls, Salta, Mendoza, El Calafate (for the glaciers) and a few days in Montevido Uruguay at the end.

Basically, i would like to know what is the best route for all of this, how to get to each place (and the time and cost of both flying and bus), how long to spend in each place, what there is to see, and if it is maybe trying to do too much in too short a time. If anything, I think we could do with chosing one of Salta and Mendoza if we need to cut something. Any ideas which?

Sorry if this seems like a lot, but its is such a huge place and its very daunting trying to plan. Any information that anyone thinks would be useful for our trip it would be hugley appreciated.

Thanks.

Martin
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1896
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 05, 2009 - 7:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Martin, welcome! Please apologize for the delay in answering. I am a little overwhelmed lately. First, I think you probably have plenty of time to visit all areas. Your biggest risk maybe at the end of the trip getting close to the holidays when some services may be less offered. Since Dec 24/25 will be close to a weekend (Th and Fri) I am pretty sure many argentines will just make that a whole week of vacation. Bottom line is that whatever you do by that date you should have reservations in advance. This applies to the ferry for Colonia or Montevideo in particular.

Briefly, you can do:

BA 2 nights
Iguazu 2 nights
Mendoza 3 nights
Calafate 3 nights
Ba 1 night
Montevideo 2 nights
--------------------
13 days.

I have not included Salta because it is a different route. You can make a round BA-Mendoza-Calafate-BA, but Salta is off and will require that you fly-connect through Buenos Aires.

The time alloted to each destination above is the minimum to make the trip worthwhile. You can add from here. You could conceivably travel to Mendoza by overnight bus and save but then Calafate is left hanging. The best way to get to Calafate is by plane and I would not even waste time researching buses. Since you have to make that destination by plane this is why I suggested the round BA-Mendoza-Calafate-BA.

Iguazu is also a different route. This one will be BA-Iguazu-BA and you can choose bus or flight. Problem here are the tours in Iguazu that start in the morning. Traveling by bus may make you miss departures and then you have a day lost. Best here too is flying.

And then is Salta, which doesn't fit any route but it is really worth visiting. Unfortunately, flying will be costly specially for a foreigner.

As for what to see, in general, you may have up to 3 choices in each destination ranging from full days excursions to half day. Think of 1 full day in Iguazu National Park and the half day excursion next day (like riding the rubber boat below the falls). In Mendoza you have many choices but the essential ones are visiting "the Cordillera" up in the mountains as well as visiting wineries/vineyards and Olive fields/Olive oil plants. These are 2 different days. You should leave one additional day for visiting the city itself which is beautiful. Mendoza City has a gigantic public park that you must go to. In Calafate, you may also do 3 excursions but more likely two (besides 1 glacier, you may get 1 estancia but sometimes visitors do 2 glaciers in 2 different locations). It all depends on the trip you want and this is why it is important to discuss it with a travel agent.

Feel free to ask and we can try narrow this down a bit.
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martin mallia
New member
Username: Martboy

Post Number: 2
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 12:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Roberto

Thank you for your message back. It is hugley appreicated having you on board to help us plan this trip.

We have decided (as for now as we may change our minds when we are there) to miss Salta and spend more time on route like you suggested in your itinerary above. I have been reading around and i know most if not all flights all go through BA, so if we were in Mendoza, would we need to fly back to BA and then fly back down to Calafate? You said it is not worth looking into buses, but how long would a bus (if they go) take from Mendoza to Calafate? Or would a bus to Barlioche and then a flight to Calafate work maybe?

How much are internal return flights from BA - Iguazu, BA - Mendoza, and BA - Calafate?. From my research I am confused as I am not sure if everything is in Arg$ or US$

Is it cheapest to wait until we get to BA to book our flights/hotels etc? Will a travel agent be able to sort out Flights, accomodation and tours all in one package from BA? Would you advise trying to 'do it ourselves' or would this not be a good idea? You mentioned that at this time of year our last week may fall on a vacation, would be have enough time to book everything within our first few nights of being in BA, or would you recommend booking things from England like the boat to Uruguay etc?

