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LSUsuperfresh
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Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
Hello everyone. I'll start this off with a quick summary for those of you like me who may have a shorter attention span, and then I'll get into the finer details of my trip.

First half of trip: Bariloche / Cerro Catedral

Bariloche is mostly a tourist village for both domestic and international travelers. It's located in the Patagonia region of Argentina and sits at the base of the Andes Mountains right on Lago Nahuel. It reminded everyone of Lake Tahoe in this regard. Many people visit in the summer for hiking and lake activities and many people, like me, go for skiing in the winter. In case you didn't know or forgot - the southern hemisphere's seasons are opposite from ours - which is a big reason of what brought us here in the first place.

PROS:
Beautiful scenery
Great food, chocolate, and wine
Contrast of city life and quiet escapes (mountain village, secluded cabins, etc.) in close proximity so you can conveniently experience both
Friendly people

CONS:
Unreliable snow at Cerro Catedral
Lackadaisical service at times
English not as prevalent as Europe or Buenos Aires (although if you're like me you may consider this a positive)

Second half of tip: Buenos Aires

I'm sure most of you are at least vaguely familiar with this city. It is quite large with 13.5 million people living in the metropolitan area. I've heard it called "The Paris of South America" on numerous occasions and I was shocked with the amount of art present throughout the city. The city is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean side of SA and is just across the bay from Uruguay.

PROS:
Beautiful art and city scapes
Bustling nightlife
Great food and wine

CONS:
Dangerous if you go to the wrong areas (I wouldn't say it's any worse than NOLA overall though)
Scams (always carry pesos for the taxis)
Unapproachable locals


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
San Carlos de Bariloche and Cerro Catedral

Now I'll dive into the deeper details. This location is what brought me to Argentina. I went skiing for the first time this year over President's Day weekend. I was hooked from the start, and booked a return trip to Beaver Creek, CO as soon as I returned and went again on Easter weekend. I took a bunch of classes throughout these two trips and was able to conquer >90% of the terrain (I still need to learn to ski glades and conquer jumps, but I can handle steep moguls well). I decided that I wouldn't be able to wait a whole 8 months to ski again, so I began researching the best locations to ski in the southern hemisphere. That's how I settled on Bariloche. I spread the word through my work circle and 5 of my friends/coworkers decided to join. We're all in our mid and late twenties.

Anyways, we finally get to Bariloche. It was a holiday weekend for them (unbeknownst to us) and all that was available were midsized cars (we reserved 2, but they informed us that they only had 1 and were not burdened by the obligation to honor reservations in Argentina). Someone else didn't show up that day and they had a tiny VW Etios available for our 2nd car. They both were manuals as is typical in Arg. Most of the road was paved to the mountain hotel and we got there pretty easily (although it was dark with not much street signage or road indication). I stayed at Club Hotel Cerro Catedral. I had read some bad reviews and was worried, but the hotel exceeded my expectations. It was older, but had a rustic vibe:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/2rnhBRi.jpg?1


The lounge and dining room views were awesome as the windows wrapped around and overlooked the lake and mountains. As well as the views from our room:

Main room window:
Image: https://i.imgur.com/oxNiVcs.jpg


View out of shower window:
Image: https://i.imgur.com/t0VW9Vw.jpg?1


Unfortunately, one of the first things that became evident was that there was not a ton of snow. The locals had told us this year was a bad season so far. The base of the mountain had no accumulation:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/lYsPwPJ.jpg


After waiting in a long line (~50 min wait) at the bottom of the mountain:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/fQvrc0D.jpg


We made it to the top. The views were breathtaking:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/9MKdfUA.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/JmCMXkE.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/BeVppxv.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/qoG4ESH.jpg


