Travel to Argentina

Argentina is a vast and elongated country occupying the southern part of South America. Neighboring countries include Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile. The east of the country enjoys uninterrupted South Atlantic coastline. The name Argentina derives from the Latin ‘argentum’, meaning silver. Spanish explorers sought to find silver, when they explored Argentina in the sixteenth century. The official language of Argentina is Spanish, spoken with a local dialect that is distinct from the language spoken in Spain and other parts of Central America. Argentines will talk to one another in Spanish using a street dialect called ‘lunfardo’. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic. By 1914, 6 million people settled in the country- most of them European immigrants. The large country, the eighth largest in the world covers a wide variety of geographical terrains including vast plains, mountains, deserts and mile upon mile of uninterrupted coastline. The southern reaches of the country extend to parts of Antarctica. The country’s economy is driven partly by agriculture – cereals and livestock that abound in the rich grasslands or the ‘Pampas’. Apart from the romantic beauty of the Pampas and the bleak beauty of Patagonia, the urban landscape of Buenos Aires beckons. A city with architectural marvels and vibrant nightlife, a trip to Argentina should reserve a few days to enjoy this city. We hope that this carefully prepared travel guide will ease your travel planning for your Argentinian holidays and encourage you to plan a future trip to Argentina. If you’re looking for a tour to Argentina, we recommend looking at the tours hosted with Contiki, G Adventures and Intrepid Travel. [/vc_column_text]

Travel tips for Argentina

Bike Buenos Aires - Best Bicycle Shops

Bike Buenos Aires: Best Bicycle Shops

Going to Argentina? Get yourself a bicycle and bike Buenos Aires! Find anything from Dutch-style bicycles to hipster fixies with this guide.

Visa Requirements for Argentina

When the purpose of visiting Argentina is tourism, the citizens of several listed countries do not require a visa to enter the country.

Argentina has started to apply reciprocity fees to the citizens of Australia, which amount to the same as the fees paid by an Argentinian tourist to enter Australia.

Citizens of India and Morocco need to apply for a visa for Argentina in their country of residence, prior to travel but the visa is free.

Please check the current guidelines, of the visa requirements for your country and ways to get an Argentinian visa before you travel to Argentina.

Important Cultural Information

Cheek kissing is a common mode of greeting among and between men and women. Lips do not touch the cheek but a kissing sound is made when cheeks touch. Read more about how to greet people in South American culture.

Argentinians have a very relaxed attitude when it comes to maintaining time and being punctual for appointments. If you are invited to someone’s house for a party at 9pm, it is usual to arrive an hour after that appointed time.

Similarly, short-distance public transportation will not run on time, so do factor in these delays when making travel plans.

Avoid bringing up sensitive topics with the Argentinian people. These include discussions about the Falkland War, the Peron years, politics, comparisons with neighboring countries etc.

Avoid wearing rival football jerseys as football is an extremely personal subject in Argentina.

Banking & Money in Argentina

The currency of Argentina is the peso (ARS), which is divided into 100 centavos. Denominations of coins are 5,10, 25, 50 centavo and 1 and 2 pesos. Banknotes are available in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 peso denominations. ARS500, ARS200, ARS100 and ARS50 banknotes have a distinguishing metallic thread through them and can help protect against counterfeit notes in circulation.

The USD is the reference currency in Argentina and is the most readily exchangeable currency and the one that has the best exchange rates.

It is advisable not to use credit cards for cash withdrawals or purchases in Argentina as the exchange rates are very bad.

Major banks in Argentina include Central Bank of Argentina, Citibank Argentina, HSBC Bank Argentina, Bank of the City of Buenos Aires, Banco Credicoop, Banco de la Nacion Argentina, Banco Patagonia and others.

