Thanks to all the wonderful DE’s on this forum. I frequented tripadvisor while planning our trip and the advice that we got along the way made for a great trip and we really appreciate it. Here’s our trip report. Hopefully others can benefit from the forum like we did.
Our family: We planned a family trip to BA that include us and our two kids, who were about 4 years old and 1 year old at the time of the trip. This was our first trip to South America and to BA.
Our trip: We traveled in early September for two weeks in BA. Since we had two small kids with us, we planned to spend the entire two weeks mostly in BA with some day trips. Ok, here goes.
We arrived at EZE in the early morning and took a car service that we had arranged with our apartment rental company. We rented with Apartments BA, which has plenty of great reviews on this forum. The car service went off without a hitch despite the fact that our driver might have been the worst driver ever (a seemingly timid and cautious driver in hectic BA). In spite of the drive, we made it to our apartment. The driver coordinated with the rental company and the rep was waiting for us when we arrived. We rented AP2, right in Recoleta. The location could not have been better on Las Heras between Junin and Uriburu. (Apologies for the misspellings I’m sure to include, especially for names). It was as promised and a great place. The company was responsive (a sliding door wouldn’t lock, and it was the room for our kids). The repair person arrived within a couple of hours and when he realized that a part needed to be ordered, he fixed the door so it wouldn’t open at all, because he realized that it was the room for our kids. Also, the apartment has several “extras” I hadn’t even thought about, like a local cell phone we could use (we just had to pay for the minutes, which is super cheap) and it even had voltage converters that we could use for our electronics. That was a nice touch. This unit has a balcony, but truthfully, there wasn’t much of a view. But that was fine, because the apt opened onto an interior courtyard, it was quite, and although it’s on a very busy street with lots of buses (and taxis, which was convenient) we didn’t have to hear it. The apt was quiet.
The apt location could not have been better. We were just a block or two from Recoleta cemetery, the new mall (only the theatre was open while we were there) was essentially across the street). There was a great Disco supermarket nearby on Rodriquez Pena and a fancy grocery on Vincent Lopez (the name escapes me right now, but it’s the other big chain in BA). A laundry place right on the block (15 pesos per “load” to wash, dry, fold for what was a smallish/normal size laundry basket). Wow. A great bakery where I couldn’t help but go every morning and restaurants in every direction.
A note about BA with kids. I scoured the forum about traveling with kids. I found some information but am adding here for those who are considering a trip with kids. In short, BA is great with kids. Our apt was just a few blocks from Plaza Vincent Lopez, where there is a terrific park and great playground for kids. The kids play area has playground equipment, and unlike the parks where we live, the parks are enclosed in a fenced area. No need to worry about the kiddos running out into traffic etc. Everyone, without exception, was wonderful about our kids. We frequently found kid menus at restaurants, and even where there was not a kids menu, servers were happy to point out what kids liked to have there. Even on the insane BA streets, even taxis stopped for us and waived us through the intersection (we of course waited for the appropriate light). It’s true that dinner is late at BA. It wasn’t unusual for us to hit the park at 8pm, then still be the first people in the restaurant. (Our kids are used to eating much earlier, but we just fed them in the apt at their usual time and our oldest got a “snack” or dessert while we ate). But we never got the looks of “horror” (the, “I can’t believe you brought your kids in here look”) that we would have gotten if we had brought the kids to dinner at similar places here at home. More on specific restaurants below.
If I go day by day, you’ll grow gray before finishing this trip report, so I’ll try to hit the high points. We traveled to Estanci El Ombu on a day trip with Signature Tours. The tour company was great, but our only regret was that we hadn’t made plans to stay overnight. I think we could have for close to the same price we paid for the day trip. The only additional cost we would have had would be transportation to the Estancia. It was great to be outside of the city and the ranch itself was very relaxing, and scenic. We took our four year old with us and although he was the only kid on the trip, he had a blast and the tour and estancia folks were super accommodating making sure he could also enjoy the horse ride, etc. Kid tip: For our son during most of the trip, we packed him a small backpack where he carried a few toys, some crayons, etc. so that if the action slowed, we were eating late, etc. he could entertain himself. Highly recommend Estancia El Ombu.
We also did the BA City Tour with Signature Tours. It’s not that expensive, so I would recommend it, but in the end, there wasn’t really that much to it. We did see La Boca, and El Caminito, which we probably wouldn’t bother to go back to on our own, but it did give us an introduction to the city and the various areas.
