We thought we should add our comments on our 10 day trip to Argentina since we received so much info from the BA forum and it really was helpful.
We arrived in BA after the long, long trip from Detroit through Atlanta. The flight is grueling, but the lack of a significant time difference makes recovery easier that flying to Europe. We stayed our first six nights at the Home Hotel in Palermo Hollywood. The staff there are just terrific. They were friendly and very helpful. The included breakfast was excellent. We had lunch there, also excellent, and spent an hour or two around the pool. My wife really liked having the pool; it's very inviting with sufficient seating and right next door to the bar/restaurant. We stayed in a superior room; the room seemed pretty small because we brought a lot of luggage (and, wore just about everything we brought). The suites are quite larger, I think, but considerably more expensive. The hotel has a small booklet which includes recommendations for restaurants, day trips, shopping, etc. Every single recommendation they made was excellent. We would absolutely recommend the Home to anyone looking for a small hotel with much charm.
We walked everywhere in BA and used taxis to travel from one barrio to another. The taxis are plentiful and inexpensive. We spoke almost no Spanish; but, this was not a particular problem. However, I have vowed to learn more Spanish before our next trip to BA; not everyone speaks English and it's frustrating to be unable to communicate.
We toured most of the recommended sites in BA and really enjoyed the Museo Belle Artes, Museo Decorativo Artes, and Museo Evita. We had the buffet lunch at Alvear Palace and it was as impressive as we had heard ... wonderful and worth the price. We ate at the big three parillas, Don Julio, La Cabrera and La Brigada (twice). Our favorite was La Cabrera; as suggested, don't order anything more than one steak and drinks. The complimentary side dishes (about 10, if I recall correctly) are more than enough for anyone. We ordered one ribeye and did not finish it. La Cabrera doesn't take reservations after 8:30 (and, who eats dinner at 8:30 in BA ??!!); but, waiting and checking out the crowd is part of the fun.
We ate at two private dinners, Casa SaltShaker and Casa Felix. Both are described on the internet. Both dinners were lovely with great food; the dinner at Casa Felix was particularly creative and the host/chef is inspired. I don't drink, but my wife said the wines were very good. The crowd (9 people)at Casa SaltShaker was mostly American; the crowd (18, large crowd because some family of the host were visiting) at Casa Felix was from Mexico, Spain, New Zealand, Britain, and one young woman from the Home Hotel where we stayed the first six days of our trip. The private dinners were one of the most enjoyable parts of our trip.
The shopping in BA is great. My wife (who shops in boutiques vs. department stores) found some good clothing buys in Palermo Viejo and I bought a pair of wonderful shoes (black dress for Tango in BA and dress back home) at Angelino's, another recommendation of the Home Hotel. We visited several malls and thought that the best leather was at El Boyero in the Galeria Pacifica on Florida Street. (ask for Florencia, a charming young woman with excellent English and very competent and accommodating); my wife bought two pairs of boots and I bought a pair of carpincho shoes. The prices seemed very reasonable for the quality. We did not shop for leather jackets. I bought a leather shoulder bag at a good price in the Recoleta market. We went to the San Telmo market both Sundays we were in BA: it's great fun, but we didn't buy anything off the street. The shops near the plaza at the south end of the market (where all the wonderful, colorful, must be seen to be believed action takes place) had really fine merchandise with good prices; my wife bought a beautiful purse there.
The Tango is almost exclusively for tourists, of course. We saw two shows while we were in BA, the Tango Completjo and the Tango Carlos Gardel. The Home hotel arranged the Tango Completjo for us and the Art Suites (where we spent our last three nights in BA) arranged the Tango Gardel. We opted to not have dinner at either of the shows, although most people there were having dinner before the show. We had really excellent seats at both shows, probably because of our hotels' request on our behalf. We really enjoyed having transportation to and from the shows. Both shows were great, I enjoyed the Tango Completjo a little more because it seemed more intimate. The club was smaller; so, everyone was closer to the stage. The musicians, singers and dancers were all excellent at both shows. We saw a couple of Tango dancers at the square in the San Telmo market that were also excellent. We took one tango lesson with some people we'd known from Detroit who now live in BA. I have to say that the Tango, done right, is really hard (and, I taught for Arthur Murray about 50 years ago!). We did not have/take time to attend a milonga, but we intend to next trip to BA.
After six nights at the Home, we flew to Iguazu. Based on discussion in this forum, we opted to spend only one night and stay in the park at the Sheraton. It was a good choice; we upgraded to a room with a view of the falls and really enjoyed the view. The falls are simply magnificent; you're able to get really close and they are, of course, much greater in scope than Niagara. We chose not to do the appealing boat trip through the rapids and up near the falls because we did not want to truck trip through the jungle that preceded the boat ride. We didn't mind because the portion of the falls known as Garganta del Diablo (the Devil's Throat) is so amazing that we had to visit it both days. You reach those falls on a free small gauge train ride that is always crowded. The hotel in the park was great because we toured the larger portion of the falls (Circuito Inferior and Circuito Superior) at 8:00 a.m. in the morning before the park opened. We saw lots of animals and birds and only two photographers on the early morning trip. The beauty and power of the falls can not be overstated. They are a must-see on a trip to Argentina.
Our last three nights were spent in Recoleta at the Art Suites hotel. We had a large one bedroom suite with full kitchen and private balcony. It was very convenient to the Recoleta area and the staff were very knowledgeable, though not as accessible as the Home Hotel staff. Our suite on the 9th floor was very quiet and we would stay there again, probably will!
The departure from EZE enroute home on Delta seems a little hectic at first, but is actually very efficient. We arrived three hours early and did not have too much idle time before boarding our plane. We bought agua con gas at a snack shop after going through security for the plane; but, customs staff confiscated it after we'd gone through the gate with our boarding passes and just before we walked on the plane. It would have been nice to know beforehand; we left two unopened bottles with the customs people ($2 a bottle!).
Our first trip to South America was pretty terrific. We'll probably go further south in Argentina next time and my wife thinks that we should probably go to Brazil, as well, next time. I've probably left out some important info; but, my wife, Susan, may want to add an addendum to this report later. Ciao, Ed