I’ve only been to South America once, a week-long trip to Bogota and Quito in the days before I started The Royal Tour. I had another, this time to Chile, cancel during the first part of Covid in 2020. So now in 2023, I’m returning to this (to me) mysterious continent, spending a full six weeks between Argentina and Uruguay.
As many regular readers know, I prefer spending a significant amount of time in a place, forgoing additional destinations to feel like I understand a single one. I love the ability to develop a routine, to have my places I feel like a regular. It really takes a couple weeks – at a minimum – to arrive at this, but is better with a month or so.
This trip will really only have two locations in it (three, technically): Buenos Aires and Montevideo. These two capitals, sitting across the vast Rio de la Plata from each other, have fascinated me for years. Buenos Aires has been near the top of my travel wish list since watching Evita, and knowing a number of Argentine expats has only expanded that desire to visit. Montevideo has been up there since Anthony Bourdain visited and talked about the amazing quality of life there. And they make an easy pair to see together.
My trip will begin with a full month in Buenos Aires. I’ll see a tango show, eat lots of beef and drink lots of red wine, tour the Casa Rosada (if I can get tickets), explore some of the history of the country, and learn about both the Jewish community and the Peronista movement. I will also, of course, tell the real story of Evita, Eva Peron, and sing the soundtrack to the show/film probably at all times.
I’m excited to have a month in the Paris of South America. (Side note: why does everything want to compare itself to Paris?) I can’t wait to discover my favorite coffee shop, my favorite book store (Buenos Aires has more per capita than any city on Earth), and my favorite empanada spot. I’ll be staying in the trendy Palermo neighborhood, for those of you who know the city.
My time in BA will be interrupted once, as I take a short flight to spend two nights and one full day in Puerto Iguazu, on the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls. There, I’ve hired a guide for a private tour of a few different lookout spots, some jungle trekking, and a boat to the base of the falls themselves. As Iguazu apparent makes Niagara look like a trickle, to say I’m thrilled about visiting would be an understatement.
After finishing out my month in Buenos Aires, I’ll be hopping aboard a ferry across the river. The “short” ferry connects BA with the Uruguayan town of Colonia del Sacramento, and I’ll spend a couple hours there before continuing into Montevideo by bus.
In my two weeks in Montevideo, I’ll learn what makes Carnaval here second only to Rio, try the traditional mate drink, peruse the colonial history, and spend time walking the beachside boardwalks. Uruguay is supposedly one of the best countries for American expats, and I hope to discover that for myself – and report back to all of you here.
I’ll return at the end of May, and articles will probably have started a couple weeks prior to that, running through July. But, as always, you can follow my Instagram page for daily photos while I am on the trip.
Fans of maps can check out the one below. The two flags at the bottom are Buenos Aires (left) and Montevideo (right). Puerto Iguazu is at the northern tip of Argentina, bordering both Brazil and Paraguay.