The skiing was pretty cheap ($50/day for lift tickets and $55 total / 3 days for skis) and the conditions were okay up top on the first day. You couldn't really ski 2/3 of the mountain though and we stayed on the Nubes, Punta Nevada, and Militares runs. The snow was a bit icy and packed, but we had a good time. The second afternoon was warm and a lot of the snow had melted even up top. Rocks were sticking out without warning and I had a pretty nasty wipe-out once on some just out in the middle of the run. I definitely recommend getting the equipment insurance ($3 / day). I sheared one of the poles and my friend gashed his board. The rental place only said our insurance was fine and to not worry. The lifts were closed on day 3 due to high winds. It would later snow pretty heavily that night. We were eating at a restaurant in town as it happened and had quite the time getting those little cars back to our rooms. We tried to push one of them up a the snowy dirt road to Cerro Catedral, but only made it half way. We were stalked by a wild dog while doing this and it freaked us out by charging at us twice. We turned around and took another route to our friend's hotel. My friend's car spun out and did a 360° before landing quietly in the nearby ditch on the way back. We woke up in the morning and were nearly sick as we had to leave and knew that the skiing was going to be so much better. The hotel informed us that their shuttle could not reach the hotel either but our flights were still on schedule, so we had to haul all of our luggage 1 mile through the snow to our friend's hotel where our cars were. Here were pics after the snow:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/KDoukw4.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/q9Zf0OE.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/pUaAJIp.jpg


After skiing on Monday, I had read about an after-ski party they were promoting at Samsara (club at the base of the mountain). We went and this proved to be one of the highlights of the trip. Everyone there was very friendly and our group had loads of fun. My buddy got into a beer chugging battle with an Argentina as everyone circled around. Then we went outside and became indoctrinated into some weird ritual that everyone seemed to be familiar with except us. The group we were dancing with began throwing all the snowboard equipment into a mound in the middle of the dance floor. They then stacked 2 snowboards on this pile. They claimed they were looking for the right person to complete the ritual. I surmised it would be some girl hoisted up for body shots or something. People began falling over the pile as they were trying to exit. I thought they would get mad but they always just got up, pointed, and laughed with an expression of (Oh, I see what's going on here). Unfortunately the cops came in and shut the party down for some reason before we could see what was to take place.

While doing research before coming here, I had read that the cheap, thick, succulent steak that Argentina was known for was a dead tradition. I don't know if it was only the recent collapse of the economy, but I found that to be patently false. Most of the steaks went for ~$12USD . A lot of good bottles of wine in the restaurants were $15-30USD. For our most expensive meal, I searched through the fine dining category in Buenos Aires and found a highly rated parrilla (Argentine steakhouse). We had an appetizer, salads, bottles of wine, sparkling water, kobe beef steaks, dessert wine, espressos, limoncellos, desserts. We could not have consumed any more food or drink. The bill came out to be $70USD per person. This was probably my favorite thing about Argentina. My favorite steak was probably from El Boliche de Alberto in Bariloche:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/Re2AJZv.jpg


It was cooked perfectly to my liking, ~ 2 inches thick, and probably close to 30 oz. All for ~$12USD. A lot of the other parrillas had distracted cooks at times I think as they did have a tendency to overcook them. I ordered rare throughout the trip and received 2 that were well done. I sent one of them back and they got it right the 2nd time.

Other food pics from Bariloche:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/MasxCYW.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/NowguwT.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/yiWeIX3.jpg


Bariloche is known for it's chocolate and there are shops everywhere downtown. We were told to try Mamuschkas, so we did. We bought 6 different types with 1 piece for everyone and they were all very good.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/j1qy5cL.jpg


We accidentally found ourselves surrounded by a protest one night and had to sit in our car as they passed for ~ 5 minutes. I think it had something to do with their retirement finances. It was a pretty cool experience.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/uCSXcvT.jpg


All in all, I really loved Bariloche. If I could recommend 1 restaurant it would be El Boliche de Alberto (there are like 6 locations so if there's a line at one, just go around the corner). El Patacon was nice as well as they have a good view for the table:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/efFQMQj.jpg


And a nice room to enjoy after-dinner drinks:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/CXS1rb1.jpg


Misc downtown Bariloche:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/2TDRQd2.jpg

This post was edited on 8/26 at 1:48 pm


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LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
Part Two: Buenos Aires

