Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Maradona's Hand of God

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With the World Cup happening now in South Africa it brings back memories of this VERY controversial goal by Diego Maradona of Argentina in 1986 against England.  Take a look at this video footage of the goal and tell us what you think.




Granted the footage is not as clear as film is today, but it is clear from the video below that it did touch his hand.  Admittedly is was not the Hand of God!



Do you think this goal should have been allowed? What do you think of the Current FIFA rules that basically state, "if the ref didnt see it, then it didnt happen?" England was robbed again this world cup.  Do you think goal line technology will be allowed in the next World Cup?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Argentina- Top 10 Destinations

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Buenos Aires

With its wide boulevards, beautiful architecture and rich culture, Buenos Aires has often been called the Paris of South America. And when you experience the food, the fashion, and the nightlife, you will quickly fall in love with this beautiful city and its people. If cities, food, culture (and shopping) are your thing, then Buenos Aires is not to be missed.

El Calafate & the Perito Moreno Glacier

For a once in a lifetime experience, travel back in time to the Ice Ages and discover the amazing power of the glaciers at El Calafate. Perito Moreno, Upsala, Mayo, and Spegazzini are the best known glaciers here. Get your hiking shoes ready, and make sure you pack the whiskey!
 
Iguazu Falls


What a place! Experience the grandeur of nature as is rushes down and over the most spectacular waterfalls you will ever see. A great tourist destination with plenty of organized tours and activities, as well as hiking and adventure, right on the border with Brazil. Not to be missed.

Valdez Peninsula

 For the animal lovers out there, the Peninsula Valdez wildlife reserve is a must see. Go whale-watching, see elephant seals, penguins, sea lions, and amazing bird life. Punta Tombo has a colony of Magellenic Penguins of about 1.5 million, which you can visit on restricted trails. Can you say photo ops?


Bariloche and the 7 Lakes Region


The quaint mountain towns of the Seven Lakes region would look right at home in the Alps. Instead, against a backdrop of the deepest blues and evergreens, these towns dot the Seven Lakes region of Rio Negro and Jujuy in the Andes mountains. In the summer, you can fly-fish, hike, camp, hunt, and enjoy nature to your hearts’ content, while in the winter the great snowfalls and numerous mountain slopes make for fantastic skiing. If you’re in Argentina to see pristine nature and beauty, then this is a great option.

Quebrada de Humahuaca

 

Quebrada literally means “break,” and refers to the deep valley carved here by the Rio Grande. Humahuaca, with its quaint colonial streets and architecture is a UNESCO Heritage Site, and serves as a great base camp to explore the region. Having formed an important part of the Incan empire, Humahuaca is steeped in ancient history and culture, which very much befits this area of austere beauty.


Valle de la Luna and Talampaya

 The landscapes in Talampaya National Park were carved by water and wind over millennium, leaving behind a wealth of ravines, cliffs, and windswept sculptures that baffle us today. The area is exciting not only to tourists, but also to many geologists and archaeologists who study the area. As a visitor to Talampaya and Valle de La Luna, you get to see it all – the vertebrate and dinosaur fossils, the petrified trees, and the ceramics and petroglyphs of pre-colonial civilization.   

 

El Chaltén and Fitz Roy

For the day-hikers and serious mountaineers out there, El Chaltén is the trekking capital of Argentina. El Chaltén is a small, remote mountain village at the foot of several exceptional climbing mountains, the main one being, of course, el Cerro Fitz Roy. It is located within Los Glaciares National park, and active in the summer months (November – February). Here, you will find hiking and climbing excursions for all levels of experience, all with their corresponding breathtaking views.

 

Ushuaia and Beagle Canal

 

The southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia was once the prison-home to Argentina’s worst criminals because of it’s remoteness. The criminals are long gone, but the remoteness remains, in this incredible city at the end of the world. Situated on the banks of the Beagle Canal (where Darwin sailed around South America in The Beagle), Ushuaia is more temperate than you would expect due to the surrounding mountains and water, which leads to great hiking, exploring, and sight-seeing in the summer, and great cross-country skiing in the winter.

