Argentina Travel Guide and Tips
Planning a trip to Argentina? Discover below some useful articles to help you plan your trip, figure out where to go and what to do, and have an epic trip!
Find out all you need to know before visiting Argentina. From insider insights on safety and transportation to cultural etiquette and must-try foods, this resource page is your go-to reference for all things Argentina.
Whether you’re seeking advice on how to plan your itinerary, the best time to visit, or the must-visit destinations, we’ve got you covered.
Interesting Facts about Argentina
- Second Largest Country in South America: Argentina is the second-largest country in South America, after Brazil, and the eighth-largest country in the world. It covers a vast area of diverse landscapes, including mountains, deserts, and plains.
- Official Language: The official language of Argentina is Spanish. However, due to the country’s immigrant history, you can find communities of speakers of other languages as well.
- Tango Origin: Tango, one of the most famous dance forms in the world, originated in the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. Argentina is often associated with tango music and dance.
- Mate Culture: Mate (pronounced “mah-teh”) is a traditional South American drink made from the leaves of the yerba mate plant. In Argentina, sharing mate is a social custom and an integral part of the culture.
- Andes Mountains: The Andes mountain range runs along Argentina’s western border. It includes some of the highest peaks in the Americas, such as Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of Asia.
- Iguazu Falls: Located on the border with Brazil, Iguazu Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfall systems in the world. It consists of hundreds of individual waterfalls and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Beef Capital: Argentina is known for its high-quality beef and is a major exporter of beef products. Asado, a traditional barbecue method, is a popular way to prepare and enjoy beef in Argentina.
- Eva Perón (Evita): Eva Perón, commonly known as Evita, was the wife of President Juan Domingo Perón and a prominent political figure in Argentine history. She remains a symbol of social justice and is remembered for her advocacy for the working class.
- Wine Country: Argentina is one of the world’s largest wine producers, with the Mendoza region being the heart of the country’s wine industry. Malbec is a popular grape variety associated with Argentine wine.
- Gaucho Culture: The gaucho, similar to a cowboy in the United States, is a central figure in Argentine culture. Gauchos are known for their horsemanship, cattle ranching, and distinctive clothing.
Is it safe to travel to Argentina?
Argentina is generally considered safe for travelers. However, like any other country, it’s essential to be aware of the local safety conditions and take precautions. Here are some safety tips for traveling to Argentina:
- Research Before You Go: Stay updated on the current safety situation in the regions you plan to visit. Argentina is a large country with varying safety conditions in different areas.
- Crime Awareness: Petty theft and pickpocketing can occur in crowded tourist areas, so be vigilant with your belongings. Use anti-theft bags or pouches to keep your valuables secure.
- Avoid Risky Areas: Some neighborhoods in major cities like Buenos Aires can be less safe, especially at night. Research which areas to avoid and take taxis or rideshares when needed.
- Currency Exchange: Use reputable currency exchange services or ATMs inside banks to avoid counterfeit money.
- Health Precautions: Argentina is generally safe health-wise, but it’s a good idea to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. Also, drink bottled water to avoid stomach issues.
- Political Protests: Argentina has a history of political demonstrations and strikes. Stay informed about any protests that might affect your travel plans and avoid getting involved.
- Language Barrier: It’s helpful to learn some basic Spanish phrases as English isn’t widely spoken in many parts of the country. This can help in emergencies and everyday interactions.
- Local Customs: Respect local customs and etiquette, which can vary from region to region.
- Emergency Numbers: Know the local emergency numbers for police, medical assistance, and fire services.
- Travel Documents: Keep copies of your passport, visa, and other important documents in a separate place from the originals.
How expensive is Argentina to travel?
The cost of traveling in Argentina can vary widely depending on your travel style, preferences, and the regions you visit.
Argentina is a relatively affordable destination for travelers, especially when compared to many Western European or North American countries. Here’s a breakdown of common expenses:
- Accommodation: Accommodation costs vary significantly depending on the city and the type of lodging. In larger cities like Buenos Aires, you can find a range of options from budget hostels to upscale hotels. In more rural or less touristy areas, accommodations may be cheaper.
- Food: Dining in Argentina can be very affordable, especially if you eat at local restaurants and street food stalls. Argentina is known for its excellent beef, and you can enjoy delicious steaks at reasonable prices. Dining in upscale restaurants can be more expensive but is still often more affordable than in many other countries.
