Day 1-3 – Tigre
We were sad to leave Uruguay but heading back to Argentina is hardly a chore. We decided to hit up the city of Tigre, Argentina which lies about an hour north of the capital. It’s located on a delta and is considered a weekend getaway for Argentinians.
Like Buenos Aires, accommodations here are not cheap. If you’re wanting to escape the crazy (but awesome) lifestyle of BA, Tigre is a great place to go and recharge. Pro tip – if you’re using websites such as Booking.com, Worldhostels.com, Tripadvisor.com, and the prices are still high, call the host directly. They may quote you a lower price by going directly through them, that way they don’t have to pay these websites.
We took a ferry from Carmelo, Uruguay directly to Tigre, Argentina ($35 pp). Once you arrive in Tigre we suggest you hang out in the town for a little bit. As mentioned, Tigre is on a delta so many of the accommodations are only accessible by boat and they only do return trips twice a day. We checked out the town, bought some groceries and wine, and then hit up the collectivo taxi stands that are located across the river from where the ferry drops you off. We stayed at Senador Dupont, which was a short boat ride away. The captains are super helpful and will shout for you when it’s your turn to get off. Just let them know where you’re going. To be completely honest we didn’t do too much exploring for our two days in Tigre. We made friends, drank wine, and started working out again!
For our return to Buenos Aires we caught the train (which accepts your metro SUBTE card) leaving from the Delta train station located a few blocks north from where the boat taxi drop off point (Estacion Fluvial Tigre). This time we rented an apartment for three nights in Old Palermo using Air B&B for $53 CAD/night. Our paths crossed again with our German friends from the San Blas tour. They are nearly finishing their adventures and had an action-packed week with a polo match, soccer game, and a Cirque du Soleil type show. They have a blog too (it’s in German), but they take the best pictures! Check them out at https://casalocoontour.wordpress.com/.
Day 4 – The Rise Of Gamblor
Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo (Horse racing track)
We met up with our German friends at the Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo (the horse racing track). Races are held every weekend starting at 3 PM. Admission is free.
Kik – I’m glad I’m only discovering the excitement of horse racing now, because something came over me that day. Something I haven’t felt since hitting a royal flush on VLT’s when I was 16 (Yes…you read that right. Oh…and it was split between four of us because we were broke and cheap at the time and each threw in $5 to play). Anyway…I CALL HIM GAMBLOR!!!!
What a rush! It was hilarious seeing Clair’s inner struggle during the race. She would go off on how sad it was the way they treated the horses, and if they got hurt they probably turned them into glue sticks, but once that race started she was up on the fence howling with the rest of us.
We really didn’t have any idea how to properly place bets, so we kept it simple a just bet on who’d win. Prior to placing your bet, you can eye the horses before the race, as they would get paraded around on a catwalk…on a catwalk. After making our selections, we’d place our bets and catch the action. What a way to enjoy a full day event free of charge (unless you’re betting). We ended up spending a good portion of three hours watching several races and coming away down $15 CAD (we lost every time). Twice our horse came in second just losing in the homestretch.
Still riding our high from the horse racing, we decided to grab some drinks at Antares, a brewpub in Old Palermo.
Kik – I still can’t believe that most places have their happy hour (2 for 1) between 6 – 8 PM. That’s primetime!
Argentinians are notorious for beginning their evenings late. And I mean late. They usually eat dinner between 8-9 PM. A night out starts at midnight and usually ends at around 5 or 6 AM. Don’t get us wrong, this worked out great as we never had to wait in a restaurant and enjoyed many (many) happy hour specials. We said avidasen?? to our friends once the political debate got a little heated (Would you believe me if I told you it was Kik? – Clair) and planned to meet them in Germany.
Day 5 – The best show in town was the crowd outside the Casa Rosada crying “Eva Peron” – Oh, What A Circus, Evita
Learning from our mistakes last time, we decided to register in advance and take the tour of the Casa Rosada. It’s free of charge but it’s only open to the public Saturday and Sunday. You can register here. This is the “White House” of Argentina, only red, and the President doesn’t live here. To be honest, it probably doesn’t have many similarities but you get the picture. Tours run every 30 minutes starting at 10 AM. There is only one guided tour offered in English at 2:30 PM, so if your heart is set on that one book early. Of course we didn’t do this, so Clair had to translate everything which she did splendidly and never even once complained. We would recommend checking it out. It’s not the best tour we’ve ever been on, but it’s free and there are some cool rooms and facts about the building and history of Argentina.
We were hungry after the tour (nothing like hearing about continuous political upheaval to get your appetite going), so we headed to the San Telmo area. After grabbing two empanadas to stave off immediate starvation, we found a restaurant that looked promising. AND IT WAS! Don Ernesto was probably one of the best restaurants we tried and for super reasonable prices. Check it out if you’re in the area. Biggest bowl of gnocchi I ever had, which is probably not a good thing.
Day 6 – Let’s Blow This Popsicle Stand!
Our last day left us with mixed emotions. We had an amazing time in Central and South America but we were ready for Kik to be able to talk again! Kik was really ready to go after our final lunch was a disaster (THAT WAS NOT A PANINI – Kik).
The international airport of Buenos Aires is located about an hour out of the city. Taking a taxi costs about $50 CAD and takes 40 minutes. If you’re not in a rush, a public bus runs from the airport to the Plaza de Mayo and takes about two hours for a mere $.70 CAD/person. Which one do you think we did?!
We got to the airport super early thinking we could go hang out in the fancy airport lounge like the frauds we are (THANKS DYLAN FOR THE PASSES!), but they weren’t checking people in for an hour or so. Luckily this gave us the time we needed to fight with Air Canada as to why we hadn’t receive our flight confirmation email for our flight out of NZ. One thing that is important to note if you are heading to NZ, is that they will not let you on the plane unless you have proof of onward travel. After receiving no help from Air Canada through their website or email we went to Twitter. Direct message…and voila! We had our email confirmation. Pro Tip – Do not rely on airport Wi-Fi for any last-minute bookings. Often, there are either connectivity issues, they limit free Wi-Fi use, or it’s ridiculously slow.
There is something that feels so wrong about being able to kick your feet up in a fancy airport lounge but there’s something that also feels glorious! Free food, free alcohol, phone charging stations, boarding reminders, showers, you name it. It’s ridiculous! For any frequent flyer, this pass would make the ultimate gift. We flew with Air New Zealand, hands down the best flight we’ve ever had. And not only for us, but we watched how they treated a couple with a newborn. THERE WAS A BASSINET AND BABY FOOD. Air Canada, please take notes. Even though we sat in economy (obviously), it felt as though we were in first class. The flight attendants were amazing! One small example of this was that we were constantly served water throughout the flight. That’s all it takes to show us you give a crap about your customers.
After a 12-hour flight, we made it to Auckland New Zealand. You’ll have to read about first experience of driving on the left side of the road in our next blog.