We did the Sunday fair in San Telmo. I didn’t anticipate how must area the street fair covered. There we say “Captain Jack” from Pirates of the Carribean, which my son thought was cool. And we enjoyed just strolling around. There we found what was one of our favorite restaurants, recommended on this forum, Brasserie Pentanque. The place was full but on Sunday, they had tables outside and so we found one and were able to have a seat and order lunch. The food was divine. We enjoyed Boeuf Bourginon, Chicken Cordon Bleu and Steak Tartare with a nice Bonarda. We went back there on our last day in BA and also enjoyed the dessert sampler plate. Needless to say, it didn’t last long.
Near our apartment, our favorite place (we went here twice also) was El Estrebe. The food was excellent, the service very friendly and it was a short walk from our apartment. What’s not to like. We had the Bife de Lomo and a bone-in ribeye. Yum. My son enjoyed ice cream which was some of the best we tasted while we were there. Loved the papas fritas provencal too.
We also did the BA Zoo, Palermo Zoologico. We taxied there, fed the bears (how hilarious is that!) and walked back. It was a longish walk for a 4 year old, but definitely walkable (to be fair, we hail from a car-centric place). No worries, we stopped off for ice cream (me), bananas with dulce de leche (my son) and beer (hubby) to cool our heels.
When planning, I decided that I wanted to go to Iguazu Falls. My husband wasn’t persuaded that anything was worth flying during our two weeks, after we dragged the kids on a 10 hour plane flight to get there. The kids did ok on the flight, and by the second week, we decided to go for it. We decided that morning, booked tickets online (which were not really any more expensive than the same tickets at I looked at months before), packed and headed for the airport for a 3pm flight. We barely made it in time to find the flight had been delayed 2 hours. We eventually got to Puerto Iguazu around 8pm or so. I had also booked a room at the Sheraton that morning. We arrived, and managed to get upgraded to a Superior Suite for the price of a Standard Suite (the Standard wasn’t ready). The room was great, on the third floor and recently remodeled. We headed to the restaurant in the hotel, where my husbands claims to have had the best steak during the entire trip. Let’s be fair, the Sheraton knows that its is the only hotel in the Park, (we paid park entrance on the way in) and its not cheap. But you cannot beat the location and since we were only going for one night, the proximity to the park was incredible. The next morning, we woke to my 4 year old (who knew we were going to the waterfall) walking over the window, pulling back the curtain and saying “wooooowwwwww.” The view from the room was spectacular. After the huge breakfast buffet that was included with our room, we literally walked out the back door of the hotel directly onto the park trails. We walked to the train for the park and headed for the Devil’s Throat (another kid note: (apologies, but I couldn’t find the answer to this question when I looked) but many of the walkways that go over the falls are stroller accessible). A helpful guide pointed out that the Devil’s throat and the Upper Circuit trails were stroller accessible. Others had stairs, but we never got to those. We strolled the 1 year old, and when the 4 year old got worn out, we switched the 1 year old to a backpack carried (we used an inexpensive Infantino knock-off of the Ergo carrier- which was fine for the price and vacation—but if I going to use it a lot- I might invest in the Ergo- but who knows, I haven’t used the Ergo so I don’t really know if its better). With both kids sound asleep, we headed back to the Sheraton Lobby for a cool adult-style beverage until it was time to head back to the airport and BA.
We also did a wine tasting with Anuva Wines. It was very nice and the young woman who led the tasting was very knowledgeable. We went to dinner after with some of the folks we met at the tasting. That evening we walked to Don Julio in Palermo (something).
On Saturday, we hit Shoeless Joe’s El Alamo Bar. We hail from the SEC (college football) and found that our teams’ games were being televised at Shoeless Joes. I can’t say too much for the BA version of guacamole, but hey, what do you expect. I ran into a few other fans, but mostly it was just us. Guess the SEC isn’t the worldwide phenomenon that we understand it to be.
My two cents on security. We were fortunate, and had no problems at all. I certainly noticed that in BA, there are plenty of signed that people are very security conscious. But we used common sense, and had a great time. We mostly travelled by taxi, and tried to take Radio Taxis (that we hailed from the street- they were plentiful and clearly marked). With the kids (and stroller) in tow, we didn't make the effort to learn public transit, since taxis were inexpensive and plentiful. Plus, we could walk most places anyway.
In the end, there were still many things that we didn’t get to. We’re saving those things for our “next” trip to BA!