- Transportation: Domestic flights, long-distance buses, and local transportation options like subways and buses are generally affordable. Consider booking domestic flights and long-distance buses in advance to secure better prices.
- Activities and Entertainment: Entrance fees to museums, national parks, and cultural attractions are typically affordable. However, guided tours and adventure activities can add to your expenses.
- Currency Exchange: Be aware that Argentina has experienced currency fluctuations and inflation. It’s advisable to exchange currency at official exchange offices or ATMs to get the best rates.
- Tipping: Tipping is customary in Argentina, but it’s not as high as in some other countries. A 10% tip in restaurants is often sufficient.
- Shopping: Argentine souvenirs, especially leather goods and wine, can be relatively affordable, making shopping a tempting activity for tourists.
- Travel Insurance: Don’t forget to budget for travel insurance, which can vary in cost depending on the coverage you choose.
- Travel Season: High tourist season and major events can affect prices. Traveling during the shoulder season or off-season can help you save money.
How many days do I need in Argentina?
The number of days you need in Argentina depends on your interests, the regions you want to explore, and the depth of your exploration. Argentina is a vast and diverse country with a wide range of attractions, from vibrant cities to natural wonders. Here are some suggested itineraries for different types of travelers:
- Buenos Aires and Surroundings (5-7 Days):
- Spend 3-4 days exploring Buenos Aires, including its neighborhoods, cultural attractions, and dining.
- Take day trips to nearby places like Tigre Delta or Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay.
- Enjoy tango shows and experience the local nightlife.
- Classic Argentina Highlights (10-14 Days):
- Include Buenos Aires (3-4 days), Iguazu Falls (2-3 days), and Mendoza (2-3 days) for wine tasting.
- Add a visit to Patagonia (3-4 days) for stunning landscapes, including the Perito Moreno Glacier or Torres del Paine National Park.
- Patagonia Exploration (7-14+ Days):
- Spend more time exploring the Patagonian region if you’re interested in hiking, wildlife, and remote landscapes.
- Consider adding destinations like Bariloche, El Calafate, Ushuaia, or the Chilean Patagonia.
- Northern Argentina (7-10 Days):
- Explore the scenic landscapes and culture of northern Argentina, including Salta, Jujuy, and the Quebrada de Humahuaca.
- Visit historic towns and experience the Andean culture.
- Wine Tour (5-7 Days):
- Focus on the wine regions of Argentina, particularly Mendoza and Cafayate in Salta.
- Enjoy wine-tasting tours, vineyard visits, and local cuisine.
- Adventure and Outdoor Activities (7-14+ Days):
- If you’re into outdoor adventures, consider a longer stay for activities like trekking, skiing, or mountaineering in the Andes.
- Off the Beaten Path (10+ Days):
- Explore lesser-known regions such as the Lake District, the Atlantic coast, or the Pampas for a unique experience away from the main tourist routes.
Ultimately, the duration of your trip depends on your interests and how much time you have available. Argentina is a country that can offer diverse experiences, and you can tailor your itinerary to match your preferences. It’s also important to consider the travel time between destinations, as the country is quite large, and internal flights or long bus rides may be necessary for longer itineraries.
These facts only scratch the surface of Argentina’s rich and diverse culture, geography, and history. Exploring the country in-depth can reveal even more fascinating aspects of this South American nation.
When to visit Argentina?
The best time to visit Argentina depends on your interests and the specific regions you plan to explore, as the country’s vast size and varied geography result in different climate zones. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit Argentina by season:
- Spring (September to November):
- Spring is an excellent time to visit many parts of Argentina, including Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and the Lake District.
- The weather is mild, and flowers are in bloom, making it a picturesque time to explore cities and natural areas.
- September can still be quite chilly in southern Patagonia, so keep that in mind if you plan to visit this region early in spring.
- Summer (December to February):
- Summer is the high tourist season in Argentina, especially in December and January. Expect warm to hot weather in most regions.
- This is an ideal time to explore the Andes, go trekking in Patagonia, or visit the beaches on the Atlantic coast.
- Popular destinations like Bariloche, the Argentine Lake District, and the Iguazu Falls can be crowded during this time.
- Autumn (March to May):
- Autumn is a pleasant time to visit Argentina, with mild temperatures and fewer crowds.
