Calafate Parque Hotel in Argentina’s Glacier Country


Calafate Parque Hotel is a cozy and comfortable 4-star hotel with the air of a cottage, nested in the picturesque heart of the city of El Calafate, in harmony with the surrounding lakes and mountains. Calafate Parque Hotel is located just one block from the main street of El Calafate and only 200 meters from the commercial center of the town. Calafate Parque Hotel, in a park surrounded by poplar trees opposite Lago Argentino lake, is the ideal starting point for excursions. In this privileged environment, Calafate Parque Hotel‘s 44  finely decorated rooms with a unique view of Lago Argentino lake and the Andes welcome you to the heart of Argentine Patagonia.

The rooms of Calafate Parque Hotel are equipped with all the usual amenities including free Wi-Fi, telephone, cable TV and DVD player, mini-bar, room safe, as well as individual heating and air conditioning. Calafate Parque Hotel is handicap accessible and has a health and beauty spa, a gym and wellness area with Jacuzzi, a boutique, and an excellent restaurant featuring regional cuisine and an impressive wine list. Services available in your room at Calafate Parque Hotel include laundry, room service, and soothing massage sessions after a long day of trekking on the Perito Moreno glacier.

For more hotels and excursions in El Calafate, check out FlapsUpArgentina.com

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Buenos Aires City Tour


The City Tour is the best way to get to know Buenos Aires. The tour of Buenos Aires starts with the splendid Plaza San Martin and the surrounding Belle Époque architecture pierced by the Kavanagh building, the first skyscraper of Latin America. Next up, we explore Palermo Chico, the most exclusive neighborhood in Buenos Aires, with its luxurious French style mansions and its parks designed by renowned French landscaper Charles Thays.

Once we get to Recoleta you will be amazed by a miniature Paris frozen in time. Recoleta was built in the first quarter of the 20th century by the most powerful Argentine families who held French culture and style so dear that their children were taught to speak French before Spanish. Traversing the elegant Avenida Alvear, pay special attention to the many French style palaces where the aforementioned powerful families once lived. In Plaza Francia, we will visit the Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, a remarkably well preserved colonial era church. Finally we will walk through the famous Recoleta cemetery, a labyrinth of monumental sepulchers where the principal figures of Argentine history now rest, including the celebrated Eva Perón.

Next, we cross the center of Buenos Aires to arrive at the Plaza de Mayo, surrounded by monumental buildings that form the historical core of Argentina: the Casa Rosada presidential palace; the Cabildo, where the seeds of Argentine independence were sown; and the Metropolitan Cathedral, an imposing neoclassical temple housing the mausoleum of Jose de San Martin, the founding father of Argentina. The next stop is San Telmo, which was the first aristocratic neighborhood of Buenos Aires until it was abandoned due to an outbreak of yellow fever in the late 19th century. San Telmo became a neglected and marginalized area for nearly a century until the 1970s when it started attracting artists, intellectuals and other bohemian types. It is now one of the most sought after places to live in Buenos Aires thanks to its extraordinary architecture and vibrant bohemian atmosphere. We will stroll along its enchanting little streets, where the colonial past of Buenos Aires comes to life, and make a stop at the celebrated Plaza Dorrego, where the antique flea market is held every Sunday.

Our next destination is La Boca, one of the most authentic and picturesque neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, the old slum that gave birth to the tango. La Boca was the gateway for the flood of Italian immigration that transformed the late 19th century Argentine society in into what you see today. We will make a stop at Calle Caminito, the most recognizable urban icon of Buenos Aires, an open air museum that combines the fundamental cultural elements of football (soccer), tango, and art.

The last stop on our tour is Puerto Madero, a far more glamorous area than the one we just visited. But it wasn’t always like this. Up until 1991, Puerto Madero was a rundown mess of warehouses and storage silos. In the last 20 years Puerto Madero, has been transformed into a playground for the Argentine elite and the international jet-set with corporate and residential skyscrapers, upscale clubs, hotels, and restaurants, as well as private yacht clubs.

There is an extended version of the city tour which includes lunch and a two hour cruise aboard the Humberto M following the conclusion of the itinerary described above. The cruise will take you through the Canal Costero of the Río de la Plata, up until the River Plate Club. You will get to see the interior of the Buenos Aires harbor, the Yacht Club Argentino, the Hotel de los Inmigrantes, the Club de Pescadores with its typical architecture, the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport, and the Ciudad Universitaria campus.

