Champagne Travel on a Beer Budget

I get really competitive when it comes to scheduling vacation days trying to  maximize the FUN while visiting every must see in the area.  Needless to say, this requires hours of research and the frequent quizzing of your travel partner with questions like “If you had to choose between climbing a mountain and getting a massage at the hot springs which would you pick?”  and then “The mountain….really?  Maybe you just don’t know enough about the hot springs….”  This is guaranteed to drive your partner crazy but keep your eye on the prize and eventually you will get to the holy grail –  a highly detailed, flawlessly executed 10 hour day in paradise.

When I finally roused myself from the 3 week coma that was our time in Buenos Aires, I realized we had only a few days to plan our sojourn to Mendoza.  Naturally this threw me into a panic only further intensified that I a) hadn’t brought a guidebook and b) Roem was hogging the computer 24/7.  A quick perusal of the community bookshelf in our apartment yielded a sad collection of dog eared travel guides circa 2004.  I commandeered the iPhone and got to work.

Getting to Mendoza from Buenos Aires is fairly straightforward.  You can grab a flight for about $200 one way per person OR you can take a luxury 13 hour bus ride in first class for $90 each.  After reading bus travel stories of complimentary champagne, free flowing wine, and bingo games I was sold.  Travel value is a tricky equation but let’s just say in WPP household we make this decision based on the fact a) we are suckers for any affordable  “luxury”  and b) the bus would save us the cost of a hotel room for one night.  Sold.  First class here we come.

The bus ride definitely lived up to hype and we chugged champagne, watched subtitled movies and almost won that bingo game.  When it came time to turn in for the night we marveled at the chairs quick transformation into a fully flat bed.  All in all a great value.  We were even treated to some 80s music videos with our coffee and laughed uproariously at Michael Bolton’s beach sex cavorting, running horses and inexplicable flames.  Here you go and you’re welcome.  

Bleary from our early morning wake up and subsequent drop off, we stumbled into the first taxi driver to offer his services.  A mere $16 pesos later we were deposited at our hotel and seated at a buffet breakfast.  If you plan on taking a trip down to Mendoza and would like to pay a reasonable fare for your stay, look no further than Bohemia Hotel.  It’s a beautifully appointed boutique hotel with the most welcoming and friendly staff.  Trust me on this one.  I’m not just talking about a friendly wave and “Buenos Noches” on your way out to dinner.  Here is a list of how the staff went above and beyond to make our stay memorable:

  • They smiled and genuinely said “no problema” when I broke a huge jar of dulce de leche at reception on our arrival.
  • Their on call doctor made a house visit at a subsidized rate after I had a nasty fall while they translated and then got my prescription after the pharmacy had already closed.
  • They recommended a great affordable restaurant where we dined on some of the best parrilla of the trip.
  • They contacted a tour vendor to inquire about our missing camera after we left, even offering to send it back to the States with relatives to reduce shipping costs.
  • They let us check out a little late after we woke to raging hangovers induced by a wine tasting adventure that lasted 14 hours the previous day.

The owner, Amir, is one of the most genuine, hospitable and truly wonderful human beings I have come across in the hospitality industry.  And he used to be a drummer is a heavy metal band.  So that’s pretty awesome too.



Filed under Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Travel, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Champagne Travel on a Beer Budget

  1. Courtney

    Hahhahahahah! L. O. V. E. It! I frequently find myself saying, “maybe you just don’t know enough about the hot springs…”

  2. Pingback: How to Make Money While Traveling Abroad | White Picket Passport

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