Say Hueque: Say Hueque is a travel agency in Buenos Aires, specializing in travel within Argentina and Chile. Last year they planned a 5-week trip for us. The itinerary included Buenos Aires, Ushuia, El Calafate, Bariloche, Puerto Varas (Chile), Chiloe Island (Chile), Santiago, Valparaiso, Vina del Mar (Chile), Mendoza, Iguazu Falls, and ending at Estancia Candalaria del Monte. This year they planned a 3-week return trip for us. From Buenos Aires, we returned to Bariloche and to Mendoza, then spent a week in the North (Salta, Cafayate, Purmamarca, Jujuy) before returning to Estancia Candaleria del Monte.
Say Hueque is a 5-star travel agency. Yanina Castano was our agent and she did an excellent job. Silvia Monico also did a great job in Yanina's brief absence for her honeymoon. It is our understanding that Marisol followed our itinerary and assured connections throughout the trip were made.
We have sent several couples to Say Hueque and they have all been very satisfied. Say Hueque is professional, competent, flexible, and they pay attention to detail. Except for two minor glitches, neither of which was their fault, everything went like clockwork and as planned. And, even though neither glitch was their fault, they compensated us beyond our satisfaction.
Guides and Drivers: Last year we had great drivers, and except for one location in Chile, we had wonderful guides. The problem in Chile was that our guide at one location spoke absolutely not a word of English so she did not even try to communicate with us. We speak only a little Spanish, but at least we try to communicate and most of the time we are successful.
There are too many guides and drivers to mention, but credit must go to Say Hueque as they are the ones doing the job assignments. I should say that my wife and I like to do "shared driving" which gives us an opportunity to meet other Americans and meet people from other countries. The only time it did not work out well was last year in Ushuaia when our jeep was overcrowded and the seat belts did not work. Otherwise, shared driving really can be fun. That said, this year's experience was private transportation and was very much appreciated. There were four of us traveling together on this itinerary, so having the advantage of one vehicle for us was expedient as well as convenient.
Hotels and Posadas: In two years we have been very happy with all the hotels and posadas Say Hueque has arranged. I must mention that we prefer staying outside the city where it is quiet, rural, beautiful, and a little isolated. Yes, to get to town we sometimes need to get a taxi. The trade-off is worth it to us.
Joan and I have always asked Say Hueque to have breakfast included. It saves time and gets us off to a great start for the day. We do not want lunch or the evening meals included. That gives us an opportunity to find our own restaurants which we enjoy doing. I should say that we NEVER stay at big, expensive 5 star hotels, or eat in big, 5 star hotel restaurants. Say Hueque has accommodated our requests very well. In fact, we enjoy going to restaurants often suggested by our guides. Those would be small, inexpensive, great family places. void of anyone not Argentine.
The following is a recap our itinerary this year.
Buenos Aires: We stayed at the BoBo Hotel. We love this little unique hotel. The rooms are a bit small, but the BoBo is spotlessly clean and in the Palermo Soho District, within walking distance of museums, gardens, shopping, restaurants, and historical sights. Breakfast is served in the hotel's restaurant, and one has many choices with eggs served exactly as you like them. The restaurant is a little spendy for dinner but really is wonderful with EXCELLENT service and nice wine choices. It is also a great place to recover from the long flight from Portland, Oregon, to Buenos Aires before getting out and exploring.
San Carlos de Bariloche: We stayed at the Cacique Inacayal Hotel right at the edge of town and within walking distance of everything there is to see in the city center of Bariloche. Be sure to visit the several brew pubs in Bariloche, Try Manusch for a beer and a wonderful lamb burger prepared exactly the way I wanted it. There is a large variety of beers, as well as many other items on the menu. The French fries are 5 stars.
The hotel offers one of the best sights in Argentina and overlooks the beautiful blue/green lake, Nahuel Huapi. Watch the sun rise from the east to hit the mountains of the west. The rooms are wonderful, neat, large and clean. Each room has a wonderful scenic view. Breakfast is 5 stars, the best we experienced in Argentina. It was totally international and wonderful. Coffee service was excellent. There are many great restaurants within easy walking distance. We highly recommend staying at this hotel.
