Growing in popularity with cruise ships, the Falkland Islands are located over a thousand miles east of Argentina. The archipelago consists of two main and 776 smaller islands. The capital is Stanley on East Falkland which is home to a majority of the nation’s three thousand residents. The big attraction is the wildlife with some of the world’s largest concentrations of penguins along with seals and sea lions that come to breed and raise their young. It is also a frequent stop for cruise ships visiting Antarctica.
Where Your Ship Docks
Stanley is located on a large natural double harbor. Unfortunately, the docking facilities cannot accommodate most cruise ships so, for almost everyone, it is a tender port. The larger ships will most likely anchor in the outer harbor while the smaller ones can anchor closer to the town’s landing.
There are no facilities at the dock but restrooms can be found at the visitor’s center only a block away.
Stanley is a very small town and there is little in the way of public transportation. Most visitors book tours out to see the wildlife but you can also visit battlefields and beaches or enjoy a little hiking.
Oddly, the Falklands have their own version of the British Pound which probably cannot be exchanged outside of the Falkland Islands. The British government even warns visiting Brits to change it back before heading home. There are no currency exchanges or ATMs in town. Fortunately, many of the businesses will take Pounds, Euros and US Dollars. Ahead of our visit, we arranged with our guide to pay with US dollars and then just confirmed the exchange rate after our tour.
As already noted, the big attraction here is the wildlife and taking a tour is highly recommended. You will also hear a lot about “the war” from the locals and there are a number of sites to visit. In town there is a really nice Falklands National Museum and Christ Church Cathedral has a magnificent whalebone arch which can’t be missed.
A Note of Caution – The Falklands were the focus of a war between Great Britain and Argentina in 1984. When the Argentine military seized the islands they installed over 30,000 land mines along stretches of the coast to stop the British from landing (it was useless). There is still an ongoing project to remove the mines and any marked areas extremely dangerous and should be respected.
The Bristol Hotel A Great Choice For Location and Economy in Buenos Aries
On a recent trip to Antarctica we passed through Buenos Aries twice. The first was an extended visit and the second was a place to stay in transit. In both occasions we stayed at the Bristol Hotel in were very happy with the experience.
The Bristol Hotel is located in a good location near the Obelisco at Avenue 9 de Julio, Cerrito 286, C1010AAF CABA, Buenos Aries, Argentina.
When looking for a hotel and evaluating your stay afterwards there are a number of things we use to rate the hotel:
Helpfulness of the staff
After those, most considerations are esoteric and relate to luxury and exclusivity. Generally when we travel our budget is one of the major considerations. For this trip we selected the Bristol Hotel first because of its location. Also at US$50 a night and with four star on Google reviews we couldn’t resist.
On check-in we were pleased with our choice. The location was right in the center of things, the staff was friendly and helpful and the room was well appointed and clean. The beds proved to be comfortable and there was plenty of hot water.
Located near the hotel are lots of cafes and good restaurants. Only ten blocks to the northeast are a number of pedestrian walking streets with lots of interesting shops. All-in-all we were very pleased with our selection.
Don’t miss great steaks at incredible prices in Buenos Aries.
Argentina is most famous for the tango and gaúchos and nowhere is that tradition celebrated more than in Buenos Aries. The gaúchos are South American horsemen honored for their skill, but they are above all else, cattlemen and Argentina is a country that knows something about beef.
When you visit Buenos Aries every barrio (neighborhood) has a tango dance club along with at least one truly great steak restaurant. Many restaurants use parrilla al carbón in their name, a description which simply indicates that they grill over a traditional coal fire and I can’t think of a better way to prepare a good piece of steak.
On our recent trip we stayed at a hotel only a block from the Obelisco and only a half block west was the Revire Brasas Bravas, a steak restaurant that we had located online. The address was Av. Corrientes 1124, C1043AAY CABA, Argentina. Our first visit was so fantastic we went back again a few days later.
The biggest issue with our first visit was language. Nobody spoke English and we had a lot of difficulty ordering a steak (our Google translator let us down). How do you ask for a rib eye medium rare in Spanish? It took a while but we eventually got our order placed. A one and a third pound, bone in, rib eye grilled to perfection was the result. We had also thought we were ordering two glasses of Malbec and were presented with a bottle instead. The result was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had and a great bottle of wine and the final check was under $38. At home I would have paid more for just a steak.
Ordering on our second visit went much easier as the waiter spoke passable English and we enjoyed another great steak. Our recommendation, if you find yourself in Buenos Aries near the Obelisco, pay a visit to Revire Brasas Bravas! You won’t regret it.
Making a Day in the Port of Call Montevideo, Uruguay
Tucked in between Brazil and Argentina along the South American coast is the county of Uruguay. Its capital and major port is the city of Montevideo where over half of the countries population of three million live. A frequent port on many South American cruise itineraries the city is located near where the Rio de la Plata flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It is two-hundred fifty miles down river and east of Buenos Aries.
Where You Dock
Cruise ships normally dock at the Terminal Puerto De Montevideo which sits at the tip of a peninsula which covers most of the Tres Cruces barrio. A barrio is neighbourhood or district and Tres Cruces means “three crossings”, referring to the three major transportation routes which meet in the area. The port is well developed but does not offer a terminal adjacent to the pier. However only a couple of blocks outside the port is a shopping district and public restrooms are available in the Port Market*.
