Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A New Shopping Addition To Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires

Distrito Arcos---The Arches District

By Roy Heale
Paraguay Street Entrance to Distrito Arcos

The first day of summer in Buenos Aires heralded the opening of the new Distrito Arcos outdoor shopping district. After just over one year of protracted court proceedings regarding the environmental impact of the new shops and parking the new mall has finally opened.

Lush Tropical Landscaping

Bounded by Juan B Justo, Santa Fe Avenida, Godoy Cruz, and Paraguay streets, it is close to the new Science Center and the Metrobus or Palermo Subway stations. The developers have recovered the old railway viaduct arches of the San Martin train line for boutique shops and created new retail shops and lush green spaces.

Unique Design

The shops open inwards onto roofed spaces and the common areas are almost all outdoors. The building’s main feature is the brick construction of the railway viaduct that defines both the inner walls and the façade. Outside, the focus is placed mainly on the green spaces. The commercial promenade is landscaped with green areas that provide the design’s motif. Street benches and other urban features are strategically placed all along, together with terraces, benches, and also a special area for holding events. The building is ornamented with a series of canopies along the arches that convey a rhythmic perspective to the overall construction design.

Incorporating The Old Arches

Distrito Aros is an urban commercial concept with original and unique features that set it apart from traditional shopping centers. Imbued by the premium outlet spirit, it offers a unique shopping experience in the city, combining the best brands with an outlet concept, an interesting range of products, gastronomic options, and the best prices in a unique environment.

Incorporating New Architecture

There are sixty-five local shops, twenty kiosk market stalls, 450 underground parking spaces, a room for artistic activities, and space for art exhibitions. Green areas were planted with over 200 trees and lush tropical plants. It will function as a clothing outlet with known premium brands, more dining options, a fitness center, and other services. It is estimated that would create about 1,200 full time jobs.

Green Spaces

Familiar names like Starbucks, Adidas, and Levis are present along with local brand name chain stores like Wanama, Rapsodia Vintage, and of course the popular Argentine Freddo ice cream chain. The complex exudes a relaxing, tranquil shopping atmosphere and is sure to prove popular with tourists and locals alike.

Main Entrance: Paraguay 4979

For More Information:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hotel Urbano---Vacation on the River at Carmelo, Uruguay

Hotel Urbano, Carmelo, Uruguay
By Roy Heale

Nestled along the banks of the Arroyo de las Vacas river creek, Carmelo is a small town located in western Uruguay, noted for its wineries, beaches, and laid back lifestyle. The river runs along the east and south part of the city and serves as a port for the town. On its north bank there is the Puerto Carmelo-Tigre, where small catamaran boats carry passengers across the Río de la Plata to Argentina.

Relaxed Lifestyle

A swing bridge, the Puente Giratorio de Carmelo, which opened on May 1st 1912, passes over the river joining the north part of the city with its small southern community. Here another port along the southern banks of the river hosts a marina for private boats plus the CarmeloYacht Club. Along the coast there is the extensive white sandy beach Playa Seré, a large green space park with picnic areas and parillas (BBQs) for public use, a small zoological garden, and a Casino Hotel. It is here where every day the locals enjoy long sessions of drinking mate while sport fishing in order to catch bogas and pejerreyes from some of the breakwaters which go hundreds of meters deep into the waters.

Playa Seré Beach

Another attraction is the mouth of the Las Vacas waterway where numerous sports watercrafts and sailing boats traverse the area to enter Carmelo. The yacht pier and the nautical campsite, where it is possible to camp by the river, are distinctive and popular.

Independence Square

There are two main plazas in the city. One is Plaza Artigas, with a monument to the foundation of the city in 1816, the church Templo Histórico del Carmen plus the city museum and archive. The other, more central, Independence Square---also known as Sculptures Square---is the commercial hub of the city. The main business street is 19 de Avril, which connects at the south end with the bridge to the southern shores.

