Tag Archives | patagonia

Buenos Aires News: Edition 5

Fires Burn Over 1,200 Acres In Argentina [LAHT]
A state of emergency has been declared in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province, where more than 500 hectares (1,234 acres) of forest have been scorched by several fires, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people, officials said Sunday.

Argentine automakers to sell at cost, protect jobs [Reuters]
Argentine automakers will sell basic models at cost through state-subsidized loans in a plan to protect jobs in Latin America’s third-biggest economy from the global economic slowdown. Local plants of Renault SA, General Motors, Peugeot, Ford Motor Co. and other automakers will participate in the government’s plan to protect 150,000 auto industry jobs and to keep production from falling steeply next year.  Now this is an interesting idea!

Argentine Unions Want Floor for Peso Devaluation [Bloomberg]
Argentina’s union leaders want the government to put a limit on the peso’s devaluation, claiming that a softer currency will fuel inflation and undermine workers’ buying power.

Madge blows $1 million in hotel bill [The Times of India]
Madonna reportedly shelled out a million dollars on the Four Seasons hotel in Buenos Aires after she and her crew checked out from its posh premises. The megastar blew an alleged 9,000 dollars per night to stay at the hotel’s private mansion while her 200 backing dancers, singers, make-up artists, choreographers, managers and security checked into another 110 rooms – costing at least 600 dollars each.  Now, I know where at least part of my ticket money went!

Argentina Gun Swap Wildly Successful [IPS]
As a disarmament campaign launched 17 months ago in Argentina nears its end, the government and civil society groups involved in the initiative announced that it has far exceeded even the most optimistic projections, despite the lack of publicity.  The Interior Ministry reported that the programme, in which people voluntarily swap their firearms for cash, has so far collected over 102,000 guns and 721,000 munitions, all of which were destroyed.

Why Have So Many Restaurants Closed in Buenos Aires?  (english version) [La Nacion]
An interesting read, about the closure and pending closures of almost 300 restaurants in Buenos Aires due to the economic crisis. Many of these restaurants had relied on the tourist market and thus increased prices so significantly that they lost the locals. It will be intersting to see if the new visa tax that goes into effect on January 1 will cause a further decline in tourism and what the fallout will be.


Visiting Patagonia (El Calafate and Ushuaia)

Last week we had a chance to take our first trip in Argentina with my brother, John, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, who were visiting from Michigan.  It was their first trip out of the U.S., so it was quite an experience for them – actually for all of us.  We flew from Buenos Aires to El Calafate where we spent 3 days and then flew to Ushuaia for 2 days before flying back. We booked the flights through Lan Airlines web site, but had the hotels and tours set up through Wade Alexander who runs the “Imagine Argentina” travel agency.  I’d definitely recommend him if you want to plan a trip.

El Calafate is a small town located on Lake Argentina and is an excellent starting point for exploring the glaciers. Most of the town is geared around tourism, and the main street is filled with shops and restaurants catering to that crowd.  On the first day, we took a bus out to the Perito Moreno glacier where we first hiked around it before boarding a ferry to the other side for lunch and a mini-trekking expedition on the glacier itself.  The views were amazing!  The next day, we took a six hour cruise across Lake Argentina to explore three other glaciers as well.  The photos below probably do more justice to this than anything I can describe.

In Ushuaia, we took a five hour cruise out of the city to see the sea lions, Ushuaia light house and visit a penguin colony.  The boat actually grounds itself on the beach near the penguins, so you can get a very close look. (Some other tours actually let you walk on the island, but the number of people per day is limited.)  The next day, we took the “Train at the End of the World” (too touristy) and then hiked in the national park which gave us a chance to see a lot of wildlife. (a condor, beaver dams, tons of birds, etc.) And, I also ate a lot of king crab while I was there, although it was not quite the bargain I had hoped for (AR$90 for a dinner of king crab).

It was definitely an amazing trip. The photos below capture some if it…