Sunday, January 27, 2013


If you're feeling the winter chill, head south, way south to Argentina!
The months of December to March are the perfect time to visit our South American neighbor as it's hot and sunny summertime.
The country offers something for everyone: a cosmopolitan city, mountains, lakes, glaciers, deserts, jungles teeming with wildlife and the world famous Iguassu falls.

I spent the Christmas/New Year's holiday with my family exploring some of these different regions. We started out in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. U.S. citizens must purchase the Argentina "entrance fee" or reciprocity fee online, before arriving in country. The current fee as of January 2013 is $160.00 per person for all arrivals by air into Argentina. Once purchased, it is good for 10 years, you just need to save the piece of paper if you plan on returning.

The greater Buenos Aires area is a city of 13 million people. This makes it the second largest city in South America, just after Sao Paulo, Brazil. Here you can find world-class museums, interesting neighborhoods, shops, craft markets, and peaceful parks. Among the highlights of the city you must see are the Casa Rosada (Pink House) where Madonna, as Evita, sang from the balcony, and the Plaza de Mayo. This is the political center of the city, where there are frequent demonstrations. We actually witnessed the Madres of Plaza de Mayo marching, as they have for over 30 years, in protest and remembrance of their children who had "gone missing" but were actually abducted during the years of the Dirty War. It was a moving experience to see as a bystander.

No visit is complete without a visit to the well known Recoleta cemetery, with it's ornate mausoleums and famous residents.  It's good to go with a guide because it is a huge place and you can hear stories and the history of the people buried there. In the evening, you must take in a tango show. We really enjoyed Rojo Tango at the Faena hotel. You can do the show with or without dinner. The showroom is small, dark and in keeping with the sensual nature of the dance. The dancers were fabulous and it was a terrific evening.

After you've shopped, toured, dined and danced your way around Buenos Aires, you may want to head further afield and see some other areas of Argentina. You can fly down to El Calafate in Patagonia and visit the Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. A little closer to Buenos Aires is Bariloche, just a 2 hour flight away. Bariloche,lying in the foothills of the Andes, is a ski resort in the Winter, and it offers a whole host of outdoor activities in the Summer.
You can hike, cycle, kayak, rockclimb and rappel.

The Llao Llao Resort is a stunning resort nestled between several mountains and sparkling blue lakes.
They have a full range of outdoor activities as well as golf, yoga and pilates classes offered at the resort. This is a great resort for families as they have activities and play spaces for the younger ones too! We enjoyed a leisurely tour around the lake that included a ride up a chairlift from which we had spectacular views. I highly recommend at least a three night stay here in order to take advantage of all there is to do.

There is a variety of rooms and suites to choose from. The standard rooms in the main lodge are very cozy and have an Alpine lodge feel to them. The bathrooms are small but the showers have the best water pressure! The suites in the newer Moreno wing are very spacious and luxurious. They all have lake views and huge bathrooms with jacuzzi baths.

   If you enjoy wine, no visit to Argentina is complete without a stop in Mendoza. This city is the jumping off point to hundreds of vineyards in the surrounding valley. The most important wine produced in this region in the famous Malbec. You can spend days touring vineyards, tasting wines and enjoying fabulous meals. There are incredible restaurants in town and in the vineyards,
We enjoyed a relaxed, casual dinner at Azafran, one of our favorite restaurants in Mendoza.

The Park Hyatt Mendoza is our choice of where to stay. The location is right in the center of town and the rooms are very comfortable. The staff is very helpful and friendly.
Book your stay with us and you will receive the Virtuoso amenities of a complimentary room upgrade upon arrival based on availability, complimentary buffet breakfast daily (delicious!) and a professional wine tasting for two hosted by the sommelier.

Ready to explore South America on your own? Contact the Travel Specialists at Bee Kalt Travel today!

Tel: 248-288-9600 or Toll-free 1-800-284-5258
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