Antarctica


For the adventurers among you, what could be more unique than a trip to Argentine Antarctica? Week-long tours to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia, and include whale-watching, a crossing of the treacherous Drake Passage, amazing views of water in all its forms, several shore trips, seals, and lots of penguins! It’s an amazing once-in-lifetime experience not for the faint of heart. And it’s also one which you have to make sure to book in advance.



BIG shout out to argentinastravel.com for the awesome info!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Currency- Argentina

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While you may see similarities to Paris as you walk around Buenos Aires, you will certainly appreciate the great difference between the two places anytime you are spending your money. Argentina is an economical destination, so it is easy to live well in Argentina at a relatively small cost.

The currency in Argentina is the Peso.Paper money is available in values of 2,5,10,20,50 and 100 pesos. One peso equals 100 centavos ( coins )are available in values of 1,5,10,25 and 50 centavos and one peso.

There are an abundance of ATM machines in Argentina, so this is an obvious way of supplying yourself with money while in the country. However, it is likely that your bank will make a charge for using this facility so ensure that you know in advance what the charge will be.

You may find that a high surcharge is incurred when using your credit cards, so make sure that you check the surcharge prior to a transaction.
Want to find out how much the Argentine currency is worth in relation to your own currency? Use this currency converter tool for free!

 
Argentine Money- Coins and Bills

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Argentina: Getting There!

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International Flights:
Many cities in the world fly to the main Argentine international airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini, commonly known as Ezeiza International Airport ,code: EZE. The airport is less than one hour from the Buenos Aires city center.

Many cities in the United States offer direct flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina. New York City and Miami are the most common and inexpensive destinations to fly from. In addition, there are non-stop flights from Washington DC, Atlanta and Houston.

It is often less expensive to travel to Argentina on a flight that travels through another destination. For example, LAN Chile Airlines offers competitive rates for travel to Argentina via Santiago, Chile.

FYI!!- New Entrance Tax Starting December 2009, Argentina will charge a new entrance tax for all visitors holding passports from United States, Canada, and Australia. The total tax will be equivalent to the one that Argentines pay to get their visa to travel to these respective countries. The tax is a one-time fee and can be paid in US Dollars or Argentine Pesos at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires. United States - $131 USD


Argentine Airlines

Friday, June 18, 2010

What and How to Pack – Argentina

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Argentina possesses a variety of environments and activities, from the tropical reaches of the northwestern wine country to the urban chic and nightlife of Buenos Aires, to the majestic and largely unspoiled wilderness of the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego regions in the south. Packing well will help you to get the most out of your trip and not leave you scrambling to find something you need in a foreign country.

• Bring copies of prescriptions of any medications being taken as well as any pertinent travel-insurance documents.

• If you are visiting during the Argentine spring or fall, long sleeves and light jackets are a prudent choice. Consider bringing some cooler clothing as well. During the Argentine summer, most areas of the country are hot and humid, so cooler clothing is the norm. Anyone visiting the Andean region should bring along warm clothing and jackets for that leg of the trip, regardless of the time of year. Argentines tend to dress more formally than people from the United States. Men tend to wear slacks or jeans rather than shorts, and women tend to wear skirts rather than pants or shorts. In general, the more rural or provincial the area is, the more conservative the dress will be.


• Pack a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots if visits outside of Buenos Aires are planned, as they often include hikes. Dancing shoes are a must for anyone visiting Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango and a city renowned for its nightlife.

• Credit cards are widely, but not universally, accepted in Argentina, especially in urban areas. While Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted, more establishments are starting to accept American Express. Leave any other credit cards at home. ATM cards from the major networks are usable in most cities, although the selection of ATMs may be limited. Leave traveler's checks at home, as most places won't accept them in Buenos Aires. Outside of Buenos Aires, even banks won't exchange them.

• A digital camera for picture-taking is a must. While film is widely available in Buenos Aires, decent film outside of the capitol can be harder and pricier to find.

• Bring guidebooks to Argentina, one that focuses on Argentina on the cheap and one that caters more to the upscale.

