A Travellerspoint blog

December 2008

Montevideo, 30 Dec 2008 - 1 Jan 2009

Two and a half hours by bus from Colonia through fertile, well farmed, and attractive countryside to Montevideo. You have the impression that the people have a decent standard of living here. Then, an easy (even with rucksacks) bus ride from the terminal into town to "our reserved hotel" ...

... Being the New Year, we were worried about finding the hotels full and, when we were in Colonia, we found that the tourist info place could reserve hotels in Montevideo and they proposed the Hotel Aramaya - 3 Star ... Well ... we paid a deposit for the 3 days we intended to stay there but, on arrival, the first, and then the second room, that were proposed to us were pretty disgusting for a 3 star hotel (in fact, the worst for any place in 3 months in South America!) ... so I quickly checked out another we had seen in the Footprint guide nearby and, being substantially preferrable, we moved on. We will be writing to the hotel reservation service in Colonia and suggesting they remove the Hotel Aramaya from their list ... ... Of course, we lost our deposit.

On New Years Eve we headed down to the old town ... In Montevideo they like throwing large quantities of bits of paper from high buildings on 31/12 ... ticker tape style ... but then it gets to ... buckets of water ... of course, I stealthily avoided this whilst Lindsey looked on, wondering when to try to cross a tricky zone herself ... ... as I was shouting to say "get a move on" a large bucketfull descended from the heights and drenched her ... shame I did not get a photo!

We ended up at the Mercado del Puerto - not a market but a place full of eateries - mostly "Parilla" (barbecue) style. At the entrance area (being New Years Eve), there were sellers of (cheap and not very tasty) cider which seemed to be used principally for throwing over everyone that passed ... (Lindsey had her next "douche" ... ). Once inside ... wonderful atmosphere ... a lot of drinking (mostly Medio/Medio = half wine, half champagne - and beer) and ambiance ... superb barbecued steaks etc. ... up to around 17h00 closing time ... we have not experienced anything like it. Really friendly locals and very "chaud" atmosphere without getting heavy.

After a rest at the hotel we headed out for the evening - in contrast, practically everything closed and hardly anyone around ... a bit of a clap and kisses at midnight but that was it ...

Had a pleasant walk by the sea on New Years Day and lay on a beach, otherwise, most things closed and no public transport.

Downtown Montevideo 1

Downtown Montevideo 1


Downtown Montevideo 2

Downtown Montevideo 2


Downtown Montevideo 3

Downtown Montevideo 3


Downtown Montevideo 4

Downtown Montevideo 4


Downtown Montevideo - "Mate" kit stand etc

Downtown Montevideo - "Mate" kit stand etc


Montevideo - Car and "Steptoe"

Montevideo - Car and "Steptoe"


Montevideo - "Steptoe" !

Montevideo - "Steptoe" !


Montevideo - Old town

Montevideo - Old town


Montevideo - Mercado del Puerto - New Year's Eve 1

Montevideo - Mercado del Puerto - New Year's Eve 1


Montevideo - Mercado del Puerto - New Year's Eve 2

Montevideo - Mercado del Puerto - New Year's Eve 2


Montevideo - Mercado del Puerto - New Year's Eve 3

Montevideo - Mercado del Puerto - New Year's Eve 3


Mercado del Puerto - New Years Eve - Getting Hazy!

Mercado del Puerto - New Years Eve - Getting Hazy!


Mercado del Puerto - New Years Eve - Aftermath !

Mercado del Puerto - New Years Eve - Aftermath !


Montevideo - Seaside - New Years Day 1

Montevideo - Seaside - New Years Day 1


Montevideo - Seaside - New Years Day 2

Montevideo - Seaside - New Years Day 2


Montevideo - Light snack !!

Montevideo - Light snack !!

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Uruguay Comments (0)

Colonia del Sacramento, 28 - 29 Dec 2008

Colonia del Sacramento is the nearest practical spot to get to in Uruguay from Buenos Aires. It is 3 hours on normal boat, or 1 hour on fast boat. We were obliged to take the three hour option in First Class (because we left it late to reserve). Colonia is a really pleasant small town which sticks out as a peninsula into the wide Rio de la Plata river delta (looks more like sea to us, but the water is muddy coloured from the river + trees seem to be happy growing in it ...). You look down lots of streets and there is is river/sea at the end ... The historic area is really quaint (excuse the word!), and is really nice to stroll around, check out the artisan shops, restos, climb up the lighthouse etc.

Amazing to see the old cars ... they cannot have any "Control Techniques" in Uruguay! ... Peugeot 404 504, Citroen 2CV, Amis ... and much more! ... and a lot older than that in variuos states of (dis)repair!

Great place for a couple of nights.

