La Plata

Introduction to La Plata

The first planned city in South America, La Plata is both the capital of the province of Buenos Aires and one of the republic’s biggest university towns. Near the center there are many large attractive government buildings, but it is the massive neo-Gothic cathedral that steals the skyline.

Where to stay in La Plata

Hotels in La Plata

While the cities proximity to Buenos Aires means you don’t have to stay overnight, the town can still be a good escape from BA, especially during the spring when classes are still in session and the streets are lively. To check availability and prices of hotels in La Plata on Booking.com, Click here.

To comprare prices and read reviews of hotels in La Plata on Expedia, click here: Hotels in La Plata

Hostels in La Plata

There are a few hostels in town. To check availability of hostels in La Plata click here: Hostels in La Plata

How to get to La Plata

By Bus

The bus terminal in La Plata (tel. (0221) 4273186 I 4273198) is located on Calle 41 between 3 and 4. Buses to Buenos Aires run all night

By Train

Trains leave from the Constitucion station in Buenos Aires to La Plata every 20 minutes or so. During rush hour periods the trains can be packed full and some say the trains are dangerous at night. But we have never had a problems on them. Trains run until just after midnight and start back again around 4 in the morning. The trip to/from BA takes a little over an hour.

Services

The official internet site of La Plata

Things to do in La Plata

The large Bosque de La Plata park is a great place to walk or just sit under a shady tree and relax. There is also an excellent natural history musuem (Museo de La Plata) within its boundaries. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 in the morning untill 6 at night. Entrance cost 6 pesos, free on Tuesdays.

Sports in La Plata

La Plata has two major football clubs, Estudiantes and Gimnasia, although this second one was relegated to the second division in mid 2011. Estudiantes play at the new football stadium, Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, which can easily be spotted from the spires of the catederal. Check their schedule here

Gimnasia, now relegated, have returned to there small but centrally located stadium. See a schedule of their games here.

San Antonio de Areco

Introduction to San Antonio de Areco

A pampa town famous for being the birthplace of Ricardo Güiraldes, the author of the novel about the life the gaucho Don Segundo Sombra. The town has a rich history and has been declared a city of historic interest by the republic.

The residents of the town seem to be proud of their history, and the whole pueblo seems to be better maintained and cleaner than similar towns in the pampa. San Antonio de Areco’s proximity to Buenos Aires makes it a great destination for a day trip from the capital, but will be better enjoyed if you go for a full weekend.

Where to stay in San Antonio de Areco

Hotels in San Antonio de Areco

To check availability and prices of hotels in San Antonio de Areco on Booking.com, Click here.

To comprare prices and read reviews of hotels in San Antonio de Areco on Expedia, click here: Hotels in San Antonio de Areco

Hostels in San Antonio de Areco

To check availability of hostels in San Antonio de Areco click here: Hostels in San Antonio de Areco

Camping

There are a couple of campgrounds along the banks of the river. The most popular one would be Club River Plate, which is themed towards the football team with the same name. Its on the costanera. Fees for the 2011/2012 season are 40 pesos per tent , with up to 4 people per tent.

How to get to San Antonio de Areco

By Bus

The bus terminal is located on Av. Dr. Smith. Several buses daily to Buenos Aires (2 hours). Check into minibus service, especially if you are going to or from somewhere outside of the capital federal.

If you are going away from BA, check into long distance services to Córdoba and Rosario.

By Car

From Buenos Aires its a straight shot down route 8 (110kms).

Services

A tourist office is located on the corner of Arellano and Zebroni (M-F 8am to 7pm, weekends and holidays until 8). The official internet site of San Antonio de Areco has some information on events.

Things to do in San Antonio de Areco

Just strolling through the streets and the the pueblo is pleasing enough. A good place to picnic is in the Parque Criollo along side the river -ask at the tourist office about free bike rentals and pedal on the road the follows the river upstream. Canoes and canoe trips are also available.

If art is more of your thing, the museum Molina Campos de Areco on the corner of Moreno and Alem is dedicated to the life of the artist Florencio Molina Campos. Its open Fridays to Sundays 10 am to 8 pm in summer and until 6pm in the winter,

Every year for a week in November (the 5th to the 13th in 2011) the Fiesta de la Tradición is held to celebrate the culture of gauchos.

