Buenos Aires 12-Day Honeymoon Itinerary Help
July 19, 2009 3:08 AM   Subscribe

Booked flight to Buenos Aires for $287! Now I need help planning our 12 day honeymoon in South America. Have advice?

At $119 before taxes, roundtrip LAX-EZE, I couldn't pass this one up. We're flying into and out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, but what happens in between is TBD. I've read some other posts here that have given me some basic ideas, but I wanted to see if anybody else wanted to contribute. Some details about us:

+ Arriving 9/30, Departing 10/11
+ We want our honeymoon to be split between Adventurous and Relaxing
+ Adventurous could be: Scuba diving, Horseback Riding, Hiking, Volcanoes, Rafting, even Camping, very open to suggestions
+ Relaxing could be: Lying on a Beach, Being Pampered in a Beautiful Hotel, Sipping Umbrella Drinks, Spa Treatments, Picturesque Pools/Hot Tubs, Breathtaking Unique Hotel Rooms/Locations, Typical Honeymoon Stuff
+ We love exploring and getting to know local people and places. We are averse to large group tours with other Americans.
+ I speak solid Spanish, lived in Spain for 6 months.
+ We couldn't care less about shopping as a vacation activity
+ While we can appreciate museums, we prefer stunning natural attractions
+ We are looking forward to exploring local food and wine (we're carnivorous). Steak, pizza and ice cream are already on our list, specific recommendations always welcome.

We do need to be budget conscious. Can't give a specific budget yet, plus some wedding guests may contribute to our honeymoon. We can probably afford to splurge a little on a few hotel nights to get the Honeymoon experience, but we can't do $300/night the whole trip.

My thinking is to splurge on the "Relaxing" portion of the trip, figuring the adventurous part could be at places like Estancias and other more "roughing it" (less expensive?) accommodations, but I'm open to suggestions.

Besides itinerary suggestions for how to spend 12 days in South America, I'm also looking for specifics about travel within the continent. I've read buses are better than trains, but for flights are there particular places to find deals? In Europe we use RyanAir or EasyJet, which don't come up on Kayak. Is there a similar option in S.A?

Attending a futbol game in Spain was awesome, any advice for attending a game in S.A?

We're thinking Uruguay and Brazil are possibilities. Chile? While we want to see BsAs and Rio de Janeiro, we'd also like to experience life outside the big cities. Is it going to be too cold to lay out on the beach somewhere?

Thanks so much in advance!
posted by tslugmo to Travel & Transportation around Buenos Aires, Argentina (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Urrruuuuuguay! is awesome. The ferry there is cool and affordable. Montevideo is really charming, friendly, and delicious. I did not spend nearly enough time there, but really enjoyed the long shallow beach, the abundance of steak and dulce de leche, and chatting up the locals. For these kinds of reasons, I actually preferred Montevideo - hands-down and without reservations - to Buenos Aires. (I stayed in a nice colonial house/hostel place with pretty awesome private rooms, called the redhostel or redsomething. The cost there would balance out my second suggestion--)

The waterfalls and park at Iguazu cannot be missed! You can fly there (getting a nice flyover of the falls included in your ticket) or take long distance buses (which are quality in Argentina). Staying at the Sheraton in the park is not to be missed, and you can get rooms facing the waterfalls! This is both adventurous AND relaxing, and there is no more stunning natural attraction. Niagara is wimpy.

Brazil, as much as I love it, will cost you an additional $100 per person for the visa. I think Chile is the same?
posted by whatzit at 3:44 AM on July 19, 2009

Cheap flights: well, you can try, but there is no Virgin/EasyJet/etc el cheapo fares. Busing is an adventure, better in more affluent countries. Chilean buses are fun, but I remember that all they gave us to eat was ham'ncheese sandwiches and coca cola (unfun if you are the type of child that doesn't like ham'n'cheese sandwiches.) For flights, you really need to make sure the city the flight website is showing you is the correct one- not such a biggy for Rio/BuenosAires, but for the commonly named cities.

September should be fine for beach, especially the closer to the equator you get. A handy rule for getting a very broad idea of the weather is to mentally fold the world in half, swap the seasons, and compare to the weather of somewhere more familiar at the time. (Altitude, ocean currents, mountains etc etc may vary results.)

Machu Piccu? Could be pricy, but an option to throw out there.

