Tucked away in the forest of Mar del Plata and nestled in the abundant greenery sits a hidden and unusual place. From the outside it appears to be an attractive private home, but walk up the winding stone stairs and through the heavy wood door and you are instantly greeted by a spread of cakes and goodies fit for Argentina’s finest. A truly cozy hideaway, La Cabana del Bosque, is a unique outing and the perfect spot for a bit of afternoon tea.
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Most of us associate the hedonistic merriment of the Carnaval celebration with the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. But this annual fiesta, characterized by topless ladies, colorful plumage and lively samba beats, is in fact a worldwide phenomenon and Argentina is not one to be left out of the fun. The rural town of Gualeguaychu in the Entré Rios province may appear to be a calm country hideaway, good for lazing on river beaches and strolling through back country cow fields, but it is in fact home to Argentina’s biggest and boldest Carnaval festivities.
Though technically a separate country, a quick trip to Uruguay is a must for visitors spending any length of time in Argentina. Those staying long-term in Buenos Aires are forced to make a pilgrimage every three months over the border in order to renew their visas. And considering the proximity, even people just visiting for a few days can take a day trip over to Colonia, returning to Buenos Aires in time for a tango dinner show or a night out with friends. All this to and fro between the neighboring countries is made possible by the efficient and modern Buquebus, a collection of ferries and buses connecting Buenos Aires with Uruguay’s three main coastal destinations, Colonia, Montevideo and Punta del Este.
Have you ever been desperate to find a gallon of soy sauce? I know I have. Well there is no need to fret my friends… Barrio China, that’s China town to you and me, is here to help, with not one but several stores providing a plethora of soy sauce in all varieties and sizes. No seriously, China town, in a small corner of the Belgrano neighborhood, does provide some of the few shops in the city where things like hot sauce, tofu, black beans, and Dijon mustard can be purchased.
The Café Tortoni is the classis example of Buenos Aires’ old world charm. It is sophisticated, elegant, and currently a major tourist attraction with prices to match. That said it is still worth a visit. Stand outside under the antique sign on Avenida de Mayo and you are in the heart of Buenos Aires, with the Plaza de Congresso to the West and the Casa Rosada and plaza de Mayo to the East. The Café Tortoni is the one of the cities relics and when you step inside you’ll find that not much has changed from the day it was built.