Saturday, July 28, 2012

Argentina Chin Chin! Travel Adventure Itinerary

Calling exotic destination travellers who naturally seek out fun and exciting activities that can be classified as “something different”!  Below are details for a South American trip of a lifetime!  If you are interested, please contact me at

Argentina Chin Chin! Travel Adventure
Escorted Tours of Buenos Aires and the Argentine Countryside
October 31, 2012 – November 12, 2012

Day 1: Welcome to Buenos Aires!
Hola/Hello and welcome to beautiful Buenos Aires!  Shelly and Cecilia will greet you at the airport and sweep you away to your comfortable, central accommodations. On the drive from the airport, you’ll enjoy a mini-tour of the city that highlights monuments and buildings of cultural and historical interest, complete with latin and tango music to awaken the senses!
Once you arrive at your apartment, a light lunch or “el almuerzo” awaits.  You’ll have time to relax, freshen up and settle in after your journey.  In the afternoon, we’ll take you on a casual walking tour of your Buenos Aires neighborhood. Within an hour, you’ll know the local grocer, kiosk attendant, shops, cafes, supermarkets and modes of transportation.  Feel free to greet people with a “Hola!” and “Como le va?”  In return, you will be rewarded with a warm smile and a “Bien, gracias.  Y usted?”
Under the Argentine stars, we’ll dine at an authentic neighbourhood restaurant that offers regional delights, such as home-made pastas, delicious Argentine beef and scrumptious desserts.  And how about some exquisite Mendoza wine to celebrate your arrival in Buenos Aires?  Remember, portenos (habitants of Buenos Aires) dine late in the evening.  So to experience a typical porteno evening, our reservations will be for 9.00 pm.  You may wish to take a little ‘siesta’ in the late afternoon / early evening.
Meals Included: Lunch
Chin Chin! Note: We will ensure your apartment is supplied with some typical continental breakfast foods, hot beverages and juice.

Day 2: City Tour - Feel the Excitement of the Paris of the South!
Your adventure starts with an historical and architectural tour of this historical city.  You will see first hand where European immigrants built their homes and walk in the same streets they did.  From the city’s beginning in La Boca (home of the beloved Argentina soccer team La Boca) to the Spanish and French architecture of San Telmo, and the more upscale and elegant Recoleta (with its infamous above-ground cemetery), you will be embraced by the nostalgia of days gone and inspired by the potential of the decades ahead.  In Puerto Madero and the business district, you will also be amazed at how 150-year old historic buildings are juxtaposed with glass skyscrapers, signalling a city ripe for change and reflecting the innovation of a people that have adapted their city to the modern necessities of the 21st century.
The tour ends with a lunch at a typical café in the Recoleta neighbourhood.
Chin Chin! Tip: Your city tour is the tip of the iceberg in getting to know this wonderful city.  Take note of the areas that inspire you the most so that you can return to explore further during your free time.

Tango Shoe Shopping!  We’ll take you to a couple of well-known local stores so you can purchase those shoes that will make your feet sing to the strains of tango.

Shelly and Cecilia will have a list of fun and entertaining places at the ready.  So, together we will enjoy happy hour with the locals at beautiful Opera Bay (with a view to Puerto Madero harbour), happily tapping your toes and humming to traditional music at a local pub, or enjoying dinner and cocktails at Milion, a converted turn-of-the century home.

Day 3: Styling in Buenos Aires
Tango Part 1!  After enjoying a leisurely breakfast, your day will begin with an introduction to that sensual, seductive, Argentine dance: the Tango.  This is a dance that speaks to the soul of a nation and in recent years, the tango has captured the hearts of people around the world.  It has been described as “intimate silent conversation” between two people who come together for a short, elusive moment in time.  Your instructor will guide you through the most basic steps and most importantly, teach you to “walk the tango”.  They will also share tips on ‘tango etiquette’ so you will blend in with the locals on the dance floor.

Stroll down any street in Buenos Aires and you will see that Argentine woman walk with the style, grace and confidence that are the envy of women around the world.  Ever wonder why?  Well, one reason is they believe that living life to the fullest begins with celebrating the inner Goddess that you are from the tips of your toes to your crowning glory!  This afternoon get ready to beautify you.  You might even notice an extra skip in your step and a twinkle in your eye!

This evening we’ll have a night on the town at a local pena where traditional Argentine food and live music abound.

Day 4: The Tumultuous Tango: Your Milonga Debut
Tango Part 2!  Hmmm…so just how much did you remember from your first tango lesson?  Let’s find out!  Your personal instructors will review the basic steps and throw in a more exotic step or two!  Get ready for smiles, laughter and fun!

Yours free to enjoy at your whim, along with suggestions for restaurants and activities.  Maybe you’d like to visit the outdoor market in Recoleta.

