Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top 5 Places to Visit in Argentina...in 2 weeks

Did the bossman only grant you 10 days off, even after you begged and pleaded for more? Not to worry, that's plenty of time to soak in the best of what Argentina has to offer. Keep in mind that you will have to jet-set a few times, but planned in advance, this should still be affordable. Check out LAN if you have status with United or Aerolineas Argentinas if you have status with Delta. Either of these can offer multi-segment flight passes throughout the country (or continent).

The trickiest part could be deciding when to go. If you're from the midwest US, that's easy. Go during the most brutal part of the winter...January-March, as you will be met with the opposite: Argentina's summer. If you're single, why no skip over Valentine's Day altogether and treat yourself with a mid-February getaway. Hate the same lame New Year's Eve scene? This is your chance to start the new year right...overseas!

So let's get to it...


1. Buenos Aires 
You will likely find the cheapest round-trip airfares in and out of Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital city. This is one of the best first places to go in South America, hands down. It has a very European style, with an easy transportation system within the city, and for the most part, is clean and safe for a large city. There are museums, walking tours of historical sites, as well as a huge selection of restaurants and bars. Visit the cemetery where Evita was buried, take some tango lessons, and enjoy some delicious steak and wine!

2. Punte del Este, Uruguay
Day 3 take a ferry and bus ride to Punte del Este, Uruguay. Although it's not actually Argentina, it's such a quick and easy day trip, that you might as well add another stamp to the passport while you are in the area. Be sure to see the infamous fingers coming up through the sand and this is your chance to eat some sushi instead of steak. As a resort, this will be one of the priciest areas, meaning drinks will be the same price as back in the states. You don't need much more than a full day here, so make the most of the beautiful beach scene.

3. Ushuaia
Day 5 take the bus and ferry back to Buenos Aires, where you will fly to Ushuaia (pronounced 'posh-why-ah'). It will be a bumpy landing into a tiny airport, but it will be worthwhile as you are surrounded by beautiful mountains at what is referred to as the end of the world, or the southern most point before Antarctica. Bring your raincoat, as storms are likely to pop up at a moment's notice, as you can't see them coming in over the mountains until it's too late! If you decide at this point to quit your job, or if you just happen to have an extra 2 weeks, why not check out a last minute deal to Antarctica? Ushuaia is the port town for these cruises, so at the very least, take a boat tour to see penguins or other sea birds and lions. Seeing them in their natural habitat beats any day at the zoo back home. Hike around town or at the nearby national park, then grab a brew at a local pub...and stay out until the sun goes down...which could be about 11pm in January!

4. El Calafate/El Chalten
Day 8 flight to El Calafate, then take a bus to El Chalten, the base town for Mount Fitz Roy. El Chalten is about like any other really small mountain town in Colorado or Alaska...even the majority of the other travelers are probably from there as well. Eat some good grub and drink some great brews while hearing others tell you which hiking trails to take the next day. If you have the time and the equipment (or are able to rent), pitch a tent at the base of Mt. Fitz Roy and enjoy the beauty of the true Patagonia for a few days.
Day 10 head back to El Calafate and spend the night there. This is a bit bigger city with more locals, but the next morning you will head out the Los Glaciares National Park, where you will witness one of the world's largest glaciers come crashing in front of your eyes. Plan to spend the entire day there if you wish to take a cruise up to the glacier, or even hike on it.

5. Mendoza
Day 12 fly out of El Calafate to Mendoza, more popularly known as Malbec wine country. There are plenty of wine tours to choose from, or you can be adventurous and take a city bus to Maipu and rent bikes from bodega to bodega...some even offer olive oil tastings as well. This is the last stop so that you can load up your bag with wine to take home to remember the experience! (If you can get it through customs!)

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