I'm going to be spending 15 days in Argentina in October and am thinking of the following itinerary:
Buenos Aires - Mendoza - Cordoba - Iguacu Falls - Buenos Aires. Does this seem about the right amount of places to visit in the time frame I have? I'm assuming I'm going to have to get at least one overnight bus and one internal flight during the trip; are there any parts of the above route where I should get a day bus because the scenery is particularly worth seeing?
For internal Aerolineas Argentinas flights is it best to book online before I get there or should I book through a local agent once I arrive?
The scenery that you can afford to miss imo is that between Cordoba and Posadas (on two-thirds of your trip to Iguazù); it makes sense to take a night bus there. The provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Rios are not particularly interesting, at least not the part where the road is.
For 15 days, this sounds about right in terms of distance covered. I wouldn't bother with internal flights; they're expensive, unreliable (especially AA), polluting, you miss a lot of scenery, and taking a bus is just as comfortable.
Thanks Niels. I've heard the buses are pretty good over there - are there any particular companies you'd recommend, or avoid?
Most companies are good. Almost all large companies operate on the 'main routes' (Cordoba - Posadas being one of them): Crucero del Norte, Expreso Singer, Plus/Mercobus... their level of service is roughly the same, as are their prices: syndication still rules in the SA transport sector. Sometimes, smaller companies offer more comfort, but it's a good idea to check out one of their busses in advance if you have a chance.
Tip: check Plataforma 10. They give an overview of companies and a possibility to buy tickets for many routes. Their offer is not complete, but it gives you a fair idea of prices, number of services, travel times, etc.
I'd say that you might be trying to cram a lot into a small amount of time. Maybe cut out a destination? Cordoba is excellent for nature and outdoor activities (the province, rather than the city), Mendoza is mostly famous for the wine. Iguazu is obvious!! What are you looking to do? Cities only? Culture? Outdoors?
I'd agree that the first half of the Cordoba - Iguazu trip is pretty dull. The busride between Cordoba and BA isn't particularly interesting, either.
There are lots of bus companies, and in general most are good. One of the best is probably Via Bariloche.
I'd agree that flights aren't necessarily any better than buses. Yes, they are faster, but once you include the wasted time checking in a couple of hours early, check-in, luggage etc, I think there isn't that much difference. The buses will definitely be more comfortable, and you don't waste any time as your travel time is overnight (except for the long Cordoba - Iguazu trip).
Any more questions - PM or ask here.
Thanks very much everyone.
Tristan - I suppose we want a bit of everything on the trip, and I'm probably more into outdoors stuff than wine, even though Mendoza sounds great. I'll have a read about the outdoor activities available in Cordoba province and possibly consider missing Mendoza out.
Yep, have a look round and you should get a good idea of the area. It's excellent for hiking, horse riding, paragliding, etc. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. In the interests of being open/honest, I should mention that I work in outdoor tourism - having said that, I'd be more than happy to help you out whether or not you're interested in what I do.