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June 24, 2009

Love Affair with Buenos Aires

Poor Mark Sanford. All the South Carolina governor apparently wanted to do was spend time in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires. But at his 2 p.m. press conference today, Gov. Sanford looked more like the victim of a Borgesian labyrinth than someone who spent seven days in the land of the tango and delicious grass-fed beef.

His demeanor could have had something to do with the press frenzy caused by his failure to notify anyone--his staff, the press, and, apparently, his family--about his disappearing act. Or it could have something to do with admitting to an illicit affair.

Or it could be something to do with what Gov. Sanford told Gina Smith, the reporter for The State who surprised him at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport this morning.  He had just returned from Buenos Aires, he said.  And while the governor wouldn't give any details, he did say that he went driving along the coastline.

Here's what the AP had to say:

Trying to make such a drive could frustrate a weekend visitor to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, the Avenida Costanera is the only coastal road, and it's less than two miles long. Reaching coastal resorts to the south requires a drive of nearly four hours on an inland highway with views of endless cattle ranches. To the north is a river delta of islands reached only by boat.

For those willing to battle Buenos Aires traffic as well as some hours on the road, great coastlines (and beaches) do await.  Reporting in Condé Nast Traveler's April 2009 "The Great South American Beach Finder," Hanya Yanagihara recommended Playa la Vicera, Punta Ninfas, and Punta Tombo several hours south as well as Uruguay's Playa Brava just north of Buenos Aires. (See the map below for more).

We recommend them all . . . just not in winter. 

Still, we commend Gov. Sanford's choice for his disappearing act. Buenos Aires consistently ranks among Condé Nast Traveler readers as being among the world's top cities in the annual Readers' Choice Awards.  

"It's a great city," Sanford told Smith.

We agree. 

Further reading:
* "Buenos Aires in Bloom" (Condé Nast Traveler / February 2007)
* "Can a Vegetarian Survive in Argentina?" (Perrin Post / October 2007)
*  "Wendy's Rolodex of Travel Specialists: Argentina"

MAP: Great Beaches not quite so near to Buenos Aires

View The Great South American Beach Finder in a larger map


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