Puente Giratorio

In this small resort town there are two choices for your accommodations. One is in the resort community by the river beaches and the other is in the heart of the small downtown. The Hotel Urbano is the perfect choice on a quiet side street in the downtown area. It is just a couple of blocks from the Main Plaza Indepencia which is the heart of the city. This modern, bright and clean hotel offers almost twenty spacious rooms in different sizes and sleeping configurations. There are singles, doubles, triples, superiors, and suites to select the ideal size for your own requirements. On the second level there is a large outdoor patio and sun deck to spend those quiet moments. The main floor lobby café/bar offers a complete buffet breakfast with pastries, breads, fruits, juices, coffee, tea, ham, cheeses and more. There is also a relaxing street level outdoor patio for those who like to dine or sit outside. Rooms are reasonably priced and the buffet breakfast is included. This ideal hotel is a great home away from home when visiting the beautiful and historic town of Carmelo.
Hotel Urbano Café

Second Floor Terrace
Spacious Rooms

During the summer months this is a very popular outdoor destination for Argentines and Uruguayans who want to escape the big city heat and bustle to relax in the tranquil country atmosphere. Inexpensive catamaran ferries operate daily by Cacciola from Tigre, Argentina to Carmelo and provide an extremely enjoyable 2.5 hours passage through the Rio de la Plata Delta islands.
Cacciola  Ferry

For More Information:


Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Favorite Place to Dine and Stay in Vaqueros, Salta

Maurias Bistro by Night
By Roy Heale

The small village of Vaqueros is just outside the Salta city limits and offers a wonderful Argentine country experience. The town is full of small stores, parkland, and of course the riverbank outdoor activities. Located in the foothills of the Andes at 4000'above sea level, with a resident population of about 4000 persons, here you will see traditional Argentina Gauchos (cowboys) on horseback making their way around the hamlet. Enjoy the small town atmosphere and great low prices in restaurants or local shops.

Visitors can experience horseback riding on the mountain trails, hiking around the hillsides, or take a guided quadricycle tour. Or you can stroll along the trail of the Artisans, a circuit to appreciate popular local arts and crafts fabricated in wood, leather, clay and wool.
Cozy Interior

The small and cozy Maurias Bistro is a perfect place for dining. The food is home cooked to order with real country kitchen style and flavors. They are open for lunch and dinner offering empanadas, humitas, Spanish style potato tartas, a variety of main courses and traditional postrie deserts. The bife de lomo bordelaise (filet mignon) is a must for beef lovers or the roasted chicken breast Italian for lighter meat. Two people can easily dine here with a hearty meal accompanied by local wine for about US$15 and they have a cozy interior dining room or bright outdoor patio. This is my favorite place when I am at my country home in Vaqueros. This is off the beaten track for tourists but well worth a visit. Easily reached by taxi or city bus be sure to make this side trip if you are visiting the city of Salta.

Local Cuisine

Generous Portions

Gay-friendly accommodations are available located just 100 meters from the river and about the same distance from the village center. Luis Pezzini offers traditional Argentine cottages with all amenities from US$50 per night and they sleep up to four adults. With digital TV, WiFi, heating, and comfortable furnishings these living quarters are perfect for a country get-away and yet remain close to the city of Salta.

There is regular bus service (about every 15 minutes) to the city or a remise ride for about US$5.00 to downtown Salta. Your host is also very knowledgeable on the local area and can help with outdoor activities or tour advice.

For More Information:   http://www.parairnos.com/alquiler/vaqueros/alquiler-temporario-salta-vaqueros-los-sauces-25-5071.html

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fray Bentos Summer Vacations on the Banks of the Rio Uruguay.

Fray Bentos Sunset Over the River Uruguay

By Roy Heale

This small, sleepy town is one of Uruguay's lesser known vacation spots. From green parks, dramatic cliffs along the river, historic architecture to splendid beaches, there exists a wide variety of outdoor activities for summer fun in and around Fray Bentos, Uruguay.

Recognised for "the romance of the sun, the cliffs and the river", the town was conceived as a river port that still preserves its natural features with waters deep enough to allow large ocean going ships. This pleasant Uruguayan city is connected with the resort town of Gualeguaychu in Argentina through the Libertador General San Martín international bridge. Here the climate is temperate and humid, ranging between 17° and 20° C in the summertime and dropping considerably during the winter.

Park Along The Cliffs

The town of Fray Bentos provides "Old World" charm, historic architecture, beautiful parks and plazas. However, it does not offer many dining choices and opening hours vary. Young Theater, Constitución and Artigas Squares, the public amphitheater, and the Solari Museum are other sites of interest open to curious visitors in search of the region's history.