While Montevideo is a large metropolitan area,Tres Cruces is the heart of the historic city with most of the sites within walking distance. Getting outside this area usually requires a taxi. While Taxis are common they are not cheap as gasoline is expensive here. A majority of drivers only speak Spanish so be prepared with written names of your destination. Expect to pay about UYU100 for a ten minute ride. Tipping is not usual, but rounding up is common.
Getting To and From the Airport. A shuttle is available between the airport and downtown for about UYS 800/950 or US$45. A taxi should cost about UYU 1500 or US$70.
Currently a Uruguay Peso (UYU) is worth about US$0.03. Most merchants in popular tourist areas will accept Dollars and Euros and most major credit cards can be used. If using currency expect small change to be in Uruguay Pesos.
Just outside the port is The Port Market. Outside are street stalls and local shops and inside the main pavilion is a collection of cafes, bars and restaurants. The area is particularly famous for its steak houses.
Within the Tres Cruces area are a number of attractions like:
Locks Fountain at Av. 18 de Julio
Ramírez Beach, a wide sand beach & popular hangout
Galeria SOA, Candombe pedestrian Curuguaty
Palacio Diaz at Av. 18 de Julio
Ciudadela at Av. Intendente Municipal Juan Pedro Fabini
Fountain Plaza Cagancha at Dr. Enrique Tarigo
Galería Caubarrere Convención at Restos de la muralla de la Ciudadela at Buenos Aires
Mausoleo de José Gervasio Artigas at Prócer de los Orientales
Monument at Plaza Independencia
The Black Gallery Arte Contemporáneo at Calle Perez Castellano
Palacio Santos at Av. 18 de Julio
Monumento a Atilio Narancio
Palmera de Juana de Ibarbourou at Manuel Vicente Pagola
If your plans in the future include a visit to Iguazú Falls (if you are a traveler – it should) we would recommend staying for a night or two in the area. The falls are truly one of the natural wonders of the world. See our article on the Falls HERE.
If you are inclined toward deluxe accommodations you can’t do any better than the Gran Melia Iguazu, a five star resort located right inside the park with spectacular views of the falls and only a short drive from the airport. All the remaining accommodations are about fifteen miles away in the town of Puerto Iguazú which boasts almost a dozen four star rated hotels.
We booked our stay at the Hotel Saint George and were pleased with its location. Overall the staff was very friendly and helpful, the rooms were large, clean and well appointed. The pool patio area was attractive with a nice snack bar. Unfortunately the hot tub wasn’t operational while we were there.
The Saint George is located right in the middle of town and right across the street was the Restaurant Parrilla where we enjoyed pizza and beers in the evening with a tango dance show that was a surprise bonus.
After our day at the falls we went back to the Saint George to clean up and pick up our bags before our flight . Again the staff was most accommodating, providing us with a place to clean up with plenty of towels.
When you start planning and begin reading reviews keep in mind that you are going to be visiting an isolated area and even four star ratings will most likely not rise to the level you come to expect in the U.S. or Europe. After all it is an outpost of civilization a couple of hundred miles up into the South American rain forest. For that reason you should discount many of the negatives you read. We did and were generally pleased with this part of our trip.
Puerto Madryn is an amazing city that is very popular with cruise itineraries in South America. While Mydryn itself is a modern and thriving city with much to offer, the big attraction in the area is the national parks. The park of Mirador Elefantes Marinos has become famous for colonies of penguins, sea lions and seals along with pods of orcas. The orcas have gained a lot of notoriety in recent years for coming up to the beach to grab seals in the surf.
Where You Dock
Puerto Madryn has a large marine pier right in the center of the city capable of handling large cruise ships. A walk down the pier puts you right in the middle of the CBD with good restaurants, cafes and shops along with a large selection of tour operators. All along the waterfront is a wide beach with a walking promenade.
Madryn is a port city boasting a large deep-water port and is also a major industrial city, mainly focused on aluminum production and fishing. Puerto Madryn is also in an isolated area of Patagonia with the biggest attractions in the area being the national parks. Trips out to the parks can take between one and a half to two hours each way and the best way to visit is to book a tour. Other than walking the best way to get around the city itself is by taxi.
At this writing the exchange rate is about 38 Argentine Pesos to one US Dollar. Because of inflation rates over the past several years buying Pesos before leaving the United States is almost impossible. Because of the high number of visiting tourists, in the CBD many shops will accept Euros and American Dollars. It is still advisable to exchange some currency for convenience.
It is one of the most vibrant cities in Patagonia, with a beautiful coastal avenue overlooking Nuevo Gulf. As noted the focus of the tourist business is visiting the parks to see the penguins, seals and orcas. In town there are a number of shops and cafes with over a dozen good restaurants within a block of the waterfront. One of the local favorite pastimes is drinking coffee with chocolates in the many chocolate shops along the waterfront.
A collection of video clips from two days at Iguazú Falls National Park Argentina.
In recent years there have been a number of organizations that have attempted to update the lists of the seven natural wonders of the world along with modern and ancient wonders. The most widely accepted effort is a new consensus list of the ten natural wonders where Victoria Falls has been replaced by Iguazú Falls.