Thursday, February 25, 2010

Argentina Notes

Link to Picture Album  Picasa PictureAlbum 
Personal observations 
  • Mendoza - very clean. Buenos Aires NOT so clean but has charm and vibe of big international city. If they would just throw the paper and plastic in trash cans and not on the street.
  • Babies or small kids are caried in parents arms - sidewalks are too rough for baby carriages or strollers.
  • Where are the green fields? I see flat and dusty, sandy looking fields where cattle and sheep are grasing in the South below Puerto Madryn.
  • Between 1:00 - 4:00 or even 5:00 - no business, don´t visit a small town during this time it will be closed!
  • Dinner time is 9:00 - midnight.
  • Ice Cream - national favorite, will be eaten anytime of the day and a good place has almost always a long line.
  • Vegetables with a meat dinner- NEVER! Only meat with meat.
  • Citroen (The Ugly Duckling from the 60s) counted 15 so far.
  • Peugot, VW, Chevy and Fiat to small cars.
  • Dress code - casual or very casual sometimes business casual.
  • Wine in Restaurant - more or less the same price you pay in store.
  • You never get rushed, in a Restaurant, to pay.
  • Fun thing to do: watch traffic at 4 way intersection with no lights or sign.
  • Live Parking meters - official people with tickets walk the street so you can pay for parking.
  • Car wash while you park - with rag and bucket of water from street.
  • WiFi - everywhere
  • Mate - Argentinian national drink. Everyone carries a thermos bottle with hot water to make Mate in the afternoon, taste like Birch tree bark. MATE
  • Money - Coins - there are pesos 2 and higher bills, pesos 1 and less are coins. Nobody has or will give you coins. Most prices are full pesos. City Buses require coins only! I had a bill for 2 coffees for  pesos 6.50 and gave a 10 bill was ask for change when I said that I don`t have any I got 4 pesos back. Happens many times. There is a shortage some say other think it is hording??
Prices in AR$ (AR$ 3.8 = 1 US$):
In the Patagonia region it is more expensive (the high side)
  • Ice cream cones = 3 - 18
  • Dinner for two = 90 - 125 (with wine)
  • Bottle Beer 1 liter = 11 - 18
  • Glass of wine = 11- 15
  • Bottle of wine = 15 - 200+
  • Draft Beer Microbrewery pint = 15
  • Sandwich =  20 - 30
  • Pizza in Restaurant = 30 - 50 
  • Bus trip 13 hours (800 miles) Business class type seats 220
  • Group Tours with guide in bus 1 day 120 - 150
  • Hostels private room 2 beds w. bath = 180 - 290
  • Hostel dorm room 20 - 30
  • Hotels (with Air) 250 - xxx
  • Social Security 930 / month  after 9% raise, will be raised again by 9% this year.
  • Teacher salarie 2,000 - 4,000 month
  • Accountant 6,000 month
  • IS/IT 6 - 8,000 month

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pictures Buenos Aires

Tuesday afternoon - one more trip to Palerma for a late lunch and now back in the hotel to pick up our luggage and off to the airport for a 10:00PM flight.
After 3 days of clouds and rain on and off it is a beautiful sunny day. In Buenos Aires 460mm of rain fell this month (February) compared to an average of 100mm.

Buenos Aires Pictures
Picking up cardboard - a daily job for some street people.

Friday evening - festival in BA


San Telmo - Sunday afternoon Tango Singer.
Homes in San Telmo.

Homes in San Telmo













Park in BA














Mendoza - still running Citroen Ugly Duckling from the 60s













Mendoza park













Mendoza - Lamb or Goat meat on the Grill.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mendoza to Buenos Aires

Sunday rain stopped last night, spent day in San Telmo. Tomorrow to Boca.

La Boca is the oldest, most colorful, and most authentic neighborhood in Buenos Aires. The neighborhood was settled and built by Italian immigrants that worked in the warehouses and meatpacking plants in the area. La Boca is partly an artist colony, and mostly a working-class neighborhood.
Few tourists venture out of the main street in La Boca, Caminito, because the rest of the neighborhood is not considered safe.
Caminito:
The most famous street in La Boca is called Caminito(little path), and is the center of tourist activity in the area. The street is commonly shown on postcards for its multi-colored houses. Many artists also show off their work on the sides of the main street.

Friday February 19, 2010
Two inches of rain in the evening and some sections of Buenos Aires (Palermo) are flooded, up to 3 feet.
Buenos Aires Herald Palermo flooding    or Palermo Flooding Feb 19.

Thursday - Day 2 in BA weather is great in the high 80s.
Walked town (again) and visited two museums, lucky they were open. Problem finding an open one during the day. Staying close to the center Plaza Congress. Tonight Parilla La Dorita for dinner.