You can reserve these tours at FlapsUpArgentina.com

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Happy Holidays


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City Tour of Salta and Outskirts in Northern Argentina


City Tours are a great way to quickly get your bearings in a city and identify places that merit more detailed exploration. The City Tour of Salta takes three hours and covers Salta’s most attractive landmarks. The tour begins in the center of the city and expands outward in a circular route. The guides use the landmarks as props in their narration of Salta’s history. It is a very interesting story indeed.

Salta was essentially founded as a pit stop on the road between the two Spanish colonial capitals of Lima in what is now Peru, and Buenos Aires in modern day Argentina. The founder of the city, a visionary by the name of Lerma, overstepped his mandate and instead of establishing a sleepy re-supply town created a regional powerhouse. Salta soon became a center of trade in its own right and its founding families amassed huge fortunes evident in the gold covered cathedrals and mansions studding the small city.  The independence of Argentina and rerouting of trade from the Pacific coast however ended Salta’s boom days. Time seemingly stopped as Salta turned into a sleepy backwater town until recently, when the locals realized the pristine condition of their colonial architecture could be a tourism gold mine. 

The first portion of the Salta City Tour takes you by the following monuments and landmarks: The 1885 Basilica Cathedral where the remains of revolutionary hero General Güemes rest. The Cultural Center of the Americas. The Historical Museum of the North in the old Cabildo. The church of San Francisco. The convent of San Bernardo. And the monument to General Güemes.

The tour then departs the city center and takes you into the foothills around Salta which are now posh suburbs. There is a 15 minute stop at the top of San Bernardo hill from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. If you want to come back later you can reach the summit of San Bernardo hill by cable car from the park below. The next stop is the monument to the Battle of Salta Monument and then the February 20th Park. Then the tour heads towards the outskirts to visit the village of San Lorenzo, which was chosen as a summer retreat by the wealthy families of Salta due to its magnificent subtropical micro-climate.

The last stop on the way back to your hotel is the Artisan Market where native craftsmen from the entire province come to sell their wares. You can get all your souvenir shopping done in one shot and focus on sightseeing during the rest of your trip. Try the candied walnuts, they are delicious and make great presents.

Reservations for the Salta City Tour can be made here

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Wine Tours in Mendoza Argentina


There are many wine tour options for visitors to Argentina’s wine country. From bus tours to private guides, and from US$25 to US$300 per person, there are excursions for all tastes and budgets.

The Winery and Cipolletti Dam bus tour is at the lower end of the budget spectrum. This excursion departs daily from downtown Mendoza around 2:30 pm. The tour visits two very different wineries near the capital in order to compare their processes. One will be an industrial scale winery while the other will be a small artisan winery. Some of the wineries on this excursion include Bodegas López, Vistandes, Lagarde, St. Hubert, and Don Arturo. Once in the wineries, you will walk along the rows of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels while learning about the manufacturing process. After each visit there is an exclusive wine tasting of each winery’s different wines. The next stop on this excursion is an olive press where you can observe the production process of Virgin and Extra Virgin olive oil. The excursion also takes you to see the Cipolletti Dam, which provides the water to irrigate most of Mendoza’s vineyards. The last stop is a visit to the Church of Our Lady of the Carrodilla the Protector of the Vineyards, which houses a beautiful image of the Virgin dating from the eighteenth century. The excursion ends back in the city of Mendoza around 8:00 pm. Tickets are US$ 25 per person and can be purchased here.

The Wine Tours are private excursions for small groups of up to four people. The private tour offers a longer and more intimate introduction to Mendoza’s wine culture since you have the undivided attention of the guide and can stop for photos anytime you please. This excursion starts early in the morning because it covers hundreds of kilometers. You have  the option of exploring the two to three wineries in the Lujan and Maipu valleys or three wineries in the Valle de Uco, each option is priced differently because of the enormous distances involved. During the winery tours you will learn about the winemaking process and have the opportunity to taste the different wines of each producer. Aside from wineries, these tours also visit the Cipolletti Dam and Our Lady of the Carrodilla the protector of the vineyards. The pricing of these tours is per vehicle, not per person. The prices range from US$147 to US$295 depending on the distance. For further information and rservations click here.

