Argentina

Overview

From Andrew Harper

Stretching more than 2,000 miles from north to south, Argentina is a land of incredible diversity. Dramatic polychrome mountains and dense cloud forest provide a stunning backdrop for the Spanish Colonial cities of the northwest; farther south, Mendoza’s neat patchwork of vineyards is set against the majestic scenery of the snow-covered Andes. Directly west of Buenos Aires, you will encounter breathtaking vistas in the lake country around Bariloche. And at the continent’s tip, awesome glaciers grind their way through the jagged peaks of Patagonia.

For much of its history, Argentina has lurched from one crisis to another, the most recent debacle having occurred in 2001 with the abrupt abandonment of a fixed dollar/peso exchange rate. Since then, however, there has been a period of sustained growth and stability. We therefore decided it was time to take another look at a country that has long promised much, but in the past has fallen short of our expectations. We are delighted to report that on a recent incognito trip, we discovered a succession of stylish inns and estancias, all with real individual charm, ideally located to take full advantage of the astonishing natural splendor. At last, Argentina has joined the world of luxury travel.

CLIMATE : Argentina is south of the equator, so its seasons are reversed, with December-March being summer and June-September winter. Buenos Aires enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate, with January being sufficiently hot and humid to prompt a mass exodus to the beach. The immense expanse of Patagonia is drier, cooler and notoriously windy at its southernmost tip.

TIME : Two hours ahead of New York (EST).

CURRENCY : Argentine peso (ARS). Fluctuating rate valued at ARS8 = US$1.00 as of April 2014. Note: Our suggested hotels quote rates in US$.

U.S. EMBASSY : Buenos Aires, Tel. 11-5777-4533.

DIRECT DIAL CODES : To phone hotels and restaurants in Argentina, dial 011 (international access) + 54 (Argentina code) + city code and local numbers in listings.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS : Passport. Visit travel.state.gov, and for travelers’ health information, cdc.gov.

GENERAL INFORMATION : Visit turismo.gov.at before your trip.

Hotels

All recommended hotels in Argentina

Bariloche, Argentina
Llao Llao Hotel & Resort
Llao Llao Hotel & Resort

Imposing stone-and-timber lodge within Nahuel Huapi National Park, a short drive west of Bariloche.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Algodon Mansion
Algodon Mansion

Atmospheric 10-suite property in a 1912 French classical-style limestone mansion, well-located in the leafy and chic Recoleta neighborhood.

Alvear Palace Hotel
Alvear Palace Hotel

Atmospheric Old World hotel situated in the heart of the fashionable Recoleta district near  many of the city’s best restaurants and shops.

Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires
Four Seasons Buenos Aires

Sophisticated high-rise hotel incorporating a Belle Epoque mansion with 165 guest rooms and suites in heart of city near central business/shopping district.

Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

Exceptionally stylish hotel combining an ornate neoclassical limestone mansion with a sleek  17-story tower, located in the most fashionable part of the city.

Mendoza, Argentina
Cavas Wine Lodge
Cavas Wine Lodge

 

Stylish, secluded hideaway on a 55-acre vineyard estate in Argentina’s premier wine-producing  region, a half-hour drive from Mendoza city.

La Posada de Vistalba
La Posada de Vistalba

Stylish Tuscan-style guesthouse of just two luxury suites housed in a former wine cellar, part of the remarkable Vistalba wine complex south of Mendoza.

Mendoza
Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina
Estancia Arroyo Verde
Estancia Arroyo Verde

Renowned fly-fishing lodge with six twin-bedded guest quarters set along a private 10-mile  stretch of the famous Traful River within Nahuel Huapi National Park, in a scenic mountain  valley.

Neuquén, Argentina
Las Balsas Gourmet Hotel & Spa
Las Balsas Gourmet Hotel & Spa

Peaceful inn 45 minutes north of Bariloche, directly overlooking Lake Nahuel Huapi.

Salta, Argentina
House of Jasmines
House of Jasmines

Enchanting ranch of just 14 suites set on a 250-acre estate. in Salta.

Dining

All recommended restaurants in Buenos Aires

CAFE TORTONI

For years, this place has been a gathering spot of politicians, writers and artists. Belle Epoque in style, it has dark wood walls and crowded tables where you can have coffee, sandwiches and pastries. The evening tango show is one of the best in town.

Avenida de Mayo 825
Buenos Aires
Argentina
US$20
CHILA

This handsome addition to the thriving Puerto Madero area has splendid water views, a sleek interior in earth tones, and a dramatic wine wall. The emphasis is on the quality of the ingredients, so while the stated tradition of the kitchen is French, the results seem more like contemporary American. Regardless, the food is delicious and beautifully presented. Watch for dishes such as the starter of egg cooked with a rich truffle cream flecked with blood sausage, and a main course of Chateaubriand accompanied by quinoa and cheese risotto with bacon, a mushroom purée and string beans. The wine wall contains more than 1,200 bottles from 250 producers, including some of the best in Argentina.

Alicia Moreau de Justo 1160, Puerto Madero
Buenos Aires
Argentina
US$80
LA BIELA

An ideal spot to begin the day. Sit outside with your paper, order your coffee and medialunas, and indulge in some of the best people-watching in Buenos Aires. This atmospheric café is located by Recoleta Cemetery, where Eva Perón is buried.

Quintana 600
Buenos Aires
Argentina
US$10
LA CABRERA

The people of Buenos Aires love this typical parrilla (grill). Tucked away in the Palermo Viejo neighborhood, it has a comfortable, low-key atmosphere with dark wood, exposed bricks and a congenial (if noisy) bar. Start with the arugula salad, then go for the bone-in sirloin. Try it well done, which in Argentina means slightly charred on the outside, pink in the center. And if you want to stick with tradition, order an indulgent flan for dessert. The wine list is extensive, the service friendly and unhurried.

Cabrera 5099
Buenos Aires
Argentina
US$60
SETTE BACCO

Located in the stylish Recoleta neighborhood, this beautiful restaurant occupies a former private mansion. The cooking is Italian and the chef, Daniel Hansen, is a veteran of Sette MoMA, a highly regarded restaurant in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Starters include carpaccios, among them tuna with a tangy lemon vinaigrette, and veal with arugula, Parmesan, olives and lemon. Second courses could be ravioli filled with osso buco, and a risotto of squid and langoustines in a squid-ink sauce. Among the main courses, the saltimbocca — made with chicken — is superb.

Agüero 2157
Buenos Aires
Argentina
US$45