The abundance of feriados, or holidays, in Argentina is great — until you have to wait for the bus to get home. The limited schedule on Sundays and holidays means that one could wait more than an hour. These tired girls are waiting at 5 a.m. on Corrientes Avenue on the anniversary of the death of General José de San Martín. For more information about how to take a bus in Buenos Aires see: ‘How to take a bus in Buenos Aires.’
Most travelers roll through Cachi on a scenic drive such as La Vuelta a Los Valles. The 5,000-person town at the foot of Mount Cachi it is a pleasant place to kick around for a few hours. Here you can see the hilltop cemetery, dine around the central plaza and do some shopping for local arts and crafts. Rock climbers will also find Cachi a good base to do some local climbing.
When to go
All year, spring is ideal
Getting there and away:
Cafayate to Cachi: 165km. Rough road conditions 5.5 hours.
Cachi to Salta: 160km. The first 1/3 of the route is unpaved followed by paved roads. Some parts of this route wind around steep mountain terrain. 3-4 hours
by Hired Car
For the same price as larger bus services, you can share a comfortable four-person ride in a private car
Remises Interurbanos San Jose
Tel: (03868) 491-907
Salta office: (0387) 424-3077
Remises Interurbanos Los Calchaquies
Also a good pick. Low price, less people, accommodating drivers
Salta’s office: 0387/4247877
From Salta, the Marcos Rueda (tel. +54 03868/491063) bus leaves twice daily except of Tuesdays and Wednesdays when only one bus departure is available for US$8- US $10.
Surrounding the plaza you’ll find a handful of good choices for dining.
Oliver — A popular restaurant with friendly waiters, outside seating, killer empanadas and good wine.
Ruíz de los Llanos 160
For Argentine flavors flavors like pumpkin soup and quinoa empanadas in a cozy atmospheric spot, try Ashpamanta, a charming family run restaurant.
Bustamante no address
Luna Cautiva — Another local favorite offering an authentic ambiance, regional favorites and good wine.
Pasaje Borja and Suarez
Tel. +54 03868/491029
The town has quite a few shops selling typical northern Argentine arts and crafts. You may want to compare prices before purchasing anything. In general, most shops sell similar, if not identical, arts and crafts. Many vendors are willing to bargain.
A few steps away from the plaza, admire Iglesia San José’s brilliant eggshell-colored facade. Run your hands over old cardón (a type of cactus) wood pews that rest quietly inside the cathedral’s dark and narrow interior.
Iglesia San José
Plaza 9 De Julio
Museo Arqueologico Pio Pablo Diaz
Juan Calchaqui s/n
Tel: (03868) 491-080
Take in some of the region’s rich history in this modest but well-curated exhibit, all in Spanish.
• Suggested donation: AR$2
With a spectacular panoramic view of the town and surrounding mountains, Cachi’s magnificent hilltop cemetery is a must see.
Banco Macro has an ATM on the corner of Ruiz de los Llanos and Güemes
One block south of the main plaza on Güemes Street you will find the Correo Argentino building.
Cachi tourist office
Plaza 9 de Julio. Güemes/no address
Getting to and around Puerto Iguazú
Puerto Iguazú is located in the northern part of Misiones, a province in the northeast of Argentina. It is about a 17-hour bus ride from Buenos Aires and costs around $US116-$194 for roundtrip ticket.
Make sure you request a ‘cama’ or ‘semi-cama’ (seats that recline) — it’s worth the extra expense. Flights to Iguazu takes a much less taxing 1h30min and costs $US 272-315 if booked in advance. There is an international airport in Puerto Iguazú (IGR) that has two incoming and outgoing flights to Buenos Aires every day. Many consider LAN airlines the most reliable.
The falls are about a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport. There is also a shuttle service that will also take you to the downtown area, traveling Route 12, along which several hostels are located. The downtown area has a variety of accommodation to choose from, some restaurants and a bus station, although the town of Puerto Iguazú is more of a pit stop than anything else.
There are few taxis around the city center, but by far the most useful form of transportation is the bus that goes from the downtown to the falls, making frequent stops along Route 12. From the terminal to the Argentine National Park, the bus costs under US$1 and leaves roughly every 45 minutes. This terminal is also the gateway to omnibuses traveling to and from all parts of Argentina.
Sleeping and Eating in Puerto Iguazú
Even if you’re adverse to chain hotels, you might want to make an exception at the falls. The admittedly ugly Melia Iguazu (formerly the Sheraton Resort & Spa) is in the Argentina National Park has a spectacular $US250/night panoramic view of the waterfalls and offers the chance to see white-headed capuchin monkeys up close, as they have invaded the hotel grounds. The hotel has the usual five-star amenities — a gourmet restaurant, swimming pool, tennis courts and is accessible for wheelchair users, but staying here is all about the location, which besides the views, allows visitors to explore the falls at dusk and beat the crowds in the morning. Reservations are recommended, especially in the high season. Just be sure to close your balcony doors and windows if staying here to avoid any monkey business.
For those on a budget, there are a number of hostels to chose from. Hostel Bambú offers private suites with a full bathroom in addition to dorms. The staff is helpful, it’s clean and there is a bar/patio area right in front for those who want to wind down with a cocktail and meet other travelers. This hostel, along with Marcopolo Inn (which has the benefit of a pool) is located in the downtown area, providing convenient access to restaurants and the bus terminal. There are also several options along Route 12 that offer comfortable atmospheres and even a few that have pools, which may be desired since this northern area of Misiones can get very humid. Don’t forget to pack bug spray!
There is a supermarket in town for those who want to snack or cook in the kitchen of a hostel. Those who prefer a prepared meal will find plenty of restaurants offering the usual pizzas and steaks in the downtown area. Las Cañitas, La Rueda and La Esquina, located in Hotel Saint George, are some standouts. Aside from the local casino, don’t expect much nightlife in Iguazú, because most people in the town are just passing through.
—by Jenna Frisch
|Essential Items to Pack for Iguazú:|
|• Bug Spray|
|• Bathing suit|
|• Good walking shoes|