Arived in Buenos Aires 8:00 AM Wednesday Feb. 17, after overnight bus ride in executive bus, only 10 people on bus.

Landscape leaving Mendoza - yes you ask where are the mountains and where is the wine. Actually in the background are wineyards. None are too pretty like the ones in Napa or Sonoma. But the wine is great.
All or most wineyards are on the flat area and very dry sandy, without irrigation there would be nothing. The mountains around here have no wineyards, too cold.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mendoza Pictures February 12 2010

Lucky - There is a latin Festival in town, in the park, for 3 days AMERICANTO Mendoza 2010, great music, crafts and food.
Still in Mendoza, Saturday now, and every day it is in the 90´s a bit too warm but getting used to.
Instaed of running around in the afternoon we take a fiesta, at the pool, like all locals. Between 1:00 and 4:00 not much business is done. We are still the first ones to eat at 9:00PM, never a problem finding the best table, but don´t come at 10:30 then you may have to stand in line.

Mendoza - Trip to the mountains and Argentina - Chile Border (4,000M) February 11.
In Bus to Mendoza












Wednesday, February 10, 2010

About Argentina and the people

A great article we found about Argentina and the people.
From: WINE REPUBLIC
As the saying goes: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Following
this logic, when you’re in Argentina, eat, sleep and say it how it is.
Below, we have compiled a cheat sheet to clue you in on some of
the cultural nuances that make Argentina so very Argentine.
Hellos and Goodbyes
Entering a room full of Argentines takes a while. As is the custom,
you should go around and say hello and kiss everyone once on the
cheek. Repeat as you leave. And yes, we mean everyone in the
room, including babies. If you decide to slink out without the kisses,
be aware you run the risk of seeming rude or cold.
Asado
Grilled over the embers of poplar trees, asado (bbq) is a staple
in the diet, social and family life of nearly every Argentine. In
fact, Argentina’s per capita consumption of beef is way off the
charts. Eating a stunning average of 150 pounds of red meat a
year, Argentines consume double the USA’s average and almost
quadruple England’s.
Siesta
While passing out for hours after a big lunch may not generally be
socially acceptable back home, here taking a siesta may even be
considered a compliment to the chef!
Even during the week it’s common to go home for lunch (the biggest
meal of the day), see family and catch a few zzz’s. Because of this,
the workday ends around 8 p.m., but it’s considered worth it for
quality of life. Besides, most of the stores are closed from 1 p.m.- 4
p.m., so you might as well take a snooze!
Dining
Thanks to the siesta, you may actually be able to keep your eyes
open at dinner, which may begin as late as 11 p.m.! This local
schedule may actually work in your favor, as it is never a problem
to get a table at 9 p.m., though most likely your fellow diners will
be foreigners.
It’s not just the late start that makes dinner an endurance activity.
Argentines also usually partake in what’s called the sobre mesa or
“over the table,” which is basically an extended chatting time after
the meal. It´s very rare for a waiter to hover or rush a table out; in
fact you usually have to go to extreme lengths to get the bill.

Separation
Another notable difference at gatherings here in Mendoza is the
separation of the sexes. While it’s not always the case, it isn’t odd
to see all the males of a group on one side of the table, with all the
females on the other. When asked why the dining sex segregation
exists, most Argentines give the same answer, “So can men talk
about what interests men and women can talk about what interests
women.”
Punctuality (or lack thereof)
It is not a big deal to be late. In fact, the more time you’re here,
you’ll come to expect it. Outside of tourist excursions and buses,
nothing runs like clockwork. Invitations that say 9 p.m. should really
be translated as 10 or 11 p.m. This is not considered rude, it’s just
how it is. If your instincts won’t let you show up late, do yourself
a favor and bring a book because you’re going to be waiting for a
while.
Football/SoccerFútbol, as it’s known here, is the national passion and has the power
to capture the whole country’s attention. International offices are
shut down, streets are abandoned and appointments cancelled
during the World Cup. On an average Sunday, it is normal to watch
hours and hours of soccer after a big asado, especially, but not
exclusively for men.
Political Correctness
In general, Argentines are not worried about political correctness,
from other people or themselves. We assure you, in no other place
would someone so readily admit to being 30, overweight and living
with their parents.
According to your weight, you are labeled either gordo/a (fatty) or
flaco/a (skinny). Despite the bluntness, these comments do not
regularly inspire anxiety or weight complexes. In fact, weight is
an open topic that is regularly commented on by locals. Friends
and family members make you immediately own up to a few extra
pounds and will probably try to serve you an extra helping if you are
looking a little thin.
Age isn’t off limits either. Many people even mention this taboo subject
in conversation of their own accord.
If you have dark skin and hair you will be called negro/a (darky) and
you don’t even have to have blonde hair to be a rubio/a (blondie); all
it takes is light skin.
This call-it-how-it-is honesty doesn’t stop there. Just consider
yourself lucky if you aren’t called pelado/a (baldie) or enano/a
(shorty/dwarf).
Also, Spaniards are gallego/a (Galician), Arabs turco/a (Turkish) and
all Asians chino/a (Chinese). The same follows suit with Americans;
despite the many years since the end of the Civil War, they are
known as yanquis (Yankees).
RomanceIt’s quite normal here to live at home until reaching the age of 30
or marriage, whichever comes first. It is rare for “children” to move
out of the house before that, even to study. Most stay in the city they
were born, keeping family ties strong. It is not, however, normal to be
single until you’re 30, which makes for awkward dating sleepovers.
But Argentina’s got an answer for that as well… introducing the
telo. These “romance hotels” are reserved by the hour or the night
and aren’t nearly as sketchy as they sound. Like hotels, there are
options for every budget. The level corresponds to price, the highest
of which may include jacuzzis or even themed rooms.

