Pages Navigation Menu

Argentina Planning Update: Researching the Trip

The planning for this next journey, scheduled for March 2010, is progressing slowly but surely. It is now just four months away and, since the last blog entry on this subject, we have purchased a guidebook and done some Internet research to try to get the itinerary nailed down. What we have decided to this point is that we will arrive and leave from Argentina and then visit Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay while we are in the region. All of this will be over 12 days on the ground, so we are having to make distinct choices about what to see in each country.

In Argentina it looks like we will spend some time in Buenos Aires and then take an overnight train north to Cordoba. After a day or two there, we will take an overnight bus to Iguazu Falls, which is on the border of Argentina and Brazil. We plan to see the falls from each country. The Brazil – Paraguay border is also close by so we are considering going across there and then taking a bus to Asuncion. After spending a day there, we think we will fly to Montevideo, Uruguay, due to a lack of time to retrace our steps back south by ground. In Uruguay we will make our way to Colonia, which is a beautiful colonial town and UNESCO heritage site. Then, to get back to Buenos Aires, we can take a ferry straight across from Colonia on our last day, as we will have an all-night flight back to the US.

So now, with a strawman itinerary in hand, we have begun to dive deeper into each area to determine if it makes sense as a destination and if the itinerary as a whole holds up (i.e. we are not trying to do too much, while always seems to be the case!). We are also checking the high-level logistics and costs for the internal transportation pieces to make sure that we can easily get to each point along the way.

One challenge about planning this type of trip independently is that there is not a ton of material on the Internet, and what is there is mainly in Spanish. So in trying to put together the travel pieces, especially the train, bus and ferry connections, has been slow going. In many cases one can find sights that belong to tours or middlemen, but we were interested in finding the ‘source’ company sites to get the most up-to-date information and generally the lowest cost. It took some doing, and a combination of reading other traveler blogs, visiting some tour sites and entering many Internet search variations, but we did get the source sites for each of these types of travel. It takes time to be sure, but in the end you do learn so much more about the places you are going to visit.

So now I am in the process of building a day-by-day detailed itinerary and verifying which days that train leaves or how often the ferry runs to fit it all together at a reasonable cost. Because of the Spanish language on the sites, this is slow going too, but will only help us as we navigate around on our own having to speak the language while we are there. Once the itinerary is set, we can begin looking at the sightseeing options and hotels. The next planning entry will cover those topics.