Colonia del Sacramento  - Old town 1

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 1


Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 2

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 2


Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 3

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 3


Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 4

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 4


Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 5

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 5


Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 6

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 6


Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 7

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 7


Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 8

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 8


Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse

Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse


Colonia Lighthouse

Colonia Lighthouse


Colonia del Sacramento view from Lighthouse

Colonia del Sacramento view from Lighthouse


Colonia del Sacramento view from Lighthouse 2

Colonia del Sacramento view from Lighthouse 2


Colonia del Sacramento  - Old town 8

Colonia del Sacramento - Old town 8


Colonia del Sacramento . Bar with sea view

Colonia del Sacramento . Bar with sea view


Colonia del Sacramento  -2

Colonia del Sacramento -2


Colonia del Sacramento 3

Colonia del Sacramento 3


Colonia del Sacramento - Local Car!

Colonia del Sacramento - Local Car!


Colonia del Sacramento Special offers

Colonia del Sacramento Special offers


Hummingbird outside bedroom

Hummingbird outside bedroom

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Uruguay Comments (0)

Buenos Aires (Part 1), 23 - 28 December 2008

Flew from Ushuaia to BA (via Rio Gallegos) with Aerolineas Argentinas. The flight left 2 hours late and it seemed a long day between when 07h00 when we left the guest house by taxi in Ushuaia for the airport to when we finally got through the snarled up traffic to the Marbella Hotel in central BA after 7pm in the evening (1 hour time difference).

The change from less than 10 degrees C in Ushuaia to nearly 30 was rather welcome - sitting out in the evening in a street cafe with T-shirt and shorts ...

Buenos Aires could be a Barcelona/Madrid, with the spirit of tango added, but prices rather reduced. We really liked the Avenida Mayo area of Centro where we stayed ... and it seemed to be one of the few areas of the city where there was life on Christmas Eve night and Christmas night. The plan was to stay 5 nights at the beginning over Christmas, then head off into Uruguay for the New Year and then return for 3 night before heading off to Iguassu.

We checked out the Centro area on Xmas Eve - really liked the place. Headed out to the pretty Tigre on the Rio de la Plata delta (metro and trains running) on Christmas Day (as manu locals did) for a stroll and boat trip, taking us on a circuit through the waterways (really desirable weekend homes by the water...). Checked out the Palermo district the next day (did not find anything exciting enough to take a photo of!). Took the bus down to La Boca on the last day - very touristy but a great place: colourful, free tango shows at the cafes, stalls, have photo taken with Tango dancer ...

Great place ... looking forward to second visit in the New Year !

BA - Our hotel   36 billares bar next door

BA - Our hotel + 36 billares bar next door


BA - View from hotel room

BA - View from hotel room


BA - Architecture 1

BA - Architecture 1


BA Main road ! - Ave 9 de Julio

BA Main road ! - Ave 9 de Julio


BA - Obelisk 1

BA - Obelisk 1


BA - Obelisk 2

BA - Obelisk 2


BA - Architecture 2

BA - Architecture 2


BA - Centro street scene

BA - Centro street scene


BA - Centro - square

BA - Centro - square


BA - Florida (main shopping street)

BA - Florida (main shopping street)


BA - Galeria Pacifica

BA - Galeria Pacifica


BA - Galeria Pacifica Xmas eve with Santa

BA - Galeria Pacifica Xmas eve with Santa


BA - Xmas day - hotel room   Arg. Mumm champagne!

BA - Xmas day - hotel room + Arg. Mumm champagne!


BA - Metro station mural - most stations have one!

BA - Metro station mural - most stations have one!


Tigre - Xmas day

Tigre - Xmas day


Tigre - Xmas day - boat trip 2

Tigre - Xmas day - boat trip 2


Tigre - Xmas day - boat trip 3

Tigre - Xmas day - boat trip 3


Tigre - Xmas day - boat trip 4

Tigre - Xmas day - boat trip 4


Tigre - Xmas day 2

Tigre - Xmas day 2


BA - La Boca 1

BA - La Boca 1


BA - La Boca 2

BA - La Boca 2


BA - La Boca 3

BA - La Boca 3


BA - La Boca 4

BA - La Boca 4


BA - La Boca 5

BA - La Boca 5


BA - La Boca - Bar - free tango show 1

BA - La Boca - Bar - free tango show 1


BA - La Boca - Bar - free tango show 2

BA - La Boca - Bar - free tango show 2

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Ushuaia, 18 - 22 December 2008

It is around 12 hours on the bus from Rio Gallegos to Ushuaia. You have to go into Chile and then return into Argentina, once on Tierra del Fuego: There is about 2 hours included for border formalities! Its mainly flat and green with just sheep and geese for company most of the way. However, there is a bit of fun crossing to Tierra del Fuego by the Straits of Maggellan by car ferry - particularly as beautiful black and white Commerson's Dolphins followed the ferry some of the way across. (Incidentally, the second photo uploaded is a cheat which I found when trying to identify the type of dolphin - only photo on this site not taken by us! - but it was taken off the same ferry. I wasn't ready with the camera in time to get such a good shot.).

Things really start to look up about one and a half hours before Ushuaia when the bus actually makes a 10 minute stop at pretty Tolhuan, where there is a bakery with excellent empanadas and drinks etc. Otherwise, we had eaten practically nothing all day! (You have to be very careful what food you take when going into Chile - big fines at border otherwise!). After then, the scenery is lovely with beech forest, lakes and the mountain range above Ushuaia (a ski destination in winter!). Finally arrived in Ushuaia at 20h30 - it's not dark of course, 18 hours of daylight at this time of year!

