Argentinawithfriendstravel’s Weblog

June 27, 2008

Argentina South America with

Filed under: Argentina — argentinawithfriendstravel @ 3:35 am
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Argentina South America

Argentina has been called the “Land of the Six Continents”. Although this title communicates the country’s great geographic diversity, we struggle to limit ourselves to six. Each region in its 3,000 mile territory is special and distinct.

The country’s northern half is rich in culture and natural beauty. The high northwest cradles ancient towns, where villagers honor their Andean roots. In the northern rainforests of Misiones, Iguazu Fall’s great waters roar on endlessly. At the edge of the wide Rio de la Plata, cosmopolitan Buenos Aires bustles to the staccato steps of the Tango. The dusty central pampas are home to the Gauchos, the cowboys who herd Argentina’s famous beef cattle. On the western border, Mendoza’s prized vineyards produce the world’s finest Malbec.

In the south, innumerable penguins, whales and sea lions struggle against the elements on the wild Atlantic coastline of Patagonia. Bariloche and Calafate compel exploration of the outdoors, tempting visitors with crystal blue mountain lakes, towering glaciers and perfect powder. And at the end of world, the sparkling port of Ushuaia is the last haven of ships bound for Antarctica.

Argentina offers you an endless collection of beauty. No matter what part this vast land has captured your imagination, our expert travel counselors will help you craft the perfect experience.

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel reservations.

JESS Kalinowsky


Buenos Aires: Cultural Capital of Latin America with

Buenos Aires: Cultural Capital of Latin America

Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan town with European flair. The city is known for its active cultural and social scenes, with special emphasis on tango, opera, theater, night-life, soccer, polo, fine beef and excellent wines. To this rich mixture, add the myth of “Evita”, the gaucho tradition and the Pampas, the river ports, art galleries, handcrafted clothing and sidewalk cafes. You will then start to understand the heart of this city—an original society born from migrant ships and open to all cultures.

We suggest a three-day visit to this irresistible metropolis. A stay in Buenos Aires is ideally paired with side trips to a private ranch, a cruise on the delta of the Parana River, or an excursion to historic Colonia, Uruguay. Longer extensions can be arranged to Iguazu Falls or the beach resorts of Uruguay.

One of Buenos Aires’ highlights is the fashionable district of La Recoleta, known for its cafés, architectural masterpieces and parks. Recoleta’s grand cemetery has been called “a place to die for.” The innumerable mausoleums resemble Greek temples, chapels, pyramids and Roman rotundas. Here, the rich and famous are buried in style. Among them is Eva Peron, the famous former first lady of Argentina.

Buenos Aires is ideal for walking. One notable pedestrian area is Florida Street, an open air shopping mall lined by chic boutiques and shops selling designer clothing, leather goods, chocolates, jewelry and books. The street itself is an attraction; the concourses of shoppers are dressed at their best, while guitarists, singers, jugglers and tango dancers perform in their midst. Other neighborhoods ideal for a stroll include Recoleta, Palermo and San Telmo.

Our city tours can be designed to meet your wishes. Although most visitors are eager to see the Casa Rosada and the colorful port neighborhood of La Boca, we can easily customize a tour to fit your distinctive interests.  We’ve designed tours highlighting artistic, religious, culinary, sporting and historical aspects of porteño culture.

One popular element of this culture is tango. This powerful dance, born in Buenos Aires in the early decades of the last century, is marked by strong syncopation and staccato movements. An evening dinner and tango show is a must when visiting Buenos Aires. For those with a deeper interest in this art form, we can arrange private lessons with world-class instructors.

We are happy to recommend fine restaurants (including the world’s best steak and pasta houses), cafés, bistros and gelaterias. In some cases, private or rooftop dining can be arranged. Many of the city’s best kitchens are found only a short distance from our suggested hotels.

“Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.” – Samuel Johnson

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel arrangments.

JESS Kalinowsky

Salta: Beauty of the North of Argentina with

Salta: Beauty of the North

Argentina’s mountainous Northwest has only recently been discovered by international travelers. Rich in colonial architecture, the picturesque province of Salta offers visitors a rainbow of landscapes infused with indigenous Andean culture.