Pictures Bariloche Dinosaur Mendoza

Dinosaur Bones













Glacier
Mendoza Streets

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mendoza

Arrived Monday February 8th and will stay at least a week.
It is hot here in the high 80s (but dry heat).
Our Hotel LINK  
Mendoza lies on the western side of Argentina - a 14 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires and a stones throw from the border with Chile. The city itelf is home to around 1 million 'Menocinos' who are proud to tell you that they live in the region which produces some 70% of the country's wine.
Due to it's location, Mendoza has also made a name for itself amongst the outdoor types. White-water rafting, cycling, kayaking and climbing are all catered for in the surrounding area.
There's not much you can fault Mendoza with, the beautiful Colonial city is relax and picturesque by day and fun and lively by night. The food is good, the weather pleasant and venture a little outside of the city and you'll see the stunning mountainous surroundings blanketed with world-class vinyards.
Offering all the comforts of home and more Mendoza is a welcome taste of luxury for the weary traveller. Take in the city views from Cerro de la Gloria, catch a couple of markets in the Plaza Independencia and celebrate the weekends local style with wine, barbequed steak, dancing til dawn then a 3am ice-cream stop!

Neuquen Mendoza February 6 - 9

Tuesday - arrived in Mendoza last evening afater a 13 hrs bus drive. Nice bus and we had business class seats (cama) with Airline type food, but it is still a long drive. Landscape looks very much the same dry and small bushes )18 inch) growing and then cattle and sheep, they need many acres to survive. From Puerto Madryn down South and again up to almost Mendoza the same anf very flat, the roads don´t go in the Andes. Have not seen any green fields with grass, except just before Mendoza when everything changed and all you see is fruit trees and wine. Staying in a great hotel in the middle of the city, and the restaurants around look great and there is one every 50 feet.

We also spent two nights in Neuquen where we visited the dinosaur museum. The largest flesh eating dinosaur in the world lays here exposed, almost all bones are intact.
We assumed it would be easy to find a tour for the Sunday we spent in town, but this (large) town is no tourist town. After much looking and trying to contact guides,  names we received from the tourist info office, no one answered. We finally found a fixed fare taxi (Remisse) and he toke us on the 200km round trip to the site for US$ 70. It was a nice 4 hour trip and a great experience. The driver did not speak english but we managed very well with our spanish. Pictures to come when we are back.

Links and Info copied from the web:

Link Click here  
Giganotosaurus CAROLINII
The "CAROLINII", considered the largest carnivorous dinosaur in the world, surpasses the famous Tyranosaurus Rex in size. It was discovered in July, 1993, by Rubén Darío Carolini, present Director of the Villa El Chocón Municipal Museum, in a former lagoon located 18 km to the South of Villa El Chocón.
80% of the fossil material of this specimen has been rescued and is preserved in optimum condition. This carnivore, with reduced fore limbs, biped gait and with three toes in each leg, would measure 13.5 m of length and its hip could reach 4.6 m. It is estimated that it would weigh 9,500 kg when it was alive. Its head would measure 2 m and its longest tooth, 21 cm. This specimen belongs to the Mid Cretaceous from the Mesozoic Era and it dwelled the Plaza Huincul area 90 million years ago.



Dinosaur Bones in Patagonia

Patagonia became world-famous after the first dinosaur in South America was discovered here in 1883. Within Patagonia, Neuquén has gained the honour of being nicknamed "The Valley of Dinosaurs", thanks to the large number of findings. Other territories rich in dinosaur bones are the Gobi Desert in China and the western region of the United States. Patagonia is the richest-known dinosaur area in the Southern hemisphere.