Ushuaia is beautifully located next to the Beagle Channel and is surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Its not the cheapest place in South America1 However, we stayed in a reasonably priced and good guest house with just 5 rooms, with free internet, kitchen facilities, fridge ... so could get lunch/picnic stuff, drinks etc from local supermarket. Evenings, we found a couple of good restaurants (Bodegon Fueguine with a load of great lamb dishes and Parilla La Estancia for all you can eat barbecue), and to wash it down the Argentinian Malbec tinto goes down a treat at around 6 Euros.

There's lots of possibilities for trips from Ushuaia - although many are quite expensive. We headed up to the Martial Glacier to see some snow on day 1, spent a lovely day walking round the Tierra del Fuego National Park on day 2 (really varied scenery, picnic by the sea, and lots of wildlife: condors, ibis, geese, otters, plus the results of beavers activity (rather than beavers themselves - they don't come out until evening!) - they must have incredible teeth to knaw through trees as they do (see "beaver destruction" photos with many trees chopped off in foreground). Overnight on day 2 there was loads of rain and it was cold ... woke up (on mid summer's day!) to see the surrounding hills and mountains covered in snow so ... day 3 at liesure in Ushuaia! Day 4 a 6 hour sea trip in the Beagle Channel to see Sea Lions and Magellan's Penguins ...

Maggellan Straits!

Maggellan Straits!


Magellan Straits - Ferry

Magellan Straits - Ferry


Maggellan Straits - Commerson's Dolphins (ours!)

Maggellan Straits - Commerson's Dolphins (ours!)


Maggellan Straits - Commerson's Dolphins (Cheat)

Maggellan Straits - Commerson's Dolphins (Cheat)


Welcome to Tierra del Fuego! (Border control)

Welcome to Tierra del Fuego! (Border control)


Ushuaia 1

Ushuaia 1


Ushuaia - Ferries to the Antarctic

Ushuaia - Ferries to the Antarctic


Day 1 - Marshall Glacier area 1

Day 1 - Marshall Glacier area 1


Day 1 - Marshall Glacier area 2

Day 1 - Marshall Glacier area 2


Day 1 - Marshall Glacier area 3

Day 1 - Marshall Glacier area 3


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 1

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 1


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 2

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 2


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 3

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 3


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 4

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 4


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 5

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 5


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 6

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 6


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 7

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 7


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park Picnic

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park Picnic


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 8

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 8


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 9

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 9


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 10

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 10


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 11

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 11


Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 12

Day 2 - Tierra del Fuego Nat Park 12


Day 2 - TdF Nat Park - Beaver dam!

Day 2 - TdF Nat Park - Beaver dam!


Day 2 - TdF Nat Park - Beaver destruction!

Day 2 - TdF Nat Park - Beaver destruction!


Day 2 - TdF Nat Park - Beaver destruction

Day 2 - TdF Nat Park - Beaver destruction


Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day!

Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day!


Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day 2

Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day 2


Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day 3

Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day 3


Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day 4

Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day 4


Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day 5

Day 3 - Ushuaia - Midsummers day 5


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Ushuaia

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Ushuaia


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Cormorant Colony

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Cormorant Colony


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Sea Lions

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Sea Lions


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Cormorants Sea Lions

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Cormorants Sea Lions


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Sea Lion

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Sea Lion


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Penguins 1

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Penguins 1


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Penguins 2

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Penguins 2


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Penguins 3

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Penguins 3


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Ushuaia Port

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Ushuaia Port


Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Rumbo Sur Boat

Day 4 - Beagle Channel Trip - Rumbo Sur Boat

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Rio Gallegos, 16-17 December 2008

It's 5 hours on the bus through steppe country again to Rio Gallegos. Difference this time - video of 120 of Diego Maradona's best goals - incluing the "hand of God" one, of course (for those who remember it!)! Lindsey spent her time counting rheas (too many sheep!)

Here is a necessary stopover on the way to Ushuaia (unless you take an 04h00 bus from El Calafate). We were hoping to visit a penguin colony from here, but found the price was more than two and a half times that quoted in the guide book (and excessive)!

Otherwise its not an endearing place, particularly with a howling gale blowing - as it did on our arrival and much of the time since! ... also not helped by being stuck in a very grotty room (Paris Hotel), which we vacated after the first night. Did find a good place to eat though (Restaurant Roco - absolutely heaving with people (must have been 200+ ...)).

Desperately tried to find redeeming features ... to load a photo or two, but had real difficulty as you will see! Star attraction: the cyber café!

Rio Gallegos Action!

Rio Gallegos Action!


Rio Gallegos - Christmas

Rio Gallegos - Christmas


Rio Gallegos - "Cathedral"

Rio Gallegos - "Cathedral"


Rio Gallegos street scene and tourist info caravan

Rio Gallegos street scene and tourist info caravan

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)