Delicious food, good wine, and great conversation are universal entities. VIP Tour Group wants to spoil your palate so we’re bringing you the best cuisine of Argentina. Each restaurant is gorgeous, unique, and delightful. From Buenos Aires, to Mendoza, and El Calafate, we’re enlightening your palate, satisfying your senses, and making sure you have an extraordinary culinary experience.
Being the 8th largest country in the world based on land area, Argentina’s wine industry is one of the largest outside of Europe. This massive country includes 4 major geographic regions and is comaparable in size to everything in U.S. east of the mississppi. Argentine cuisine is distinctive in South America because of its strong resemblance to Spanish, Italian, French and other European cuisines while the cuisine of the Argentine Northwest has more elements of Andean cuisine. Argentina is also one of the world's major food producers.
The trip began with a flight to Rio filled with the Brazilian Men’s Swimming Team and the Italian Men’s Beach Volleyball Team (who needed movies with those passengers). After a short flight from Rio to Salvador, my Brazilian excursion began. This was my first trip to Brazil. Salvador as well as a business trip to Rio de Janeiro completed my itinerary. My experience of Salvador was nothing short of amazing with the new friends that I met and the interesting discoveries I made along the way. The cobblestone streets there aren’t laid with precision but instead are mixed like the cultures that have combined to form this historic city. Some areas are jagged, some worn smooth; however, I found that a walk along them was the easiest way to introduce myself to the rhythm of Salvador. Similar to the differences between the reggae samba drumming groups that spontaneously appear on the historic side streets after dark, each path you choose sounds out a unique beat. The maze of streets teases your senses with new treasures in the form of sandstone church facades that consume your eyes with their intricacies, street food that’s smell leads you like cooling pies in windows, and of course, the echoing sounds of the music that draws your entire body to hunt down the magical source. Between the music, historical significance, preserved architecture, religious buildings, and cultural heritage, it isn’t surprising that Salvador is one of the most popular destinations in Brazil.
The overarching joy and liveliness on the streets was delightful. As one observes locals of all ages dancing to the music, your body involuntarily moves separate of thought to the beat of each new sound you encounter. The unique instruments being played were created with a simple love of music. The friendly combination of modernity and tradition was also very obvious. I noticed traditionally dressed women chatting on their cell phones with a coconut in hand, occasionally sipping out of the straw.
Salvador is a dynamic integration of different music, religions, and periods of history. A laid-back culture that’s open to new ideas and new people, it’s the perfect place for tourists to blend in as much as they desire. The spectrum of experiences leaves you lacking any possibility of disappointment. Eager to see and do everything, I decided to be as adventurous and outgoing as possible on my excursion.I found out that Villa Bahia only serves six of Brazil’s best varieties, from five different regions: Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, São Paulo and Paraná.
Next, Conor took me on a tour of the upper section of Salvador; from Villa Bahia hotel we were so close to everything. As we walked side by side through the city streets, he pointed out the historic sights along the way as well as explained the history of this amazing city. I learned that Salvador is a port city divided into the upper section and lower section with the sections being connected by an elevator that has been in operation for over 100 years. The city was an important center of the sugar industry and the slave trade as well as the first colonial capital of Brazil. After Brazil’s independence from Portugal, Salvador was the first capital until Rio de Janeiro took over.
We spent the evening watching the sunset near the elevator overlooking All Saints Bays.It was an incredible introduction to a city I had fallen in love with upon first glance. Still exhausted from my flights, I escaped to my room to relax a bit before dinner. I was staying in the Timor room at Villa Bahia. The 17 rooms in this charming boutique hotel are all named for different ports on the spice route.
I arrived a little early to meet Conor for a couple beers in front of my hotel, so I ended up having a great conversation with two photographers whom I had met earlier on my tour of the city. They joined us for drinks and ended up joining us for dinner, which made the night even more memorable. For dinner, our group headed down the street to Restaurant Uaua. It’s an adorable but simple authentic restaurant with delicious traditional food dishes. On our way we passed an amazing all female drumming group so we stopped to enjoy the rehearsed movements and interesting beat combinations. Not to be outdone, an all male drum group started to perform on the street below the restaurant at the end of our meal so we were able to watch them groove from the restaurant’s balcony.
Conor, still serving as my guide, suggested that we see a free local concert that performs every Tuesday night with vocals, drums, dancing and even a trombone. Thousands of people had already peacefully gathered by the time we arrived just happily enjoying the music and atmosphere. I could have stayed there all night watching the performances; however, my body was yearning for sleep. I headed back to my hotel and fell asleep immediately. After sleeping in my first full day in Brazil, I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast served complimentary from the hotel. Just another of the wonderful service examples at Villa Bahia: they let you decide when you are going to enjoy breakfast in the morning instead of having set breakfast times. Afterwards, I wondered around just a two-block radius of the hotel for hours. There was so much to see and so many people watching opportunities that I found myself unable to decide what to even focus my camera on. I took pictures of everything! A 4GB memory card later, I met my guide for the day, Carlos, at the hotel. He took me to the lighthouse and educated me on the various beach areas that Salvador offers as well as the various forts along the coast of the city. Since this trip wasn’t just a vacation, I spent the rest of the afternoon doing hotel checks for work. I visited Pestana Convento do Carmo, Aram Yami Hotel, and Casa do Amarelindo.
I returned from my hotel checks to Villa Bahia to find my two new friends from the previous evening having drinks outside at my hotel. We had a happy hour caipirinha together with another new friend I had met while having coffee before my half-day tour with Carlos. Starving, and eager to dine at another great restaurant, the four of us decided to take Conor’s suggestion and dine at Boi Preto Grill. We quickly all squeezed into a cab and were on our way. The restaurant was wonderful offering assorted meats served non-stop to your table as long as the card you were given was turned to the green side. We stuffed ourselves thoroughly and then went back to our various hotels to rest.
