Author Topic: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR  (Read 12774 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2014, 03:28:02 PM »
Recoleta and Shabbos in Once
Friday morning got off to a late start, after a late-night dinner the night before at Asian, (we were there till it closed). After shachris, we went over to a new place for brunch - Luba. The small eatery is located inside the same building as Chabad of Recoleta. We didn't have reservations, so we had to sit on a small round corner table near the counter, because the other tables were all reserved. It is very small inside, space there for maybe 15-20 people, though our server told us they are looking for somewhere larger. Once we were seated, they brought out complimentary fresh bread and dips on the house, which were good. I ordered Cheese Fingers with Fries, (48 pesos) the fries were perfect and so were the sticks. For a drink, I got the Mint & Chocolate Frapuccino, (38 pesos) it was more like a milk shake, but tasted amazing, highly recommend it. Friends ordered the Pacific Wrap Roll (75 pesos) and Mini Pizza (62 pesos), all were really good, and very reasonably priced. Service was on the spot, very attentive waiter, and our orders came out quite quickly, everything hot, fresh and delicious. Highly recommend this place to eat. - 9/10.
I'm glad you liked it! It was also jammed when we were there, but we got a seat and had good service as well. I wonder why Bosco didn't like it?

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Offline Joe4007

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2014, 04:01:00 PM »
Cool pic!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2014, 05:09:41 PM »
Update: Pictures for the first three parts that i wrote up, are posted.

Part 1 - http://yaalilitripreports.blogspot.com.br/2014/02/getting-to-buenos-aires-and-1st-day.html

Part 2 - http://yaalilitripreports.blogspot.com.br/2014/02/our-2nd-day-in-buenos-aires-and-trip-to.html

Part 3 - http://yaalilitripreports.blogspot.com.br/2014/02/recoleta-and-shabbos-in-once.html
Nice Pix! I got a picture of Floralis Generica on the way to the airport (AEP) without knowing what it was. Thanks for explaining.

Offline Bosco

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2014, 10:25:22 AM »
I'm glad you liked it! It was also jammed when we were there, but we got a seat and had good service as well. I wonder why Bosco didn't like it?

I actually went back to Luba on Sunday and had a great experience. As I mentioned in my previous post, they didnt have the right ingredients for what I was ordering and she gave me the food for free because of that. When we returned, we had an omelette with cheese and mushrooms and a panini (with the right bread) and they were both great. We also tried the Alfajor drink (hot, milk-based, dulce de leche flavored drink with ground coconut) which was incredibly rich and sweet, very tasty, but you have to like coconut to like it (there's a lot) and you may not be able to drink the whole thing because it's so sweet.

At least now I know I'm not the only one who thought Asian's meat was not all that impressive. I guess we now know that the change in chefs really made a difference. And by the way, prices went up dramatically in just two months! Probably because of the rate of inflation. The drinks were 55 pesos and I'm pretty sure the other items were more expensive as well.

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2014, 01:50:09 PM »
The Last Days in Buenos Aires
Sunday morning for breakfast, we went to try out some of the local specialty's at the bakeries. At Malena they have very good churros (5 pesos each), while at Kokosh we got some alfajores and great dulce de leche pastries (12-20 pesos each). If you are going to Iguazu from here, like we were, it's a great place to stock on on some snacks. There are also numerous kosher supermarkets spread out in Once. - 7/10.

We took a metro from there to Calle Florida. A nice pedestrian only shopping street in downtown, with lots of tourists and tons of gift shops. There are many people at every corner offering to give you "cambio" change for your currency on the blue rate. If you can it is better not to switch here, as their is lots of counterfeit money in BA, better to switch it with someone that you trust. We walked north a few blocks, till we got to a nice park next to the city's clock tower.

The colorful neighborhood of La Boca was the next stop. Supposedly this area is a more dangerous area of the city, but the actual tourist 2-3 blocks of it, are heavily guarded by police. The metro doesn't go all the way to here, still a taxi was just about 35 pesos from downtown. It's a nice place to look around, tango dancers in the Caminito pedestrian street, and really cute gift shops, with rows of colorful structures.

From there we went to the Sunday fair in San Telmo. Every Sunday the city blocks off a Av Defensa, south of Av de Mayo. The 10 or so blocks are full with merchants selling their own handcrafted merchandise, lots of leather good, and a great place to buy a Matte if you want one, you could get it here for as low as 10 pesos. It is based at the Plaza Durrego, and stretches out for many blocks. Great place to buy something unique for cheap. At both sides of the fair there are metro stations to easily get you back to where you are headed next.

