South America just keeps getting better.
Full disclosure getting to Argentina was the craziest travel day we’d experienced to date. In order to save a buck our research told us to fly into Argentina via Paraguay… thought we could cross the border cheaply by land.
Happy go lucky we landed well after 9pm from Medellín only to learn Paraguay was charging Americans $160 each for on-the-spot entrance visas. No exceptions! Then they wanted to charge a huge surplus for folks not using cash. All in all, we would have paid $1,000 additional dollars for 3-4 days in Paraguay. Just like that we refused and instead booked a flight out of the airport to our next planned destination: Argentina. After spending a long night in the Paraguayan International airport (sorry, but literally the worst airport ever based on zero dining options, cash-only policies, and horrible wifi) we were back on schedule and headed to beautiful Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires hit us with the biggest jolt. After more than 10 months of perfect summer weather we were now south of the equator in freezing cold weather. On average it was 40 degrees but it often felt colder. We’re Californias true and true so 40 degrees was freezing to us. We quickly bundled up and called this walkable city home for three unbelievable weeks.
Argentina gave us new weather, new accents, new architecture… and a whole new city vibe we all loved. Especially Diego and Isaiah who are huge Messi/Argentina soccer fans. In Argentina the world cup soccer craze began and so we did what many Argentines do… we watched great games while enjoying great wine, amazing steak, and Argentinian deep dish pizza. Pizza in Argentina rivals that of Italy, New York, and Chicago.
Every week in Argentina we stayed in a different home and neighborhood. I highly recommend this for those looking for variance in any one city. First up was the eclectic and bohemian vibes of San Thelmo, full of tango in the streets, great flea market finds, and all the dulce the leche (milky caramel) any sweet tooth could muster. Sunday nights meant wild music in the streets and dancing. Sunday mornings were meant for shopping. Our place was right smack in the middle of all the action. The comfy old-timey apartment was similar to a European apartment from the 1920’s. Finally, we got to use the outlet adaptors we’d carried for months. Felt good to be prepared.
The following town was Retiro right next to upscale Recoleta and close enough to get us to the best hotels, malls, and restaurants in town. We walked everywhere and loved it. Even pulled off a fun date night at one of my favorite international hotel chains: the Four Seasons Hotel, Buenos Aires.
Thereafter, we decided to feel out the suburbs of Buenos Aires and stayed in Colegials. There we ate the best burgers in #BA and got a true feel for the everyday life of regular citizens away from the usual tourist sites. Our apartment was homey and here Diego mastered his fried rice recipe which we proceeded to eat about 5 times the following weeks. I love when we settle into a great place with a family feel and fully equipped kitchen. Argentina will forever be credited with the town where our kiddos learned to appreciate fine meats and cheeses… we ate until our hearts content for many, many Argentine nights abroad. Our children’s expanding palettes makes this momma very, very happy.
The highlight of our time in Argentina was scratching off a major bucket list destination and I don’t just mean Buenos Aires. We finally were close enough to the Brazil and Argentina border to fly over to Puerto Iguazú and visit Iguazú Falls or Paradise Falls as it’s referred to in the movie Up. These falls are so much more than anything I could write about here. They felt majestic, powerful, and huge — this coming from a family that’s seen many, many waterfalls this last year.
Iguazú Falls is a natural wonder that truly takes your breath away, plus, our trip there was the smoothest we’d had for a quick flight. All of us were so excited to be there and the seamless travel made being there feel easy. We also loved the super small town feel in Iguazú and our amazingly sweet airbnb host who drove us around all weekend. We will forever cherish this destination as a top 3 site seen during our beautiful #queventure year abroad. We recommend it to all families especially those hoping to knock out a visit to the three borders: Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil…
But don’t get me started on the fun-loving Brazilian side full of great food (picaña steak), ambiance, and all the romantic Portuguese lingo a girl could swoon over.