By Max Hartshorne
South America is becoming one of the most popular destinations for travelers who have already been to Europe and other places and are looking for something more exciting, and different.
Sights and Soul Travels offers a twist–their Argentina tour is for women only! We spoke to some of the women who have gone on Sights and Soul’s trips to this destination to get their thoughts on the journey.
The trip, offered again this year from November 2-8, 2014, begins in Buenos Aires for four nights at a 4-star boutique hotel in the city’s Recoleta neighborhood, in the heart of this thriving metropolis.
There are many interesting day trips during the group’s stay in BA: to the Tigre River Delta, a festival of gauchos in the Pampas, and to Colonia del Sacramento in nearby Uruguay.
Then the women fly north to the spectacular Iguazu Falls, on the border with Brazil and Parguay, for two nights at a five-star tropical resort near the park.
A Good Fit
Lynda Quinn, of Ontario, Canada, is a veteran women-only tour participant. She had been to Costa Rica but never to South America. Several other woman we interviewed from previous trips said that this was also their first time that far south in South America.
Carved mugs for Yerba Mate.
For Lynda, it was a friend’s recommendation that Sights and Soul would be a good fit for her. It seems like most of the women who travel with the company are referred by friends, that says a lot about their level of quality and that they keep their travelers happy.
“Being with women only there are no worries that can come with mixed company,” Lynda said. She added that every time she’s traveled with just women it’s always been great fun and very interesting. The common bond Lynda identified was a love of travel but not a love of traveling alone.
She also liked learning about other women’s lives and forming what sometimes become lifelong friendships. Lynda herself has five traveling friends she met on Sights and Soul trips who she keeps in touch with regularly.
Going Back in Time
Mary Donovan, a retired former federal employee, now lives in Florida and West Virginia, and had been to many countries in South America before her trip with Sights and Soul to Argentina. Her memories of living as a Peace Corps volunteer in South America in her youth made her interested in seeing some of those places again as an adult.
She had a friend who she was still in touch with in BA, thought ‘easing back’ into South America in the company of women travelers would be easier than going alone. Her previous women-only trip to Italy assured her that this trip would be great too. “Very well planned, reasonably priced, very interesting,” is how she described Sights and Soul’s Argentina excursion.
Mary Valentine is retired from a corporate career and lives in Portland Oregon. She wanted to see the world, remembering fun trips biking in Provence or road trips around the US with her late husband.
She lost her husband while she was still rather young, and found she lacked friends who were interested or able to travel as extensively as she wanted to. Three years ago she began traveling with women on Sights and Soul trips. “The experience was beyond what I could have imagined and I was hooked!” she said.
A Manageable Sized Group
“The women I met on the Argentina trip last November were amazingly bright, interesting, involved and full of life. It eliminated any concerns I may have had about traveling this way.
Our group was manageable in size, so we never felt lost in the crowd, had easy access to the tour leaders, and the ability to ask any questions and get them answered.”
Like Lynda, Mary had never set foot further south than Central America and she wanted to. Another benefit of traveling with the many veteran travelers who go with Sights and Soul, she found that their experiences seeing many other parts of the world gave her ideas about how and where she would like to go in the future.
Beautiful Buenos Aires.Iguazu Falls was a big highlight, Mary said. Another was the day excursion across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay. “It’s a complete contrast to Buenos Aires, and we had the great fortune to meet a group of delightful school children who were so very curious about the American women wandering through their town.”
I asked the women we interviewed for this story the same question–what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Argentina and your trip there?
Lynda had a quick answer. “My thoughts go straight to beautiful Iquazu Falls where you can see Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil all in one place! It is so lush with so many colorful butterflies, and birds.
In Buenos Aires I automatically think of the tango dance. So romantic, so sexy. Even though Lynda said she’s not a big steak eater, she came away with “an appreciation of the Argentinian cow, and how much pride goes into preparing the perfect steak.”
For Mary Donovan, it was staying in The Recoleta neighborhood, the wonderful tango dinner show and the riverboat trip to El Tigre in the countryside were her favorites. She also liked that the events planned appeal to women, like shopping excursions and cooking classes. She’s already planning another trip with the company to Greece, and said she’s kept in touch with three of her Argentina travel mates.
Long Air Trip Tips
If you look at a map, you will see how far south Buenos Aires is on the continent. We asked both travelers about the flight, and there were mixed answers. For anyone who has been to Asia, the eleven-hour flight might be not a big deal. One point that Lynda made is that it’s nice flying somewhere and having the time zone be the same. “Movies, reading, eating and sleeping, and before you know it you’re there.”
Mary suggests that if you have miles, look into upgrading into business class, where a lie-flat bed can make the journey easy peasy. Mary Donovan also suggested that you exchange a small amount of money into the local currency before you fly, so you’ll have money for tips, small essentials etc. And don’t expect everyone to speak English–keep an open mind, and see the beauty of a strange different country instead of the shabbiness.”
Find out more about this women-only trip at Sights and Soul Travels in Germantown MD. 866-737-9602. www.sightsandsoul.com
Read more stories about women only trips on GoNOMAD
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