Category Archives: Argentina

Client Trip Report: Why Antarctica continues to be the most Awe-Inspiring Destination

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Willamette Intl Travel booked an amazing trip for our long-time clients Doug and Diane. They sailed on an unforgettable voyage to Antarctica last December. So in the interest of sharing it with our readers, we’ve made up a presentation that we think you’ll love—chock-full of firsthand feedback, quotes, tips, and gorgeous photos. We hope you enjoy it!

Take Me on a Virtual Voyage to Antarctica!


Thinking about a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica?

Let us advise you!

We’ve sent dozens of clients to explore the lonely continent. Nothing prepares you for the sheer beauty of its nature. Call us for a consultation now: 503-224-0180 or email

I had no idea that ice, mountains, icebergs, clouds, flat water, sky, and sun could work together to make such beautiful scenes.  I was in awe the whole trip.

–Doug D.

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Travel News: October is National Cruise Month!

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October is the National Cruise Month!

October is National Cruise Month, with loads of opportunities to save on your next cruise. Looking for a last-minute romantic getaway? Want to take the kids on a fun sail-a-way? Cruises are hassle-free, relaxing, diverse way to see many places and do many activities in a short span of time. This month, most major cruise lines are offering major discounts and/or added benefits if booked and deposit paid the month of October. Over 5,000 cruise lines and travel agencies are participating! Our agents at Willamette Intl Travel can answer all your questions and help find a cruise that’s right for you and your loved ones. So what are you waiting for? Give us a call: 503-224-0180 or email

Snapshots from National Cruise Month

  • Professional racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make an appearance on the first official Nascar-themed Cruise, with Norwegian.
  • Disney Cruise Line Taps Broadway Talent for Frozen the Musical.
  • Lip Sync Battle coming to Carnival cruise ships.
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines Turning 50 with Special Anniversary Cruises!
  • PLUS: This new super yacht looks like a UFO on the water

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Latest Reports on Hurricane Matthew from Friday

At 500 am this morning Matthew is about 40 miles east southeast of Cape Canaveral or about 90 miles southeast of Daytona Beach. Maximum sustained winds are 120 mph and the storm is moving north northwest at 13 mph. Minimum central pressure is 938 mb. A turn toward the north is expected tonight or Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will be moving near or over the east coast of the Florida peninsula through tonight, and near or over the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday.Matthew is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to be a category 3 hurricane as it moves near the coast of Florida today. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles.


Tourism in Argentina Expected To Increase Thanks To A New VAT Refund

With a view of boosting tourism in Argentina and revitalizing the local hospitality sector, the government presented the official plan for a VAT refund on accommodation services for tourists coming from overseas. Under the new system, foreigners will pay a lower fee for accommodation services in the country. In other words, through this reform, the cost of renting a hotel room in Argentina will be cheaper for visitors. The refund will be automatic and will be given directly to the card that pays for the services and, according to official information, the measure will cover the entire supply chain of the hospitality sector.

IcelandAir To Offer Nonstop Service To Reykjavik From Tampa

IcelandAir will offer nonstop service to Reykjavik from Tampa International Airport beginning Sept. 7, 2017. Reykjavik is Iceland’s city and capital. The service will be twice a week. This will be the fourth international carrier in its growing lineup of carriers. The IcelandAir announcement comes on the heels of the one-year anniversary of Lufthansa’s nonstop flight to and from Frankfurt at Tampa International Airport, which began last September. IcelandAir offers flights to 39 cities in 16 countries, including 18 destinations in the United States. The new flight to Tampa will be the carrier’s second to Florida. IcelandAir also offers service to Orlando International Airport. IcelandAir is known for its stopover program, which encourages travelers from Europe or North America to “stop over” in Iceland on transatlantic flights for up to seven nights at no additional cost. The carrier’s main hub is at Keflavik International Airport, where it offers connections to dozens of destinations around the world.

LOT To Launch Los Angeles Flights

Polish airline LOT will connect Warsaw with the US West Coast from April, 2017. Although as yet there has been no official announcement, Business Traveller can reveal that Warsaw-based LOT will launch a four times a week non-stop service between Warsaw and Los Angeles on April 4. The flight will be operated by a three-class B787 configured for business, premium economy and economy. LOT would appear to be following in the footsteps of Vienna-based Austrian Airlines who recently announced that it too would launch flights to the US West Coast this coming April. Austrian Airlines will be providing the only non-stop link between Central Europe and Los Angeles while LOT will operate the only non-stop link to the US West Coast)from a city in the former Eastern Europe. Flight time is 12 hours, 20 mins for Warsaw-Los Angeles and 11 hours, 20 mins for Los Angeles-Warsaw.