• A Spanish phrasebook that focuses on the voseo dialect used in Argentina will come in handy when trying to read maps or signs and conversing with the natives.

• Pack a headset for making Internet phone calls via Skype or other VOIP phone service.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Extension of Stay - Argentina

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Visitors may request an extension of stay up to 90 days from the Argentine Immigration Service at:

Dirección Nacional de Migraciones
Av. Antártida Argentina 1355, Edificio 1, Piso 1
C1104ACA Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: (54-11) 4311-7695 or 4313-2777
Fax: (54-11) 4313-1778

For information on work and other extended visas, please contact an Argentine Consular Office in the United States.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Argentina: Staying Connected

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You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about 20 Pesos (about 7 USD) for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked American mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinean phone number, which is very useful to keep in touch with other travelers, either by calling or by writing text messages. Calls cost around 1 Peso per minute.

Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.

To reload you can buy small cards with secret numbers at many kiosks. Dialing *444, pressing 2 followed by 1, and entering the secret number does the trick.

Not related to mobile phones, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called 'locutorios', where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to USA will cost about 10 Pesos (3 USD). Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Argentina: Hotels and Hostels

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If you are staying in Buenos Aires for a few nights, enjoy them by pampering yourself at a small, stylish hotel in one of the city’s best neighborhoods at the Home Hotel.
If it’s a family adventure that brings you to Igauzu, stay at the Sheraton Internacional Iguazu Resort. Situated in the heart of the Iguazu National Park on the Argentine side and within walking distance of the spectacular Iguazu waterfalls facing Devil's Throat. Highly rated, the hotel has 176 guest rooms and four suites, business traveler services and meeting and event services!


On a Budget? Sabatico Travelers Hostel is located in the traditional neighborhood of San Telmo, in an elegant old guesthouse that has been thoroughly modernized. The hostel has a cool, laid back vibe - there’s a Rooftop Area with a BBQ for chilling out, bar and hammocks around the hostel, and guitars and instruments for impromptu ‘jam sessions’. There’s a delicious free breakfast and kitchen for preparing meals, and discounts and free tickets to some of the city’s best clubs. You can even pay extra for Spanish and Tango lessons, for a real taste of ‘porteno’ life!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Argentina: Etiquette

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Relationships are extremely important to Argentines and this extends into their social and business practices. Argentina is also a very family-orientated nation with a particular emphasis on the extended family.
Leisure/Family Travel- The most common form of greeting between friends is kissing cheeks. Dinner is usually eaten late - from around 2100 (9pm). Dress is not usually formal, though clothes should be conservative away from the beach. Formal wear is worn for official functions and dinners, particularly in exclusive restaurants. Smoking is prohibited on public transport, in cinemas and theaters.

For the Business Traveler: Argentine executives may put in a very long day, often lasting until 10:00 p.m. An 8:00 p.m. business meeting is not unusual Business dinners are popular and are usually held in restaurants; business lunches are uncommon outside of Buenos Aires, since most people go home to eat lunch.

Good conversation topics: soccer, history, culture, home and children, opera

Bad conversation topics: the Peron years, religion, Falkland Islands conflict



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Argentina: How to get around

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Due to the country’s vast expanse, planes are the best for traveling long distances within a few hours. First-class land transportation is also available and inexpensive; however trips might take up to 30 hours to get to your final destination. If buying “Airpass Visit Argentina” in your own country, you’ll obtain discounted prices for flights within Argentina. However, recent rules determined by Aerolneas Argentinas have changed the pass terms and conditions, making it available only to those flying to Argentina with Aerolineas Argentinas. Local airline companies are Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral, American Falcon, Federales Lneas Aéreas, LADE and Southern Winds.

Within Buenos Aires city, also known as Capital Federal, there are five subway lines that meet at the center of the city, the heart of tourist attractions and hotels. Subway is the fastest means of transportation. Buenos Aires people prefer it because it connects main avenues, the railway stations and bus terminals. Subway lines operate Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. A token is good for a one-way trip from point to point, with or without connections. You can have as many connections as you wish with the same fare. Once you exit and come in you need a new token.

