February Special Issue
THE LAUNCH OF OUR NEW WEBSITE
Our new website which reviews the best hacienda and estancia hotels of South America has launched this week.
Historic Haciendas aims to provide its readers with helpful and informative critiques of South America’s finest hacienda and estancia hotels.
Showcasing the best of this style of accommodation, Historic Haciendas, has done all the hard work and research and features a collection of the best handpicked haciendas and estancias.
Haciendas and estancias (in English also known as farms, estates or plantations) make wonderful places to stay on this enchanting continent. They usually have a rich and interesting history, are set in picturesque surroundings and provide their guests with a wonderful taste of the countryside and all its pursuits. For carnivores dining can be a gastronomic delight but even for non meat eaters the food is always fresh, often organic and definitely delicious. Oenophiles will also have plenty of opportunity to try the local excellent wines.
Historic Haciendas believes it is the first website to present this style of accommodation throughout South America in such a clear, concise, attractive and user-friendly manner.
Each hacienda and estancia has its own page complete with a trustworthy review, broad selection of photographs and also a succinct description of their facilities and amenities. An easy to use booking enquiry link is provided and the detailed reviews ensure you will know what to expect on arrival. Each one of the hotels has been personally visited so all of the descriptions are honest first hand accounts. The standard of accommodation varies from place to place so there is something to suit everyone and all budgets, ranging from the grand and luxurious through to the charmingly rustic.
The destinations include Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Ecuador and Colombia. Over time more haciendas, estancias and countries will be added but the required high standard of accommodation it takes to be part of Historic Haciendas will never be compromised.
Is Argentina a good place for a honeymoon?
Why would you choose Argentina for your honeymoon? Apart from it being one of the most interesting, diverse and welcoming countries on earth of course?
There is so much to see and do there and so many potential experiences that there is definitely something to suit all people, tastes and budgets. It has some of the loveliest hotels which are ideal for the newly wed couple. It is also a great place for honeymooners who want to do more than just lie on a beach. Not too mention a great place for all the foodies and wine lovers.
For most the logical place to start their trip would be the captivating city of Buenos Aires, which some might say is made for romance. Like Paris in some parts (minus the price tag though) it really is a city that enchants its visitors. It has a rich history, a warm climate and European sophistication but all with a Latin American twist. There is so much to see and do here that everyone will be satisfied – culturally and gastronomically. It offers an incredible nightlife that does not get going until the early hours of the morning, here you can dance to dawn in the birthplace of tango. Wide streets lines with cafes and boutique shops, Buenos Aires is one of the best cities to start a married life.
As it is such a large country, in fact the eighth largest in the world, as time may be limited it makes sense to take internal flights. It is also worth taking into account the different climates and what time of year you are going to travel. There are so many things of interest to see that it is obviously very important to prioritise as you will not be able to do and see everything. For most people a honeymoon will start in Buenos Aires and take in Patagonia, Ushuaia, Mendoza, Iguazu and hopefully a trip to the Pampas, where you can stay on some stunning estancias. Everywhere you go there is spectacular scenery to witness.
Mendoza is Argentina’s main wine producing region. It is surrounded by the awe-inspiring Andes Mountains and the city itself is charming and worth a look. Of course there are plenty of wineries to visit and lots of delicious wine to sample as well as great restaurants to dine at. There are possibilities to stay on luxury vineyards where your room will no doubt have incredible views out to the mountains.
Next is Iguazu Falls, located on the tropical borders of Argentina and Brazil. This is the place for the most memorable honeymoon photo opportunities. Here you will be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring falls – every which way you look they will take your breath away.
The outdoors enthusiast will be very content with an Argentinian honeymoon. In the very south is El Calafate and this is where you take trips to see the Perito Moreno and Upsala glacier. It is quite literally the end of the world and is South America’s most southerly point. There are some very romantic lodges to snuggle up in after an active days sightseeing.
The Patagonian Lake District in Argentina is perfect for honeymooners. There are lots of luxury hotels and stunning estancias to spend a few days away from it all, where you can go horse riding, trekking, eating and drinking or enjoying relaxation and spa treatments. The vastness of the landscape is astounding and there are plenty of things to do including visiting pretty chocolate towns such as Bariloche, which feels very Alpine and is situated amongst the lakes. Time permitting there is also the wildlife of Peninsula Valdes, where you can walk amongst the penguins and whale watch. Both areas are great places for the nature lover and also for the adventure sports enthusiast.
You will not be disappointed if you choose Argentina for your honeymoon – it’s a very easy country to fall in love with and a great place to start your married life.
SOUTH AMERICANISMS: How Spanish differs…
There are plenty of English speakers in South America but knowing a little of the language goes a long way and can only enhance the overall experience of your trip. Even if you are travelling with an organised tour just having a few words of Spanish can help enormously. It means that you can communicate with locals and of course everyone always appreciate people making a little effort with their language.
A big difference is that Spaniards pronounce the z and the c before i or e like the "th" in "thin" while many South Americans pronounce it the same as the s.
One good way of describing the differences between the Spanish of Spain and the Spanish of South America is to describe it like the differences between British English and American English.
But how much does the language differ from country to country?
There are plenty of examples of words used in Spain being different to the ones used in South America but which have the same meaning. However the different South American countries also have their own words and slang. It has been estimated that there are up to 8,000 slang words from across the continent.
Although there are hundreds of slang terms in Chile, you only really need to know two basic words - "huevon" and "cagar" - common curse words which everyone uses all the time.
An example of a word meaning one thing in one country and a completely different one in another is "bicho". In Chile and Argentina it means a bug or insect but in Puerto Rico it means something very different, penis!
It’s not just differences in slang but also in everyday words – for example a Chinese restaurant in Chile or Peru is called a chifa, but you won’t really hear that being used in other countries.
Anyone who has spent time in Argentina would have noticed the word che being used frequently. It actually has a few uses - like saying hey or hey you, used as the equivalent of mate, dude or buddy (something to call someone instead of using their name) or just a meaningless interjection.
The Argentinian Rio Platense Spanish that has developed in Buenos Aires is full of unique words and idiosyncrasies. Explaining all of the differences between the Spanish here and other places could take all day, however, it is a more melodic version than that spoken in the mother country and experts say that Argentinian Spanish has the most variations on the South American continent. It also has a noticeable Italian influence - in terms of the sound but also the force with which some words are pronounced. This can be attributed to there being a lot of Italian immigration to the country in the twentieth century.
Vos and tu – in Argentina they always use vos instead of tu for you (informal) and overall are much less formal than other countries. Vos also has a different form of the verb than tu so that means even more vocabulary to learn. However everyone in Argentina will understand you perfectly if you use tu and not vos.
Other influences include
Indigenous languages have left their mark on Latin American Spanish – a fact which is particularly evident in vocabulary to do with flora, fauna and cultural habits.
So as you can see it's amazing how much Spanish differs from country to country!
Feeling confused? Don’t be – before your trip buy a phrase book, have a peruse, learn a few keywords and once there get out and practise! The sense of reward just by having a brief conversation with a local can be immense.