Salta, originally founded by the conquistadores in 1533, was declared a province of Argentina in 1814 following liberation from Spain. The exquisite colonial architecture of the capital city is evidence of powerful European influence. Completed in 1625, the iconic red and gold San Francisco Church, boasts the hemisphere’s tallest belfry. The city’s centerpiece, 9 de Julio Plaza, is shaded by towering palm trees and surrounded by sidewalk cafes. Here, the air is infused with the scent of fresh empanadas and the gentle strains of accordion music. The pink hued Salta Cathedral serves as the plaza’s impressive backdrop. Nearby, an enormous handicraft market bustles with local artisans, who sell pottery, woolen goods, and Wichi woodcarvings.

The surrounding countryside is some of South America’s most colorful terrain. To the south, National Route 68 crosses the Calchaquíes Valleys, known for their red hills, adobe towns, and centuries-old traditions. In the southern town of Cafayate, visitors can admire the local architecture, enjoy regional cuisine, and delight in the remarkable spirit of the people. Cachi, a small historic town in eastern Salta offers similar opportunities.

“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” – Lawrence Darrell

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class, or Coach air travel arrangements from your hometown to South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel reservations.

JESS Kalinowsky

Train to the Clouds ascends an Andean plateau with

Train to the Clouds

One of South America’s most remarkable rail journeys begins in Salta: the Train to the Clouds or Tren a las Nubes. Departing from the city’s train station shortly after sunrise, this rustic railway carries passengers deep into the region’s canyons, gliding across slender bridges (including the high, 740-foot La Polvorilla Viaduct) and through rough hewn tunnels.

This trip to the heavens ascends an Andean plateau, reaching nearly 14,000 feet above sea level, before returning to Salta late in the evening. Along the way, it zigzags through subtropical and desert climates, stopping in San Antonio de los Cobres, a colonial village known for its handicrafts.

Friends Travel Services plans customized trips to Argentina’s Northwest. We offer hotels, guides and transportation, including excursions on the Train to the Clouds.

“It is almost axiomatic that the worst trains take you through magical places.” –

Paul Theroux Train of the Clouds

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class, or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel arrangements.

JESS Kalinowsky

Jujuy: Land of the Incas with

Jujuy: Land of the Incas

Jujuy is the cradle of Argentina’s Andean cultures. This northernmost province, which borders southern Bolivia, was conquered by the Incas in 1480. After the Spanish Conquest, Jujuy was part of colonial Peru until the late 16th century. Today, the province is emerging as an international destination, desirable for its rich traditions and breathtaking Andean landscape. The Humahuaca Gorge, declared a UNESCO World Cultural Landscape in 2003, is extensive canyon of colorful rock formations inhabited by free-roaming herds of vicuña and dotted with charming towns.

San Salvador de Jujuy, the province’s capital, is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and spacious plazas. Approximately 40 miles north of the city is the quaint adobe village of Purmamarca (the “Town of Virgin Land” in the Aymara tongue). Purmamarca is located at the base of the vivid Hill of Seven Colors, a mountain striped with hues ranging from purple to orange to white. Villagers gather in Purmamarca’s central plaza each morning for a traditional crafts market. The local church, St. Rosa de Lima, was built in 1648 and contains priceless artworks.

Twelve miles north of Purmamarca is Tilcara, another quiet village known for its adobe homes, steep roads, archeological museum and colorful terrain. Nearby is the Painter’s Pallet, a jagged mountainside distinguished by its zigzag bands of yellow stone. One of Tilcara’s most important historical sites is the fortified mountainside of Pucara. Here, amid towering green cacti and open skies, stone corrals and settlements provide visitors with a glimpse of pre-Inca times.

Northwest of Tilcara, is Humahuaca, a town set at 10,000 feet above sea level. The town’s narrow cobblestone streets lead past the craft market to the central plaza. Each day at noon, residents gather here in silence for a unique display of faith. As the church bells play Ave María, a pair of oxidized metal doors open in the clock tower, revealing a mechanical representation of San Francisco Solano. The world’s first animated saint then looks to the heavens before moving his arms in a blessing on the town.

“For where does one run to when he’s already in the promised land?” – Claude Brown

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel arrangements.

JESS Kalinowsky

Movitrack: Northwest Safaris Argentina with

Filed under: Argentina — argentinawithfriendstravel @ 2:44 am
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Movitrack: Northwest Safaris

For those seeking an adventure off the beaten path, Movitrack provides off-road excursions through Argentina’s rough northern terrain. With set departure days each week, these tours leave Salta city early in the morning and return in the late evening, either the same day or the next. With custom vehicles designed specifically for the north’s unique conditions, Movitrack allows travelers unprecedented access to the beauty of Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán.