Read more at Suite101:

 Dinosaur Museums in Neuquén, Argentina: Museums in Patagonia Display Dinosaur Bones and Fossils http://argentina-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/dinosaur_museums_in_neuquen_argentina#ixzz0f2t8TpwR

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bariloche to Neuquen January 6 - 8 2010

Today, Friday, is a nice day, sunny and less wind. In the past days we had more clouds than sun and also wind (20 - 30 miles Hour all day). Have some pictures but gain trouble uploading on this (old) equipment or my SD photo card has an virus.
On the way to Mendoza we will stop two nights (Saturday and Sunday) in Neuquen.
It will break up the 20 Hrs bus ride from Bariloche into 6-7 Hrs to Neuquen and the 12 Hrs to Mendoza.
Neuquen has two sites and museums with dinosaur bones found in the past 10 - 15 years. A nice way to break up the trip.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bariloche



In Bariloche on February 1, we are staying at the Tango Inn downtown.
Here is a Link to the place
On 5th floor with great views, but no elevator! FUN!
This is the ice cream and chocolate center of Argentina - great for Seija.
Will take a few tours and walks then on Saturday on way to Mendoza with a two night stop in Neuquen do look at dinosaur bones and diggings.


Perched on the edge of Lago Nahuel Huapi and a great base inside the National Park itself, Bariloche attracts thousands of visitors from all different countries and backgrounds all year round.

The town itself offers all the comforts and facilities you could possibly ask for and the surroundings provide a whole range of outdoor activities from fishing in the lakes to climbing the park's rocky peaks. This is a very relaxed town with a fun holiday atmosphere which although can come accross a little artificial, still makes for an enjoyable stay.
Although not of a particularly Argentinian flavour, dont miss the town centre with it's Swiss mountain-lodge style buildings. A couple house interesting museums with details of the areas history and natural attractions and features.
Local buses do a scenic loop of the National Park and for the less energetic amongst us, this is a greatway to see some of the highlights including excelent views of the Nahuel Huapi glacier lake, the Quetrihue Peninsulaand Puerto Blest. Climbers, hikers and skiers have a great choice of nearby trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels although always check on weather warnings and official recommendations before hand as conditions are unpredictable all year round.

Glacier Pictures Sunday January 31, 2010

Glacier Pictures Sunday January 31, 2010

































Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pictures - Argentina Partagonia

Seija Cave de los Manos - Canyon
Seija on way to Hostel

Glaciers and Lakes, Perito Moreno Glacier

Today (January 30) was our first trip to the Glacier Perito Moreno, by bus.
Argentina likes to charge for visiting parks, US$ 22 per person to enter the park a day, that is in addition to US$ 50 - US$ 100 for the tours (per person). 
But is was a great trip something to remember for a long time.

The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that are not retreating. The terminus of the Perito Moreno Glacier is 5 kilometres (3 mi) wide, with an average height of 74 m (240 ft) above the surface of the water of Lake Argentino, in Argentina. It has a total ice depth of 170 metres (558 ft). (Wikipidia). 

Meinhard and Seija Saturday Jan 30 at the Glacier Perito Moreno.

Friday, January 29, 2010

C D L Manos and El Chalten pics

El Chalten Hiking














Cave De Los Manos

El Calafate

After 5 days in El Chalten (NO or SLOW internet) and 2 nights on the road we are back in a larger town, El Chalten. We like this town, many people on the streets and very lively also clean and rustic looking. We arrived 11:00AM Friday and leave Monday late afternoon for Bariloche by plane. For Saturday and Sunday we have full day excursion by boat and bus scheduled to visit the lakes and glaciers.
The 5 days in El Chalten were cold and rainy no perfect day but we managed to hike and walk an average of 9 miles a day.
---------------------------------------- 
1-23 Rio Mayo to Perito Moreno with Chalten Travel Bus on Route 40 (Gravel Highway) 4.5 hours.
1-24 Perito Moreno in morning to Cave de los Manos, a sidetrip 3 hrs in van on gravel, 2 hrs at the caves then at 1:00PM met the Chalten Travel bus to continue to El Chalten 10 hrs on gravel highway, arriving at midnight in El Chalten and our Hotel (Yes Hotel and a very nice one). 670 km long is the trip Perito Moreno to El Chalten. It was a great ereat experience to see the 9,000 year old cave paintings.
Route 40 is a special route that is open in the summer to travel North and South during winer it is closed. Slowly the road is being rebult with asphalt.
Run into Karen (Hamburg, Germany) in El Chalten met her on the Penguin side trip in P Madryn. Also a few Germans are traveling around here but not as many as the French and Suisse - they are all over! Of course there are always a few Americans and British that are here for the long trip 5 - 10 month all over South America. 
-------------------------------
Route 40 WEB Link  
------------------------------
1-25 rainy and windy
1-26 sunny with clouds and very windy, cold went hikeng trails.
1-27 windy some sun hiking trails
1-28 very windy some sun and rain hiking trails

