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!)

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