Taxis in Buenos Aires are also a great option. Over 32,000 cars run on Buenos Aires streets. The exact fare is displayed on a meter that starts at a very affordable rate and adds up for every 200 meters (two blocks approximately).

The bus service is a fast, economical and highly used means of transportation. Generally, it is chosen to travel within the city and the metropolitan area. You should wait no more than 15 minutes to pick up a bus. You may travel around 40 minutes at the most. Service is rendered 24 hours a day, and more than 100 lines travel around the city and to the metropolitan area.

When you must travel on the road in Argentina, PLEASE use caution.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Argentina: Food

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Beef is the national dish of Argentina. There are huge cattle ranches in Argentina, and the gaucho, or Argentine cowboy, is a well-known symbol of Argentine individualism. Many dishes contain meat, but prepared in different ways. A favorite main course is parrillada, a mixed grill of steak and other cuts of beef. Grilled steak is called churrasco , a beef roast cooked over an open fire is called asado , and beef that is dipped in eggs, crumbs, and then fried is called milanesa. Carbonada is a stew that contains meat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and chunks of corn on the cob.

Carbonada

Because many Argentines are descendents of the Italian immigrants who came to Argentina in the late 1800s, Italian dishes are found throughout the country. Some favorite Italian dishes include pizza, all kinds of pastas (such as spaghetti and ravioli), and ñoquis , (gnocchi—potato dumplings) served with meat and tomato sauce.

ñoquis de soja


Argentines eat more fruit than almost any other group of people in the world. Some favorite fruits include peaches, apricots, plums, pears, cherries, grapes and the fruit of a prickly pear cactus.

Empanadas, little pies usually stuffed with beef, vegetables, and cheese, are a favorite dish. These are eaten by hand and they are often enjoyed as a snack, or may be carried to school for lunch.

Empanadas

Chimichurri , a dipping sauce, is usually served with empanadas . Because the sauce has to sit for two hours before eating, it is prepared before the empanadas.

Chimichurri

Monday, June 7, 2010

Argentina: Language

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The official language of Argentina is Spanish – it is advisable to learn what you can before visiting…. it will make your trip so much more enjoyable!

You may find it slightly difficult to understand the spoken dialect at first, as the language is usually spoken with a distinct accent and a strong Italian rhythm. However, most people quickly become comfortable to the differences and are able to overcome these.

When visiting Argentina, many establishments display signs in written English and you may find menus in the English language in restaurants. However, unless you are in a well known tourist area, it is very possible that the staff will have no knowledge of the English language- having a language phrase book on hand is helpful!

Few key phrases to know:


1. Hola, como estas? (Ola, coe moe s tas?) Hello, how are you? This phrase is a nice one to know, even if you don’t speak another word of Spanish.

2. Bien, gracias. (bee in, grah see us) Fine, thank you. The response to the previous question.

3. Comida. (coe meeda) This means food.

4. Aqua. (ah gua) Water is a good word to know. Always make sure that you get it in a bottle so that you avoid pathogens that can live in the tap water.

5. Cerveza. (sir baysa) You can drink top quality beer at rock bottom prices in many Latin American countries.

6. Por favor. (poor favv or) Please. Used at the end of sentences, as in “Mas aqua, por favor.”

7. Mas despacio, por favor. (mahs day spah cio) Please speak more slowly. This is one of the phrases that comes in particularly handy if you are trying to have a conversation with someone as opposed to saying a word or two and pointing..

8. De donde eres? (day doen day air s)This means “Where are you from?” You will probably be asked this a lot. If you ask it, it is a nice way of showing interest while being able to understand the answer, which will usually simply be the name of a city.

9. Hotel. This one is easy, because it is the same in Spanish. Just remember that the h is silent. (otel)

10. Restaurante. (rest au ron tay) This one is also easy to remember!

Happy Traveling…..Adios Amigos! ( Goodbye, Friends)

Check out the Argentine National Anthem below. You can hear the Spanish Language sung (start at 1:05), see it in sign language and read English subtitles.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Argentina: Staying Safe

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Argentina is an extremely interesting country in which to travel and explore. But it is located in South America which is known for being unsafe.