As for things to do while we are there, all of your suggestions sound great. There are a few things on our list which we would love to do that you didnt mention, and would appreciate any advise on how/where is best to do them, and if we would need to go anywhere else on our trip to fit it in. We would love to go horse riding and stay at a Gaucho (any recomendations on actual gauchos?), go to watch a live football match and see the penguins etc.

Lastly, what will the weather be like in BA, Iguazu, Mendoza and Patagonia at this time of year. Will we need to pack shorts for the north and wrap up warm in Calafate?

Thanks again Roberto, your help is much appreciated.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1900
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 5:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

A bus from Mendoza to Bariloche and a flight to Calafate could be a very nice choice. The bus trip will probably be spectacular. Check the map for aerolineas flights and you can see which routes are non-stop. This booking should be done by an agent. There are too many moving parts and if one falls apart it will affect the rest of the trip considerably. Some legs may be easier than others for whatever reason. For example, there may be a substantial supply of flights to Iguazu so not to worry. Same for Uruguay ferry. But I am not sure about Bariloche/Calafate. Specially the latter one. There is always greater demand for these destinations. On the other hand, tourism has dropped tremendously so it is possible that you can do a late booking and be fine.

A good and experienced travel agent can organize the whole package for you, including a soccer match and the gaucho part. Staying overnight at a Estancia can be expensive, but worthwhile and different. There is a gentleman here who owns an establishment but I have to get his nick/handle. For horse riding you only need a day at a Estancia without having to spend the night.

I think you got the weather reading correct. Iguazu very hot and humid. BA hot. Mendoza (also somewhat hot, is very dry) and Patagonia fine with t-shirts throughout the day and colder/cold weather at night. I don't have prices unfortunately. That will be my mother who is in front of a Galileo/Sabre screen and we are 5000 miles apart. If you want to get in touch with her just click on the link "contact us" at the top right corner and send her a message. She can also answer some of these question in greater detail.
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martin mallia
New member
Username: Martboy

Post Number: 3
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2009 - 9:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Roberto
Thank you for you latest response. I think we now have our itinerary down, BA - Iguazu - Mendoza - Calafate - Montevido - BA and are looking to book various legs of the trip.

We are set for Buenos Aires so no worries there.

Do you have any recommendations for companies that would do good but cheap packages for Iguazu Falls. We have recently got a quote, which includes return flights BA to Iguazu, for 3 nights in a 3* hotel and tours of both Argentina and Brazil sides which is $680 each. Does this sound reasonable to you?

Mendoza we are going to catch the bus, and will play it by ear here. Really just want to relax, tour the wineries and the andes which i cant see being too difficult to do through a good hotel. Is it safe to wait to book these activities once in Mendoza?

Calafate, we would love to stay at an Estancia but still see the Glaciers and Argentina Lago river, national park etc? We have found a place we like called Nibepo Aike www.nibepoaike.com.ar. Do you know anything about this place? If this turns out too expensive, we may look to stay somewhere in El Calafate and book a tour from there. Would you know how far Calafate is from the main attractions here? And even any good companies offering package deals at good prices?

I think Montevido should be fairly easy to figure out too.

Thanks again for your help here, its much appreciated.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1903
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2009 - 11:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Martin, is that $680 dollars or pesos? Also, make sure it includes excursions and transfers. And will the hotel offer you "media pension", that is, breakfast? I will check with Erna and write back tomorrow but I will need to know a precise date for the Iguazu flight, which week is this happening?

re: Mendoza
I believe so. Mendoza has quite good accomodations. The excursions you can book at your hotel. They are very common and in most cases very affordable. You can do 2 wineries in one day and the Andes next day. The wineries will probably include olive oil fields. Make sure to visit Chacras de Coria. I did that with a private driver that took us there and we spent one afternoon.