- The wine regions, particularly Mendoza and Salta, are beautiful during the grape harvest season in March and April.
- It’s also a good time for hiking and outdoor activities in Patagonia.
- Winter (June to August):
- Winter in Argentina is a great time for skiing and winter sports enthusiasts, with destinations like Bariloche and Las Leñas offering excellent conditions.
- Buenos Aires and other cities experience cooler temperatures, but it’s still a good time for urban exploration and cultural activities.
- Keep in mind that some regions in the south, like Ushuaia and parts of Patagonia, can experience harsh winter conditions, making travel to these areas challenging.
Consider your interests and activities when planning your trip to Argentina. If you want to experience the vibrant culture of Buenos Aires, spring or autumn might be ideal. If you’re planning to explore Patagonia, summer or early autumn provides the best weather for outdoor adventures. Additionally, booking accommodations and activities in advance is advisable during the high tourist season to secure availability.
Keep in mind that Argentina’s climate can vary from year to year due to regional differences and weather patterns, so it’s always a good idea to check current weather forecasts and conditions before your trip.
What to pack?
Packing for a trip to Argentina will depend on the specific regions you plan to visit and the time of year you’ll be traveling. Argentina’s diverse geography and climates mean that what you pack can vary widely. Here’s a general packing list to consider:
- Travel Documents: Passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, flight/train tickets, hotel reservations, and copies of important documents (stored separately from the originals).
- Money: Credit/debit cards, some Argentine pesos (for immediate expenses), and a money belt or hidden pouch for extra security.
- Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Check the weather for your specific destinations and pack accordingly. Layers are often a good choice to adapt to varying conditions.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: Especially if you plan to explore cities or do outdoor activities.
- Rain Jacket or Umbrella: Particularly if traveling during the rainy season.
- Swimwear: If you’re visiting beach areas or thermal baths.
- Hat and Sunglasses: For protection from the sun.
- Adapter and Voltage Converter: Argentina uses Type C and Type I electrical outlets with a voltage of 220V and a frequency of 50Hz. Make sure your devices are compatible, and bring the appropriate adapters or converters.
- Mobile Phone and Charger: Consider unlocking your phone for international use or purchasing a local SIM card for data and calls.
- Camera and Accessories: If you’re into photography.
- Personal Hygiene Items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.
- Prescription Medications: Ensure you have an adequate supply.
- Sunscreen and Insect Repellent: Depending on your destination and the time of year.
- Travel Accessories:
- Backpack or Daypack: Useful for day trips and carrying essentials.
- Reusable Water Bottle: Tap water in many parts of Argentina is safe to drink.
- Travel Pillow and Eye Mask: Helpful for long flights or bus rides.
- First-Aid Kit: Include basic medical supplies like bandages, pain relievers, and any personal medications.
- Travel Locks: To secure your luggage and valuables.
- Travel Guidebook or Maps: For reference during your trip.
- Outdoor Gear: If you plan to hike or participate in adventure activities, bring appropriate gear like hiking boots, waterproof clothing, and camping equipment.
- Spanish Phrasebook: Even basic knowledge of Spanish can be helpful in non-touristy areas.
- Reusable Shopping Bag: Useful for carrying items you purchase while traveling.
- Power Bank: To recharge your devices while on the go.
- Travel Towel: Some accommodations may not provide towels.
- Binoculars: If you’re into birdwatching or wildlife observation.
Remember that you can buy many items in Argentina if you forget something, but it’s a good idea to have essential items with you, especially if you plan to travel to remote or less touristy areas.
Lastly, consider the time of year and specific activities you have planned when packing. Argentina’s climate varies widely, so be prepared for everything from hot and humid conditions in the north to cold and windy weather in the south.
How to get around Argentina?
Getting around Argentina can be done using various modes of transportation, depending on your itinerary and the regions you plan to visit. Here are the most common ways to get around Argentina:
- Domestic Flights:
- For covering long distances quickly, domestic flights are a popular choice. Argentina has a well-developed domestic flight network with airports in major cities and tourist destinations.
- Airlines like Aerolíneas Argentinas, LATAM, and several low-cost carriers operate domestic routes.
- Long-Distance Buses:
- Argentina has an extensive and efficient long-distance bus network.
- Long-haul buses often offer comfortable seats that recline, meals, and entertainment, making them a cost-effective and comfortable way to travel.