Be sure to treat yourself to a luxurious catnap in the afternoon, because the night will present the magical moment you have been waiting for – your own milonga debut!  Shine your dancing shoes, put on a favourite dress, and check your inhibitions at the door. You are about to revel in one of the most seductive dances on earth!  Join Shelly and Cecilia as we introduce you to one of our favourite tango milongas in Buenos Aires.  Local tangueros are eager to share their love of the dance they invented, so don’t be shy.  Simply say to your partner: “Estoy aprendiendo bailer el tango” (“I’m learning to dance the tango”) and they’ll be very patient teachers!

Chin Chin! Tip: For any eager tangueros, there are many group and private lessons available throughout the city.  In fact, with an entry to many milongas in the city (usually 8-10 pesos), a lesson is usually included.  So if you’d like to continue your love affair with the tango, we would be happy to give you a list of places and/or instructors.

Day 5: Shopping Anyone?...What a Silly Question!
Late Morning & Afternoon
You will experience a shopping trip of the city you will not soon forget!  For stylish clothes, funky or classic accessories and high-quality Argentine leather, shops abound in this fashion-conscious city.  Get ready for knowledgeable and stylish salesgirls to lend a hand as they “dress you” in Buenos Aires style. Alterations? No problemo.  Every neighbourhood has one or two seamstress / alteration services.  So you can be wearing your stylish new purchases on the city streets within a couple of days!

Chin Chin! Tip: This is an opportunity to get to know the city’s fashion districts for return visits in the days that follow.  So, if you absolutely love something, but want to check out other stores, be sure to ask for a “tarjeta” (business card) from the salesgirl before leaving.

Yours free to enjoy at your whim, along with suggestions for restaurants and activities.

Day 6: Cooking Up a Storm - Dishing Up Local Delights
This morning is left free to enjoy at your leisure.

During this hands-on cooking class you will discover and prepare the delicious and unique culinary delights of Argentina with local chef, Silvia Grunbaum.  Once all the preparation is complete you will dine in-house with local wines matched to the foods you have created.  We will be inviting some Argentine friends to join in the meal, so get ready to share some of your Buenos Aires’ stories and experiences.

Chin Chin! Note:  This is an excellent opportunity to learn new recipes that you can take back home to delight your family and friends.  We will also include the showstopper “Dulce de Leche” cheesecake in your recipe package. Yum!

Day 7: Tigre Delta Day Trip
Tigre lies on the Paraná Delta and is an important destination and weekend attraction for tourists and locals alike.  The area's name derives from the “tigres” or jaguars that were hunted there, on occasion, in its early years over 100 years ago.  In the morning we’ll take the ‘Tren de la Costa’ which is about a 30 minute train ride.  Departing from Buenos Aires, you'll take in picturesque views of traditional landscapes as you travel along the shores of the Rio de la Plate (River Plate).
During our stay in Tigre we’ll enjoy a boat ride along the Delta and lunch in a riverside restaurant.  You will also have the occasion to enjoy walks in nature, explore antique shops and small museums.   The day also includes a shopping stop in a local craft market in San Isidro.  You’ll arrive back in Buenos Aires by late afternoon.

Day 8: Invigorating and Spiritual Spa Day
When portenos want to “get away from it all” and are in need of a mind-body-spirit renewal, they indulge themselves in a full day spa treatment. And as you will soon discover, your Argentine spa day is a dreamy refuge of pleasure and relaxation in natural, country setting.
Mora Spa in San Ceferino is an easy 60 minute drive from Buenos Aires.  Your spa day includes Finish baths, hydro massages, relaxation/mediation rooms, a large pool, sauna, gym and outdoor activities.  A light snack or lunch is provided.
Chin Chin! Note: Although special spa treatments and services are not included in the tour price, we will be happy to book any of these services for you in advance.  Why not treat yourself to a relaxing massage, cleaning facial or a holistic therapy such as hot stone treatment, Reiki or reflexology?
Meals Included: Lunch

Day 9: Art is for the Soul
Excursion to the Museo de Arte Latino-Americano de Buenos Aires.  The MALBA is an outstanding contemporary gallery containing works by some of the best Latin American artists of the past two centuries.  We’ll tour this gallery together with the assistance of an English-speaking guide.

Close by are the unique shops of Buenos Aires Design.  Maybe you will find a treasure of art to take back home with you!

Dinner and Tango Show.  So, after taking a couple of lessons, are you interested in seeing how the professionals do it?  You will enjoy the by-now familiar strains of the tango from a live orchestra and local tango singer.  Between ballads, dancers will show you tango steps that take years to perfect.  So sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

Day 10: Last Day in Buenos Aires
This is your last full day in Buenos Aires to do as you please.  So go out walk through the neighbourhood you have yet to explore, return to your favourite stores or visit one of the many museums and arts galleries Buenos Aires has to offer.  This is a free day to make your last memories…and your memories last.