1-29 bus to El Calafate beautiful view of the mountains when we are leaving, some tops we did not see while we were there.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes from the WEB Site of HostelTrail
Arguably the most impressive and active glacier in the world, the Moreno Glacier, 80km from the town of El Calafate is a towering 60 metres of craggy rock and ice and is certainly one of Argentina's top sights. With huge chunks of ice splintering off and and dramatically crashing into the crystal waters at regular intervals, this is truly an unmissable sight!
Perched on the southern banks of Lago Argentino, the town of El Calafate has few sites to offer the visitor. It does however, provide a gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park five hours out of town and El Perito Moreno Glacier two hours outside.

El Chaltén

Notes  from the WEB Site Hostel Trail
El Chaltén is popular backpacker destination in Argentina, just north of El Calafate, and famous for the Fitz Roy Mountain range. The town itself is small and was built in 1985 as a base for mountaineers and those wishing to explore the surrounding area. The resident population is only around 400 people but tourists are plentiful in the months from October to May when the village recieves an influx of those wishing to take advantage of the good.
The area has many spectacular treks of varying length and difficulty as well as excellent mountaineering opportunities, horse riding and rafting excursions. The most popular activities are the Laguna Los Tres and Laguna Torre day treks reaching altitudes of up to 3,400 metres and affording breath-taking views of Mount Fitz Roy.
There is no park entrance fee and rough camping is also free within the park although there are no facilities for campers other than simple toilet facilities. Hotels and restaurants as well as general supplies in the village can be expensive as the area is extremely remote and the residents rely almost fully on tourism as a means to earn a living.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Cueva de las Manos near Perito Moreno Patagonia 1/24/2010

Brief Description
The Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas, contains an exceptional assemblage of cave art, executed between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago. It takes its name (Cave of the Hands) from the stencilled outlines of human hands in the cave, but there are also many depictions of animals, such as guanacos (Lama guanicoe), still commonly found in the region, as well as hunting scenes. The people responsible for the paintings may have been the ancestors of the historic hunter-gatherer communities of Patagonia found by European settlers in the 19th century.
The Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas, contains an exceptional assemblage of cave art, executed between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago. It takes its name (Cave of the Hands) from the stencilled outlines of human hands in the cave, but there are also many depictions of animals, such as guanacos (Lama guanicoe), still commonly found in the region, as well as hunting scenes. The people responsible for the paintings may have been the ancestors of the historic hunter-gatherer communities of Patagonia found by European settlers in the 19th century.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sarmiento petrified forest Jan 21 - 22, 2010


Buses are not as often as in Colombia, to get West 200 KM to a bus at 4:30 PM Jan 24 (on RT 40) we have to take a bus an evening before and stay in Rio Mayo over night (a town of a few hundred). On RT 40 we will visit Cave de los Manos, 9,000 year old cave paintings near Perito Moreno. Then on 1/24 we go RT 40 (gravel road) from Perito Moreno and the caves to El Chalten. There will be a mechnic on the bus - just in case. This route is only open during Summer. Looking forward to this famous ride on RT 40.
Will stay 6 nights in El Chalten (Hotel - Hostels are full or have n private room), hiking to be done there. After that to El cafatel for 3 night reserved hotel again and two trips to the Glaciers and lakes in that region. Then on Feb 1 plane to Bariloche where we plan to stay at least 6 days then Mendoza with a stop in between for 1 - 2 days.


Puerto Madryn trip to Cdr. Rivadavia was 7 hrs in very good bus, from Cdr. ivadavia to Sarmento a 2 hr bus ride the taxi to our B&B. Arrived at 8:00PM and had a great dinnerwith host. We have bed and iving room here and a great bed, Seija is HAPPY! Today we toke a trip with private guide and driver to the Petrified Forest. Beautiful sight and amazing to see 65 million year old tree stumps and partial trees laying. Rested and walked farm (our BB).
Our Place in Sarmiento.












