Subject: Re: Buenos Aires and...?
Hi Rosemary, My nine year-old and fourteen year-old daughters and I rode what I think was a hovercraft from Carmelo, Uruguay, to El Tigre, a suburb of Buenos Aires, back in February of 1999. A local had purchased the tickets for us, so I don't know how much it cost. I can't honestly say there is that much to see in Montevideo that is much different from B.A. There was a nice regional museum, a fortress, and old European style buildings. The locals enjoy the beaches, so there are resorts strung along the Uruguayan coast. When we were in B.A. we took a side trip to a small ranch town called San Antonio de Areco 113 km west of B.A. and visited a gaucho ranch named Estancia La Cinacina. They had a guided horseback ride through marshy fields with fabulous bird-watching. There were small owls on the ground and lots of hawks and other birds. Then there was a scrumptuous meal of steak and other items, followed by a music and dance presentation. Finally, guests enjoyed gaucho horsemanship demonstrations outside. It was a family-run place, unpretentious, but superb. I probably enjoyed that the most of my entire trip. Reservations were required at that time. According to my old 1996 Lonely Planet guidebook, the representative in B.A. is Empresa Que La Opera (telephone 342-1986, 342-2841), Mitre 734, 10. At that time you could get a tour from the capital for US$60, which was nearly the same as it cost us to take a bus out and buy our Estancia ticket on our own, plus our bus dropped us off at a rural truck stop, and we had to figure out how to find the ranch on our own. My daughters and I were the only tourists who didn't come with a tour group; in fact, the owners seemed a little surprised to see us approach on foot. It seems that there were tour buses from the Sheraton near the huge train station in B.A., so you could inquire there if all else fails. My guidebook listed a street in that town as the best place in the country for typical gaucho souvenirs. We thought we were in the correct area indicated on the map, but never did find any shops with souvenirs, only residential areas. There was also a gaucho museum listed, but it did not open until 11, instead of the 10:00 listed in the guidebook, so we were unable to see it. Hope this helps you find something interesting to do. Toots