A winning itinerary

Honeymoon planning is a fascinating and intricate process, and I never really know where we’re going to end up…but I can always count on it being something memorable and unique.  Nothing illustrates that better than recent honeymooners Michael and Alicia, who first came to me with just a rough wish list that included “adventure”, “culture’, “history”, “wildlife”, and “interesting terrain”.

They wanted to explore somewhere totally foreign, and cross some items off their bucket list at the same time.  We talked about Ecuador (the Galapagos) and Peru (Machu Picchu, the Amazon), and then extended into neighboring countries like Chile and Argentina, and then inspiration struck. They found out that there was a marathon happening in Buenos Aires around their October dates, and we decided to build the whole honeymoon around the marathon! We put together a fantastic two-week itinerary that started in Buenos Aires and wound its way down the coast, across to wine country, and then up to the border near Brazil and Paraguay to see Iguazu Falls. The trip was totally customized to their interests and passions, and it’s an experience that they’ll remember forever.

Check out their trip report, and their smiles as they reached the finish line!

Ann,

Here is a photo of us at the finish line!

MIchael and Alicia marathon

In Buenos Aires we were focused on the Marathon, and we focused our free time in Recoleta near our hotel. We did go to Tango Porteno which was a tango performance with included dinner. In hindsight, we should have taken a city bus tour on the double-decker bus on our first day. Then we should have visited the colorful part of town La Boca on Saturday. There is extensive street art and I had looked up a tour but we did not have free time to formally see this.

Puerto Madryn was excellent. The day excursion to Peninsula Valdes was fantastic in itself.  Our guide, Leandro, also took us to Punta Tumbo the following day to view a colony of Magellanic Penguins.  On the way back we also stopped at MEF in Trelew to see the recently discovered dinosaur bones (largest in the world). The guide helped to make this a memorable experience. The view of the water from our corner room was terrific.  The accommodations were spacious. It was difficult to capture any quality photos from the boat (optional tour that we added on) of the Southern Right Whales but this was a worthwhile experience.

Mendoza (also excellent – we would love to return and spend more time). The winery tour was fun but we should have booked an afternoon time instead of drinking wine at 9 am.We did add an excursion to see a futbol match (soccer) and this was a memorable experience! We also added  half day excursion to ride horses with included asado dinner on a ranch.

Iguazu Falls (worthwhile but one time is enough.) We enjoyed seeing the falls and the park.  We also added on a boat ride in the water that provided additional views of the falls. We would have liked to go to a reserve and see some of the local wildlife that we were not able to view when in the park.

Overall, I would recommend taking a language class prior to or upon arriving to Argentina to have a more immersive experience. We used the Xoom.com service to wire money directly from our US bank account and convert at a favorable exchange rate (cash pick-ups only in major cities). The private transfers were on time and very convenient!  The accompanying guides were helpful inside the airports.

We had similar breakfast offerings at all of the various hotels.  They included eggs, coffee and fresh fruit which suited our tastes. We did take a voltage converter and this came in handy, as only one hotel had a 110V outlet. Self-laundry was not an option (which is common in the USA) but we found laundry services near the hotels in Buenos Aires and Puerto Madryn.  Computers and WiFi were hit or miss at the more remote locations:  Puerto Madryn and Iguazu Falls. The services at the provided hotels were good to excellent.  We had positive experiences with room service and restaurant staff. The rooms were clean and in safe locations with nearby attractions.  In Mendoza, there was a separate tour desk inside the connected Casino but we found the information/ reservations to be unreliable.

We ran into two holidays while we were there:  Mother’s Day and Columbus Day which affected certain places being open or available. It took some getting used to the siesta hours and late dinner service times at restaurants!

 

 

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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)