The Midnight Bus to Buenos Aires – Cama Bus

Buenos Aires…last stop in Argentina

After our marathon road trip through a good deal of the northern parts of Argentina, we managed to get the car back to the airport in Cordoba on time and in one piece. The circle complete, we opted for a cama bus to Buenos Aires. At the same time as Canada is reducing bus travel it is flourishing in Latin America. In the bus station in Cordoba a solid line of ticket kiosks stretches the length of the station, each kiosk representing a different company, classes, destinations and style of bus.   

The cama bus or bed bus offers the most comfortable means of overnight travel. Not knowing what to expect we were pleasantly surprised by our double decker complete with fully reclining seats, privacy curtains, attendants, meals, movies, blankets, pillows, etc.. Once asleep I stayed that way for six hours and woke only to find myself in Buenos Aires. You can’t beat that. The downside of bus travel is of course having to hang out in bus stations, never very safe of pleasant. 

For two nights we stayed in an Air BnB in the trendy neighbourhood of Recoleta. Our apartment on the 8th floor was large and well furnished and everyone had their own bedroom and bathroom. It had been very hot in BA just before our arrival and the old building where we stayed had stored the heat and it was nice to have AC even though the weather outside was cooling off. It seems like we’ve had to use the AC very infrequently on this trip as so many places have suffered a heat wave just before our arrival. 

Recoleta is one of the trendier areas of Buenos Aires. It is said that the elite live, dine, shop and enjoy life on theses Paris inspired streets. The labrynthe that is Ricoleta, is lined with shops, bars, restaurants and plenty of services. In the larger streets there are big malls with every type of store imaginable, except one that sells a Fitbit charging cable. I found a great English book store but it was limited to browsing as I am carry-on only.  Another area that is very touristy but fun is the Boca where the labourers, mainly from Italy and Spain, and their families lived when they arrived in Buenos Airies.

Recoleta is only one neighbourhood to explore but there is something to be said for getting to know your zona and what it has to offer. It’s easier to get a sense of daily life than if you stay el centro where everything is commercial and the touts are busy trying to pry you from your money. Nevertheless we opted for some time in el centro where the main sights and attractions are close together and this way we were able to see more without travel time to get there. 

The tango, the most passionate of dances arose from the working class men who laboured on the docks etc.. in BA around the turn of the century. My impression is that it was almost a form of wrestling between men but of course a much more artistic and beautiful interpretation of physical contact. It wasn’t until later that women were brought into the tango picture. It is a focussed and serious dance, it has some characteristics that you might find in Tai Chi etc. We learned all this at one of the Tango shows, a very touristy, dinner style event that included 400 free pesos for gambling at a casino after the show. In spite of the touristy nature, I thought it was a great show, well produced, great costumes and dance and the food was good too, and we made new friends at our table from Columbia. Tango isn’t the only thing they take seriously in Buenos Aires….meat runs a close second. Jave was in heaven and as you can see in the photo below he finally found a portion size to his liking.

We also signed up for a day excursion to Tigre a small settlement at the mouth of the Rio Plata. The bus trip there was good and our guide gave a running commentary until we reached an “artisans market” where we had half an hour to look around. Based on what we saw of Tigre, I’d say it is a high end little town with many nice homes and shops to match, that belong to the more well-heeled folks of Buenos Aires. After “shopping” we were taken to our actual destination which was a boat that would return us along the canals of Tigre and then into the Rio Plata and finally home to Buenos Aires.

At one point we had hoped to have more time to spend in and around BA. We had wanted to rent a car and head for the beaches around Plata del Mar but we used up most of what we had left on our road trip. I don’t regret the road trip, it was wonderful to see so much of the “land” of Argentina, but given the distances between our destinations, it might be wiser to fly across Argentina. Next time!

And now, with a week remaining in Argentina, we have purchased tickets on the Buquebus catarman high speed ferry to Colonia del Sacramento across the Rio Plata in Uruguay. So excited to see Uruguay.

Iguazu Falls

Awesome experience.

Softly we floated down from Tilcara and watched the beautiful Andes retreat in the rear view mirror as we began our two day marathon drive across Argentina to see the fabled Iguazú Falls. Nine or so hours on the road through emerald green landscape, we ended our first marathon day in Corrientes. Not a great place and sadly for us, a Carnival meant that hotels were scarce and we passed an uneasy night in a sketchy pace. Next day was a repeat but eventually we began to skirt the border of Paraguay and we knew we were getting closer to our destination, Puerto Iguazú, the Argentine corner of this famous location. 

A tourist destination for sure, Puerto de Iguazu is in a sub-tropical rainforest and our hotel, a series of family style cabins in a garden with a pool and a huge courtyard cage for the pet ducks and chickens, was a welcome sight. The pool was a great cooling off area in the heat and intense humidity.

The National Parque de Iguazú Falls on the Argentine side is a huge expanse of tropical jungle where many feline species and birds make their home. There were of course hoards of people but it was fun and after paying for parking and an entrance fee to the park itself, we purchased tickets for a “jungle safari” that ended in a zodiac ride to the falls and in fact into the falls. We were warned that we were going to get very wet and so we did, but we were issued large green dry bags for our precious things and off we went. There was a group of young men from Israel and after the warning of showers to come they stripped down to their underwear, causing some titters from some English girls and a reprimand from their Australian companion to “put their eyes back in their heads.” Not to district from our main purpose of boarding the Zodiac, we headed up the Iguazú river to a stunning sight of 275 or more smaller waterfalls pounding over the 200 ft cliffs. The captain of our Zodiac delighted in backing in and out of several of these until we were very wet. At one point he gave us a “dry” break and out came the cameras for some up close shots, then having safely restored cameras we ventured close to the Devil’s Throat, the massive part of the falls, the part that a poet said was the “mirror of God”. Pretty much the kind of awesome experience you would expect and I was both happy and wet. After the boat tour and Jungle Safari we spent the remaining hours hiking through the park out to the edges of the falls. The paths to the falls are metal “boardwalks” that wend and wind their way across the river as it gathers volume and strength before racing to the falls and crashing to the river below. What a sight. 

On day two, my Mexican friends signed up for a tour for the Brasil and Paraguay sides of the rivers and falls, which I was reluctant to try as I did not have a visa to visit Brasil. So I spent the day wandering in Puerto Iguazu and found myself at a park dedicated to the “three countries, three rivers, and three languages” of Iguazu, a confluence that is rare in the world. A unique and beautiful place, this place is almost haunting, one can picture the hot and steamy hardships of the early Argentinians as they fought to survive the heat, the humidity, the insects, the dangers and perils and the diseases. Kind of Mosquito Coasty.