Medical Emergency Information

Some Emergency numbers to keep at hand when visiting Argentina include the following:

  • 107 for Immediate Medical Help
  • 100 for Immediate Fire related Help
  • (011) 4346-5748/ 0800-999-5000 for Tourist Police
  • 101 Argentine Police Department
  • 911 for Police (Fire and Medical Emergency) Buenos Aires

Major hospitals in Buenos Aires include:

  • British Hospital
  • Italian Hospital
  • Sanatorio Otamendi
  • Sociedad Espanola de Beneficencia Hospital Espanol
  • Hospital Naval
  • Hospital de Ninos

Make sure to get good travel insurance for Argentina beforehand. Compare options with both WorldNomads and SafetyWing.

Wi-Fi and Internet in Argentina

Cyber cafes are common in Argentina and it is relatively easy to use a computer, where you pay for usage by the hour.

Alternatively several cafes and restaurants advertise the availability of Wi-Fi. Upon purchase of a coffee or something to eat you will be provided with the Internet usage password. Make sure to set-up a VPN (like ExpressVPN) before using public Wi-Fi spots. Read more about why you should use a VPN when traveling.

If you possess an unlocked smartphone, it is possible to purchase a SIM card with internet coverage. Such phones can then be used as WI-Fi hotspots to tether computers and other devices.

Major mobile phone providers include Movistar, Claro and Personal. Customer service branches are present in all major cities. Take your unlocked mobile phone there and buy a SIM card. The customer representative will sell the card, insert it into the phone and register it under your name with passport number and provide you with an Argentinian phone number.

The phone must then be loaded with credits, which are purchased at a ‘Locuritorio’ or a storefront business. The prepaid SIM cards work for both voice and texting. For a data SIM card a contract must be signed.

Arrival in Argentina

Ministry Pistarini International Airport or Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) is the main point of entry into Argentina by air. The airport is 22 km southwest of the city of Buenos Aires. The Argentina airport manages 85% of the country’s international air traffic. Major airlines servicing this airport include Aerolineas Argentinas and LATAM Argentina. Ezeiza has connections with cities in South America, North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Other airports in Argentina acting as hubs for international flights include Mendoza, Rosario and Córdoba with airlines such as LATAM, Gol, Azul Brazilian Airlines and Copa Airlines flying in from various South American destinations.

Search for flights to Argentina on Expedia.

Long distance buses run into Argentina from most neighbouring countries including Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia. Retiro Bus Station in Buenos Aires is the main bus hub.

Ferry services run between Uruguay (Carmelo and Nueva Palmira) and Argentina (Tigre).

Areas of Argentina

These are the main regions of Argentina, Argentina attractions and some of the main cities, including Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Rosario and Córdoba. There are many places to visit in Argentina.

Andean Northwest

Key Places: Catamarca, La Rioja, Jujuy, Tucuman

Chaco

Key Places: Chaco, Formosa, Santiago del Estero

Cuyo

Key Places: Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis

Mesopotamia

Key Places: Corrientes, Entre Rios, Misiones

Pampas

Key Places: Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Santa Fe, La Pampa

Patagonia

Key Places: Chubut, Rio Negro, Santa Cruz, Neuquen

Tierra del Fuego

Key Places: Martial Mountains, Cerro Caster, Escondido Lake, Laguna Esmeralda

Transportation in Argentina

The most common modes of transportation around Argentina include air travel and bus travel. Even though bus travel takes a long time, bus travel is extremely comfortable, often with provisions for sleeping. However, bus fares are extremely expensive. Argentina boasts of both long distance and short distance bus networks. Intercity bus travel is common.

In Buenos Aires city buses are called colectivos. The main bus terminal in Buenos Aires is Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro.

Lack of serious completion means that air travel is expensive too. A Buenos Aires to Patagonia bus ticket can cost USD 300. Aerolineas, Argentinas and LATAM are the main domestic carriers. Prices of flights for non-Argentinians is highly inflated. Andes and Avianca Argentina are two other carriers.

LADE (Lineas Aereas del Estado) is a comparatively low budget airlines but flies mostly to smaller cities and the south of Buenos Aires.

Train travel also costs less money but the routes are selective. Both the trains and LADE are Government subsidized. Buenos Aires plies trains to Tucuman, Córdoba, Rosario, Bahia Blanca and Mar de Plata. Limited services are available to Viedma and Bariloche.