For dinner our last night, we went to Al Galope. We came to the restaurant a few minutes past our reservation time, and found a packed house. Every table was taken, the place was extremely chaotic. The greeter wasn't at her table, so it took a good few minutes for someone to finally to come and show us where to sit. We were seated beside a couple at the same table, and they were dirty plates and utensils from previous diners at our place. About a half hour after we seated, a senior waiter came around and gave us menus and then ran off to another table. Turns out that this man - probably in his early seventy's - was responsible for seating, serving, clearing and putting in orders for the whole back half of the restaurant. When he finally had a minute, our orders were taken and we served forty minutes later. I really felt bad for this waiter, as he was not young, and was carrying a huge load on him that night, and it was clearly evident, he didn't try to hide it at all. Anyway, as far as the food goes, all the steaks are brought out along with a grill to your table to keep it hot, and for you to decide how cooked you want it. We ordered the Beef Chorizo (70 pesos) which was excellent and tender. The Asado Chorizo (115 pesos) was very good as well. Empanada de Carne (13 pesos) and Sausage Chorizo (30 pesos) were OK. They didn't have any fries, so i opted for the Potato Puree (28 pesos) which had very little taste. The prices here are fabulous, the portions are very generous and the Chorizo is great. Do not expect a nice ambiance, decent service or even a clean table. - 6/10.

Monday morning we stocked up on some goodies for our trip to Iguazu. Taxi to the downtown - domestic - airport from Once was 55 pesos. More on the airport, the flight and the destination to be continued..
.
Pictures for this last BA part here - http://yaalilitripreports.blogspot.com.br/2014/02/the-last-days-in-buenos-aires.html.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2014, 03:29:53 PM »
The Last Days in Buenos Aires
It sounds like you had a very nice time in BA over all. How were you able to communicate? Did you or someone you were with speak Spanish? Was it hard to find someone who spoke English?

I can't wait to see your Iguazu report!

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2014, 05:17:21 PM »
It sounds like you had a very nice time in BA over all. How were you able to communicate? Did you or someone you were with speak Spanish? Was it hard to find someone who spoke English?

I can't wait to see your Iguazu report!

Yes bh had an excellent time there. My friends and I speak a little Spanish and a little Portuguese, also some people knew some English, so was never really much of an issue.

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2014, 05:30:39 PM »
I can't wait to see your Iguazu report!
+100. Nostalgic memories!

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2014, 01:46:37 PM »
Our next stop.. Iguaz˙/Iguašu Falls! - Part #1
It was a little tricky to find award availability to travel from BA to IF. The only two airlines that fly this route are Aerolineas and LAN, both of them a lot if you are not an Argentinian, so award is the way to go. With LAN it only cost 7,500 avios points to fly from BA to IF, the problem is that the airports in the route (AEP and IGR) do not show up on the website, so PUTPAC is needed here. Many agents do not know how to search for LAN availability, especially when the airports do not show on the website, if that's the case just HUCA, i had to do it twice. Once you do get someone that is able to book it for you, mention to them that you are unable to book it on the site, and ask them to waive the calling fee, had no problem with that.

The domestic airport in Buenos Aires is a mess, there were two huge lines, one for LAN and one for AA. All flights checking in at the same time, and there were many of them. Good thing we came early, as we waited on line for over an hour just to check in, and hand over our luggage. Security and the rest is all a breeze after that, no lines, and a kinda modern'ish terminal at airside. Between security and the gates there is a large store, that you walk through to reach the gates. It had a huge selection of anything you would think to find in an airport DF store, with great prices too. They also had a great selection of kosher - pas yisroel - beigel's snacks at very reasonable prices. Free and fast WiFi is also found throughout the airport.

Our flight boarding was on-time, we took a quick shuttle bus to the plane, and boarded via airstairs. Travel time was quick at about an hour and a half. LAN gives out complimentary snack boxes with some cookies and nuts (not kosher) and soft drinks. Announcements on this flight as well as all the other flights, we made in the country language as well as English.

Iguazu airport is small and very easy to navigate, luggage came quickly and we were out about 15 minutes after we landed. There were shuttle buses outside the airport that leave after every flight, and stop off at any place you want to go to in downtown Puerto Iguazu. A one-way ticket to town is 40 pesos per person or 70 for roundtrip.

We arrived at our hotel Residential Guarani at a little before 5pm. The rate for a three bed room was 350 pesos a night. The hotel is located right in the center of town, just a block away from the bus station, taxis and grocery stores. If you won't be staying at the Sheraton, this is a great budget alternative. Room was very clean, had good air conditioner, and was spacious. The hotel also provides free WiFi and free breakfast every morning, including coffee, tea, fruits etc.