There is a spectacular ten kilometer scenic drive along the riverside cliffs beginning in the center of the town and ending close to the beaches of Las Cañas bathing resort, renowned for its sandy beaches, nautical sports, and fishing. Along this route lies Barrio Anglo, declared a National Historical Monument, where a group of over one hundred houses from the late XIX century with English and German characteristics surround the former Anglo meat slaughter house. This historic community was once the heart of Fray Bentos. Today there is an Industrial Revolution Museum in the old meat processing plant and buildings, a monument, and historic buildings for visitors to enjoy a glimpse of the past. This area is just southwest of the town of Fray Bentos. Its natural harbor gave birth to the town around 1859 on the cliff coast of the River. It was a major port for the region and led to the development of the city. Guided tours are available and adjacent to the museum is a small restaurant offering local fare.

Entrance To Barrio Anglo

Industrial Revolution Museum

Hotel RR is a family run property close to the main highway from the International Bridge between Argentina and Uruguay. It is a motel style complex with fourteen chalets set amongst beautiful trees and floral gardens. There is a small swimming pool for the hot summer days and the main lodge has a very large verandah with seats to enjoy the view. It is set back from the road and is very quiet at night. The rooms are simple, clean, with air conditioning and heating plus satellite TV. It is a five minute drive to the center of Fray Bentos and a car is a must. The prices are economical and include a continental breakfast buffet. It is a great place for a short stay when travelling around by car in this beautiful part of Uruguay.

RR Hotel Driveway

RR Hotel Veranda

RR Hotel Swimming Pool
For those touring this part of the Uruguay countryside Fray Bentos and Las Canas are ideal places offering unique indoor and outdoor activities to unwind during the lazy summer days.

For More Information Visit:


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Local Markets at Ing Maschwitz, Buenos Aires

Mercado Maschwitz

By Roy Heale
The small town of Ing Maschwitz in the province of Buenos Aires was named after Carlos Maschwitz who was born in Buenos Aires on May 7, 1862, son of Mr. Georg Eduard Maschwitz, first manager of the Bank of London.
Zeppelin Restaurant Garden

Today this small historic village is home to the Mercado Mendoza and the Mercado Maschwitz offering a selection of local restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and local handicrafts. Using recycled materials, the unique construction of these markets is slightly reminiscent of La Boca in the city of Buenos Aires but less commercial and more authentic Argentine. There is a new market under construction scheduled to open in December 2014 and using large steel shipping containers for the main building materials.

New Market Under Construction

This is a popular place with local residents for weekend brunches and shopping expeditions. Just a one hour bus ride from the city of Buenos Aires, it is also a well known escape from the city to enjoy the relaxed rural pace of life.

Emilio Mitre Square

In the Emilio Mitre Square, which is also the central park for the townsite, ther is an old London phone booth which has been converted into a unique public library.

This charming village is a relaxing place to spend a day away from the traditional tourist attractions and experience the real rural Argentine customs and lifestyle.

Mercado Maschwitz
Mercado Mendoza

Getting There: Take the Escobar express bus from Plaza Italia in the city and ask the driver to announce Maschwitz. Upon arrival at the town it is a short walk to the village or the markets located on Mendoza Street.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Historic Colegiales Barrio, Buenos Aires

Colegiales Barrio
By Roy Heale

The Colegiales Barrio of Buenos Aires offers a laidback alternative to its noisier neighbors Palermo and Belgrano. Covering just over two square kilometers, it is one of the city's smaller barrios and a largely residential one. Known for its large, open green spaces and treed residential streets, Colegiales is squeezed between Belgrano, Chacarita, and Palermo. Although it is off the tourists' beaten track there are some interesting points of local history to discover.

Street Art

Historically Colegiales was paired with Chacarita---the barrio situated immediately south---and the two were originally known as Chacarita de los Colegiales. In its beginnings this community was made up of small Jesuit-owned estates that were utilized as student retreats. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled and the Spanish took control of the land. After the turn of the century and the commencement of Bernandino Rivadavia’s government in 1826, large numbers of European immigrant workers settled in the area and forced it to be divided into the two separate barrios of Chacarita and Colegiales.