Car rental is available throughout Argentina but expensive. Nevertheless, driving enables you to reach off-the-beaten track locations.

Accommodations in Argentina

A wide range of accommodation options are available in Argentina including five star hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels to regional farms (estancias). For short term rental purposes, cabins or weekend lodges are also available.

The regions receiving a large influx of visitors include Buenos Aires and Patagonia. There is a greater choice of accommodation options here.

If you are looking for where to stay in Buenos Aires, there are a number of high end options. Five star hotels in the country include Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Arakur Ushuaia Resort and Spa, Gran Melia Iguazu and Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires.

Most towns will offer a hotel accommodation of some sort. If you are on a budget, it is better to opt for a hostel, where dormitories and private rooms will be available. HostelWorld have a number of independent hostels that are highly concentrated in Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Salta.

Other budget accommodations include basic hospedajes and residenciales. Furnishings are simple but can be quite comfortable and clean. Hospedajes tend to be part of a family house.

In the mid-range come the posadas and bed and breakfasts. The term posada loosely refers to places with a rustic appeal that are comfortable. Hosterias refer to hotels that are more high-end, tailored for business-class professionals.

Estancias offer a completely alternative way of sleeping to traditional hotels. Guests usually stay in the farmhouse part of the ranch that is usually family run. Accommodations are quite luxurious with plentiful meals with an asado generally included. Often a stay can include sampling the regional experiences, like wine tasting in Mendoza.

Staying in a cabin or camping are more rustic ways of enjoying the country.

We recommend booking your accommodation in Argentina before you arrive, look through the options available on Booking, Agoda, or HostelWorld.

What to Eat and Drink in Argentina

Argentina is known for its famous steak and ‘asado’ or barbecue is the national dish. However, apart from Argentine barbecue there are a whole lot of other foods to try. The food is inspired by European, Spanish, Italian and French influences and particularly heavy on the meat. The street food scene is particularly vibrant.

Some unique Argentine food, drink and snack items to sample include:

  • Empanadas (meat, cheese turnovers)
  • Alfajor (two cookies with a dulce du leche filling)
  • Choripan (chorizo with bread)
  • Morcilla (meat or blood sausage)
  • Bife de chorizo (sirloin)
  • Asado or parrillada (Argentine barbecue)
  • Chimichurri (green salsa made with parsley, oregano, garlic, onion, chilli flakes, olive oil and lemon)
  • Provoleta (grilled provolone served with olive oil or chimichurri)
  • Dulce de leche
  • Yerba mate (Herbal, caffeine infused drink)
  • Carbonada (Savoury stew with meat, potatoes, corn, carrots, peppers, bacon with fruit toppings)

Things to Do and See in Argentina

Here’s a list of key Argentina tourist attractions to make your Argentine tours easier.

There’s a lot to see in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. The city has great art, vibrant neighborhoods and good food – so what to do in Buenos Aires is never a big problem. You will be absorbed whatever you do in the country’s capital, whether it be a tango show in San Telmo, a city tour of Buenos Aires, laying on a Buenos Aires beach, hopping on a bike or Argentine barbecue.

The Iguazu Falls are a spectacular natural wonder that are split between Brazil and Argentina. They make up the largest waterfall system in the world. Though the Iguazu River flows mostly through Brazil, the falls are mostly on the Argentinian side.

The Perito Moreno Glacier measures 30km long, 5km wide and 60m high and is as vast as a gigantic field. The wall of ice is constantly advancing causing huge masses of ice to cave in from its face. The glacier is located in Los Glaciares National Park. You can trek to the glacier with this group.

Wine Country in Mendoza is famous for its malbecs and cabernets. Maipu near Mendoza has everything from wineries to olive oil farms. Most of them offer tours with provisions for tasting, or you can join a wine tasting tour in the region.

Tierra del Fuego is a set of islands with a magical, mystical, end-of-the-world kind of surreal atmosphere. People travel here to witness the barren landscapes, snowy mountains and mossy lenga forests. It is also here that you can hop onto the End of the World Train.

Peninsula Valdes is a popular wildlife reserve and a great spot to observe wildlife like sea lions, elephant seals, penguins, rheas and much more.