By the time we arrived, it was too late to go to the falls, as they close at 5-6pm every day. So we went for a walk around town, which is very small and walkable. In the corner of town, there is the Three Frontiers Landmark. From this place you could see all three bordering countries (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay) from the same spot. The largest city is located on the Paraguay side, and you could see some tall buildings in the distance. We passed by a number of boat companies offering cheap rides across the river into Paraguay, though you do need another visa to visit there. At the obelisk there were lots of people waiting to take a picture with it and the three countries in the back, so we skipped that. We took a taxi from there, back to our place for 25 pesos. Very nice driver, who also ended up taking us across the border to Brazil and falls there.

Almost no kosher products in Iguazu, so if you want anything other than water and fruits, you do gotta bring it from the city you are coming from. We brought with us lots of crackers, cookies, wafers and more.

We got up early the next day at 5am, to maximize our day on the Argentina side of the falls. We davened, ate breakfast, and we were on our way about an hour later. The Bus Station is only one block from our hotel, and they have buses that go to the falls every 20 minutes for 70 pesos roundtrip. Buses are operated by the company Rio Uruguay and are very clean and air conditioned. Inside the small bus station there was a Mezuzah at one of the ticket windows, there is an Israeli girls who works there with her mother, and says they are the only Jews in town ;) - was very excited to see other Jews there.

The park was opening just as we came there, a little before 8am. We weren't the only early ones, there were many tour groups there already waiting to go in, still was emptier than a few hours later. Iguazu Falls Park has a Train the runs through it, with three stops, one at the entrance, the next at central station, where many trails start from, and the third and final stop is at Garganta del Diablo. We decided to go to the last stop first, as many people save it for the end, so early in the day its a lot more empty. From the train stop you walk on a trail that is built over the water, by many bridges connected, truly a sight to see for itself. The 'hike' is about half hour long, until you reach the grand Garganta del Diablo. At the end of the trail you are literally standing right on top of the falls, the mist spray is really powerful and you will get soaked. We stuck around there for a while taking in the grand views, nothing that a picture can possibly describe.

We then took the train back down to the Central station. From there you are in walking distance to the upper and lower trails, the green trail and the Sheraton hotel. In middle of the walk to the lower trail entrance we passed by a lighthouse that was closed for renovations. The Lower Trail is the longest of the trails, takes a good 2-3 hours to walk and take in the views without rushing. You will get great views of the large and famous waterfalls, along with some really nice small independent waterfalls. Though the real highlight of this trail, starts almost at the end of the main level, where a long concrete staircase takes you down all the way to the bottom. The views here are fabulous, you are hugging the mountain rock on one side and the water and falls on the other. This is a must visit place, and most tourists don't come here, as it's not officially labeled as part of the trail itself.

After that we went to the Sheraton, just to relax up a bit. We sat there for about 20 minutes, in the lounge area and then headed off for the Upper Trail. The upper trail was really nice, but couldn't come close to our first two trails in the morning, you get great views from here, but you couldn't really get close up with it. Still you should make a point to go to this trail too, as every trails has something unique to it.

Our final trail of the day was the Green Trail. This trail is the only one that will not pass by any waterfalls, instead giving you a really scenic way to get back from central station to the entrance without the train. We met many of the famous Iguazu Raccoon's on this trail. Beware these cute little rodents are not shy at all, and if the see or smell the slightest hint of food, they will go and make and jump for it.  The trail is short just under a half hour and you are back to the entrance area of the park.

If you have extra time after walking all the trails, there is a nice visitor center near the entrance of the park. They have information there about the many different wildlife and fauna that can be found within the area. Along with a nice video presentation with English subtitles about the history of Iguazu.

And here is something for all kosher travelers out there. Near the entrance of the park there is a Freddo ice-cream and sorbet shop, with lots of kosher flavors. The parve sorbet here is the you will ever have, exploding with delicious fruit flavors and a smooth and creamy texture. I got a cup with three scoops (53 pesos) - passion fruit, mango and strawberry and would recommend all of them. They will let you try little nibbles of the flavor before you order it, the also have a great lemon and raspberry flavor. Was a real treat to find this up in Iguazu. - 10/10.

Crossing the border and the Brazil side of the falls to be continued..

Pictures for this part of the TR, top two posts here - http://yaalilitripreports.blogspot.com.br/.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 02:02:22 PM by Ya'alili »

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2014, 02:11:44 PM »
Wow, some great pictures! It sounds like you had a great time. How was the weather? Miami-in-July-ish?

Too bad I didn't know about the Freddo there. That would have been really nice after a long day exploring.

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2014, 02:33:28 PM »
Keep it coming!

Was St Martin's Island open? It was closed when we were there and I was wondering how much we missed out.

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2014, 02:34:50 PM »
Wow, some great pictures! It sounds like you had a great time. How was the weather? Miami-in-July-ish?

Too bad I didn't know about the Freddo there. That would have been really nice after a long day exploring.

Thanks. Weather was actually really good, it drizzled a bit, but for the most part was very breezy. Yup, Freddo is a perfect end to the day!