We flew out of Bariloche around midday on Thursday for our final stay in Buenos Aires:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/MHQZ2sW.jpg


I originally booked rooms here elsewhere, but while doing research on another forum, several people indicated that the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt here was the nicest hotel they've ever stayed at. I managed to swing a suite, and we were enthralled with this hotel:

There were 2 wings to the hotel with a garden in the middle. There were a lot of other ammenities (library style bar, spa with pool + hot tub + massage parlor, restaurant, ballrooms, etc.) I did not have time to explore the entire hotel. The wings were connected through an underground breezeway that is lined with nice art (sculptures, paintings, etc.) Eastern entrance to the hotel:
Image: https://i.imgur.com/alTpTTj.jpg?1


Back half of the sleeping area of the suite (Not picture is the social area (couches, tables, etc.):

Image: https://i.imgur.com/8ghNS77.jpg


One wall was lined with full length windows with a view of the garden:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/99j5mvb.jpg width=600


The bathroom was like 4 rooms by itself (separate rooms for toilet, sink, shower, and room with tub and dressing area):

Image: https://i.imgur.com/lFKYKM8.jpg


The bar made a good Negroni:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/OsLm7wh.jpg


We pretty much stuck to parrillas the entire time in Argentina, so I won't go into a whole lot more detail here. The food was similar to Bariloche and again excellent quality for a bargain. My top recommendation would be El Mirasol in Retiro:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/u3JyYYd.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/T6rP86s.jpg


I usually eat dinner anywhere from 5:30-6:30 when at home, so I felt that I did have an advantage over the Argentines. I pretty much never had to wait for a table even though I shifted my dining time back to 8 pm. Most of the restaurants didn't begin filling up until 9-10 pm. Also another thing I found to be strange was their selection of a la carte dishes. They would have about 1 choice of grilled vegetables and everything other than that was 20 different ways to cook potatoes .

I was pretty shocked at how much art was on display throughout the streets of Palermo, Recoletta, and Retiro. It reminded me a lot of Rome in that regard (albeit not as dated).

One of many examples:
Image: https://i.imgur.com/kdltzNl.jpg


We also checked out the huge cemetary in the middle of Recoletta:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/LtHATDv.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/Lg4Uyf8.jpg


One of my favorite parts of Buenos Aires was the night life. Although, I must warn you: you should acquaint yourself with the art of the siesta first. The dance clubs don't open until 12:30 am or so and don't begin to fill up until 3 am. We went to a couple different clubs in Palermo and enjoyed them all.

This was a cool bar with an Argentine rock band playing up top. They were really good and seemed to fit the 80s/90s theme in which we saw present at many of the locations:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/k8PyQlW.jpg


We bought a liter of gin at Club Kiku:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/Q2WeLsp.jpg


The bottle only costed $70 USD and there were 6 of us so I pulled the trigger. This turned out to be a really good decision. It prompted my buddy to run off and go talk to the manager. He gave the manager this spiel that we were about to drop crazy stacks and buy bottles left and right. He told him they already bought 1 and brought him to me. We were granted access to the VIP area and had a good time.

Here was the line to one of the clubs on Friday night around 2 am:

Image: https://i.imgur.com/whmFSdf.jpg


I will say that the nightlife is a lot more lively on Friday and Saturday night, so if this is something you're looking to experience, aim for these days for sure.
This post was edited on 8/26 at 2:25 pm


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
Reserved for extra details


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Nodust
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Member since Aug 2010
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re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
Nice. Really want to make a ski trip there. Or backpacking trip.

The steaks looked delicious.


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
All the locals told me to go check out the Salta region, so if/when I go back I think I'll do some hiking and see vineyards there, spend more time in BA, and try to get out on Lago Nahuel in the summer while hiking the Andes there as well.


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Jabroni
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Member since Jan 2013
665 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
This looks awesome, thanks for the info. I leave for Buenos Aires next week, from there I'm heading down to El Calafate and Ushuaia.