Buenos Aires, however,  is a very safe city and local police keep it that way by actively patrolling all tourist areas. Violent crime is extremely rare and some smaller towns in Argentina are even safer than Buenos Aires.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that a number of thieves who spend their time in tourist areas are on the lookout for easy prey. Always protect your valuables and keep your passport and tickets in a safe at your hotel. Carry a photo copy of your passport

In case you do get into any sort of trouble, anything from loss of passport, to theft, to a medical emergency contact:

Tourist Police
Av Corrientes 436
4346-5748

Medical Emergency Emergency Service
(in Buenos Aires dial 107)
4923-1051

Fire Department
(in Buenos Aires dial 100)
Alarm Central Division
4304-2222

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Argentina: Documents needed for entry

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Although U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism or business travel to Argentina, a valid passport is required to enter the country. If you are coming to Argentina through Ezeiza International Airport, a reciprocal entry fee of $131.00 dollars will be applied. Currently, the fee is only charged at Ezeiza airport. It can be paid in dollars, by credit card, or with travelers checks, and is valid for ten years and multiple entries. This fee only applies to bearers of regular, tourist passports. Travelers bearing diplomatic or official passports will not be charged, nor will travelers who are transiting and not entering Argentina.

Keep in mind, U.S. citizens who arrive in Argentina with expired or damaged passports may be refused entry and returned to the United States at their own expense. Since the U.S. Embassy cannot provide guarantees on behalf of travelers in such situations, it is strongly encouraged to ensure that your travel documents are valid and in good condition prior to departure from the United States.

There are different rules applied to U.S. citizens who also have Argentine nationality (Dual nationality). Most dual nationals are permitted 60-day visits. Dual nationals who stay beyond their permitted time are required to depart on an Argentine passport.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Argentina: Adventures to enjoy!

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Traveling to a great country such as Argentina that is cheap, safe and beautiful is a great thing, but there is something else that is wonderful about the huge South American, European-influenced country. There are a ton of adventure activities to enjoy while traveling the countryside.

Here are a few of them:

1. Milenka Snow Trips in Caviahue. This is a snowmobile outfit that takes you on beautiful tours around the ski resort. Great views are enjoyed so be sure to bring the camera.


2. Canyoning in the Arroyo de la Virgen located in Bariloche, Patagonia. There several areas to experience the adrenaline rush and beauty of canyoneering in Patagonia but this is an especially gorgeous place. There are different companies found in the center of town that offer guided trips and the necessary equipment.


3. River rafting the Rio Manso River located outside of Bariloche, Patagonia. This excursion takes you to emerald green waters outlined by lush forests through different classes of water. The trip finishes in Chile so the bonus of visiting another country is included.


4. Traveling by windcars on the sandy beaches of Rada Tilly, Patagonia. This high speed beach sailing is a fun, all natural adventure. Experienced drivers of the wind propelled cars assist you in experiencing the rush of flying along the ocean’s waters. The intense Patagonian winds make this an ideal place to experience the joys of traveling by windcars.


5. Paragliding. There are multiple places to experience the intense views that paragliding offers. San Rafael Mendoza is a great place to experience flying above the beautiful Valle Grande. Another company is located outside of Buenos Aires giving breathtaking views of the Pampa.

6. Racing the beaches with Quad Runners. To the north of Buenos Aires in the town of San Bernardo the beaches are a great place to enjoy the speed and fun that only motorized vehicles can provide. Their popular place to rent is the Moto Beach store located on the road paralleling the beach. They offer different sized bikes to accommodate the entire family.


7. La Piedra Recreation Center in Villa La Angostura, Patagonia. This ingenious outfit has included such activities as rappelling, rope swinging, quad running and rock climbing at one location.


8. Experiencing deep caverns inside the earth, located in Villa Carlos Paz in the Province of Cordoba. There are excursion companies that will guide you into the depths of the earth where you will discover strange formations and eerie rooms formed by water and erosion.