In February of each year the birth of Güiraldes is celebrated and then in October they celebrate his death.

Unfortunately flooding in 2009 damaged the gaucho museum Museo Ricardo Güiraldes. They are currently restoring it, but no date has been set for its re-opening.

Mountain Huts (Refugios) near Bariloche

Mountain huts, or Refugios as they are called in Spanish, provide shelter for hikers and mountain climbers in many regions of the world. Accommodation in these huts is generally fairly basic – a roof and sometimes a platform on which to throw down your sleeping bag. Other huts have luxuries such as bathrooms, kitchens and some are even staffed during the summer months. But even the best huts would struggle to obtain one star on the Michelin scale.

So why, you might ask, would you want to go to one?

You’ll know the answer to that question when you wake up in the morning and walk out the front door of the refugio. The view will be spectacular, the air crisp and clean and the only noise you will hear is the birds chirping and the wind blowing through the top of the pine trees. And after a long day of hiking you will find basic spaghetti to be the best meal you have ever had. And if a storm should kick up in the middle of night, the sound of rain on the roof will lull you to sleep.

The refugios near Bariloche are, in our opinion, among the best in the world. All can be reached in less than a day from Bariloche and some, such as the Cerro Lopez, are as little as a two hour hike away from the trail head. All trails are also easily accessed, some even by local transportation, making them affordable for all budgets.

Also since the mountains in Patagonia are lower in elevation than most of the Andes, no acclimatization to altitude is required. Yet even at the lower elevation of the peaks, it is still possible to see glaciers.

Many of the refugios have staff (refugieros) during the summer. Some will provide hot meals and cold drinks or beer for a fee. Prices are fairly reasonable, especially if you consider that everything is some of these huts must be carried up manually, usually by backpack.

Below is a list of refugios near Bariloche. They are all operated by Club Andino Bariloche. Note that the refugios are all run by the mountaineering club, Club Andino Bariloche. They have an office located right in the center ( 20 de Febrero # 30 ), uphill from the YPF service station, where you can buy maps and get information about trail conditions.

They also tend to aggressively sell the services of guides there. On one hand, we see their point: most visitors to Bariloche come from Buenos Aires or other completely flat areas and have no experience in the mountains. But on the other hand, if you or anyone in your group has a decent amount of experience in the outdoors, you should be able to make it to the huts without a guide. The exception to this would be in the winter or spring, when snow may make it difficult near the end of the trek.

In no circumstance should you, once high in the mountains, try to hike between the huts alone. Those trails tend to be much less used than the trails to the huts, and in some cases are technically challenging. Ask the staff at the refugio before proceeding.

Mountain Huts near Bariloche

Name Location Features
Lopez Cerro López
elevation above sea level: 1620 m
Privately owned. Dining room, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms (capacity: 100 people).Open from December to April. Partially accessible by dirt road.
Italia or Laguna Negra On the lake Laguna Negra
elevation above sea level: 1650 m
Capacity for 60 people. Dining room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Open from November 15 to April 15.
Frey On Cerro Catedral
to 1700 m
Capacity 40 persons. Kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, hot water and other services.
Open all year round.
San Martin / Jakob Laguna Jakob
elevation above sea level: 1600 m
80 persons capacity. Kitchen, dining room and kiosk. Open from December to April.
Otto Meiling On Mount Tronador above Pampa Linda Located just to one side of a glacier. Spectacular views or the valley below. In our opinion this is the best refugio in the area.
Capacity 60 people. Kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. Open from December to April.
Berghof On the way to
Cerro Otto.
Capacity 40 people. Dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms with hot water, supplies and other services. Open all year. Accessible by road vehicles.
Neumeyer Challhuaco Valley
elevation above sea level: 1250 m
Accessible by vehicles, this refugio offers cross country skiing in the winter and great hiking in the summer. Ask at your travel agent for "night in the refugio" packages.
Capacity 50 people overnight.Kitchen, dining room, heating, bathrooms with showers, hot water and other services. Open all year.