by Laura Berger
Planning for a long weekend in Buenos Aires is tough—there are too many options! Whale watching, skiing, relaxing on the beach, and traversing the waterfalls at Iguazu are all viable options.
Before learning of NYU’s plans for a new study abroad center in Argentina, I chose Buenos Aires for its reputation of being a beautiful, cosmopolitan city with excellent universities, where I could finish my Latin American studies. But after two months, I found that what I really loved were the many opportunities to travel.
The first trip I took—with 14 other exchange students in my program—was to Mendoza on an overnight omnibus from Retiro station. These buses, which are either cama (meaning bed, or full-recline) or semi-cama, are the least expensive way to travel and are relatively comfortable. In Mendoza, which is situated at the foot of the Andes mountains, we spent one day hopping from bodega to bodega (Castellano for winery) and the next two days trekking, rappelling, sledding, and soaking in the hot termas. In the hostels, which average around 22 pesos per night (about $7), you can get further travel recommendations and meet people from all over the world.
On my second trip, I traveled with a friend to Cordoba and Salta, in northwest Argentina near the Bolivian border. Cordoba is known for the beautiful surrounding sierras and for Oktoberfest, which is held once a year. The city is home to the biggest community of German immigrants in Argentina. Salta is a smaller city with cacti and dusty heat reminiscent of Arizona. I went rafting for 100 pesos (about $30) but missed out on the essential day trip to Jujuy, the amazing national park with several small pueblitos to explore. I also saw many real Argentinian gauchos (cowboys)!
Other excursion from Buenos Aires include: the Iguazu falls, Tierra del Fuego skiing in Bar Iloche, Machu Picchu in Peru, the beaches of Punto del Este in Uruguay, and the center of Afro-Brazilian culture, Salvador da Bahia in Brazil.