Sarmiento
This is on the way to the West coast 6-7 hours from Puerto Madryn by bus, and we wanted to see the petrified forest, the B&B gives guided tours.
Our place to stay for two night - reservations made.
Chacra Labrador - Hosteria B & B Click HERE for Link
 http://www.hosterialabrador.com.ar/

The Petrified Forest...
30 kilometers south from town lies the Petrified Forest of Sarmiento. This imposing natural reserve's scenery produces many sensations to the observer, notably the feeling of being standing there motionless, facing the remot past.
95 million years ago, Patagonia was inhabited by great dinosaurs. and a lush vegetation covered the land as a result of its warm climate. 30 million years later, the ocean flooded this region and contributed many marine species to the Patagonian floor. Afterwards, clouds of silicon-rich volcanic ash fell heavily on the waters, which over a long period penetrated the vegetal tissues of the submerged forest, substituting silicon particles for their organic carbon. Now millions of tons of petrified  wood lie on the hills, covered in lava, eloquently bearing witness to the past.
A short distance away from this wonder lies the "Moon Valley". Its barren, gray hills, and the greenish, yellow and ochre sediments on bluffs and slopes make up a severe (but very attractive) landscape to watch.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Punta Tombo January 18


Pictures from our Punta Tombo trip to the Penguin Colonie Monday January 18, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Puerto Madryn

Tuesday January 19, 2010
Yesterdays tour to Punta Tombo was a great trip, the Penguin colonie had over 1 Million Penguins and they were all there spread over 2 miles wide and about 1/2 mile deep (away from the water) they live in very dry almost desert type environment. Pictures to come. Today is Tuesday a free beach day, tomorrow a 6 hour bus ride towards Sarmiente 500 KM South where we stay on a Hacienda and take a guided tour of the Petrified Forest. Then towards Perito Moreno (WEst) to see the Cave de los Manos. After 2 days Route 40 to El Chalten a 12 Hour Bus ride way down South. The only way to get there it is a dirt road by bus, there is heavy traffic during the season and one tourist office has the only bus connection every second day down South the other day up North.
1/18/10 On the way to the Reserva Provincial Punta Tombo (1 million Penguins) a group trip by bus and boat to see dolphins.   Click HERE

1/16/10
It is in the high 80s here and dry.
Dry and wind and no rain = DUST.
We are next to the Ocean so swimming is an option but water is very COLD!

Trip  to Reserva Faunística Península Valdés UNESCO Site Saturday Jan 16.


Friday Night BBQ Argentinian style  at the Hostel. - Beef, Beef, Beef Wine and some salad.
In most Hostels it is a tradition to have a BBQ once a week for guests.
1/16/2010 














Puerto Madryn - Our place to stay.









Reserva Provincial Punta Tombo
Reserva Faunística Península Valdés

Information about Puerto Madryn

Puerto Madryn is a city located on the shore of Golfo Nuevo. An important touristic centre offering unnumbered attractions for the visitor. It extends along its 5 km. beach where you will find 7 resorts, most of them work as restaurants and coffee houses all the year where nautical activities are practised during summer.

Different tours are offered by service suppliers: visits to fauna reserves, whales descry, diving, bird-watch, air and paleontological safaris, country houses tourism, fishing, 4 x 4 trekkings, boat navigation, historic circuits, visits to museums (Oceanographic Museum and Modern Art Museum (local) and Eugidio Feruglio Paleontological Museum in Trelew.

Puerto Madryn, considered as Argentina subaquatic capital is visited all the year by divers from all the country and from the world because of its transparent waters and owing to the wide variety of alternatives offered for diving both from the beach through accessible places or from a boat on navigation tours hiring the service of registered diving companies.

A number of gastronomic establishments allow you to taste different typical dishes: sea-food, fish and patagonia lamb. It has a cinema-theatre, casino, bingo, pubs and restaurants uptown and in front of the sea.
For those who are in search of adventure, a number of activities can be developed such as mountain bike, sandboard, windsurf, water sky, sail boat navigation, kayak, 4 x 4 tours.

Backpacking in Patagonia, Argentina

This seemingly lifeless Atlantic outcrop and it's surrounding islands is in fact home to Argentina's most impressive collection of wildlife. Wander the bleak peninsula surrounded by sea-lions, penguins, armadillos and other Patagonian creatures The wildlife enthusiasts dream however, would not be complete without catching a glimpse of the Reserva's most famous residents - the Orcas. With close to all year round observation opportunities, this has to be one of the best spots in Patagonia to witness these enormous yet graceful creatures surfing the Atlantic waves.

Aside from the Orcas however, there are excellent bird-watching opportunities, particularly around the shores and a great way to get the most out of your trip to the Peninsula is to combine a trekking or overland tour with a boat trip to see the wildlife from both land and sea.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Buenos Aires (Jan 12 - Jan 15, 2010)



1/14 Walking the city, 6-7 miles a day. Great dinner at La Cabrera last night. Today on the way to downtown. Friday AM flight to Puerto Madryn where we will stay 5 nights.


