Monday, July 23, 2012

5 Things you must do while in Buenos Aires!

1. Go to La Bomba de Tiempo

Every Monday night a group of 15 musicians come together to play all types of percussion instruments at the Centro Cultural Konex (Saramiento 3131). Every week there is a different guest and the crowd of both tourists and locals go wild. It’s a unique experience, like nothing you’ve ever heard before. It lasts 3 hours but goes by too quickly! You’ll definitely want to go again! It's an incredible experience you don't want to miss! Every Monday, rain or shine! Plus monthly all night "Fiestas" on Saturdays.

2. Buy a Guia T (and try to master the bus lines!)
Trying to find your way around Buenos Aires can be a frightening/intimidating experience. You’ll learn quickly that the city streets are full of cars, taxis, and buses, and that if you’re crossing the street, it doesn’t mean cars will stop for you! But, don’t be scared! The bus system is incredible, anywhere you need to go there will be a bus that will take you there. 

Two life savers that help you find your way

1. the Guia-t, a tiny little guide that has a map of the city, where you find where you are, and where you want to go and it says which buses are in both areas. You can buy the guide at any Newstand and many kioscos.
2. or to find your way online, This helps you while you’re still at home. But make sure you never leave your house without your Guia t! (and you won’t look like a tourist, all the locals have them as well)

3. Have a drink in Plaza Serrano
The meeting place of Palermo, this plaza is full of people ALWAYS! With bars surrounding the entire plaza, you have plenty of options of which restaurant to choose from, and when the weather is nice (well, even when it’s not nice) you can sit outside and enjoy the Buenos Aires nightlife. Plus, if you go on the weekends there is the feria de Palermo that takes place in the plaza, so after taking a stroll around you will be very tempted to sit at one of the restaurants and people-watch!

4. Drink Mate in the park with friends
Any time the weather is nice, you pass by any park and it will be full of people of all ages..from families to friends and guarantee most, if not all, will be drinking “mate.” Although may taste strange at first, it is a custom that is shared throughout Argentina, and is a drink you must try. You can buy a mate (which is the cup your drink from) at any feria, or most street vendors, and yerbas (the herbs that go inside, looks like tea leaves more or less) can be bought in any store). Only precaution, don’t drink too much in the evening because it contains a lot of caffeine!

5. Go to the Casa Rosada at night time
La Casa Rosada, one of the top touristic destinations in Buenos Aires, located in the Centro, is always a site to see. But one thing you may not know is that at night, the entire building is lit up in pink and blue lights, and is beautiful!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Best Weekend Getaways

1. Iguazu Falls

If you ask anyone who has been to Iguazu (or las Cataratas del Iguazú ), they all say how amazing it is, that it is something you must see, and that you really will enjoy it. No matter how detailed someone explains it to you, nothing compares to actually seeing the falls face to face, it really is unbelievable. It took me 9 months of living in Buenos Aires to finally have the opportunity to go to the falls, and it truly is spectacular. Neither words nor pictures can give it justice of how immense it really is!

Located at the borders of Argentina and Brazil, in the provinces of Missiones and Paraná, the two main ways of getting there from Buenos Aires is to fly to either the Argentine Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR) or to the Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) or to take the bus to Puerto Iguazu. Depending on whether time or cost is more of a factor will affect what you choose. The flights tend to be much more expensive, however the bus ride is about 20 hours (By going by bus, you are provided with dinner and breakfast, and won’t have to pay for accommodations your first night. Schedules are located online at Omnilineas, but I’d reccommend going to the Retiro terminal and speaking with the companies directly (if you pay in cash often there is a discount)).

Once you arrive in the city, there are many hostels and hotels located in the center. I stayed in the hostel “Hostel Sweet Hostel” located two blocks from the bus station. It is very comfortable, big, and the staff was incredibly friendly, the price is extremely reasonable and there is breakfast included, a pool, and kitchen. If you are interested in stay in this apartment, let us know and we can reserve it for you!.

To go to the park, you can either join a tour, or take a bus from the bus station (which leaves every 20 minutes starting at around 8am). General admission into the park is 130 pesos, Then once you are in the park, there are many trails you can walk down to see different sides of the falls.

I would highly recommend doing a boat tour. You will find the “Iguazu Jungle” stands throughout the park (and if you go during high season I would suggest reserving with one of the tour companies located in the bus station). There are three options available: the “Paseo Gran Aventura” which travels 5.5 km on land, 2km through the rapids, and takes you through the falls. The price is $310 pesos and lasts about 1 hour. Then there is the “Paseo Aventura Nautica” which takes you through the heart of the falls. It costs $150 pesos and lasts about 15 minutes, but it is extremely exciting (but be prepared, you get very wet!). Lastly there is there is the “Paseo Ecologico” which is very tranquilo, and not as popular, but you get to experience a different side to the falls, and if you’re lucky you’ll see some very unusual animals along the river (we saw turtles and a family of crocodiles!) This boat trip lasts about 20 minutes and is $70 pesos. You also have the option of doing the Paseo ecologico (which is right next to the Garganta del diablo) and the Paseo Aventura Nautica and it is 200 pesos.

Paseo Aventura Nautica

Depending on how many trails you walk,  if you choose to go on a “paseo,” or take a stop in the park’s museum, you can spend up to 7 hours there. Especially if the weather is nice, it is a really good idea to pack a lunch and bring lots of water (there are fountains you can drink from, but we only found 2 in the entire park). Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!!

La Garganta del Diablo


2. Ushuaia
(to be written soon!)