May 9th, 2017

GDP's Senior Vice President of Operations, Stacy Tischler, Recaps her Exciting Trip to Argentina

I had the opportunity to travel to Argentina for vacation last month (it was on my hit list for a very long time), and now all I want to do is go back to see more of the country!

Meeting planners looking for a unique destination suitable for everything from incentive trips to corporate meetings would do well to consider a trip to Argentina. One of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world, it is also safe, provides great value, has delicious food, is home to the friendliest of people, and has countless options and wow experiences. Your hardest decision will be which cities in the country to include in your program! I worked with Condor Travel to help plan and organize my trip, and through them was able to see many elements both through a planner’s eyes, as well as a vacationer.

I started off the trip in Patagonia, visiting the still advancing glaciers in the Los Glaciares National Park, which make for an awe-inspiring day trip for groups. Strap on your crampons and begin your mini-trekking tour up a massive wall of ice, the Perito Moreno Glacier, while stopping to fill your water bottle with some of the freshest, purest water in the world.  This is one of the only glaciers in the world that you can walk up to! The views from atop the massive, endless floe are stunning.  Make it to the end and you are rewarded with a warming whiskey toast, on the rocks, with fresh glacier ice! The hotel options are very unique and local – there are a lot of smaller boutique hotels but also options for larger groups. Our stay at the charming Los Ponchos Hotel was made even more enjoyable by a staff determined to make sure we enjoyed our visit. Breakfast can be delivered to your room each morning, which is a nice bonus for some very early site seeing!

If you have a very active group, you can also add El Chalten to the mix, which is about a three hour drive from El Calafate.  A small hiking town tucked behind the highest peak in Argentina- Monte Fitz Roy, El Chalten is replete with cozy brew pubs, home style restaurants, and hiking supply stores – but the highlight is the amazing hikes Argentina has to offer from there.  Fitz Roy looms large in the distance as you tackle moderate to challenging hikes that lead to some of the most picturesque vistas in all of South America. It’s easy enough to do in a day trip (that’s what I did), and it was well worth it! We rented a car through Hertz, which was a convenient option if your group has some days on their own.

When the natural beauty of Patagonia becomes just too much to handle (wink, wink!), hop on a plane, fly 3 hours to the north, and touchdown into one of the most interesting, cosmopolitan, and cultured cities on the map- Buenos Aires.  Aptly named the “Paris of the South”, Buenos Aires can seem like a mix of Latin, Italian, and French cultures- which is one of the many reasons this city is so unique. 

It offers something for everyone, including world class dining, thrilling nightlife, and glamorous shopping.  The people are friendly and helpful to tourists, and want you to enjoy your stay there just as much as you do.  I had the chance to stay in two great hotels - The Alvear Art Hotel in the Retiro neighborhood and the Hotel Brick in the Recoleta neighborhood. Both in great locations with the friendliest staff, and central to both the north and south of Buenos Aires.

Go out (late) with an appetite and be ready to have some of the best meat you have ever tasted.  Vegetarian options are always available, and Buenos Aires has some delicious Italian options as well. I also had the chance to experience a thrilling Rojo Tango show at the exclusive Faena Hotel. Not only was the food delicious, but the show was phenomenal- a definite must do for an incentive group as it really showcases the destination in a unique and classic way. During the day, tour some of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods, like the colorful La Boca, the upscale Palermo district, the lavish area of Recoleta or many of the colorful greenery sites such as their Rose Garden or ecological reserve.

From a vast and stunning ecological region in the south, to the lake district and wine country, and up to the refined and unique sprawl of Buenos Aires, Argentina offers one of the most uncommon and rewarding destinations for the meeting planner looking to offer something both sophisticated, beautiful, and adventurous to large and small groups alike. If you haven’t considered Buenos Aires, or South America before, Argentina is a destination I’d highly suggest adding to your list, and Condor Travel Argentina would be delighted to help show you what their country can offer your groups!

-Author: Stacy Tischler, Senior Vice President of Operations, Global DMC Partners