Any recommendations for Buenos Aires? I feel like I've done a good bit of research to avoid the scams and sketchy areas of the city. I'm staying in an Airbnb right near the cemetery in Recoleta.
This post was edited on 8/27 at 1:57 pm


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
quote:

Any recommendations for Buenos Aires? I feel like I've done a good bit of research to avoid the scams and sketchy areas of the city. I'm staying in an Airbnb right near the cemetery in Recoleta.


That's a good area. How old are you and are you single? Interested in the nightlife? Like I said, I would definitely recommend El Mirasol for dinner near Retiro which is pretty close to you.


mrgreenpants
Ohio State Fan
paisaland
Member since Mar 2018
274 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
well done man..

one of best reviews of bariloche i've seen.


curious....did you meet any other americans in bariloche this time of year?



Jabroni
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USA
Member since Jan 2013
665 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
Yep, 20s and single. I've heard the nightlife goes late like you said.

What was the cab situation like in BA? It seems like Uber has been fighting constant legal battles and you may draw some unwanted attention.
This post was edited on 8/27 at 11:52 pm


Nodust
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Member since Aug 2010
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 Online 

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
Outside of Buenos Aires how safe was it.

Could you travel in the countryside farmland feeling safe?

You’ve got me looking at google maps again of this area.


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
quote:

curious....did you meet any other americans in bariloche this time of year? 


We did not meet many. That was nice. We did meet a politician (no one famous) who seemed to be enjoying the local offerings of hookers and blow.

Also, for those who smoke, we were offered to openly share a joint about 6 times at the after-ski party at Samsara.


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LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
quote:

Yep, 20s and single. I've heard the nightlife goes late like you said. 


What I found to work best for me was to sleep 5 hours after the club and then sleep 3 hours before dinner from like 3-6 pm. Hit the espressos after dinner. I would recommend getting drinks after dinner around Plaza Julio Cortazar in Palermo. Thats definitely the area you're going to want to be. Then hit Club Kika around 1 am or so. Theres plenty of other clubs that way and it's a short walk from Plaza Serrano.

quote:

What was the cab situation like in BA? It seems like Uber has been fighting constant legal battles and you may draw some unwanted attention.


I wouldn't worry about that. My buddy openly told a cab driver that he was getting an Uber bc Uber was better. The driver tried to say it was illegal and that was that. Uber still has some kinks though. I had to wait 45 min for my driver on one occasion. It is cheap though. 15 min rides were like $4

This post was edited on 8/28 at 10:59 am


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
quote:

Outside of Buenos Aires how safe was it. 

Could you travel in the countryside farmland feeling safe? 


I never felt in danger. Of course, I'm pretty sure Bariloche is an affluent vacation destination, so that may be the equivalent of saying "Vail was incredibly secure, so you should have no problems in Detroit" . Personally, I wouldn't be afraid to drive all over Argentina though


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Jabroni
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Member since Jan 2013
665 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
Thanks for the details, I'll probably try to use Uber most of the way. I booked a Taxi Ezeiza from my trip from EZE to downtown already.

Can't wait to explore Argentina, seems like an amazing country.


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7018 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
quote:

Thanks for the details, I'll probably try to use Uber most of the way. I booked a Taxi Ezeiza from my trip from EZE to downtown already. 


For flat rate rides, always confirm the price up front and pay in pesos. For other rides, I would tell them "tengo solo viente dolares. Esta es suficiente?" Or something of that nature just to make sure they didn't try to charge me something crazy. I got $6 worth of fake pesos once but didnt have any issues otherwise.


diat150
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Member since Jun 2005
31156 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
Great steaks, pretty women, and partying all night. I wish I was a young man again.

I've been wanting to go there.


HoustonGumbeauxGuy
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re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)


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mrgreenpants
Ohio State Fan
paisaland
Member since Mar 2018
274 posts

re: Trip Review - Argentina (Bariloche/Cerro Catedral and Buenos Aires)
young men cant really afford the great steaks, women and partying all night in argentina.
and half the dudes i meet in latin america are the "single for a weekend" types..


just go.


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