Today, Colegiales maintains a strong residential feel that is characterized by its sleepy cobblestone streets lined with overhanging trees. With its close proximity to Palermo, the neighborhood is experiencing increased numbers of bars and restaurants.

Mercado de Pulgas

One major tourist attraction of Colegiales is the Mercado de Pulgas---Flea Market. Founded in 1988 and situated at the intersection of Avenida Dorrego and Alvarez Thomas, this indoor market presents an eclectic collection of furniture, art work, antiques and other curiosities. If you are planning to stay long term in Buenos Aires you might just find a bargain for your new apartment here.

When in Colegiales you can retrace the footsteps of some of Argentina’s most famous sons. The comic strip Mafalda----written by humorist Quino (Joaquin Salvador Lavado)---was based on the barrio and Plaza Mafalda is dedicated to the creator and his artwork. Other famous names of the barrio include journalist Ulises Petit de Murat and inventor Ladislao Jose Biro. The latter invented the ballpoint pen and Fundacion Biro (Cramer 450) is dedicated to helping and promoting young Argentine inventors.

Pasaje General Paz

On a sunny day, take time to relax in one of the many plazas or take a stroll along Pasaje General Paz, (a narrow pedestrian promenade) which attracts visitors to see its mature trees, bridgepaths, streams and ornate, balconied Andalusian-style patios. Avenida Elcano is a wide leafy boulevard that connects the barrio with Belgrano and Chacarita. Situated on the latter you’ll also find Elcano Grill, a classic neighborhood parrilla, and The Oldest, a pleasant British-styled pub. When venturing deep into the back streets of Colegiales you will be treated to a wonderful mix of classic porteño cafés, closed-door restaurants and live music venues. Mix with a stylish hipster crowd at Pipi Cucu (Ciudad de la Paz 557), a quirky French bistro-restaurant. Mismatched plates, glasses and cutlery add to the aloof charm of the place whilst the bartenders are known for mixing delights such as red fruit martinis.

Pipi Cucu French Restaurant

Recently, upscale lofts were developed in what years ago were the massive Buenos Aires flour mills (known also as Silos Minetti), at 1916 Dorrego Street. Elegant and trendy, they were built into the silos themselves and have become popular with local yuppies.

Silos Minetti

Colegiales also has a rich religious heritage including The Holiest Corpus Christi Monastery (450 Amenábar St.)which has been the centuries-old home to the Order of Barefoot Carmelites.

The Holiest Corpus Christi Monastery

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Grand Country Mansion

San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

By Roy Heale

Victoria Ocampo Mansion
Argentine writer and intellectual Victoria Ocampo, CBE was described by fellow renowned Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges as La Mujer Más Argentina---The quintessential Argentine woman. She was well known as an advocate for others and as publisher of the legendary literary magazine Sur. In her long professional career as a writer and critic in her own right she became one of the most prominent South American women of her time. Her long life---April 7, 1890 to January 27, 1979---was filled with awards and distinctions and she is interred in the well known Recoleta cemetery.

Main Entrance

Although she owned several homes in Buenos Aires, San Isidro, and Mar del Plata, perhaps her favorite was her summer home, a country mansion in San Isidro, which is now just a 15 minute drive or a short train ride from the heart of Buenos Aires.


Originally this was her summer home and today it is a UNESCO museum. The tranquil grounds are beautifully kept and the main floor of the mansion is open to the public where you can enjoy the period décor. There is a small indoor/outdoor restaurant offering interesting menu items at affordable prices. A nominal admission charge of ARS$30 for adults helps with the upkeep. It is a short walk from the Beccar train station or from the San Isidro village center. This is where Victoria Ocampo hosted the likes of author Graham Greene and politicians like Indira Gandhi. The restoration of this historic mansion allows visitors to step back in time and visit the library of her works.

Outdoor Cafe

The splendid gardens were created by Victoria herself. One of the lesser known facets of Victoria Ocampo was her love of plants, gardens and nature. She inherited this passion from her mother and learned the names of plants and gardening tasks at an early age. Victoria also introduced these contemporary style gardens in her Mar del Plata and Palermo Chico homes. She visited the major gardens of the world, wrote several gardening books, some of which can be found in the on-site library.