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2014, 02:35:30 PM »
Keep it coming!

Was St Martin's Island open? It was closed when we were there and I was wondering how much we missed out.

Wasn't open by us either, but we walked all the way till the boat dock, great views.

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2014, 02:42:41 PM »
Wasn't open by us either, but we walked all the way till the boat dock, great views.
Great views indeed! We did that as well as we went on the boat ride into the falls.

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2014, 12:06:32 PM »
Iguaz˙/Iguašu Falls! - Part #2, & return to Sao Paulo
Our second and final morning in Puerto Iguazu, we got up at 6am, and called our driver to take us over the Border to the Brazil side of the falls. We had some minor payment problems just before we left our hotel, so we had to wait a bit for the manager to show up. Once that was sorted out we were on our way over to Brazil. The price we paid was 250 pesos, considering all the waiting time he did for us at the hotel, and at both of the borders, and being very patient all the way through, - was a great price. For exiting Argentina, we went through the border where they check for all passports and id's. Once you get your exit stamp, you cross the bridge over into Brazil (in middle of the bridge the colors on the side switch, from blue and white of Argentina to Brazil's green and yellow), nobody stopped us at the border for passports. To get a stamp you need to park, get out of the car and go inside the border office, which we did because we have a Brazilian visa. Another 15 minute drive from the border to the park, and we got there at about 11 - there was an hour time difference between Argentina and Brazil.

At Cataratas do Iguašu on the Brazil side, they have lockers where you can store your luggage and belongings for the whole day. We were able to fit all our suitcases and everything in one big locker for R$10. The park ticket price was R$48 (about $22 USD). While at the Iguazu park on the other side they have train's as their mode on transport, on this side they have Double-Decker Buses going every 5-10 minutes from the main entrance to the viewpoints of the falls. I found them to be a lot more convenient than the train, where there were long line of people waiting, as they have a train just once every 20-30 minutes. Try to get a seat on the top level, where there are no windows, so a great breeze comes in. The bus has about 4-5 stops, stopping at the paid attractions, the cataratas hotel and at the Trails to the Falls. We got off at the the first stop leading up to a trail that goes to the falls.

The views that you get from all along the trail are incredible. Most of the falls are located in Argentina, so when you are in Brazil you get a great panorama of all the falls. The actual observation decks on the Brazilian side were smaller, and got more crowded with lots of people wanting a picture there. They have their own version of Garganta do Diabo here too, though I found the Argentina one a lot better and more real. The Lookout Elevator are something unique on the Brazil side. A bit of a line to go up in one, but it's for-sure worth the wait, and it's included in the price of your admission. It's about a 30 second ride that takes you back up, to the top part of the falls, and where the road is. The elevator is all glass, so you will see a nice overview of some of the falls during the ride.

We then went to see to famous Hotel das Cataratas, a beautiful hotel located right inside the park. It was great to be able to relax in the lounge there, and stroll the nature gardens in the back.

By now, it was already late afternoon, and time to head to the airport to catch our flight back to Sao Paulo. We paid $81 USD for the ticket from Iguacu to Sao Paulo on TAM airlines. There are buses that go direct from the park to the airport for R$3, which we took for the 15 minute drive. The airport is very small, with just a handful of gates but lots of flights (and passengers) departing around the same time. We walked to our waiting plane at the taxi-way and boarded via airstairs. The flight was quick, just a little over an hour, and they served complimentary nuts and soft drinks. We arrived at GRU on schedule, got our luggage, and took a taxi to the city for R$60.

Pictures for this part here - http://yaalilitripreports.blogspot.com.br/2014/02/iguazuiguacu-falls-part-2-return-to-sao.html

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2014, 04:27:09 PM »
Nice end to the report! Besides for the views I personally found the Brazilian side underwhelming. I'm surprised the cab driver made you get out to get your passports stamped in Brazil; our driver just did it for us. I also noticed when we were at the border that many other cab drivers were going in for their clients to take care of the passports.

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2014, 04:36:34 PM »
Nice end to the report! Besides for the views I personally found the Brazilian side underwhelming. I'm surprised the cab driver made you get out to get your passports stamped in Brazil; our driver just did it for us. I also noticed when we were at the border that many other cab drivers were going in for their clients to take care of the passports.

True, if I had to choose one it would definitely be the Argentina side. Although there is still something about the Brazil side that is very enjoyable. About the taxi he did offer to go out for us, but we wanted to make sure everything would be fine because we have student visas so we wanted to do it ourselves.

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2014, 04:33:59 PM »
Finally got around to reading this, great report!
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline avremie

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Re: Ya'alili's Buenos Aires, Iguaz˙/Iguašu, Rio de Janeiro TR
« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2014, 07:13:17 PM »
Can u get some advice what to do in BA? I'll have a day and a half