Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! As I sit here enjoying a fire on a snowy evening, I’m embracing the winter season but can’t help my mind wandering to favorite places in the southern hemisphere. It’s hard to imagine as I watch the snow come down sideways that my colleagues and friends south of the equator are slathering on the sunscreen and enjoying long days at the beach.
One of my favorite places in the southern hemisphere is Argentina – what an incredible country! Yes, the pandemic has put plans on hold for an Argentinian vacation, but my handy protocol portal says that “most travelers from the USA with proof of full vaccination status can enter Argentina” with some additional stipulations. This means many of us are good to go 😊
In today’s newsletter, I outline some compelling reasons to put Argentina on your travel bucket list. I’m certain you will agree! Read on for the scoop….
Paris of the South
Known as the “Paris of the South,” Buenos Aires is a vibrant city with trendy neighborhoods, incredible restaurants, fascinating historical and cultural sites, and beautiful parks and public spaces. It’s a city that appeals to couples and families who crave a unique, international experience. I just checked my flight portal and you can catch a red eye from New York and arrive in Buenos Aires by brunch the next day.
Popular activities include seeing a tango show (and/or taking a lesson yourself), visiting a cemetery like no other in Recoleta where you’ll see Eva Perron’s tomb (Evita!), and strolling the colorful La Boca neighborhood. Of course, you’ll want to make plenty of time to eat in the many fantastic cafes and restaurants – empanadas for lunch and an Argentinian steak with a glass of Malbec are recommended!
Also known as Latin America’s capital of culture, Buenos Aires has almost 300 theatres, 380 bookstores and 160 museums, and some of them will take your breath away. The Teatro Colon is one of the world’s best opera houses, with outstanding acoustics and beautiful interiors. The Ateneo Grand Spendid is considered one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. You’ll find amazing art, not only in the many galleries and cultural centers, but in the street art you’ll find around many turns.
A fun day trip for all ages from Buenos Aires is visiting an estancia (ranch) where you’ll enjoy an authentic Argentinian barbeque called the asado. Gauchos (cowboys) entertain you with horse races, ring dances, and gaucho sports.
Splurge and stay Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires which was originally a 1934 palace and is now considered one of the finest hotels in South America. Virtuoso and Hyatt Prive perks apply!
Majestic Iguassu Falls
Hop on a plane north of Buenos Aires to see one of the most spectacular waterfalls and ecosystems in the world, Iguassu Falls. The falls should be visited from both the Argentina and Brazil sides, so you’ll need two days for the full experience.
According to the UNESCO world heritage website, the semicircular waterfall spans the border between Argentina and Brazil. It’s made up of 275 cascades producing vast sprays of water and is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. The surrounding subtropical rainforest has over 2,000 species of vascular plants and is home to much of the wildlife found in the region: tapirs, giant anteaters, howler monkeys, ocelots, jaguars, and caymans.
For the ultimate bucket list experience, stay on the Brazil side of the falls at Belmond’s Hotel Das Cataras where you can see the falls from the hotel property without the crowds. If you’re there during the full moon, you may see a “moonbow” rarely seen by most people. Count me in! As a member of the Belmond Bellini club of travel advisors, you will receive some amazing perks when you book with Hidden Gem Travel!
Wine & The Great Outdoors in Mendoza
If you love wine and you’ve been to Napa in California, you must go to wine country when in Argentina, commonly known as the Mendoza region. The Andean Wine Route stretches nearly 1,300 miles along the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains. Malbecs usually spring to mind first when you think about Argentinian wine, but there is a wide range of varieties grown at various altitudes along the route.
Think incredible food and fine wine with a backdrop of spectacular, sweeping mountain landscapes. You can work off the calories by hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and other outdoor pursuits.
Stay at The Vines Resort & Spa where your Virtuoso perks include a 3-course dinner for two in the signature restaurant. Immerse yourself in Argentine culture and learn the art of harvesting, blending, and bottling wines from the experts. Downtime includes relaxing pool-side with the Andes as your backdrop.
Here’s more inspiration for Argentinian wine itineraries that I can curate for you: https://www.winetraveler.com/argentina/5-top-wineries-in-argentina-salta-mendoza/.
💎 Hidden Gem Tip: Wondering how to navigate a vacation to South America? Reply to this email, and I’ll talk you through it.
Jaw-dropping Los Glaciares National Park
In sharp contrast to the experiences mentioned so far, you can fly from Buenos Aires to the south of Argentina and walk on and alongside glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park. Perito Moreno Glacier is an imposing iced river that descends from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site due to its breathtaking beauty and many peaks and towers.
Take a 3-hour walk along the paths in front of its western wall for a close-up view of this impressive natural wonder from different viewpoints. You can view the glacier from sea level on a boat. Adults can put on crampons and trek on top of the glacier with a licensed guide. It’s a truly immersive glacier experience!
Be sure to look to the sky to see some incredible bird life including condors and black-chested buzzard eagles.
Stay in nearby El Calafate where I will recommend the best hotel for your group. It won’t be luxury, but it will be comfortable.
Inspired? If you’re thinking about a trip to Argentina in 2022 or 2023, here’s the link to schedule a chat with me www.hiddengemtravelconsulting.com/contact
Wishing you and your family continued good health,