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KLM Runs Pilot Project With Artificial Intelligence
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is taking the next step in social servicing by testing artificial intelligence (AI) to help answer customer questions. When an agent needs to answer an incoming question, he or she gets a proposed answer through AI, which is trained on more than 60,000 KLM questions and answers. The agent decides whether the proposed answer is the right answer to the question, adjusts it if necessary and sends it across the appropriate social media channel. The system learns based on what the agent does, and becomes smarter in real time. KLM receives around 100,000 mentions per week via social media and this number is still growing. A dedicated team of 235 social media service agents personally engages in 15,000 conversations. The DigitalGenius AI system is integrated directly into KLM’s Customer Relationship Management tool, and provides a layer of deep learning and artificial intelligence to service agents in real time.

Holland America Bans Smoking On All Its Cruise Ship Balconies
Beginning January 2017, Holland America cruise line will ban smoking on all cabin balconies. No smoking of any kind will be permitted on any stateroom verandah. A “smoking of cigarettes, cigars and pipes is already not permitted in any stateroom. The new policy has been announced to better align with guest wishes and health concerns.” Holland America is the last major U.S. cruise line to enact the smoking ban; the most recent line to do so was Norwegian Cruise Line in November 2014. Royal Caribbean announced its smoking ban three years ago, followed by Carnival Cruise Line in July 2014. Holland America’s no-smoking-on-balconies ban will roll out fleetwide over five months on a staggered schedule.

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Argentina Feature: Empanadas

The empanada appears in many shapes and forms all across the globe, and each chef has their own unique recipe. In Chile, they tend to stuff their empanadas with pino, a traditional filling of beef, onions, raisins, black olives, and a hard-boiled egg. Costa Ricans serve dessert empanadas with guava, pineapple, chiverre squash and dulce de leche.

The empanada is one of the national dishes of Argentina, second only perhaps to the famous and succulent beef barbecue. Nowhere else in South America do we see such a variance in these delicious hand pies: beef, corn, béchamel, ham and cheese, onion and cheese. In Buenos Aires alone there are about fifteen flavors! There are also so many regional variants, from the olive empanadas of the Mendoza valley to the seafood-stuffed goodies of the coast.

Empanadas can come in savory or sweet flavors. Baked or fried, they can be served as a snack (2-3 pies) or a larger lunch (4-5). They are said to come from Spain and Portugal, in the Spanish version empanadillas. The world empanada comes from Spanish empanar, “to coat or wrap in bread.” Originally a dish for festivals and celebrations, the empanada is now very common in Argentina restaurants and as a take-away food. While strolling down a street in Buenos Aires, look out for the repulgue, a pressed pattern on the dough that indicates the filling.

Want to delve more into the world of the empanada? Book an empanada cooking class in the bohemian neighborhoods of Buenos Aires or try these recipes at home!


photo by mumumio

You can purchase shells of the empanada in most Latin markets; the two types of shells are estilo criolla or the flakier estilo hojaldre. Or make them yourself at home—it’s not as hard as it sounds! To make 15 medium empanada shells:


3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 oz unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 egg
4-5 tbs water


  1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add the butter, egg and water until a clumpy dough forms.
  3. Form a ball and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate).
  5. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.

After you’ve mastered your shells, it’s time to make the filling! To make about one dozen empanadas, you need:


1 lb ground beef
1 TB butter
2 onions
1 1/2 TB smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
6 green olives, pitted and cut into slices
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into rounds
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper, to taste
12 empanada rounds (tapas)
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
1 glass water, to seal edges


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions with a dash of salt until translucent.
  2. Add the beef, chopping as it cooks with a flat spatula. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until beef has been cooked through, then stir in the paprika, cumin, and crushed red pepper and mix well.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the tapas on a lightly floured work surface. With a spoon, put a little of the meat filling in the center of the dough round. Add a slice of the olive and a piece of the hard-boiled egg.
  4. For sealing, you’ll need your glass of water. Moisten the edge of the top half of the round with a little water on your finger. Fold the bottom half of the dough up until the edges meet and seal with your fingers by pressing down. The empanada should have a half-moon shape.
  5. Use your hands to pack the filling firmly in the center. Next, fold the edge with the Repulgue technique: using your fingertip, fold one corner of the empanada over, and press down firmly down firmly. Go to the edge again and repeat, until you get a spiral pattern. You could also use a fork instead.
  6. Beat an egg in a cup and paint the top of each sealed empanada so that when they bake, they have a shiny, golden shell.
  7. Spread flour lightly over several cookie sheets, and place the finished empanadas on top. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown and sizzling.

