Just back this morning from 11 days in BsAs and Iguazu! Had a fantastic vacation. We're two well traveled seniors. Planned the trip (43 pages of notes) using TA destination experts, Foder's "Buenos Aires" and Google sites. Will provide our experiences, perspective and opinions relative to the issues and questions that I noted during 5 months of reading the BA Forum. I’ll break the trip report by Day as it makes it easier for me to remember things.
The UA flight arrived at 10:15 AM on Friday. Followed clear signs to booths to pay reciprocity tax (I noted that they charge small children the same fee). Had the immigration forms filled out (and signed); sailed through. It was well organized with electronic signs showing what booth was next ready for a traveler. Got luggage quickly (plenty of free carts) and we were waved through Customs. Changed dollars to pesos at Banco Nacion just after Customs (15 minute line); Got a very good exchange rate (3.88) but they wouldn't give us much currency smaller than 100 peso denominations.
Just beyond Customs was the big Blue/White Taxi Ezeiza booth. They took only pesos (118) or U.S. dollars (32). A company man walked our carts about 50 yards to the taxi (I tipped him $2). Nice car and good driver (fast).We were in the lobby of the Marriott Plaza hotel in Centro before 12 noon!
We stayed at the Marriott for 5 nights; it was perfect for us (besides being free on Marriott rewards Points) - an elegant place, professionally run with nice size rooms and GREAT beds. It is located at San Martin Plaza and just around the corner from the pedestrian part of Florida Ave. There are several classy leather goods store next door. H Sterns in the hotel had the matte (?) cup charms but for $550US.
Had an excellent light lunch at the Florida Garden (on Florida between Paraguay and Cordova) – very nice food and excellent service. Paid with credit card but tipped with pesos. Toured Galerias Pacifico (corner of Florida and Cordoba); went upstairs to the Borges Cultural Center and got tickets for “Passion de Tango” show for 50 pesos each!
Walked over Cordova about 3 blocks west from Florida to a Buquebus office and got tickets for Rapido boat to Colonia on Monday morning – easy, an efficiently run sales office.
Walked back towards Marriott and got lost; learned the lesson to always carry a map. We had bought a plastic pocket map of the tourist areas of BsAs on Amazon.com (but the Hotels and upscale stores have good tourist maps). We stopped in a small store and bought bottled water and the proprietor shared a small glass of beer (Brahma brand) with me –nice surprise!
DW visited the leather shops near Plaza San Martin and had a short leather jacket made. It cost $US295 and was made in a day. DW is a designer/seamstress and knows value and quality. She bought a lot of leather goods. Some were end of season sales.
The “Passion de Tango” show lasted 90 minutes and was a WOW! Beautiful/handsome and talented dancers with a very good singer (recorded music). I was enthralled!
Had dinner at 10:30 at Café Establo (489 Paraguay) – a GREAT, reasonably priced parrilla. I think everyone else but we were Portenos. Rather than return to the Marriott via Paraguay to Florida, I tried a “short cut” – a big mistake as the area got “dicey” with police cars, an ambulance, and girls in short shorts and very high heels. After that we stuck to the main streets and more often only used a cab at night.