Buses in Argentina

I recently had to get to Iguazu Falls, Argentina in order to get a Brazilian visa to enter Brazil. The last minute flights from Buenos Aires were quite pricy so I decided to take a bus along with a friend I’d met in BA (he’s from Rotterdam).

We decided to go with the “full cama” service on via balloche bus line, which provides a full lie flat seat for the 18 hour bus ride.

The bus itself was quite nice, it was rather new (still had that new bus smell), had fake leather, fully reclining seats, window curtains as well as privacy curtains, access to 2 radio channels, and a computerized entertainment system with on demand maps, music, movies, as well as othe information – similar to what one may find in business class on an airplane.

The entire bus both upstairs and down had this same configuration and probably seated around 30 passengers (1 seat on one side the isle and 2 seats on the other side) – both upstairs and down.

There was one bathroom for the entire bus (on the bottom floor), but it was kept relatively clean.

Upon first boarding a non alcoholic drink was served, then with dinner another soft drink or if wanted a miniature bottle of wine. The meal itself was in 2 courses, first a small salad and appetizer, with some jello, then a main course of chicken and potatoes. The food was not great but it was edible. A couple hours after dinner a drink of whiskey was also offered (though it was horrible whiskey).

For breakfast we had some marmalade and toast with juice and coffee (I passed on this).

The bus itself was very smooth the entire time, never lurching or jerking around much. Each seat had 2 A/C vents that could be adjusted to maintain a comfortable temperature.

The bus did not have Internet nor where there any electrical outlets.

Sleeping was comfortable but had a very business class on the airplane feel too it. The seat had many ridges making it difficult to get comfortable. The pillow was small, and the blanket also very small. Again very similar to an average business class airline seat (though the lack of power, extremely limited drink selection, and poor quality food were more resembling of economy on an airplane).

The ride was beautiful though. The other passengers were very friendly, as was the staff.

All in all, 18 hours in the bus wasn’t too bad, given the same seats and service I would gladly do it again.

Total price – around USD $150.

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Don Camillo

Had a quick lunch today at don Camillo it’s a restaurant very near to copacabana.

They bring an appetizer without asking which they then charge for (though they didn’t charge me).

The appetizer I ordered (not the one the automatically bring), was the best part of the meal. It was extremely fresh, extremely thinly slices salmon, bass, and tuna with some lemon, herbs, and onions.

For a main course I had the homemade cheese raviolis, which were quite disappointing.

All in all I wouldn’t recommit eating here.

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Webjet from FOZ to Rio

I ended up in Iguazu Falls, Argentina in order to get my brazillian visa.

The falls were amazing, though it seems that it rained every day I was there (though usually just a quick torrential down pour then it would clear up).

My next stop is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and as the busses take around 24 hours and do not offer lie flat seats, I decided to take a plane instead.

For around USD $200 I booked a one way (direct, nonstop, last minute) flight. There were cheaper flight with connections, or if I had bought it at least a day or two prior to departure, but I hadn’t a choice and didn’t want the connections.

I booked with a travel agency at the bus station and was able to pay with visa.

They were unable to assign seats at the travel agency and said I would have to do that at the airport.

I arrived at the airport approximately one hour before the flight. My hand luggage was weighed and I was told I couldn’t carry on both my case and backpack as both were over the 5kg limit. They did not charge me for checking the 19kg case though.

I requested seat 1A and they had no problem assigning me it.

On the airplane there was no bulkhead or anything in front of 1a just the exit door, so plenty of leg room. The entire row was empty as well (though some very rude French people from a large group squeezed into all the seats in the first row). I guess the normal flyers in webjet don’t know to ask for exit rows or first rows, that amazes me.

The seats were somewhat comfortable but allowed for no recline at all (they were in a fixed position).

The crew on board were friendly and helpful, however they charge for everything including soda (I wanted a sprite). They only accept brazillian reais, and no cards at all, which was a problem as I only had USD, Euro, and Argentinian pesos.

Flight went well. My case was the first off in the baggage claim.

Not a premium experience but I would fly webjet again considering how low the price was.

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La Goa guesthouse in rip

Checked into the Lagoa guesthouse

Lagoa Guest House
Rua do Humaitá,392
Humaitá

It’s about a 40 minute walk from the beach (or a 15 minute bus ride).

Cost: Around USD$50 a night for a private single room with ac.

The hostel itself is relatively clean, the people working there are friendly, they have a computer, VoIP phone, and free wifi for the guests. They also have working ac in all the rooms.

Last night, Friday night was quite quiet though. A few guests went out around 10, but nobody else was around the rest of the night.

Breakfast was a joke, in fact the concentrated juice was so bad I couldn’t even drink it. The glasses were dirty.

The beach hostel, a couple of blocks away seemed to be a much more fun place, but I couldn’t get another reservation there (and they didn’t have ac).