Tag Archives: Argentina

Iguazu Falls: Argentina vs Brazil

27 Mar

A tale of two sides: Iguazu Falls. Iguazu Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and it’s easy to see why. Iguazu is at the intersection of 3 countries: Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Due to its geography, Paraguay got unlucky and none of the views and touristic opportunities fall on its side. Which leaves us with the other two.

Argentina. The Argentines sure know how to develop an area and make the most of it. The Argentine side is crowded, claustrophobic, and concrete. The first thing that came to our minds was Disneyland! There are huge queues of people waiting for the trams and boats, and tons of those photographer people who take your picture and try to sell you the prints. The Argentine side allows hikes right up to the edge of many waterfalls, which gives you a sense of the sheer power and volume these falls contain. Unless you have boundless energy and are immune to the effects of high heat, it’s very difficult to explore everything on this side in one day. As an FYI for anyone interested in visiting, you can get 50% off admission on day 2.
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Garganta del Diablo. Incredible and breathtaking. As Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly said, “Poor Niagara!”

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Tons of people jostling for pictures.

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The Brazilian side is more natural, quieter, and cooler. Less commercialized. You start with a 20-minute open-air bus ride through the forest before you arrive at the falls. From there, you get beautiful panoramic views of falls on both the Brazilian side as well as on the Argentine side. There are less people which gives more opportunities for picture taking and leisurely walks. We like the Brazilian side better and feel waterfalls are best viewed from farther away.

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We are glad we had the chance to visit both sides. Despite personally not enjoying the Argentina side as much as the Brazil side, both have much to offer. It definitely was incredible to be up close and personal with Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) on the Argentina side.

Anyone been to both sides and have a preference?

Glacier Trekking in Patagonia

27 Mar

The main attraction from El Calafate, Argentina is the nearby glaciers. We visited Perito Moreno glacier for a full days’ hike. It was beautiful!

This particular glacier doesn’t move much, unlike some others around the world. In fact, it has only moved a couple hundred yards since the middle ages!

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This area used to be connected via ice bridge. On March 17, 1994 a huge rupture occurred and everything collapsed.

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Itinerary for the day: we did the Big Ice tour with Hielo y Aventura. Included a boat ride to the glacier.

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After a one hour hike, we got outfitted with crampons.

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They take some getting used to!

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So blue!

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One of these days we’ll post a video of how painstakingly slow Jeannie walked on the ice.

If you’re thinking about doing Mini Trekking or Big Ice, you can probably save your money and do mini trekking. Big Ice takes lots of energy! You do get to spend more time on the glacier so it depends on your personal preference. Happy glacier trekking!

Parrillas in Buenos Aires

20 Mar

We might or might not have gone overboard in Buenos Aires. Steaks were consumed on a daily basis for 4 nights in a row. In the land of glorious grass fed beef how could we not? So we partook in the experiences of 4 different types of parrilla “establishments.”

Exhibit A, local:
Club Eros
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Nondescript exterior, check.

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No, we didn’t stumble into a futbol field by mistake. Club Eros is a legit and local parrilla joint that is attached to an indoor gym that hosts soccer and volleyball games.

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This place was happening on a rainy Monday evening.

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The menu is very simple, spanning only a couple of pages.

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Obligatory papas fritas aka french fries.

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Bife de chorizo, aka strip steak. So what you have to know about ordering steak in Argentina is that they basically only offer 3 cuts: New York, Rib-eye, and Filet Mignon. Local people order them cooked like hockey pucks all the way through, but if they know you’re a tourist they will cook it medium-rare for you. The terms to use (if you don’t have a picture on your phone) is azul (blue) or jugoso (juicy). Most places speak English to a degree, but at Club Eros they didn’t.

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Milanesa, essentially beef that’s been pounded thin, battered, and fried.

Verdict:
Not the best cut, but still really tender and mindblowingly cheap. $8 for that hunk of steak! Our total bill was around 20 bucks!

Exhibit B, food court:
Yes, we tried steak at a food court.

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This flan was disappointing- too eggy.

Verdict: not shabby for a food court.

Exhibit C, tourist happy hour:
La Cabrera
South America is similar to Europe in that people dine quite late. At home we used to eat at 5:30 or 6, so we had to adjust to eating at earliest 7 or even later. We found out that La Cabrera has a happy hour from 7-8:30 where food is half off. Instead of it being a true happy hour where people order drinks and light foods, all the tourists use it to eat steak at their normal hour for half off! We started lining up around 6:30.

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Verdict:
Very decent. We wouldn’t mind coming back, esp with happy hour being such a good deal!

Exhibit D,
Don Julio
This was our favorite parrilla experience, and one our top restaurants that we’ve ever eaten at.

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For a size reference, those steaks are sitting on 12″ plates.

Verdict: Fantastic. The steaks were HUGE and cooked a perfect medium-rare. Where else can you get a whole meal like that for $61 including potatoes, sodas, and flan)? We also loved the ambiance and service was impeccable. This place is a must visit for the ultimate parrilla experience.

So there you have it, all in the name of research!

To Tour or Not To Tour

15 Feb

image via Cafepress

Many of the vacations I took as a kid were tour-based (6am wake-up call, only 1 hour in a museum that usually takes a solid afternoon to explore, 10 minute pee break or the bus leaves without you, buffets and chains galore).  Tours are a great option for those who like to just show up and leave the planning and itinerary up to someone else.  It’s not really our style to go on such tours, we find many tours to not be at a pace that we like (either way too slow or rushed).  But I know there will be days where I will just want to wake up and let someone show me around for the day.

So in the spirit of trying new things (or giving old things a chance), I’ve researched some tours for South America that I’m pretty excited about!

For Machu Picchu, we booked with Llama Path based on our friends N+M’s recs.
In Santiago, I’m leaning towards the Spicy Chile walking tours, and in Buenos Aires, the Buenos Aires Free Tour has rave reviews.
Hielo y Aventura is a must for Patagonia.

Other places we’ll probably forgo tours are Easter Island and Iguazu Falls.  We’re undecided on whether we’ll go on a favela tour in Rio.  Would you do a favela tour?

So what’s the verdict folks?  Do you love tours for its convenience and ease, stay away cus it’s not your cup of tea, or are you like us and somewhere in between?  Share in the comments or in the poll below!

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