We really enjoyed our trip!
We did some online searches and saw positive comments about Say Hueque. We talked to Agustin and liked his knowledge, the conversation we had and the sample itinerary he developed. We talked to a couple other agencies but ultimately chose Say Hueque because of the preparation that Agustin did and the fact that the company is so well-established. It felt like he understood the kind of trip, hotels, activities that would be the best fit for us based on the information we gave him.
We stayed at the Park Hyatt in BA (arranged on our own) and it was fantastic, as expected. There was a shop called Perez Sanz in Recoleta that we went crazy for – highly recommend it.
In terms of the hotels your company recommended, our favorite was House of Jasmines in Salta. A close second was Aldebaran in Bariloche. Jasmines was a nicer and better maintained property with better food, but the staff, service and hospitality at Aldebaran exceeded Jasmines in our opinion. Aldebaran could use some attention – common area furniture was worn out and very uncomfortable (which was too bad because the rooms are really nice and inviting) and parts of the property were looking worn. #3 was Lares de Chacras in Mendoza and #4 was the estancia near the airport in BA. But we liked them all for different reasons and none were a disappointment. The estancia was perfect for one night since it very much caters to riders vs. general travelers. We really enjoyed meeting all the guests there, but didn’t use any of the amenities – our second day there was washed out with torrential rain that flooded that whole area. The food was not very good, but the other guests said they take it in stride because the horses, trainers, grooms and facilities are so excellent.
We enjoyed the treks/hikes most of all, especially in Bariloche and Mendoza. The vistas and scenery far exceeded our expectations. Our favorite was one we arranged on our own in Mendoza with a guide named Fernando, though it was a hassle because we needed two days to assemble the cash required to pay him! He’s a one-man operation and doesn’t take credit cards.
Regarding guides, they were all very good. Anna (milonga excursion in BA) really stood out, as did the person who did the bike / winery tours in Chacras de Coria (can’t recall his name) and Santiago in Salta (he was very entertaining). What we liked was how talkative, interesting and informative they all were – and that holds true for the young woman we toured with twice in BA (can’t recall her name), and Gabriela in Bariloche. The drivers who handled the transfers were all prompt and efficient.
We wished we had an extra day in either BA and either Bariloche or Salta, and one day less in Mendoza. We didn’t really enjoy the city of Mendoza itself (although we liked the treks we did, the rafting excursion and the winery tours). We were a little thrown off by all the razor wire and heavy security, though the bodegas behind the walls were all beautiful. We loved the lunch that we had at the third winery.
Also, it would be good for your company to give current travelers more of a head’s up about the cash situation, at least with these current circumstances, which we understand are unusual. We didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get cash, how little was available per ATM, how often we’d need to seek out ATMs and how expensive each transaction would be ($15 when you included the U.S. and Argentina bank fees). We would have come with a lot more cash (both pesos and U.S. dollars) and used the hotel safes if we had known. We were very glad that we took Say Hueque’s advice and didn’t try to rent our own car in Mendoza, Salta or Bariloche. Taxis were very inexpensive and convenient. That said, we wish we had known how long a drive Aldebaran was from the town and how isolated it was. Its location was not at all conducive to going out for a walk or popping into town for dinner.
All in all, we were very pleased with Say Hueque and our eye-opening trip.
Sandy and Dave