The Wine Routes are premium private excursions focusing on a single winery and its associated vineyards for a thorough oenological experience. Each tour includes a banquet lunch in the winery, as well as a sampling of their best wines. This is the best, safest, and most relaxed way to take in Mendoza’s wineries. You will be in the hands of experts, there is no rush, you won’t risk getting lost, and you can sample as much wine as you want since you won’t be getting behind the wheel. The following wineries are available for this tour:

The Lagarde Winery, founded in 1897, is an excellent high-end winery that values artisanship and preserves its traditions. The well maintained original buildings are excellent samples of Mendoza’s colonial architecture. Aas you wander around the winery, its ancient vineyards, its patios and the old house, you will be engulfed in an ambiance of nostalgia from a hundred years ago.

Cava de Cano Winery. The former residence of Don Guillermo Cano, the governor of Mendoza, who in 1936 established Argentina’s first National Harvest Festival, is now the refuge of the perfect combination of history, food and wine that delights the senses. Cava de Cano is a micro-winery and restaurant known for its Syrah.

The Belasco de Baquedano winery, situated at the foot of the Andes, is the Argentine arm of the Belasco family’s intercontinental wine empire. Belasco de Baquedano brands such as Loan, Swinto, and Rosa de Argentina are renowned internationally, especially in Europe and the United States.

The Salentein Winery and its vineyards in the upper Uco Valley are changing the face of Argentine viticulture while maintaining its traditions. Salentein continues in the footsteps of the Jesuit missionaries who began making wine here more than two centuries ago using Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

The Lopez Winery was founded by José López Rivas who arrived in 1886 from the town of Algarrobo in Málaga, Spain, where his family cultivated vineyards and olive trees. Since 1898, he dedicated himself to continuing the family tradition of producing wine in casks of oak. Today the winery has planted 1100 ha. of vineyards specializing in the production of sherry, and champagne.

Los Toneles Bodegas y Viñedos was founded in 1890 by Don Angel Latino, an Italian immigrant who saw the regions potential for producing excellent wines. The name Los Toneles was adopted several years later and refers to its enormous wine making barrels which were, at the time, the largest in the region.

Prices for the premium Wine Route excursion range from US$96 to US$300 per person depending on the winery selected. For more information and reservations, click here.

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El Rincon del Calafate: Great Value Hotel in Patagonia


The Rincon del Calafate is a cozy three-star hotel just 10 minutes from downtown El Calafate with prices under US$ 60.  It has the three most important things going for it: comfortable beds, free WiFi, and a wood fire always burning in the breakfast room where the free continental breakfast is served. Eat, Sleep, Communicate: these are the most important hotel features in El Calafate as far as I’m concerned. If you are hanging out at your hotel instead of being out there trekking on glaciers or dodging icebergs in a boat, well you’re doing something wrong.

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Rural Tourism in the Argentine Pampa: Estancia Santa Lucia


Argentina is famous for its beef. Now you can see where it comes from. Many family run Argentine cattle ranches, or estancias as they are called in Argentina, are opening their doors to rural tourism. Estancia Santa Lucia extends its heartfelt hospitality to a limited number of guests each year in order to guarantee a thoroughly enjoyable agro-tourism experience.

The owners of Estancia Santa Lucia are simple but hardworking people who take pleasure in teaching their guests the ways of the land. Your hosts will share their experiences, teach you their craft, and regale you with tales of local legends, immersing you in their customs and culture. Guests are invited to participate in estancia life from milking the cows and picking vegetables, to driving horse-drawn carriages or riding horses into the sunset.

Estancia Santa Lucia is located 10 kilometers west of Santa Rosa, the capital of La Pampa province, on Provincial Route 14.  The guest accommodations consist of a two-bedroom cottage with a dining room, kitchen, and bathroom, making Santa Lucia a great destination for a family vacation. All meals are included in the room price. Needless to say the ingredients can’t get any fresher since you’ll probably be plucking them from Mother Nature yourself.

Estancia Santa Lucia also offers some additional activities at an extra charge. In March and April they offer excursions to the Luro National Park to watch deer during their mating season. Another interesting excursion is a visit to the Guatrache Menonite Colony which is approximately 180 kms away.

For more information and reservations, click here

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