Not sure I understand your inquiry about Calafate. The main thing you need to know is that there isn't much there. As I understand it, it is a fairly inhospitable environment so I don't think there will be great difference between staying straight in Calafate or in that hostel. The hostel may have better view and more isolation. Their website has their rates by the way. You will need one day for Perito Moreno and another day for Upsala glacier. Usually, this trip will include a visit to one estancia over there and you can request a night but it is going to be expensive. I will have to ask Erna for more information to make sure I am up to date. Calafate, unlike Mendoza, will require that you have the entire enchilada stitched together.

Yes, Montevideo is the simple part. However, make sure to nail that one down upon arrival. You want to go to Iguazu/Mendoza/Calafate free of any possible headaches. More tomorrow.
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martin mallia
New member
Username: Martboy

Post Number: 4
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Friday, August 28, 2009 - 4:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sorry, forgot to put the currency in. This is the email that I received with a break down. Just wanted to know if this seems a good price, or of we could do it any cheaper.

Local Air Itinerary

   AR2728 08DEC  AEPIGR   1145A  130P                        
   AR2725 11DEC  IGRAEP    120P  310P            
                        
                             
Land Arrangements

Iguazu
December 08 - Transfer from Iguazu Airport to Hotel
December 08 - 11 - 3 nights - Saint George Hotel (3*)- 1 Standard Room - Breakfast -Tax
December 09 - Argentina Falls and Devils Throat tour including park entrance fee
December 09 - Great Adventure Tour
December 10 - Half Day Brazil Falls Tour
December 11 - Transfer to Airport

Based on Double Occupancy, in per person $669.00 USD including local flights and Land Package.

Thanks for the information on el calafate. So from what you are saying there isn't much to do in the town itself. So it's mainly used as a stop over for treks to the glaciers etc? We were thinking of spending 5 days there, but would you say that once the treks have been done there isn't too much else to do?

About montevido, I have heard it's cheaper but the same time to get the boat to colonia and then bus to montevido? Would this be the beat option? I tried to book a boat on buquebus (forgive the spelling) for around the 19th December but the website says there are none available. Any idea why this would be?

Sorry for all the questions but slowly but surely getting there. Thanks
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1904
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, August 28, 2009 - 3:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

That price sounds about right for Iguazu. You may be able to cut $10 or $20 from that but that is about it. I would always do Colonia/Montevideo just so that I could visit Colonia which is very picturesque. You may have to keep trying with buquebus, that's the deal with latinamerican companies... nothing set in stone.
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martin mallia
New member
Username: Martboy

Post Number: 5
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Monday, September 14, 2009 - 10:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Roberto
has been a while since my last post. I have been looking into medoza recently and looked in the area of Chacras de Coria that you recommended. We have found some nice places to stay there, but how fat away is it fr the main town and the winerys/Andes etc. Would you suggest staying central and visiting the area, or is chacras close enough to everything to stay there? If so, can you recommend anywhere to stay that is reasonably cheap and ideally has a pool and can organise tours etc. I have looked at finca adalgisa which I saw you recommend in a different thread which looks amazIng but a bit too expensive for us. Any help there would be great. Thanks
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1929
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, September 14, 2009 - 1:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Distance -or how it feels- sometimes is relative in that it is subjective. When I visited, it felt it was just close enough to everywhere. If I remember correctly, we drove not more than 15 minutes from downtown to get there. For visiting the Andes it does not matter because you will still have to travel a long way. This is a full day excursion. For shopping you may have to get a remise but this may also be inexpensive. Let me check with Erna about cheaper options for Chacras.

Staying at Chacras can make your trip more atypical and interesting. You will be 10 miles away from the city. This would be a more "rural" experience.
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WTMendoza.com
Advanced Member
Username: Welcometomendoza

Post Number: 468
Registered: 7-2007


Posted on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 7:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Roberto!

As you may remember, there are lots of hotels in Chacras but only a handful that are within reasonable walking distance to the village. I have the luxury of living 7 blocks away from the village square myself:-) (bragging acknowledged:-))
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1930
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 11:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sean, good to hear from you again!

Would that be the same luxury of seeing the snowed peaks of the Andes while you sip your morning coffee? :-)

About Chacras, do you happen to have a few names of accommodations reasonably priced, reasonably close to the square that you can share?

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