The Movitrack Safari to the Clouds, perhaps the most popular tour, begins in Salta and follows the famous path of Train to the Clouds, through the jagged and vibrant Toro Gorge and up to San Antonio de los Cobres. From there, the safari continues over the high plateau to salt flats of Jujuy, las Salinas Grandes. Before returning to Salta, the safari passes through the village of Purmamarca, known for its vivid Hill of Seven Colors. These trips can be extended with an overnight stay in the town of Maimará and scenic journeys through the Humahuaca Gorge.

Other excursions include journeys through the Calchaquíes Valleys of southern Salta and the historic towns of Cachi and Cafayate. For those interested in discovering Tucumán, Argentina’s smallest province, two-day safaris can be arranged through the valleys of Salta and into the ancient city of Quilmes.

Depending on the day’s activities, trips are done either as “open air” (with an open roof) or “pure air” (with an oxygenized and micro-filtered air system).

Friends Travel Services designs customized trips to Argentina’s rugged Northwest. Our expert travel counselors can arrange lodging, transportation, and tours—including the Movitrack safaris.

“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for.” –

Louis L’Amour

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class, or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel reservations.

JESS Kalinowsky

Mendoza: Wine Capital of Argentina with

Mendoza: Wine Capital of Argentina

Nestled against the eastern slopes of the Andes in Argentina’s center-west region, Mendoza is perfectly situated for viticulture.  Over seventy percent of Argentina’s wines are produced in this region. Its dozens of wineries have developed award-winning labels of Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay.  Many of these wineries can be visited from charming country lodges and chateaus.

Mendoza’s climate is enjoyable year-round, characterized by sunny skies. Guests arrive from December to March to climb Mt. Aconcagua (South America’s highest peak), in early March for the National Festival of Vintage, and from June to September for the busy winter ski season. Visitors also enjoy horseback riding, hiking and whitewater rafting the in Andes. Within the city of Mendoza, you’ll find elegant hotels and shops, fine restaurants and beautiful parks.

Visits to this region are easily combined with trips to Buenos Aires (an hour and a half by air) and Santiago de Chile (a 45-minute flight). PanAmerican Travel Services designs customized vacations to this region and all other parts of South America.

“You need not hang up the ivy branch over the wine that will sell.” – Publius Syrius

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel arrangments.

JESS Kalinowsky

Argentina to Chile: The Crossing of the Andes with

From Argentina to Chile: The Crossing of the Andes

Our most popular excursion in northern Patagonia is the crossing of the lakes between Argentina and Chile. In 1913 a group of bold pioneers sought a passage between San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina and Peulla, Chile. The route would take them across numerous mountain lakes and over the Andes. Their successful efforts have been recreated as one of the most picturesque journeys on earth.

Day 1: Arrive in Bariloche. Transfer to selected hotel for overnight accommodations. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the area’s glorious landscape.

Day 2: After breakfast, travel overland to Puerto Pañuelo. There you will board a catamaran to Puerto Blest, disembarking to board a bus to Puerto Alegre. Your journey continues with a crossing of Lake Frias by ferry. After clearing Chilean customs, you will continue by bus to the small village of Peulla, set amidst the towering Andes. In Peulla, you will transfer to a catamaran to cross Lake Todo Los Santos. Upon disembarking you will transfer by land to Puerto Varas for overnight accommodations at your hotel of choice.

Day 3: After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the airport in Puerto Montt for a flight to your next destination.

Note: The crossing of the Andes can be done in reverse, from Chile to Argentina. It can also be arranged with an overnight at the quaint Hotel Peulla. Upon arrival in Puerto Varas, an additional day could be added to the schedule to enjoy a rafting trip on the Petrohue River, a visit to the Petrohue waterfall, a horseback ride to the Calbuco Volcano, a visit to a private ranch for a rodeo, a fly fishing excursion, or a trip to the German style village of Frutillar, located on the coast of Lake Llanquihue.

“There may be nothing more sad than people who spend their lives talking about what might have been.” –

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class, or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to South America, and your pre and post tour or Cruise.