Interested in a vacation in Buenos Aires or the rest of Argentina? Chat with our experienced and knowledgeable agents at Willamette International Travel. Call us at 1-800-821-0401 or email

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Filed under Argentina, Features, South America, Travel by Taste


Patagonia—the name sounds mythical, Argentina’s El Dorado or Shambala. South America boasts some of the most dramatic mountain ranges on Earth, and none as impressive as Patagonia. Named for a legendary race of giants, the region has long captivated the hearts and minds of adventurers and travelers.

Willamette International Travel can arrange trips that take you to the center of this gorgeous, natural world. Whether you’re a hardcore adventurer or lover of luxury, we’ll make sure you find your niche. With such a vast expansive of territory and bases to choose from, there’s something for every type of traveler.

Here are just some of sample itineraries available to clients:

Trek the full W Circuit: 12 Days, Santiago to Puerto Natales. Built for physically active travelers (not mountaineers), this trip will take you through the magnificent Torres del Paine. Head out with specially trained leaders and camp out in the wild heart of Argentina. Visit the the French Valley and Grey Glacier around the famed W Circuit.

photo by Phil Whitehouse

Chilean Adventure: 8 Days, Santiago to Buenos Aires. Combine rich wineries of Santiago and the pristine beauty of Patagonia on this amazing tour. Hike through Chile’s Lake District, cleanse your palate at a winery tour, embark on a trek to Osorno Volcano and Petrohue Falls—all against the backdrop of the incredible Patagonia range. This trip balances wilderness and comfort, with full transfers, private van, short flights, and an experienced guide.

photo by pclw

The Best of Patagonia: 11 Days, Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires. Capture the best of Patagonia with this comfortable and exciting tour. See Patagonia at its most wild and untamed, while enjoying the comforts of a planned itinerary, comfortable hotels, and a small group experience. Day hike through Glacier National Park, and view the frozen cascades of Perito Moreno Glacier. Admire the gorgeous views of Laguna de los Tres and Monte Fitz Roy.

photo by Grace Courbis

Puerto Natales in Luxury: 4 Days, Puerto Natales. Want to enjoy the vistas without too much activity? Book a trip to Puerto Natales, gateway to the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park. Just three hours from Puna Arenas, this town has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1978. Stay at a hacienda-inspired countryside hotel and admire the natural beauty of the Balmaceda Glacier, Ultima Esperanza Bay, and the Paine mountain range. Venture out from your lodge and horseback ride through valleys, ride a boat up to the nose of glaicers, or day hike up into the world.

Our agents would love to share their expertise in travel and South America with you. Call us at 800-821-0401 or email for more information.

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Filed under Argentina, Chile, News, South America, Top Experiences In..., Travel by Backpack


Imagine yourself at a table in Mendoza city. Food is terrific and tasty. The dishes in front of your nose are a myriad of delights: regional cheeses; salmon, trout; baked beef served with chimichurri sauce; locro, a dish of maize, beans, and pig’s feet; fried empanadas; tomatican, cherry tomatoes cooked with spring onions and eggs; Figassa butter bread; carne a la olla, meat and white wine stew in an iron pot; and spicy humita en chala sauce.

All of these tasty and hearty dishes are served with the finest wine of the province. Home to two-thirds of Argentina’s entire wine production, Mendoza has steadily been climbing the ranks of the finest wine regions of the world. Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, these vineyards cultivate acres of Criolla Grande, Cereza, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Chardonnay. These vines arrived with the Spaniards and share a common ancestry with the grapes in Chile and Peru.

The city of Mendoza herself has no end to sights and attractions. Explore one of the many parks, Mendoza Museum of Modern Art, the beautiful Plaza Espana. Just 14 km of town is the historic 1890 Casa de Fader, once home to the famous artist Fernando Fader. The heart of Mendoza is easy to navigate; you can walk or take one of the many affordable taxis around town. Stay at a downtown hotel for easy access, near the Plaza Independencia, a fantastic four blocks teeming with hustle and bustle. Wander down the nearby Sarmiento road, plop down at a café, watch the locals meander by while you sip on 6-peso-espresso.

