3 Weeks in Argentina

I haven’t written since SEPTEMBER (2018) and we were in Argentina in MAY/JUNE (2018) so needless to say, I’m a shamble. But I made a New Years’ resolution that I would finish this blog, so here I go. [Warning: Given that we’re now 6 months post-trip, my memory of details is hazy at best, so this will be far sparser than previous posts – my belated Christmas gift to all of you.]

Days 304-308: 5 Days in Mendoza – aka Vino, Vino, and More Vino

We left Peru on a midnight flight, and with the distance + time difference, we ended up arriving in Mendoza at some ungodly hour of the morning. A short cab ride later and we sat in our hotel’s lobby looking pathetic on their fancy couches, hoping they’d give us a room way before the normal check-in time. I’m happy to report that our pathetic-ness prevailed, and the mountain views from our room were pretty great.

I won’t bore you with the details of most of our time in Mendoza because honestly we pretty much just slept, ate, and drank wine, BUT I will share some deets/photos from the one wine tour that we did on my birthday. Tour company was Uncorking Argentina, and since Ben planned it I have no idea how they were to work with, but the day of was certainly wonderful. We went to 3 vineyards/wineries: Alta Vista Winery, Kaiken Winery, and Renacer Winery. [Pro Tip: Argentinians call wineries “bodegas”, which, as a Dominican York, was the most confusing thing ever because our bodegas most certainly do not offer wine tastings and if they did, I most certainly would not drink it.]

The first two involved tours + tastings and the last included a wine-paired lunch (read: 3 course feast).

The view from Kaiken’s vineyard is OUT OF THIS WORLD.
Post-tasting, pre-lunch joy – so much great wine.
One of 3 courses and definitely one of the fanciest salads of my life – I vaguely remember a smooth-as-butter goat cheese that was scrumptious.

Conclusion? Drink all the wine.

Days 309: Airbnb fails AGAIN

Our time in Mendoza flew by and it was time to head to Buenos Aires for a little city action. One uneventful flight and one taxi trying to gouge us later, we got to our Airbnb – and it was an epic failure. Mystery hair everywhere, disgusting stained pillows, dirty fridge, mold growing in the washing machine, and not even a single roll of toilet paper available. We were supposed to be staying there for the next 15 days and needless to say, that was NOT happening. Cue Airbnb host back-and-forth messaging battle that we ultimately won with a full refund. But now what? Hotels.com last minute reservation to the rescue – we found a room for the night in a place nearby: Mine Boutique Hotel. We knew we couldn’t afford (and didn’t want) a hotel for the full 2+ week stay, but finding another decent Airbnb on such short notice was impossible, so we knew we’d need a hotel for a few days. Unfortunately “Mine” was only available for the night, but it served its purpose. Ben coped with a bubble bath:

Then we went and ate our feelings (with the exact same drink and lasagna, because apparently when you’ve been together this long, you even eat the same comfort food):

Days 310-321: Live your best Argentinian life

We finally found a good Airbnb, but it wasn’t available for another 3 days so we stayed at another hotel in a different part of town, close enough to be able to walk to the Airbnb when the time came. The new place – CasaSur Bellini – was nice and clean…all you can ask for these days. Eventually we headed to the Airbnb and were pleasantly surprised to find a place that ACTUALLY looked like the pictures in the listing and was in fact tidy and clean. A Christmas miracle (in May)! We spent the rest of our time in BA alternating between being homebodies/hermits (we were slowly starting to look for jobs again and wanted a much slower pace than previous countries) and tourists.

Top spots (in no particular order):

1. La Recoleta Cemetery: A tiny bit morbid (I’ve never liked cemeteries – though who does?) but full of famous people and actually kind of pretty. I obviously had one mission: Find Eva Perón!

Here lies an OG Queen.

2. La Casa Rosada: Argentina’s “White House” but WAY cooler because it’s pink! Beautiful building and a fun experience to walk around during the tour, but even better if you’re a giant Eva Perón nerd and want to feel like you’re walking the same halls and breathing the same air that she did.

One of many gorgeous and ornate rooms.
THE Casa Rosada balcony – you know the one!
This painting used to be in the Casa Rosada but was replaced with a replica and the original is now housed at the museum.

3. Teatro Colón: Buenos Aires’ opera house and a TRULY gorgeous building. The acoustics are incredible and we’re so sad to not have seen an opera here (we toured it too late in our trip and by then there weren’t any viable options).

Incredible stained glass ceiling vaults.

4. Señor Tango: We came here based on the recommendation of a friend it was AMAZING! The entire show is incredible, from the dancers to the musicians. The food was ‘eh’ so it’s good enough to just go for the show and have dinner elsewhere beforehand if you prefer it. They end the entire thing with Evita’s Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and I was on cloud nine! 😍

Pro Tip: Don’t show up dressed like a schlub like we did (in our defense, we didn’t exactly have ‘nice’ clothing with us on this trip) – some folks showed up dressed to the nines!

5. La Casa de Dulce de Leche: There are a few locations across Buenos Aires (I think?) and OMG this stuff is crack. For sure this is a diabetic coma in a jar but like…who cares? You’ll die happy.

[We also went to Museo Evita, which is a perfect option for Eva Perón aficionados – but no pictures allowed sadly.]

Days 322-323: Waterfalls for Days

No trip to South America is complete without visiting Las Cataratas del Iguazú (Argentine side) & Foz do Iguaçu (Brazilian side) – aka Iguazu National Park. We managed to find decently priced last minute flights from BA + a hotel for the night so we could visit both sides of the park (it’s honestly impossible to do both sides in one day, so an overnight is required). This place is without question one of Mother Nature’s greatest masterpieces and hands down a Top 5 place to visit. The pictures won’t do it justice but at least they’re better than me trying to describe this majestic sight.

Argentine side:

Before getting to La Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat)…
Then you get there and HOLY…
*Not photoshopped.
*Also not photoshopped.

Brazilian side:

Proof we were in Brazil! 😂
Looks nice from a distance, right? Just wait.
Not even the best part yet.
The rainbows were ON POINT that day.
If you’re not impressed, I can’t help you.
*Not photoshopped.

Pro Tips for Iguazu:

1. DO visit both sides – so, so, so worth it.

2. While Argentina does not require visas for US citizens, Brazil DOES. So be sure to get your visa before trying to go to the Brazilian side! (I got mine online a few days before we went.) I don’t even think they checked mine at the border (🙄) BUT the last thing you want is to not be able to cross (or get back!) because you tried to cheat the system.

3. Wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting a bit wet. You’ll be doing enough walking and there are plenty of opportunities to get splashed a bit.

4. If you really want to, bring your own rain jacket, but don’t bother spending the $5 on the crappy plastic one they have available on the Brazilian side.

5. Feel free to bring your own food for lunch since the options at the park are kind of sucky BUT beware of the raccoon-like coatis all over the park…they will hunt you down for a sandwich.

Extra pro tip: At some point while you’re in the area, stop by a bar and order a caipirinha. You will not regret it.

Most delicious caipirinha of my life. Ever.

(Day 324: A Lost Day – this was officially our last day in Buenos Aires but I honestly couldn’t tell you what we did besides pack? I’m sure we ate something delicious but… 🤷🏽‍♀️)

And so ended our time in Argentina! So many undiscovered places because we were determined to take a slower pace, but that just means a repeat visit is necessary – next time with an extra big suitcase so I can smuggle back all the wine. Only one stop left: Costa Rica!

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