- This mode of transportation is an excellent option for covering medium to long distances within the country.
- Local Buses and Trains:
- Cities like Buenos Aires have comprehensive public transportation systems, including buses and subways (known as “subte”).
- Some cities also have commuter train networks.
- Local buses are a convenient and affordable way to navigate within cities.
- Taxis and Rideshares:
- Taxis are readily available in most cities and are a convenient way to get around within urban areas.
- Ridesharing services like Uber and Cabify are also available in some cities.
- Renting a Car:
- If you plan to explore more remote or less touristy areas, renting a car can provide flexibility.
- Keep in mind that driving conditions and traffic rules may vary, and road signage may be in Spanish.
- Argentina’s train network is not as extensive or modern as in some other countries, but it can be a scenic way to travel in certain regions, such as the Train to the Clouds (Tren a las Nubes) in Salta.
- Ferries and Boats:
- If you’re visiting places like Tierra del Fuego or crossing into Uruguay, you may need to take ferries or boats.
- Walking and Biking:
- In many urban areas and smaller towns, walking and biking are convenient and enjoyable ways to explore.
- Domestic Travel Agencies:
- For guided tours and excursions to remote or specific destinations, consider using the services of local travel agencies. They can arrange transportation and activities.
Keep in mind that Argentina is a vast country, and travel times between destinations can be long, especially if you opt for buses or trains. Plan your itinerary accordingly, and book transportation in advance for popular routes and during peak travel seasons.
What to eat in Argentina?
Argentinian cuisine is known for its delicious and hearty dishes, with a strong emphasis on beef and wine. Here are some typical Argentinian dishes and foods you should definitely try during your visit:
- Asado: Asado is Argentina’s famous barbecue, and it’s a quintessential dining experience. It typically includes various cuts of beef, sausages, and ribs cooked over an open flame or on a grill. The meat is seasoned with chimichurri sauce (a mix of herbs, garlic, and vinegar) and often accompanied by grilled vegetables.
- Empanadas: Empanadas are savory pastry pockets filled with various ingredients, such as ground beef, cheese, ham, onions, and hard-boiled eggs. They are a popular snack and come in a variety of flavors.
- Milanesa: Similar to a breaded and fried schnitzel, milanesa is usually made with beef or chicken. It’s served with mashed potatoes, fried eggs, or as a sandwich in a crusty roll called a “milanesa a la napolitana” when topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese.
- Parrillada: A parrillada is a mixed grill that includes various cuts of meat, sausages, and offal like chitterlings and kidneys, all cooked on the grill. It’s often served family-style.
- Matambre a la Pizza: Matambre is a thin cut of beef, and this dish involves grilling it and topping it with tomato sauce, cheese, and herbs, creating a pizza-like flavor.
- Provoleta: Provoleta is a popular appetizer made with provolone cheese, often grilled and served with spices and herbs.
- Locro: A hearty stew made with hominy corn, beans, sausage, and often topped with a dollop of sour cream and spicy sauce. It’s a traditional dish, especially during festivals.
- Humita: Humitas are similar to tamales, made from ground corn mixed with cheese, onion, and spices, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed.
- Bife de Chorizo: This is a prime sirloin steak, typically grilled and served with chimichurri sauce. It’s a popular choice in Argentinian steakhouses.
- Dulce de Leche: A sweet caramel-like spread made from condensed milk, dulce de leche is used in various desserts and pastries or simply spread on bread or pancakes.
- Alfajores: These are sweet treats consisting of two cookies with a layer of dulce de leche in the middle, often coated in chocolate or powdered sugar.
- Malbec Wine: Argentina is known for its wine production, and Malbec is the country’s flagship red wine. You can visit vineyards in regions like Mendoza and Salta to taste a variety of wines.
- Yerba Mate: Argentina is one of the world’s largest consumers of yerba mate, a traditional herbal tea. It’s typically drunk from a gourd with a metal straw called a “bombilla.”
- Fernet with Coca-Cola: Fernet, an aromatic herbal liqueur, is mixed with Coca-Cola and enjoyed as a popular aperitif or digestif.
Argentina’s culinary scene is diverse, so you’ll find regional specialties and international influences as well. Be sure to explore local markets, restaurants, and street food vendors to discover the full range of Argentinian flavors.