Living Room

The Villa Ocampo UNESCO project was launched in 2003 in collaboration with the Argentine government, the Municipality of San Isidro, the Association of Friends of Villa Ocampo, plus many donors and sponsors. Under the direction of UNESCO the house, garden, furnishings, art and photography collections plus 11,000 books in the library were restored. The site was opened to visitors and aimed at a diverse audience offering a broad and comprehensive cultural program.

Dining Room


Wednesday to Sunday and holidays from 12:30 PM to 7:00PM

Guided Tours:

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 15:00hs and 16.30hs.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: From 14:00hs, every hour approx.

Splendid Grounds

For More Information Visit: www.villaocampo.org

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Garden of the City---Villa Devoto, Buenos Aires

By Roy Heale

Tree-Lined Streets
A short train ride from the heart of downtown Buenos Aires is the upscale neighbourhood of Villa Devoto which is also known as ‘El Jardin de la Ciudad’----The Garden of the City---due to its tree-lined streets. In fact, Villa Devoto famously boasts more trees than any other barrio of Buenos Aires. It derives its name from Count Antonio Devoto, a member of the Buenos Aires elite society from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Devoto, an Italian immigrant and philanthropist, owned the majority of the land that today makes up the barrio, which he acquired in 1888 when sections of the town of San Martin were incorporated into Buenos Aires Capital Federal.

In 1910, Count Antonio Devoto commissioned the building of Palacio Devoto, one of biggest mansions in Buenos Aires spread over more than 10,000 square meters. An icon of the barrio, the palace was designed by Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo and adorned with Florentine mosaics and gold, silver, and bronze trimmings. Unfortunately, Devoto died in 1916 before Buschiazzo had finished his work and completed the construction.

Today, Villa Devoto is famed for being the home of football icon Diego Maradona’s family members and the childhood neighborhood of tennis star Gabriela Sabatini.

Plaza Arenales

At the heart and center of Villa Devoto is Plaza Arenales, a large public square and park occupying the equivalent of four blocks. Here you will find a vast array of pine, walnut, eucalyptus, and magnolia trees, and history proclaims that at the turn of the 20th century the plaza was a popular meeting place of the Italian mafia. The plaza is named after General Juan Antonio Alvarez de Arenales, to whom a commemorative monument was built in 1958. There is also a statue of Antonio Devoto. Today, the plaza is a favorite evening and weekend hang out spot of Villa Devoto residents. Walking one block north along Nueva York street from Plaza Arenales you will discover the imposing Palacio Devoto.

Many other historic and grand mansions known as palacios can also be found in this barrio as you wander around the tree-lined streets. Of particular historic interest is the ornate, decorative style of Palacio Ceci built cerca 1895 and located on Lincoln between Gualeguaychú and Havana.

Palacio Ceci

Visit the Café de Garcia (Sanabria 3302) which opened in 1900 and is like a journey back in time as little has changed since its early beginnings. With walls adorned with football and tango memorabilia, it is as porteño as a café can get.

Café da la Plaza

The Café da la Plaza (Lincoln and Nueva York) offers a superb bistro-styled menu mixing Argentine, Armenian, and European ingredients. Overlooking the Plaza Arenales, it has become a Devoto institution for coffee, lunch, or dinner since opening in 1988.

A final delight can be found at the Vagon Devoto Bar and Restaurant beside the train station. Enjoy this unique dining experience on board an old historic British 1906 train wagon from the original Kassel Express. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is charming in this antique dining car. Choose from appetizers including bruschettas, pate de maison, or smoked salmon with cream cheese. Then enjoy traditional Argentina parilla cooked meats of beef, pork or lamb. For lighter appetites there is a selection of fresh salads, pastas, or fish dishes. The desert selection is varied and includes a wonderful cheesecake with red berries sauce.

Vagon Devoto Dining Car

Discover the proud inhabitants and a classic Buenos Aires lifestyle in Villa Devoto which is served by both the FC Urquiza and FC San Martin train lines with frequent service to the city center. A few hours spent in the Garden of the City Villa Devoto barrio will make for a unique Argentine experience undiscovered by most tourists but a genuine local education to be enjoyed.