This past November, my girlfriend and I took a nice, long trip to Argentina for what has become our annual November vacation. After consulting a few guidebooks, we decided to visit Buenos Aires (obligatory), Iguazu Falls (Sean’s choice), Cordoba (transportation hub), Mendoza (Natalie’s choice), Mar del Plata (hoping for some beach time), and, finally, Buenos Aires again.
In retrospect, we probably should have included some form of Patagonia somewhere in our itinerary. We ultimately decided not to because we had the opportunity to see some mountain scenery earlier in the year when we went to Whistler to celebrate the marriage of my roommate of five years, Yolanda.
How we got to Argentina
We began our trip by taking public transportation from to New York to Newark for our direct flight to Buenos Aires on United. Both of us traveled a significant amount for work (and in my case, signed up for a bunch of credit cards with generous sign-up bonuses), so we were able to pay for this flight with points. Our return trip was on Delta, which we also paid for with points.
Using points makes travelling much cheaper. There are many blogs devoted to that subject.
Where we went in Argentina
For better or worse, our trip broke down as follows:
Buenos Aires – 3 nights
Iguazu Falls – 2 nights
Cordoba – 1 night (plus overnight bus)
Mendoza – 1 night in Mendoza proper, 3 nights in nearby Chacras de Coria
Mar del Plata – 4 nights
Buenos Aires – 2 nights
Each of these probably merit their own post, so hopefully I come back and do that!
How we got around Argentina
Argentina is huge and therefore it’s not simple to zip from place to place. The train system there, from my understanding, is not very well developed. Therefore there are two main options: airplane and bus. We did a combination of both. While the bus conjures bad thoughts in the minds of most people I talk to, it’s a fairly comfortable affair in Argentina. And if strategically used, can offset some lodging costs as well.
We flew on Andes Líneas Aéreas from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu and from Mendoza to Buenos Aires (on our way to Mar del Plata). And, we flew on Aerolineas Argentinas from Puerto Iguazu. Two of the three flights were painless. The flight from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, however, was severely delayed and resulted in a small riot on the part of the passengers.
We took an overnight bus from Cordoba to Mendoza. The lie flat seats on our Andesmar bus were very comfortable and left us ready to explore Mendoza when we arrived. We took 5-hour Tony Tur buses during the day between Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata in both directions. Even on the shorter bus ride, we opted for the lie-flat seats and were quite comfortable for the duration.
Where we stayed in Argentina
Our housing was a mix of different types. In Buenos Aires we stayed in an AirBnB the first set of nights. We stayed in boutique hotels in Puerto Iguazu, Chacras de Coria, and Mar del Plata. And, we used starwood points to stay at Sheratons in Cordoba, Mendoza, and Buenos Aires part 2.