I am writing this from Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. I was in Buenos Aires for a week for a conference, and tagged on a weekend trip to the Brazilian/Paraguayan/Argentine border so to visit Las Cataratas de Iguazu (Iguazu Falls).
This was my fourth trip to Buenos Aires, but I hadn’t been here since 2006, when Paco and I spent 3 months there.
In many ways, there has been very little change:
- Argentine men still love tying sweaters around their shoulders.
- Tourists and expats still love The Kilkenny. Warsteiners all around!
- Cabana las Lilas is still very popular with visiting Americans. I didn’t go there on this trip (I think I was the only person at the conference who didn’t!), but I was pleasantly surprised to visit several of the restaurants that I’d been to previously, and see that they’re doing well.
- Beef is still king, although I’ve had some good seafood and good bread on this trip.
Differences I’ve noticed:
- It is much more expensive than it was years ago. When I visited (2003-2006), the Argentine economy was not doing well. The peso had fallen dramatically, and prices hadn’t adjusted, so it was very cheap for Americans. The exchange rate is even less favorable for the peso now, but prices have gone up. (This as a positive thing.)
- There is a secondary market for U.S. dollars. Suddenly everyone is running a casa de cambio (currency exchange). Banks, hotels, and other large establishments use the official rate (about 6 pesos to 1 dollar), but many restaurants and stores will give you a much better rate (9.5 pesos to 1 dollar). Had I known this I would have brought more dollars!
Iguazu Falls are incredible. I haven’t traveled alone in years, so I was unsure as to whether this side trip would be worth it. It absolutely was. Here are a few pictures of the falls.
From the Paseo Inferior (lower trail):
La Garganta de Diablo (Devil’s Throat) – There is a kilometer-long bridge that walks across the river so that you can see the top of the biggest waterfall close up:
A rainbow at La Garganta de Diablo – There are rainbows everywhere! I even saw a double rainbow:
I am spending one last night in Buenos Aires tonight before heading back to L.A., just in time to start preparing for Thanksgiving!