Not a DP: Buenos Aires & Uruguay

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Not a DP: Buenos Aires & Uruguay

Postby friendlyskies » Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:00 pm

Just a few quick notes on my recent, very quick trip for anyone headed to Argentina and Uruguay! Both were really fascinating places, and despite the economic collapse, Argentina is doing quite well, on the surface anyway. Steaks are excellent even by US standards, and the best we had was at Café San Juan in San Telmo; make reservations. Anyway:

- Taxi Ezeiza from the International Airport is recommended by everyone from TripAdvisor to Lonely Planet to every nice hotel in BA. Fucking bullshit, the bastards tried to rip me off for US$60 and ended up getting probably an extra $20 out of me because I was tired and clueless. Had zero problems with RadioTaxi. Fuck Taxi Ezeiza forever. I mean, go ahead and trust everyone else instead of my one bad experience, but don't trust Taxi Ezeiza even though everyone says they are trustworthy, drivers are all individuals.

- Remember that tipping is illegal in Argentina! I still tipped, because 'Murica, when the service was good, but just keep that in mind.

- I was there checking luxury hotels, and there are some nice ones (shout out to Charco in Colonia, Vitrium and Legato Mitico in Buenos Aires), but you're going to get fucked if you reserve in advance, because you're paying a lot in the official exchange rate. Since you'll probably want reservations somewhere after your long-ass flight from anywhere else in the world, I recommend paying for 1-2 nights with a credit card, and then paying in cash. There are several AirB&B management companies that you could contact prior to arrival, and pay for when you get there, if you're persuasive. Obviously, a lot of travelers are going to choose convenience over all that extra effort, but if you're reserving a week in Legato Mitico's Che Guevara theme room, you'll pay $1750 in cash and around $2400 in credit. That's a bit of a difference!

- The black market - hah, the "Blue Market" - is a breeze. The Buenos Aires Herald publishes the daily exchange rates, which are for US$100 bills not including the tout's cut; expect to get US$0.50 less for US$20 bills (i.e., if the rate is listed as 12.84, you'll probably get 12.7 on the street for hundreds, 12.2 for twenties). It's really safe. You go to La Florida shopping street, which is easily accessed on the Subte's A, D, and E lines (it's walking distance from San Telmo and next to Plaza de Mayo) and find people yelling "cambio, cambio" all over the place. Ask them the rate, and they'll take you into a store's back room, which will probably be set up to look something like a regular bank. They'll change money safely and honestly, with very few exceptions according to our hosts. Yes, it happens, these guys do sometimes give bad deals, but just not that often. Rates are worse than BAH's listed price from Friday afternoon until Monday morning, because "markets are closed."

- If you're running low on dollars, it's worth taking a day trip to Uruguay, either Colonia (adorable but boring and expensive Spanish colonial town with good restaurants and better shopping) or Montevideo (big, grimy city with an awesome sea wall and unlimited access to drugs). Colonia is closer, but if you can get on the brand new Ferry Francisco from BA to Montevideo, either trip takes about two hours each way. Prices vary dramatically based on time, class, boat, and company, but plan to spend at least US$80 round trip, per person. The ATMs at the ferry terminals, and the bus terminal in Colonia (next to the ferry terminal) both give out US$100 bills.

- Marijuana is still illegal in Argentina, and illegal for tourists in Uruguay, but of course widely available and inexpensive in both countries. People smoke openly in the street in Montevideo, and at least occasionally in BA. I did not indulge, so I can't vouch for quality. Cocaine and heroin are basically decriminalized in Uruguay, and easily available on the port side of Ciudad Vieja in Montevideo. Once again, did not indulge.

- Interestingly, Colombian narcotraffickers use Argentine ports and, maybe, airports to ship large quantities of cocaine to Europe. Which surprised me. Apparently, endemic government corruption compounded by the economic collapse have made it cheaper and easier to send contraband through BA rather than a more direct route through the Caribbean. Go figure. This may or may not have led to increasing narcoviolence that goes unreported by officials.

- Argentina is also a destination for Peruvians and Bolivians. Fathers come before promising children are about to graduate high school, establish work permits and residency, even citizenship (supposedly easy to do as long as you promise to vote Christina) and bring their children down after graduation in order to attend university for free.

ANYWAY. I can tell you lots more about the usual tourist stuff, what to see and where to eat etc etc. And of course loads about luxury hotels. Just ask! Or not.
"4 cylinder Camaro=communism" El Presidente

"You can smoke salmon but it's not quite the same as smoking heroin." nanuq
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Re: Not a DP: Buenos Aires & Uruguay

Postby coldharvest » Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:11 pm

This is a Travel Discussion thread.
I have asked you not to do the stupid shit here.
I will now delete this thread to Friendlyskies original post.
I know the law. And I have spent my entire life in its flagrant disregard.
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