We had an amazing time in Argentina and Uruguay. My hope with this trip report is that it will help others plan their trips to these interesting countries. I don’t remember everything we did and ate, but I’ll do my best to give a good summary.
We loved Home Hotel. The staff was so helpful and the location was awesome. You have to be ready to take cabs to the rest of the city, but if you stay in Recoleta then you will be taking cabs to Palermo, and cabs are super cheap. Palermo Hollywood has tons of great restaurants and has a hip vibe without being snobby.
While in BA we ate some wonderful food. I was hesitant about Las Lilas because I had heard that the quality had declined, but it was hands down the best steak we ate in AR. We went twice and split a meal both times (my husband is a big eater and it was still enough). We went at lunch so it was easy to get a table. I highly recommend this place. We also ate at La Cabrera and we were both disappointed by the steak. It was not tender and did not have the flavor that Las Lilas did. We loved all the side dishes, but we were there for steak and it disappointed. We tried Baez our first night and we were very disappointed with the meat. I think we should have ordered sushi because all the locals around us were eating the sushi there…next time. We also ate at Green Bamboo (recommended by Home) and it was delicious. It was nice to have new flavors and the food was inventive. Per the recommendation of our Indian friends we ate at Mumbai on Paraguay street. It was some of the best Indian food I have ever had and I live in San Francisco where we are surrounded by great food. I highly recommend this place. Volta is a must for ice cream (our city tour guide said it was the best and she was right).
We did a 3 hour city tour in BA that was booked by Home for us. It was a great overview of the city and we were able to decide which areas to go back to.
We loved BA, but I think 4 days rather than 5 would have been enough in the city.
Next we were off to Salta. Salta and the NW is amazing. It is very unique and Angie our guide said it was similar to Bolivia. Angie is often recommended on these boards and I know why….she was great. She booked an awesome little hotel for us in Pumamarca, and was flexible the entire time. She took us to a cute little town called Tumbaya (it has a picturesque cemetery that is a must see). We also headed up to the salt flats. The altitude got to me a little, but it was still a fun adventure and an area that is not to be missed.
Oh, we stayed at the Papyrus Hotel and were disappointed by the room. We also stayed at El Lagar, which we loved. I highly recommend this hotel.
Next we were off to El Calafate. Our flight was delayed so we arrived late in the evening. We stayed at Patagonia Rebelde and we loved it! As soon as we realized that we would be too late to buy our tickets for the mini trek, we called the hotel and they sent someone to the Hielo y Aventura office to by the tickets for us (buy these way in advance as they sell out). We also needed to buy bus tickets to El Chalten, but we were going to be out all day on our excursion so the hotel went and bought them for us. I was so impressed by the accommodations for the price (under $100).
One of our best non steak meals on the trip was at Pura Vida in El Calafate. It’s about a 15 minute walk from Patagonia Rebelde, but worth every second. The stew in the pumpkin was delicious and the lentil soup hit the spot. I highly recommend this place.
After two nights in El Calafate we headed to El Chalten by bus. Taking the bus is easy and convenient. My only word of advice is to stay near the bus station if you bring luggage. We got off the bus and all the backpackers loaded up and walked away, while we were stuck hauling our luggage to Nothofogus as no cabs were around. Nothofogus was clean and close to the trail we took the next day. El Chalten was one of the highlights of our trip. We hiked to a glacier and felt the solitude that one can only find in a place like Patagonia. I recommend El Chalten for anyone who enjoys a good hike.
After Patagonia we were off to Uruguay. We took Buquebus to Colonia and rented a car from there to drive to Punta. If I did this again I would fly directly to Punta. We stayed one night at L’Auberge and loved it. We booked it on Expedia and got a great rate. The place is beautiful, but not in easy walking distance to the beach. The next day we went to Jose Ignacio and stayed at La Posada del Faro. This hotel is in a great location, and Jose Ignacio was a nice break from Punta. This isn’t a fancy hotel, but the pool area makes it worth every penny. Check out La Huella for lunch and try the white sangria (awesome). Also, you must get sandwiches at Manolo carniceria in Jose Ignacio. It’s cheap compared to everything else there, the staff are super friendly, and the food is great….feels like being a local.
We thought we would spend more time in Colonia, but my husband and I felt it was very boring. I wouldn't recommend it even as a day trip.
WARNING ABOUT BUQUBUS: our return boat was delayed hours and we never got any answers on what was going on. Other boats scheduled to leave after ours left before. I would never use Buquebus again.
WARNING ABOUT ROCHESTER CONCEPT in BA: We were scheduled to stay here one night between internal trips, but when we arrived they said there was a problem with the water and took us to the Regis Hotel around the corner. The Regis hotel is much cheaper, but they didn’t reimburse us the difference. It was late and we were tired so we went with it, but I would not stay there again.
We also spent one night at the Sheraton Liberator. Great hotel, but book through expedia for the best rates.
Overall we had a great trip. We used our Spanish all of the time, and found the people to be super friendly. BA is such a cosmopolitan city. We can’t wait for our next trip to explore more of Argentina.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. We couldn’t have planned our trip without tripadvisor.