Like all wine regions, the Mendoza province is best sampled in a private car—which gives you the flexibility and freedom to visit winery after winery. Keep in mind to book ahead well in advance, perhaps even with a professional—many wineries prefer if you arrive on a tour. For the best convenience and bang for your buck, you can fly from Buenos Aires and book a guided tour that will show you around. Wineries are still establishing themselves as an industry in Argentina, so your vineyard tours will likely be informal but with plenty of tastings. Many businesses don’t have the infrastructure or roads to handle too many tourists yet, so it’s best to organize a tour beforehand with a travel agent. Just remember: don’t drink and drive!

Want to sample the best of Mendoza’s Malbecs? Speak with our agents at Willamette Intl Travel for more information and suggestions for your Argentine itinerary. Call us at 800-821-0401 or email


My favorite recipe for chimichurri

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

8 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 lemon wedge (juice of)

1 tablespoon diced red onion

1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt



1.       Pulse parsley in processor to chop.
2.      Add remaining ingredients and blend.
3.      Separate sauce into equal parts.
4.      Use half for basting or marinade, and half for table service.

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Filed under Argentina, South America, Travel by Taste

Seven Argentine Museums Not to Miss

photo by Victor Santa Maria

Museo Evita

A museum for one of Argentina’s biggest icons—Eva Peron. It houses extensive collections of her luxurious wardrobe, posters, books, paraphernalia—even fingerprints and a funereal mask of the famous First Lady.

Calle Lafinur 2988, Buenos Aires. Local/Foreigner: US$0.75/1.75. Open 2-7:30pm Tue-Sun.

Museo del Vino

Naturally Mendoza would have a Wine Museum. Situated at the Bodega La Rural, this museum/winery contains more than 4500 artifacts from antique oenophiles and modern winemakers alike. Admission includes a short guided visit around the facilities, a historical overview of Don Felipe Rutini who planted the first vines of La Rural in 1885, and—of course—exquisite wine tasting at the winebar.

La Rural, Montecaseros 2625, Coquimbito, Maipú, Mendoza. Weekdays 9a-5.30p. Sat 10a-4p, Sun 10a-1p.

Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Juan B. Castagnino

This museum is a great resource to learn about art in Argentine and Europe. It stays modern, renovated, and up to date with its intriguing temporary exhibitions. It has 35 rooms of collections, comprising of more than 3000 works. Considered one of the most important art museums in the country.

Avenida Pellegrini 2202 CP 2000, Rosario, Santa Fe.  Weekdays (except Tue) 2p-8p. Weekends 1p-7p. Adults US $1.10.

photo by Liam Quinn

Museo Penitenciario (Prison Museum)

The Prison Museum preserves and promotes the social and cultural heritage of federal prisons in Argentine. Its building was originally used as a house of prostitutes and abandoned women. In 1980 the current museum opened. It contains a lot of intriguing objects of prisons, like clothing, tattoo machines, and playing cards. All of these are housed within themed rooms such as the criminology room, the pharmaceutical room, and women’s prison room.

Humberto Primo 378, San Telmo, Buenos Aires. 2p-6p, with bilingual guided tours at 5pm. Free entrance.

Museo del Títere (Puppet Museum)

The spectacular puppet museum was established in 1983 by Sara Bianchi and Mane Bernardo, in the latter’s old home. Her former house displays puppets from all over the world, and includes a library. Each puppet comes with a story—animals, dolls, heroes, tango singers, marionettes, wizard, skeletons, and dozens more. The in-house theatre even puts on productions every Saturday and Sunday.

Piedras 905, San Telma. Open 10a-12:30p and 3-6p Tue, Wed, Fri.

photo by Nestor Galina

Museo Rocsen

The eclectic museum operated by anthropologist and curator Juan Santiago Bouchon. It contains more than 11,000 pieces including antique motorcycles, mounted butterflies, human skulls, Buddha statues, film projectors, Catholic altars, 19th century instruments of torture, a shrunken head and a 1200 year old Peruvian mummy.

Alto de la Quinta 5887, Nono, Cordoba. $1.75 admission. 9am-sunset.