FUTBOL: (Bolivia specific) for safety's sake get the pricier seats at the edge rather than with the rabid fans at the ends, don't go with the big inter-city rivalries, if you can help it.

STEAK. Argentina = mmmmmm! (also dulce de leche, found some here in Melbourne at 8 bucks for a 100gram jar. :( )

Good point about visas, whatzit, also about Iguazu.

Have fun!
posted by titanium_geek at 4:01 AM on July 19, 2009

Oh yeah, "buscama" (bus bed) are buses with seats that recline sort of like airplane chairs.
posted by titanium_geek at 4:03 AM on July 19, 2009

(sorry for the spam)

Check out these older threads, the first best answer to this one is all about Iguazu, somewhere I didn't get to and regret.

This one is also about Argentina.
posted by titanium_geek at 4:07 AM on July 19, 2009

BA is a sweet town and that is a ridiculous fare - am quite jealous. Recoletta cemetery is obvious but, well, there's a reason for it being such a well-frequented destination. Lots of places to eat in BA and unfortunately cannot remember any steak places in particular. I do recommend you try chorepan, half chorizos on bread, available cheaply from street vendors. Empanadas are quite delicious, with this place being voted best in the city and was definitely the tastiest that I experienced, mm especially the tomato and basil.
BA is beautiful to walk around and very safe (in my experience) so enjoy walking around the city. Legal and acceptable to drink in public, so a nice people-watching wine afternoon at a park, eg Parque de las Heras, definitely does a body good.
For an interesting and weird experience, would recommend Zoo Lujan, which is a crazy zoo situated amongst old tractors and stuff about 45 minutes outside of the city, reachable by public transport (directions on the site). It's not the nicest place you'll ever see animals being held, but they do let you ride an elephant, camel, and even go into a lion and tiger cage to pet them(!), all included in the ~$9 entrance fee. (NB: always have EXACT change for buses - we had to walk 2km on the highway to get to a toll booth to get change).
Didn't get time to see any surrounding mountains and stuff, so can't tell you about that. Argentina is BIG and 12 days isn't exactly a long time...
Seconding a night & day trip across the river (We took BuqueBus, which was nice) to Uruguay. My friends and I went to Colonia, which is a quiet and pretty cobblestoned little town sitting on the delta. Cheap and pretty. Hire a scooter and head up to Montevideo, if you wish, or just cruise around, find a beach and go for a swim. For local food, be sure to try their local-favourite coronary-blocking chivito, which is a steak, served with bacon and a fried egg on top, along with some french fries.
Have fun
posted by shokod at 4:08 AM on July 19, 2009

Definitely seconding Iguazu Falls! I didn't bother with the Brazil visa, but I sort of wish I had because there's a bird sanctuary and more, very intense falls on the Brazil side. Make sure you take a boat ride on the river, they'll take you as close to the falls as you can get without being destroyed (bring a waterproof camera!).

I took the bus from Córdoba, which was about 13 hours. Buscama or coche cama is what you want for comfort. All the legroom you could ask for, with a seat that reclines all the way back.

Staying in the park would probably be awesome, but I stayed in the Hostel Inn and really enjoyed it. Nice pool, fine rooms, cheap as you can imagine, and you get the experience of meeting people from around the world. Buses to the park every 30 minutes, if I recall correctly.

Also, Chile does charge $100 for Americans to enter. I had planned on wandering around Santiago when I had a 6-hour layover, but instead I chilled in the Delta Lounge (never thought that would be a good deal!).

Enjoy the trip, I'm burning with jealousy :-)
posted by dondiego87 at 6:06 AM on July 19, 2009

I've travelled from Bolivia to BA and my favorite part was Mendoza. You can get there by night cama bus (and they are really comfortable). I enjoyed the city as well as the wineries all around it (imagine biking from one winery to the other...). Another nice part was the Quebrada de Humahuaca. You can also visit them in bike, but that would be more extreme because of the temperature (although we were there in February so ymmv). We took a long bus tour starting in Humahuaca and there are tons of great photo opportunities.

Also, plan more time than you think in BA! It is a great city with a wide variety of neighbourhoods that can all be explored again and again... We lived in San Telmo, and the Sunday market is great. We could walk to downtown, and there is a good subway system that makes it cheap to visit other parts of the city. Good meals (wine & steak mostly) are very cheap, so you can afford to find a nice hotel room and eat out. We also lived in a youth hostel for a while but they party waaayy too much (people basically wake up a 1AM and go party for the night).

