TRANSCRIPT

Trip Coach: April 15, 2008

Michael Luongo, author of "Frommer's Buenos Aires," answered your questions on Buenos Aires.

Michael Luongo: Hi, This is Michael Luongo, author of the Frommer's Buenos Aires guidebook and webmaster of misterbuenosaires.com. I'm really excited to talk with you today about Buenos Aires and answer your questions. So let's get started

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Bountiful, Utah: I have heard that it is better to skip the meal at most Tango shows and just see the show. Can you recommend a good show where you are not required to have a meal?

Michael Luongo: This is a good question, and perfectly in line with a Budget Travel traveler! Really virtually all of the shows have that option. I think some really high quality ones are El Querandi, in the Montserrat area, and I think for glamour and orchestral quality, you want Esquina Carlos Gardel. What these options give you are things like drinks instead of dinner. You may save about 30% of the price of the ticket. There is always heading to some of the milongas, or tango salons that mix shows with the dance time, like Bien Pulenta. It's a cheaper option, the shows mixed in are fantastic and it's really friendly of a place. That said, it is a very late night, say 1 in the morning to begin. Dinner is optional too since it is a restaurant anyway. Really no matter what you do you'll enjoy it.

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Orlando, Fla.: Hi. We will be visiting BA in late May and wondered how to best spend our 4 days there? Is a day trip to Uruguay a good idea, if the weather is good for a boat ride? I really don't care about the bars, but I am looking forward to some inexpensive, yet tasty, beef and wine. I will be staying at the Tryp Hotel, based on reviews I've seen and their prices. Another major worry, what is the best (not too expensive yet not too long) way to get from/to the airport to the area where I'm staying?

Thanks,
Lee

Michael Luongo: Hi Lee in Orlando. I would not worry about weather during the boat ride since it is enclosed. You're better off with Colonia instead of Montevideo since it is much closer and designed for day trips. That said, with 4 days, that is a tight schedule for taking a day trip anyway. Taxis are a bargain for getting to the hotel. For about 15 to 17 dollars, you'll get from the hotel to town, which I think is good and also, it doesn't matter how many people. Yes, cheaper options are things like Manuel Tienda Leon and other options, which break the trip up back to the hotel on busses, but for the difference, you're better off. The airport is roughly 30 minutes to 45 minutes away, depending of course on traffic, etc.

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Chicago, Ill.: What is the hippest, liveliest area to stay in? What hotel would you recommend in that area? —Tem

Michael Luongo: Of course everyone might say hip is what you make of it, but most people would agree the trendiest area is Palermo Viejo, broken into the areas of Palermo Sojo and Palermo Hollywood. These were once broken down industrial areas, but their little houses have been converted into chic boutiques, restaurants and mini hotels. Like all chic areas, it will be the victim of its own success, especially as it gets overdeveloped, but for now it is a fun area where there is always something to do!

Some hotels to recommend are Five Cool Rooms, you can find out more on the web at fivebuenosaires.com.

And there is Home, which is where the Bush twins stayed on their visit to Buenos Aires too. It's got a great bar, large rooms and this backyard area where you can relax, which is of course why they call it Home!

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Richardson, Tex.: How gay-friendly is Buenos Aires?

Michael Luongo: Buenos Aires is a very gay friendly city with a huge amount of gay infrastructure, government support for gay tourism, a few gay hotels, including the new Axel Hotel and many others, like the original gay hotel El Lugar Gay. The Gay pride parade is in November. That said, not all Argentines are comfortable being out, but you'll have tremendous fun as a tourist. There is a concentration of gay activity in San Telmo, in Barrio Norte, and really, throughout the city. It's not an issue, especially in the tourism sector.

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San Diego, Calif.: We (husband, daughter, & myself) are interested in traveling to BA in the last couple of weeks of June. What is the best approach as far as planning this trip? Do you recommend going through a travel agent, or do you think we can plan it on our own and still get a decent deal? Do you think we should try to find a package where we can also see another city/country (Santiago, Montevideo)? Thanks!

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