My second full day in Salvador, I set out, after another wonderful breakfast, to explore the different squares in the city. I wanted to take videos and pictures of everything before having to switch hotels for my last night in town. Before I checked out of Villa Bahia, I was able to meet with Bruno, the director, and tour all the beautiful rooms with the manager, Leo. Each room was so unique and had luxurious features making it a truly special experience to stay in. It made me want to stay at the Villa Bahia for my final evening even more then I already wanted to; however, I needed to investigate a different view of the city.
Conor met me for another coffee at the hotel and then took me out to check on more hotels in town. I toured Casa da Vitoria Pousada, Zank, and the Pestana Bahia Hotel. I checked into the Pestana Bahia Hotel on the coast. Due to the way this hotel is built, all rooms have an ocean view. With 430 comfortable apartments, including 42 Suites and 3 Presidential Suites, the Pestana Bahia Hotel had a much different feel than Villa Bahia. I must admit to preferring the specialized service and cozy environment of a brilliant boutique hotel like Villa Bahia much better although the view from my room was extremely impressive.
That evening the office manager of Tatur Tours, Nelman, picked me up to go check out the Bale Folclorio Show. I must admit to being a little hesitant about going to see this show because I felt I would rather see and hear all of these things live on the street; however, I understood immediately why the theater was full after the first segment of the show.
The vibrant colors and the decadent sounds force you to clap your hands and become involved in the performance. This amazing show put on by a 38-member group of dancers, musicians, and singers is based on “Bahian” folkloric dances of that include slave dances, capoeira (a form of martial arts), samba and many that celebrate Carnival. The movements were exquisite. The culture and musical vibrations moved me.
After the show, I met one of my new friends at Villa Bahia (just two blocks away) to have dinner together at Maria Mata Mouro Restaurante just around the corner. It was a delightful small restaurant with the best caipirinhas that I had in Salvador. They have an intimate open-air back patio perfect for a romantic meal. I had a filet with chocolate sauce and puff banana for desert. Since my flight for Rio de Janeiro was early the next morning, I had to cut my evening short though I didn’t want to.
It was sad leaving Salvador since I adored the city so much; however, with so much more left to see there, I hope to return soon.
Dear Mike & Caroline,
As we browsed websites, books, and magazines looking for honeymoon ideas, we realized we had two options. We could either go somewhere where we felt comfortable navigating the language and culture ourselves or we could entrust our trip to a travel company whose skills would allow us to venture into a culture completely unknown to us. As newlyweds, we liked the idea of the latter since marriage would be a new beginning and what better way to start anew than by traveling someplace new? However, we struggled to find a company that we would trust with such an important vacation. When we first found VIP Brazil online, we were intrigued. You seemed to offer something truly unique to the “honeymoon-planning business”: customized, authentic, cultural immersion. So, we submitted a request for information and were shocked to be personally called by Mike the next day. Between our exceedingly long and detailed email questions and requests and the numerous phone conversations, Mike and Caroline spent hours and hours consulting with us and readjusting our itinerary to accommodate 100% of our requests. We got a phenomenal deal. Their attention to detail was flawless every step of the way, from booking accommodations and activities that fit our taste to involving only the best tour guides and restaurants. Their package was worth more than every penny. We ended up with (seriously, now, we didn’t think it was possible because it sounds so corny, but it was indeed) the perfect honeymoon. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Our honeymoon to Angra, Rio, and Buzios was so much more than we could have ever imagined. We will never forget our first trip as a married couple, our first trip to South America: Honeymoon Brazil!
I did my research and called VIP Tour Group for suggestions since they specialize exclusively on South American travel. I was lucky enough to talk directly to VIP Tour Group President, Mike Eiseman. We discussed my trip for over an hour! He described each country to me then gave me detailed itineraries best suited for that specific time of the year.
Due to the visa requirements in addition to the added expense of traveling to Brazil with the dollar being so weak there right now, we decided to have me travel throughout Argentina with a few days to relax at the beach at the end of my journey in Uruguay.
The very next day I received a storyboard from them of my trip with pictures and descriptions of each destination and hotel. I was needless to say overly impressed and excited! After making a few minor adjustments to the proposed itinerary, I booked my 16-day journey to Argentina and Uruguay.
With my own personalized travel guide in hand in the form of the final itinerary from VIP that included maps, restaurant and sightseeing suggestions, as well as detailed daily descriptions of my entire trip, my journey began in the fabulous city of Buenos Aires.
Bonito is the largest wetland area in the world with the highest concentration of wildlife in the Americas. Known as an ecological paradise, Bonito has an incredible mix of ecosystems (fields, wetlands and forests) and offers some of the most fascinating tours in Brazil.
Are you considering Brazil as your next vacation destination? Embark on a journey through one of the prettiest countries in the world. Enjoy the scenic views, the hospitality, the culture, and the atmosphere. Immerse yourself and indulge. VIP Tour Group offers a 2 night/ 3 day expedition to the reservation of one of the most fascinating Indian Tribes of Brazil. This isn’t your typical vacation. Here you will be embraced and adored by the Xavantes People. A private plane will take you to the reservation and allow you to uniquely experience the remote area.
It’s everything a private island should be! Leave your stress at home and travel to an island off the coast of Paraty for an sensual and satifying getaway. With commanding views of the beach, sea, neighboring islands, and mainland, this private island’s main house is exquisite. The style of the house is modern with lots of light and open spaces. It’s chic interior design and desired location makes it an ideal beach house, with white painted bed and bathrooms, a home cinema and mezzanine. Paraty is less than 15 minutes away by boat and there are a number of deserted beaches, islands and restaurants that can be reached in the same time.