Mendoza: Posada Verde Oliva, a wonderful accommodation 5 miles outside of Mendoza in Maipu. They have lovely rooms, beautiful grounds to include a vineyard and olive trees, a very nice breakfast with eggs served your way, 5 star service, very friendly employees, and a pool. If you don't mind a taxi ride, this posada is a must- stay in the Mendoza area. You will not be sorry. And if you don't want to go back to town they will provide you with a dinner, as long as you make arrangements in the morning. We visited 8 wineries in 2 days so we wanted to rest in the evening. They prepared a wonderful salad, a meat and cheese plate, and delicious empanadas. Their kitchen refrigerator is on the honor system, beer, soft drinks and about everthing you need. You just log it in a folder. All prices are most reasonable.
Salta: Hotel Antiguo Convento: This hotel in the city was one I wasn't sure we were going to like, but it really grew on us. The rooms were small, old, but very neat and clean. The staff provided 5 star service, especially since we had 2 overnighters. They had to move our luggage to storage and then back to our room again two times--three, if one includes check-in. Breakfast was not my style, but most people loved it. It was the French style with lots of breads and pastries, but little protein. It was located near many restaurants, historical sites, and shopping. Give this hotel a chance. I think you will like it.
Purmamarca: Los Colorados, a very nice accommodation just overlooking Purmamarca. The rooms are huge and in a lovely adobe style. They have kitchens if you like, and have wonderful views of the city. There are patios on the roof top or on the lawns on the ground level. We had experienced a long 10-hour drive on Route 40 to Purmamarca and were very tired, so the host suggested having a local, very good restaurant bring a take-out dinner to our room. She made all the arrangements and we were very thankful; the dinner was excellent.
As for breakfast, it was delivered right to our room. How nice was that?
We would recommend this hotel for a unique experience. It is within walking distance of town, but could be a little tough at night on a rough dirt road. Take a flashlight. Get onto the roof top at sunrise and sunset. It will be two of the most beautiful sights to see in Purmamarca.
By the way, plan on not using your VISA in Purnamarca and many parts of Salta and Jujuy Province. The distances between the major cities are far; villages are remote. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking through valleys and gorges and across deserts to the top of mountains--spectacular.
Cafayate: Cafayate Wine Resort, a very beautiful place looking across the city directly at the distant mountains. The rooms are 5 star, the grounds are beautiful, they have a very nice restaurant, service was excellent, and breakfast was very nice. Dinner was excellent and beautifully presented, but a little pricey. You can walk to town, but it will take about 1/2 hour at a good pace on a gravel road. Most people use taxi service. Many used the pool at this resort. This is a place to relax, drink wine, eat well, and enjoy the scenery. Say Hueque scored another goal with this place.
Buenos Aires Province: Estancia Candalaria del Monte. We saved the best to the last. We wanted to rest before the long long trip back to Portland, Oregon. If you stay no where else in Argentina, you must stay at the Estancia Candelaria del Monte. This is a great ranch about 90 minutes from Buenos Aires, well worth the drive. The staff, food, grounds, services, and accommodations are all 5 stars.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Estancia are all amazing. The young chef will create plates that taste as good as they look. He barbequed two asados while we were there for our three-day experience. He is young and talented. He serves as much fresh local food as possible.
The service people become family in a short period of time. It is as though they can't do enough for you. They are a loving, polite, friendly staff. We had a hard time parting when we had to leave. If there was something we needed from town they drove us without hesitation. When it was time to ride horses they helped everyone get on. If you were thirsty, they would serve water, beer, wine, tea, coffee, or whatever. And when your drink was delivered it came with homemade pies, cakes, cookies, cheese, ham, or whatever the chef was making at the time or had on hand.
We cannot say enough about this accommodation. We are very happy Say Hueque found this place for us. You must stay at Candelaria del Monte.
Contributing Say Hueque local tour companies that deserve stars are as follows:
Bariloche: Kawen Adventure Travel; ask for Federico, Rodrigo, or Karen. Julio also was a knowledgeable and excellent driver.
Mendoza: SAK Wine Travel; ask for Vicente
Salta: Ramal Travel; ask for Martin--he is excellent as a driver/guide
You have our permission to use this evaluation in total, or in part, anyway you choose. Our experience with Say Hueque has been 5 stars. Not only have we used Say Hueque twice in 2 years, but we brought 4 guests with us. We have recommended Say Hueque to many of our friends and acquaintances and at least two persons used Say Hueque for their tour to Argentina.
We would ask Say Hueque to forward this Email to each of the accommodations mentioned above, and to each local tour company mentioned above.