1/12/2010 arrived after an overnight flight with no leg room (United!) you understand!
Buenos Aires is in the high 80s and sunny - so it is easy to enjoy.
Now we have to pay the new $131 entrance fee (for US citizens), they take Visa and MasterCard at the customs now! A one Hour wait to change money at the official bank counter then we went by taxi to town.
But of course Meinhard was tired and taken for the old counterfit scam in the taxi - change returned (ARS 70 $20) was really bad counterfit money (from the copy machine) and I did not see it. But I was suspicious when the driver tried to give me ARS 200 back that looked like fake money and told me those were my bills and wanted new ones. I did not go for it and he let it go, that was smart because that was more counterfit. 
Wine and Empanadas for lunch, Coffee and Ice cream in the afternoon - all outside in the sun, that is BA.

Our Hotel (Hostel)













Parilla La Dorita (the other place we eat).
Look at the WEB Page and listen to the beautiful Tango music!
Buenos Aires is a must see on every traveller's itinerary. The great nightlife, widely varying cuisine, the cultural attractions within easy reach of the city center and of course, the football, makes BA a real traveller favourite!

Divided into barrios, each with their own unique style and atmosphere, the city has something for everyone whether your priority is central, stylish, bohemian or modern. The most popular areas among backpackers include Palermo and San Telmo, two of the more upmarket areas offering excellent, restaurants, bars and shops, right at your fingertips

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Argentina South Places & Parks to visit

Argentina 2010 Trip to the South

Cities to stop in and to see, Parks to visit, Hotels / Hostels to stay,
Restaurants / Sites to visit and transportation to take.

Arriving & Leaving
Chicago - Buenos Aires United Airlines January 11, 2009
Buenos Aires - Chicago February 23-24, 2009

Buenos Aires Airport code EZE (Ezeiza) Ministro Pistarini Intern. Airport
Buenos Aires - Jorge Newberry AEP
Bariloche - BRC
Trelow - REL

Resources:
Hostel Trail www.hosteltrail.com
Most reservations and background information for cities to visit came from the Hostel Trail Web Page, it is a great and simple place to find valuable information and places to stay. I stayed at the owners place (Hostel) in Popayan Colombia in 2009, one of the better Hostels, many private rooms and very clean in center of town. Owners are Scottish travelers that got stuck in Colombia and started Hostel Trail , Hostel trail Popayan, Columbia web.

Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com/
World Travel Guide www.worldtravelguide.net/
IGuide http://iguide.travel/

01 Buenos Aires
1/12 Arrive - 1/15 Flight to Trelow

Notes:
Color Coded Bus stations in Buenos Aires by region
Bus station WEB www.tebasa.com

02 Puerto Madryn

01/15 Arrive - leave 1/20.

Day
1. Puerto Madryn - (stay for 3 nights)

2. Puerto Madryn - Punta Tombo visit

3. Puerto Madryn - Gaiman visit

4. Puerto Madryn - Península Valdés visit

5. Bus to Sarmiento or Comodoro Rivadaria

See in Puerto Madryn

· Reserva Provincial Punta Tombo (penguins) Day Trip from P.M. 2 Hrs South

http://www.destination360.com/south-america/argentina/punta-tombo

http://www.patagonia-argentina.com/i/atlantica/puertomadryn/tombo.php

· Gaiman town visit, other

http://www.ripioturismo.com.ar/epmywelsh.htm

· Reserva Faunística Península Valdés, (Punta Loma and / or Punta Norte (Seals, Sea Lions))

www.enjoy-patagonia.org/puerto-madryn-destinations-puerto-madryn-peninsula-valdes.php

www.patagonia-argentina.com/i/atlantica/puertomadryn/valdes.php

· Ecocentro Museum Puerto Madryn

Stay:
www.posadadelcatalejo.com.ar/inicio_in.html
www.laviejaaldea.com/inicio.html

Notes:

· Full Day tour of Peninsula Valdes

· Punta Tombo Full Day $75 Trip

www.flamencotours.org.ar

www.peninsulavaldes.org.ar

03 Sarmiento or CR?

1/20 Arrive - Sarmiento or Comodoro Rivadaria - leave 1/22 to Perito Moreno

See:

· Bosque Petrificado Jose Ormachea (near Sarmiento)

Stay:

· Sarmiento maybe? www.agrotourpatagonia.itgo.com/english.htm

04 Los Antiguos Perito Moreno

1/22 Arriving (from Sarmiento area) may stop in Los Antiguos

Take separate Bus to Los Antiguos

See:

· Cueva De Las Manos (Caves) from Petito Moreno

www.patagonia.com.ar/santacruz/cuevamanos.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cueva_de_las_Manos

· Parque Nacional Perito Moreno (Glacier) P.N.L.G. (South)?