Days 11 – 13 Discover the Traditional Argentine Countryside – San Antonio de Areco

Day 1: Romancing the Ranch
In the morning you will leave the hustle and bustle of bodacious Buenos Aires behind to enjoy a relaxing drive through the Argentine pampas.  The time has come for you enjoy estancia life in the small, historical town of San Antonio de Areco where gaucho folklore lives on in the customs, music and everyday life of the people who live there.

You will be greeted warmly in true Argentine form at the cozy La Posta El Triunfo, a refurbished country home surrounded by eucalyptus trees and lavender.  Enjoy a selection of picadas (argentine finger foods such as cheeses, meats and breads) along with refreshing beverages.

During the afternoon we’ll explore the town in a horse-drawn carriage.  You will visit some of the many regional ateliers and shops that make and sell silverware, leather crafts and customary clothing items.  Here ancient craftsmanship is honed and celebrated. Plus, it is the perfect place to find a unique piece of Argentine history to bring home to Canada.

After you have worked up an appetite, get ready for a traditional Argentine asado (BBQ).  Argentina is one of the world’s largest producers and exporter of high-quality meat products.  As much care is taken in the raising of cattle as is in the preparation of the different cuts of meat.  And along with the asado and regional dish tasting you will have the pleasure of enjoying a show of romantic ballads and dances still common in rural areas of the country.
Chin Chin! Tip: In November, Argentina celebrates the “Dia de la Tradicion” and San Antonio de Areco comes alive with gaucho games, horse showing, music and folkloric dancing. 
Meals Included: Lunch & Dinner

Day 2: Life in the Country
After the late evening’s festivities and entertainment, why not enjoy a leisurely, relaxing morning.  You will get your day well under way with a hearty country breakfast with all the fixings.

Enjoy one of the many activities San Antonio de Areco has to offer.  You can get a feel for the land by visiting a working farm and even trying your hand at a chore or two.  Enjoy a gentle horseback ride through town or a stroll along the riverbank.  Maybe you would just like to relax by the pool with a cool drink.  This is your time to indulge in you!

There is often local entertainment in one of the town’s traditional restaurants or bars.  Your ChinChin! tour guides Shelly and Cecilia will have their ear to the ground for the best spots to eat, drink and be merry.
Chin Chin! Note: The afternoon activities are optional and not included in the tour price.  Let us know what strikes your fancy and we will make the arrangements.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 13: Return to Canada - Bon Voyage!

Enjoy a leisurely morning reminiscing about your adventures in Argentina, looking at some of the pictures you’ve taken along your journey or visiting some shops to pick up some traditional trinkets to bring back home.  You’ll also want to leave time to pack since we’ll be leaving around 1:00 for the airport.

Your last day also includes:
Transfer to Buenos Aires EZE Airport from San Antonio de Areco
Farewell gift
Besos Goodbye!
Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Price of $2000 USD Includes:

Services of Argentina Chin Chin! Travel Hosts (Shelly Monahan and Cecilia Sierra Thompson)
Transfers from and to Buenos Aires airport
Welcome Champagne Lunch
10 Nights in Buenos Aires Apartment
Breakfast and snack foods for your apartment
Full day city tour      
Two tango lessons and Milonga experience
Tango Show and Dinner
Day Excursion to Tigre
MALBA Tour                                  
Shopping Day
Day Spa Experience
Local Cooking Class
3 Days / 2 Nights in San Antonio de Areco

Trip Price Does Not Include:

Meals other than those noted
Flights to and from Buenos Aires

More Chin Chin! Notes & Tips:
  1. Argentina in South America is one of the few travel bargains left for North Americans.  Here you will experience a European style vacation at affordable prices.  An overnight flight means that you do not lose a travel day and since Argentina is directly south of Canada.  Furthermore, you will experience minimal jet lag since the time zone difference is minimal (only one hour difference between Buenos Aires and Ontario!).
  2. We seek out apartments that are centrally located in safe neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires.  You will have your own bedroom, but may be required to share a bathroom with another person.  Accommodations will be air-conditioned and usually include free Internet access (wi-fi).
  3. Budget approximately $40USD per day for dining out in Buenos Aires.  No matter what the neighborhood, restaurants, eateries, parrillas (BBQ style) abound and you will always find a place that fits your budget.
  4. Wait until you arrive in Argentina before exchanging US dollars for pesos.  You will get a better exchange rate in Buenos Aires.
  5. Everyone travels differently with some people needing a bit more time to be comfortable in a new city, while others are ready to hit the ground running!   For this reason we offer a number of guided excursions as well as a few pockets of free time to do as you please.  Shelly and Cecilia have lots of suggestions to explore this wonderful city so please ask us which activities you enjoy most.  We are also available to accompany you on extra excursions not already included in the tour, such as additional shopping trips, museum visits, etc.  Some additional fees would apply.
If you are interested in experiencing this South America adventure, please contact me at

Until we meet, Chin Chin!

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