Anyone been to Buenos Aires? Can anyone recommend what to do (bike-related or other) or where to live/visit?
Any advice appreciated... Was supposed to be doing the trip/move with my boyfriend, but that's not happening anymore so had better plan something other than the flight before I get there...
You can take the boat over the water to the nearby country to visit Colonia and Montevideo. Montevideo in particular has a cemetery with shrubs growing on the heads of various statues and some friendly cats. Much more friendly than those in Recoletta, Buenos Aires. At least, that is how it was when I was there.
Thanks Cip!! Very nice bit of info there, I look forward to some friendly cats :)
Spent two months in Argentina and Chile in Nov/Dec 2008 with the Mrs.
Flew to Buenos Aries and stayed in an apartment in San Telmo for a week. Lots to wander around and do from there (it's easy to walk to most places). Evening meals in the market squares with the locals having dance competitions. Remember having a great steak at Desnivel there (then again, the food in most places in Argentina is great). Didn't do anything bike related. Went to watch River Plate play football. Day trip to Colonia was good. Lots of museums, galleries and other sights, mostly picked from the Rough Guide book. The cafe at the bus station is amazing. Booked Tren-Patagonico train tickets. (US dollars are the best things to have to change locally).
From there went by coach (very comfy, they do long distance coaches well) to Viedma. Day trip to the beach at El Condor (desolate, nothing open, ended up waiting for 2 hours in a petrol station drinking beer waiting for the return bus).
Viedma and Carmen de Patagones were ok, a few things to see and do, but the main reason to go there is that's where the Tren Patagonico train went from.
24 hour train journey to San Carlos de Bariloche. Stunning scenery from the train and once you get there (it's where my avatar pic was taken). Few days there walking and taking a ferry trip to the far end of Lago Nauel Huapi and a waterfall.
Some of the Ruta de Siete Lagos by coach to Villa La Angostura and then another coach, over the border, to Osorno and another coach to Puerto Montt.
2 or 3 days in Puerto Montt. Amazing steak a la pobre (for me) and crab (for the wife). Luckily got tickets for the weekly Navimag ferry down to Puerto Natales. Spent the days before the ferry sorting out clothing for colder climate (and hopefully some trekking) and finding the mythical laundromat (eventually found one in a supermarket). Also planned ahead a bit and booked a flight (Punta Arenas to Santiago). Booking a lot easier by visiting a local travel agent, no chance of doing it online back then unless you were a local (USD prices also much higher than the locals could pay).
3 nights and 4 days on the Navimag ferry. Amazing views from the boat through the fjords and plenty of cheesy entertainment. Stopped off at Puerto Eden on the way and another stop at a glacier.
A couple of nights in Puerto Natales as we booked and got ready for a 5 day walk in Torres del Paine national park. Utterly stunning. Stayed in refugios so didn't have to carry any camping equipment, did the whole thing with small day rucksacks. The hostel in Puerto Natales looked after our stuff for us whilst we were away. Stayed there another night after the park and got a coach to Ushuaia.
3 nights in Ushuaia. Walked up from sea level to the glacier. Boat trip along the beagle channel to Estancia Harberton, horribly choppy return trip, boat crew said it was the worst seas they'd ever encountered!
Back on a coach to Punta Arenas. A few days there to recover (steak + beer). Nothing really happening in the town except fierce winds and stray dogs. Got our flight from there up to Santiago.
3 days in the capital. Great city, loads to see and do. Went swimming in a pool halfway up El Cerro. Day trip to Valparaiso (funiculars) and Vina del Mar (beach).
Coach over the border again to Mendoza and wine country (I don't drink wine but Mrs GB enjoyed a tour or two of some local vineyards). Nice chilled city.
Off to Cordoba (by coach naturally). Bloody hot there. I had some bug and spent most of the time there in bed. Also planned ahead and booked another flight (Iguazu to Buenos Aries) whilst we were here. Local travel agent again.
After a couple of nights in Cordoba (me still not feeling 100%) pushed on to Posadas (on the way towards Iguazu). Mrs GB visited the local missions as I took to my bed again.
One final coach trip up to Iguazu and stayed there for 3 days. Arrived and wandered around town, various bars and restaurants and wandered up to the fork in the river where Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil all meet. Hung around with a Dutch couple who were good company.
Next day was a visit to the Argentinian side of Iguazu falls. Simply stunning. Utterly amazing. The day after we nipped on a local bus to the Brazilian side (bus driver told us not to bother getting off the bus and going through border control if we were just doing a day trip). The falls were still amazing (and it was good to see them from the other side of the river) but the Brazilian side was a bit tacky.
Time was almost up and it was off to the airport to fly back to BA. The comfy coaches were fun but it was nice to do a journey in 2 hours rather than 16.
Arrived back in BA on the 23rd December (I think) and to the hotel we'd booked before the trip. Pottered around the city, blagged some tickets for a big playoff game (Tigre vs Boca at a neutral venue). Went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve at the cathedral in Buenos Aries where a certain Archbishop of BA would have been in charge before his subsequent promotion. (I'm atheist but Mrs GB is catholic). Argentinians tend to do a big meal Christmas Eve and then things start opening up again from midday on Christmas day. We walked back from the cathedral on Christmas eve amongst huge fireworks being let off in the streets, no buses, hardly any cars about, lovely warm weather. Amazing. Christmas Day breakfast at the hotel with some Americans, wandered around the city slowly coming back to life as the bars and restaurants were opening from early afternoon on Christmas day. Flew home on boxing day (I think).
Only thing we booked in advance was the apartment in San Telmo upon arrival and 3 nights (including Christmas) in a nice hotel in Palermo (I think) before our flight home. Everything else was done 2 or 3 days in advance and discovered by local recommendations or rough guide books. We were amazingly lucky with lots of it, but Nov/Dec is a good time to go as it is just before peak season. Stayed mostly in hostels and since they weren't busy they were renting out their smaller rooms as private rooms (often with en suite). Only stayed in a dorm room for one or two nights in the whole two months.
Wife speaks good Spanish but me nothing, but picked up bits and bobs over the time there. Enough to ask for tables at restaurants and order food/drink. Good spanish isn't essential as long as you make an effort.
Anyway, that was an initial brain dump, I'm sure I'll remember some more useful stuff. Loads of stuff we wanted to do but didn't get a chance. Salta, san Miguel de Tucuman, Tren de los nubes, Northern Chile, Puerto Madryn and Trelew. Let alone the rest of South America.
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