· Cherry Farms

Stay:

05 Perito Moreno

1/26 Bus from Los Antiguos to Perito Moreno then to El Chalten, 13 Hrs Bus ride.

Bus: From Bariloche to El Chalten on EVEN Days, stops only in Perito Moreno!

See:
Stay:

06 El Chalten
01/26 Arriving from Perito Moreno 2/02 Leaving

http://www.chaltentravel.com/

See:

· Day Trip to Lago del Desierto (Fitz Roy Expedition)

· Day Trip -Viedma Trek Boat and Ice walking on Glaciar (Patagonia Adventure)

· Half Day Hikes from Town Laguna Torre, .....

· Full Day Hikes from Town Laguna Los Tres

· Lago Del Sierto (23KM from El Chalten) Glacier Huemul

The most popular activities are the Laguna Los Tres and Laguna Torre day treks reaching altitudes of up to 3,400 metres and affording breath-taking views of Mount Fitz Roy.

Stay:
1 Inlandsis
www.inlandsis.com.ar/
2 Los Ñires
www.losnireschalten.com.ar/

Notes:

Perito Moreno Park Glacier

Hielo Y Adventura Perito Moreno Glacier Tours

Hike to Cerro Torre Lookout Fitz roy - El Chalten

El Chalten Rio Electrico Hike & Climb (Laguna Capri Day trip)
www.interpatagonia.com
Gigantes Patagones,
Caltour
www.caltour.com.ar , P M Glacier Tours

07 El Calafate

2/02 Arriving - 3 Hours from El Chalten by Bus - 2/05 Leaving by Plane to Bariloche

See:

· Glacier Trip Perito Moreno - 30 Miles from Town entrance to Glaciar

· Torres del Pane - Day trip (Jam packed)

· Lago Roca Hike (3 Hours) ??

· Sheep sharing, Folk dancing in town

Perched on the southern banks of Lago Argentino, the town of El Calafate has few sites to offer the visitor. It does however, provide a gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park five hours out of town and El Perito Moreno Glacier two hours outside.

Stay:
1
http://www.patagoniahostelcalafate.com/
2
http://www.glaciar.com/
3 Marco Polo
www.marcopoloinncalafate.com/

08 Bariloche

2/06 Arriving by plane - 2/13 leave by Bus

See:

· El Bolson

· Villa La Angostura

· Hiking

· Parc National Nahuel Huapi - Day Hikes and Trails

· Cerro Otto Gondola (ride up)

· Circuito Chico 60km drive

· Cruce de Lagos (could include night in Chile)

· Rafting in Bariloche - Rio Mauro

www.welcomeargentina.com/bariloche/index_i.html

www.interpatagonia.com/bariloche/index_i.html

www.patagonias.net/Cities/Bariloche.htm

Local buses do a scenic loop of the National Park and for the less energetic amongst us, this is a greatway to see some of the highlights including excelent views of the Nahuel Huapi glacier lake, the Quetrihue Peninsula and Puerto Blest. Climbers, hikers and skiers have a great choice of nearby trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels although always check on weather warnings and official recommendations before hand as conditions are unpredictable all year round.

Stay:
1 La Barraca Suites www.labarracasuites.com
2 Tango Inn (Downtown) http://www.tangoinn.com/

Notes:
Llao Llao Peninsula, also Resort Hotel

Driving Tour Cerro Tronador, Los Alerces Waterfall, Ventisquero Negro - Day tours Bariloche

09 Neuquen
2/13 Arrive by Bus (stop between Bariloche and Mendoza), 2/15 Leave for Mendoza

(Stop to break trip to Mendoza)

See:

· Carmen Funes Museum

www.interpatagonia.com/paseos/carmen_funes/index_i.html

10 Mendoza
2/15 Arrive by Bus - 2/20 plane to Buenos Aires or Bus over Cordoba
See:

· winery tours,
· visits to Villavicencio
· mountaineering excursions
Info:
www.caminoamendoza.com/en/

Stay:

1 Hotel Zamora www.hotelzamora.netfirms.com/
2 Confluencia
www.hostalconfluencia.com.ar/

Notes:
www.tourismouspallata.com Mendoze trips surrounding area
· San Rafael sleepy town away from Mendoza
· Valle de Ucu
· Maipu wine region

11 Cordoba
Cordoba if time allows by Bus from Mendoza, by Bus to Buenos Aires
See:
www.welcomeargentina.com/cordoba/index_i.html

Stay: www.legrandhostel.com

12 Buenos Aires 0220
2/20 Arrive - 2/23 plane to Chicago