Museo Nacional del Teatro (National Theatre Museum)

Established in 1936, the theatre museum is located in the Cervantes National Theatre. It contains a collection of photographs, posters, handbills, documents, costumes, and personal belongings of actors, actresses, and authors of the past two centuries. Featured are such theatrical giants such as Lolita Torres, Milagros de la Vega, and Pepino 88. Besides the exhibits, there are many fantastic activities such as readings, book presentations, filmings, workshops, and theatrical productions.

Av. Cordoba 1199, Buenos Aires. Mon-Fri 10a-6p. Guided tours in Spanish on Wed, 2.30p. Free entrance.

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Guide to Argentina: Buenos Aires

The capital of Argentina is composed of a series of central barrios (neighborhoods). From the business district of the Centre to the wild tango clubs of Palermo, Buenos Aires has something for everyone.

Take an Empanada-Making class. Professional, local chefs will teach you all you need to know about the classic Argentine empanada. Afterward, pair the fruits of your labor with succulent Malbec wine, juicy steak, sweet biscuits and mate. Whether you’re an expert hobbyist or a novice, local chefs and guides with delight you with their local knowledge of cuisine and customs.

photo by Jameson Fink

Go on a food-themed walking tour or a pub crawl. Meet the friendly locals in popular, hip neighborhoods of San Telmo, Recoleta or Palermo. Led by an expert guide, you’ll be introduced to the best the culinary world has to offer. For a daring traveler, we recommend black pudding, liver, and sweetbreads.

photo by Pablo Dodda

Sample the drinks. Meet a local sommelier at a wine bar, and learn all there is to know about Argentina’s famous wines from Mendoza. Sample wine that has been carefully paired with tapas—crackers, cold cuts, cheese, and nuts. For a drink, sample the ingenious cocktails and browse through the 3,000 list of Argentinean reds and whites.

photo by Sergio Aguirre

Head to the Temaiken Zoo. Spend a day trip to the zoo just outside Buenos Aires. See animals from all over—sharks, white tigers, hippos, tapirs, alligators, penguins and more. Go on a Tuesday, when tickets are 50% off. Check out the Interpretive Centers, where audiovisual presentations educate the visitor on biology, the ecosystem, and the importance of nurturing the environment.

Lose yourself among the Dead. Take a sobering trip to the labyrinth of tombs and mausoleums of Cementario de la Recoleta. This is a necropolis of the good, bad and beautiful—from presidents, Nobel Prize winners, the granddaughter of Napoleon, and others. Pay homage to Eva Peron’s grave, then head to her collection of costumes, jewelry, and paintings on exhibit at the Museum Evita.

photo by Chimpanz APe

Learn to Tango. You know you want to, and where else but the birthplace of the dance? Spend an evening at a Milongas, or tango club, and admire the masters from afar or join in with the novices. Combine a tango show with delicious cuisine at the beautiful Palazzo Rossini. To see the cream of the crop, try the Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso. To delve more into the history, visit the Museo Casa Carlos Gardel, which celebrates tango’s first superstar.

photo by Gustavo Brazzalle

Sip at a Café. Café in Buenos Aires is nothing like watery American coffee—it’s thick, rich espresso. Nibble on a succulent medialuna (Argentinian croissant) while you dive into the liquidated warmth of freshly roasted beans. Delve into the countless pastries served here, from biscuits, cakes, ice cream, crepes, bonbons, flan—and the king of them all, the dulce de leche.

photo by Phillip Capper

Have a Picnic. Buenos Aires is a city of parks and picnics. Head over to the Reserve Ecological Constanera Sur and chow down on your lunch while enjoying the skittering iguanas, 200 species of birds and that oddest of fauna, the jogger. Moonlight tours can be booked ahead of time.

Marvel at Masters—Old and New. Head over to the art exhibits and galleries of Recoleta and Malba. Take a tour through the Coleccion Constantini, which boasts impressive pieces from Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Tarsila do Amaral. Fashionistas might discover funky boutiques in Palermo Viego. For the antiques collector, your best bet is hunting for relics in the bric-a-bracs of San Telmo and its main street, the Calle Defensa.

Willamette International Travel can arrange some of these experiences beforehand, and connect you with locals who live and breathe the city of Buenos Aires. Ask us about Marisa, our dedicated, personable tour guide whose vast knowledge and love of her city have charmed many of our clients.

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