We went to Mar del Plata, but don't go! The beaches are great but it looks like this is the place were Argentinian families go for a holiday, so you can get masses of people, and the city really is so-so. Montevideo is apparently much nicer but I haven't been there.
posted by ddaavviidd at 6:12 AM on July 19, 2009

Check out Punta del Este in Uruguay. Punta has many very nice beaches.

I also second the Argentinian beef -- it really is something else. I hope you are a meat eater.

And Argentinian tango! Even if you don't dance, it is an awesome style of music to listen to.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 8:23 AM on July 19, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions, I'm going to get googling to learn more about them. Specific hotel and restaurant recommendations are great. I'll peruse tripadvisor as well. Anybody stay at an Estancia? Seems like horesback riding is pretty common down there. Anybody Scuba down there? 12 days will fly by, so maybe we should limit it to Argentina and Uruguay. I have EU citizenship, so it would only be my fiancee (wait... WIFE!) who would need to pay to enter Brazil, so that helps.

I figured you'd be the first to contribute, whatzit, I've been reading your posts in preparation, you obviously LOVE the area! Your enthusiasm is contagious. :)

Awesome tips, great to know about exact change, specific foods, travel vocabulary, beaches to avoid/visit, etc. MeFi is an exceptional community. Thanks, keep 'em coming!
posted by tslugmo at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2009

Please go to La Cabrera. It was one of the best steaks I had in all of BA. I recommend the short ribs, or bife de choriza.

Corner of Thames y Cabrera, in Palermo Viejo.

posted by OuttaHere at 1:54 PM on July 19, 2009

posted by OuttaHere at 1:54 PM on July 19, 2009

Response by poster: Mmmm, mouth-watering. And and interesting site besides.
posted by tslugmo at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2009

For Brazil, you may not need the $100 visa if you're going for a day trip. Talk to the hotel you are staying at about it; typically, taxi drivers can arrange Brazil day trips and the hotel can find you the right one.
posted by bsdfish at 9:43 PM on July 19, 2009

I was in BsAs last November for a week, traveling solo and staying at a hostel in Microcentro (the business district) so I've a few tips:

1. For Meat: I second La Cabrera in the Palermo Soho district; the ojo de bife (ribeye) steaks were the largest by far of all the 10 different places I tried in Argentina, roughly 32 oz, and the number of free side dishes that come with the steak (close to eight!) was ridiculous. One steak with sides can easily be split for two and cost you around $30 USD. If you're privy for a drink afterwards, Palermo Soho has many, many decent bars with good beer on tap.

2. Spend your first Sunday (noon-5pm) in BsAs walking around the San Telmo street fair and antique market. There are dozens of street performances and even live tango bands w/ singers, and plenty of shopping opportunities for yourself and for souvenirs. This was the first thing I did in BsAs and one of my most memorable experience.

3. A second great walking area is Puerto Madero, on the very east side of the city near the water. The area is several slightly upscale blocks of bars, restaurants, and hotels running on both sides of a canal. Walk the white Puente de la Mujer (Bridge of Woman) here for a couples' picture at sunset. Lots of couples here making out--feel free to contribute ;). Have dinner at La Bistecca, an all you can eat buffet with its own built in parilla (grill).

4. Pay a little extra ($200pp) and 2-3 days to fly out and take a boat ride around Iguazu Falls. The largest fall there is known as "El Diablo." They are possibly the most majestic falls in the world. Since you're going in October, the weather will be a warm 60-70, perfect for the falls. If you're willing to shell out $100pp for the visas, you can actually cross over to the Brazil side of the falls.

5. A few misc tips that I picked up: several restaurants have cover charges of ~10-15 pesos (think bread basket charge), so make sure to factor that in. A lot of restaurants only take Visa. And the Spanish is slightly different in Argentina than in Spain, the biggest difference being that the "ll" sound is replaced by "j" (ie. chicken: "pollo" becomes "pojo"). Dinner also typically starts at 9-10pm at most restaurants, so don't make the newbie mistake I did and show up at 8pm to an empty parilla.