Shopping in Argentina

Some traditional items to buy in Argentina are:

  • Leather jackets, shoes and purses
  • Alpaca rugs and blankets
  • Siku flute
  • A football jersey with Argentine colors
  • Yerba Mate
  • Wine particularly Malbec wine
  • Alfajores
  • Silver

There are many great places to shop in Argentina. Calle Florida is Buenos Aires’ pedestrianized shopping street. Galerias Pacifico is a wonderful turn of the century, frescoed building with brand name shops. Some local brand names include Vitamina, Uma and Paula Cahen D’Anvers.

If you love books then don’t miss a trip to South America’s largest bookstore – Ateneo Grand Splendid. Originally a lush theatre, it has been restored to house books – most in the Spanish language, although there is an English-language book selection too.

Head to Lo de Joaquin Alberti for a choice bottle of wine. Aside from a fantastic selection of Malbecs, wineries like Del Fin del Mundo, El Esteco and Kaiken are well represented.

Calzados Correa is the place to pick up a pair of custom-made leather shoes. The leather is high quality and the family owned business has been running since 1955.

Féria de San Telmo has one of the best antique markets where you can pick up everything from a first edition book or a vintage Louis Vuitton bag.

Argentina’s Nightlife

The city to head to for the nightlife in Argentina is Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is an incredibly fun-filled city and a city where the nightlife starts very late and peaks into the early hours of the morning.

Argentinians have quite late dinners and the nightclubs open even later at around midnight or later.

Milongas are tango dance clubs and are a wonderful way to imbibe the local culture and to have a good time too at night.

If dancing is not to your taste then you can sip on a cocktail at one of the city’s many bars. Choose from cocktail lounges, sports bars, the ubiquitous Irish Pub or even the suave microbrewery. Drinks that are typically enjoyed include wine, beer and cocktails.

If you are enthusiastic, then a Buenos Aires pub crawl might be a good way to take in the nighttime scene in the city.

Nightclubs or boliches come alive on the weekends. Palermo and Costanera Norte are inundated with them.

Safety Tips for Argentina

Is Argentina safe? That’s a frequently asked question. Public security is safeguarded by police authorities in large cities like Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario and the Federal Police and the National Gendarmerie.

Certain areas of Buenos Aires are considered dangerous. Be aware of your whereabouts and if a particular area seems unfriendly, then leave. Areas to be wary of include the slum area near Retiro bus station and Constitucion to name a few.

Most incidents of crime are petty and include pickpocketing, phone or wallet thefts and mugging. Most crime is not violent.

Carry ID with you but preferably keep your passport secure at the hotel. A copy of the passport should suffice.

Yellow Fever vaccinations are required for those visiting Northern forests. Tap water is safe to drink in Argentina but it may be highly chlorinated. Be sure to apply mosquito repellant in parks and green spaces, as measures against dengue fever should be taken.

Conclusion

Argentina is a vast country of varying landscapes and beautiful things to see and do. The picturesque Andes, bleak but beautiful Patagonian lakes, the rich plains of the Pampas, the deserts of Cuyo, the awesome Iguazu Falls and Ushuaia – the southernmost city in the world and the last frontier before Antarctica, will inspire any traveler to visit Argentina.

The Iguazu Falls is situated in the north-east of the country, near a border shared with Brazil and Paraguay. The area is UNESCO World Heritage site listed. Without doubt, these falls are one of the great natural wonders of the world.

Another area of great interest is the Perito Moreno Glacier about 80 km away from El Calafate. The vision of this immense glacier, seen from just metres away and the continual cracking sound of ice as it falls from the glacier face is a sight to behold. Viewing platforms and trails make this natural wonder easily accessible.

A visit to a ranch to observe the peace and beauty of the Pampas will help you to relax in the lap of nature.

Patagonian wildlife is unique and quite diverse. The pollution free atmosphere will help you to view a sky full of stars – like you have never seen before.

A trip to Argentina will be the trip of a lifetime, with so many unique travel experiences that you will only be able to acquire in the country.

Travel tips for Argentina

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