JESS Kalinowsky

Patagonia: Land of Explorers and Adventurers with

Patagonia: Land of Explorers and Adventurers

Patagonia is a land where nature manifests itself in awe-inspiring granite peaks, rolling plains, and vast Andean ice fields. It is a land of discoverers, including Sarmiento de Gamboa and Magellan, and adventurers like Antoine Orllie I, the self-proclaimed emperor of Araucania and Patagonia.

The isolation of Patagonia offered a refuge for immigrants from European nations. The Welsh arrived in the 1800’s and settled the barren land, which at the time was populated by fierce Indian tribes. The Welsh are still a strong presence in Patagonia. Towns and cities such as Trelew, Madryn and Trevelyn were founded by those pioneers.

Further south is the Island of Tierra del Fuego, with its virgin forests and rugged peaks. Patagonia is also a paradise for fly fishing, where the sea-run brown trout reach almost 30 pounds in weight. This is a land of pure rivers and glacial lakes. Many of our clients enjoy horseback riding, trekking and bird watching here. Patagonia is a rewarding destination for all those adventurous enough to explore it.

“Why then—and this is not only my particular case—does this barren land possess my mind?…I find it hard to explain…but it might partly be because it enhances the horizons of imagination.” – Charles Darwin

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to Argentina, South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel reservations.

JESS Kalinowsky

Grand Tour of Patagonia Argentina with

Filed under: Argentina — argentinawithfriendstravel @ 2:18 am
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Grand Tour of Patagonia

Day 1: From Buenos Aires, fly to Trelew, the capital of the Welsh colony in the 1860’s. From there, a private vehicle will transport you 44-miles to Puerto Madryn, the landing place of the Welsh pioneers. This will be the departing point to visit the abundant wildlife of the Valdez Peninsula.

Day 2: Full-day excursion to Punta Delgada, Caleta Valdes and Puerto Piramide to view the amazing communities of marine mammals and birds. During the months of October and November optional whale watching excursions can be arranged.

Day 3: After breakfast, depart Puerto Madryn for Punta Tombo (71 miles away) to admire the magnificent colony of Magellanic penguins. There are approximately 60 penguin colonies in the continental coast of Patagonia. Punta Tombo is the largest, with an estimated one million birds. Their nesting may be seen between September and April of each year. Other species, such as the imperial cormorant, migrate to the coast of Patagonia at the same time.

In the afternoon, you will transfer to the airport for a flight to Ushuaia—the southernmost city in the world. Upon arrival, you will be escorted to your selected hotel (we can recommend several hotels in Ushuaia). Depending upon flight times, you may have time to visit the Museum of the End of the World.

Day 4: After breakfast, enjoy an unforgettable ride on the “Train to the End of the World”. The trip takes you through magnificent forests, over rivers, and through lush Andean canyons. You will also see a re-creation of a native Yamanas and Shelknam village, demonstrating the lives of those who populated this region at the time of Magellan’s arrival.

Day 5: After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to El Calafate. Upon arrival, our bilingual guide will escort you to your selected hotel. The remainder of this day will be at leisure, permitting you to enjoy the small town of El Calafate, gateway to the land of glaciers.

Day 6: Following breakfast, enjoy a full-day excursion to Upsala Glacier and Onelli Bay, cruising among hundreds of ice floes on the glacial waters of the lake.

Day 7: Today’s adventure will take you on an overland trip (52 miles) to the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the wonders of the world. This glacier is the world’s largest active continental glacier, and UNESCO has declared it a universal heritage of mankind.

Day 8: Transfer to the airport for flight to your next destination.

Note: The best seasons to visit Patagonia are: spring, between September and November; summer, between December and March; and fall until the middle of April. Our favorite accommodation is Hosteria Los Notros, just in front of the Perito Moreno glacier. Other charming hotels are available in the town of El Calafate. Temperatures range between 32 degrees Fahrenheit during the fall season and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

“Behind the fantasy of Patagonia lies the myth of disappearance, of drowning in the desolation of the end of the world. Of course, this is just a metaphor. I can imagine that traveling to Patagonia is like reaching the limit of a concept, like getting to the end of things.” – Jean Baudrillard

JESS Kalinowsky will make your First Class, Business Class or Coach air travel reservations from your hometown to Argentina, South America, and your pre and post tour or cruise hotel arrangments.

JESS Kalinowsky

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