6. Lastly if you like to dance make sure to check out a milonga. I forgot the name of the one I went to, but the cover is fairly cheap ($10-15). If you show up at the right time, there are usually lessons for Argentine tango. The experience of being at a milonga is memorable as you can see the elegant way that Argentine men and women invite each other to dance using only eye contact.
posted by chalbe at 11:01 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great tips, chalbe. When you say restaurants only take Visa, do you mean they wouldn't take Mastercard? Very interesting. Does anybody have recommendations on what parts of the town to stay in? I hear San Telmo, Microcentro, Palermo...?
posted by tslugmo at 1:30 PM on July 20, 2009

Chalbe definitely gives good advice. If you're only there for 12 days you don't want to spend 48 of them going to Iguazu and back on the bus. You miss some classic views if you don't see the Brazilian side, so I think the visa is worth it. Thirding La Cabrera, really awesome for dinner and if you can, order your steak 'jugoso' (rare/juicy).

I stayed in Barrio Norte which was very residential but walkable to the centre, worked well for me. Palermo Viejo is trendy and cool for going out, San Telmo is great for markets, general wandering and actually restaurants too - had a lovely parilla there. Any of these would be fine to stay in. The Subte (subway) is very effective for getting around to all the neighbourhoods and cabs are cheap for later in the evening.
Also,Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay is a world heritage site and an easy day trip from BA.

I didn't make it to Mendoza but everyone who's been raves about it so it's on my list for next time!

A 12 day trip with just under a week in BA, 2-3 days in Iguazu and 2-3 days in Mendoza will give you a great taste of the country and still give you time to enjoy people watching with a cafe con medialuna (which are kinda like croissants). Not sure about Scuba diving - the waters here won't be warm enough for coral - and to be honest with all the flying it might be tricky to fit it in without sacrificing iguazu/mendoza.
posted by Skaramoosh at 3:32 PM on July 20, 2009

48 hours, not days...
posted by Skaramoosh at 3:32 PM on July 20, 2009

Response by poster: lol Skaramoosh, that would be a long bus ride. Maybe spending much time in Brazil is too ambitious for such a short time. Adding a couple nights in Montevideo/Colonia to your proposed 12 day itinerary may mean it gets a little crowded. Hmmm. So many good things to see, so little time! Still researching all your great suggestions. Just trying to decide on each hotel to stay in is a project on it's own!
posted by tslugmo at 7:31 PM on July 20, 2009

Re: tslugmo--Yes, I did mean some restaurants only take Visa and not Mastercard. Some only take Amex! This only tends to be a problem with smaller restaurants though; the well known parillas usually take both.

I stayed in Microcentro, which was a little dry (boring) since it's the business district. Lots of hotels there though, and access to the subway is easy. San Telmo is where the Bush twins stayed and it's got a very "classic" feel to it, but the south side is a little unsafe at night. Palermo is a modern and young crowd, closer to a "East Village" feel with lots of bars and night clubs. It's also a bit removed from the rest of the city; from the center of the city it takes about a 20-30 min cab ride to get there.
posted by chalbe at 10:11 AM on July 21, 2009

There are no trains to speak of in SA, just buses and planes. I'd take a plane to Iguazu and a bus to Mendoza. Estancias can be surprisingly pricey and luxurious, since more porteños go there to decompress from the city, but there's great horseback riding to be had. Colonía is a great day trip. Chile sucks. Brazil is another world, another language, and personally I'd just focus on either a good overview of Argentina for now (maybe with a little Uruguay thrown in).

There's no scuba in Argentina, since the water is too cold. El Calafate and that area of Argentina in Patagonia, in the south, would be great for hiking. You won't be able to see glaciers for too much longer! Also, you'll be there for prime whale-watching season, if you want to go to Peninsula Valdes. San Antonio de Areco is another quaint day trip to check out.

More importantly than the ll pronunciation: they say "vos" instead of "tú"!

If you go to the San Telmo fair, please have lunch at 1880 on Avenida Defensa 1665. I lived a block away for a few years and am still jonesing for their lasagna, dulce de leche crêpes, and all of their meat. And if you can get to Puerto Madero for a dinner, please go to Estilo Campo and order their asado al asador or vacio al asador from the spit (el ruedo). I am trembling, just thinking about it.
posted by blazingunicorn at 4:37 AM on January 7, 2010

« Older What should I do/know about her sudden memory loss...   |   How can I shorten the url a user has to type? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.