Argentina Travel Guide

By Admin | Last Updated August 31, 2019

Argentina in South America is the world’s 8th largest country by area. It covers most of the southern part of the continent. Argentina has borders with Chile to the west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil on the northeast and Uruguay to the east. It is a fascinating country to visit. 5,559,000 international tourists visited Argentina in 2016, and this went up to 5,922,000 in 2017. Tourism contributed USD 52.5 billion to the countries revenue in 2017.

A top draw, Argentina is one of the most visited countries in the continent. You will find everything here. Big cities, a stunning coastline, unique culture and food, iconic landmarks, plains, tundra, desert, mountains, waterfalls, islands, and forests. A visit to the country is sure to be an intense experience.

From the snow capped Andes Mountains, to the tranquil coastline, the rugged beauty of Patagonia, to the Iguaza Falls, San Telmo’s cobblestoned streets, Mendoza’s wine country, and a little bit of tango, Argentina is always a fascinating country to visit. It is the perfect mix of sophistication and wilderness. Buenos Aires, the capital city, is often referred to as the ‘Paris of South America’.

Go north to Salta to see the scorched mountains and stunning rock formations. You will find the famous white wine here. Go west to Mendoza to the foothills of the Andes Mountains for skiing vacations and more wine. South is Patagonia, where you will find jagged peaks, lakes, and miles of wide empty spaces. See the penguins at Punta Tombo, the spectacular Iguaza Falls in the country’s borders with Brazil, and the farmhouses and Jesuit chapels of Cordoba.

Argentina is the world’s 8th biggest country by area after Russia, Canada, USA, China, Brazil, Australia, and India. It is the world’s biggest Spanish speaking country.

Argentina – 10 Quick Facts

  1. Capital – Buenos Aires
  2. Economy – 2nd biggest in South America
  3. Religion – 92% Roman Catholics
  4. Area - 2,780,400 square kilometers
  5. Population – 43,847,430 (2016)
  6. Time Zone – UTC−3 (ART)
  7. Currency – Peso ($) (ARS)
  8. 4th most popular with tourist in the Americas after the US, Mexico, and Canada
  9. The name Argentina has been derived from the Latin word, meaning ‘Silver’.
  10. In 2001, Argentina had five presidents in a span of 10 days.

Top Reasons to Visit Argentina

  • Varied Landscape – Argentina is a huge country full of natural sights. You will find deserts, Atlantic beaches, the craggy Patagonian coastline, snow-capped Andes Mountains, wetlands, Glaciers National Park, islands, waterfalls, and forests. Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside Asia. Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city.
  • History – The country has a long history. Argentina was once the 6th biggest economy in the world, and Buenos Aires used to be the richest city. Argentina had a golden age when millions of scientists, businessmen, and artists came over from Europe to the ‘land of opportunity’.
  • Rich Culture – The country has a rich culture and artistic wealth. You will find many art galleries, museums, and cultural institutions. There is a happening literature, music, and art scene.
  • Architecture – You will find some of the best architecture in South America here. See the European flair of Buenos Aires. The city has impressive colonial buildings and modern architecture. There are boulevards like Paris, monuments, and lavish palaces. Visit the colonial center of Salta, Mendoza’s charming streets, and the scenic squares of Rosario.
  • Party, Dance – There is tango, invented in Argentina, and famous. There are many tango schools. The nightlife scene is also vibrant. The concert venues are buzzing till dawn.
  • Food - Argentina is a meat-loving country. You will find stake and beef everywhere, including the famous parillada beef, empanadas, wines, beer and sweets. The beef is some of the best in the world.
  • Wildlife – Arctic terrain, dessert, and tropical landscape means Argentina has a wealth of wildlife. There are tropical animals in the lush Iguazu waterfall area. The deserts have pumas, jaguars, and endangered cats. You will find llamas in the Patagonian region and penguins in the arctic south.
  • Road Trips – A big, vast country, and sparsely populated as well. Ruta 40 is one of the world’s longest roads that spans for 3,100 miles or 5,000 kilometers. You will see stunning landscape here. The Pampa region has miles of wilderness.
  • Cultural Events, Sports – The home of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, Argentina is crazy about football. The country is 2 times FIFA World Cup winner and 2 times runners-up. Soccer aside, there is also polo, which is deeply embedded into the culture. There are also many cultural events, like the famous Tango Buenos Aires Festival held every August. Millions attend this event alone.

Argentina is famous for tango, architecture, culture, food, wines, natural beauty, wildlife, and of course, soccer. Lionel Messi was born at Rosario in east Argentina. Iguazu is the world’s biggest waterfall system. It is two times wider than Niagara.

Top Places To Visit In Argentina

Buenos Aires Lovingly called ‘Paris of South America’, Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. It is one of the largest cities in the continent. See the boulevards like Paris, impressive monuments, and architectural wonders. There are also many nightclubs, restaurants, and bars.
El Calafate A city in Patagonia, it is south of Lake Argentino. Calafate is the gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park.
Ushuaia The capital of Tierra del Fuego, it is the world’s southern-most city. An industrial hub with many tourist interests.
El Chalten A small mountain village in the province of Santa Cruz. Popular as a hiking destination. Choose from many hiking trails, glacier lakes and mountains – trekking capital of the country.
Iguazu Bordering Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, the Iguazu waterfall is mighty and scenic. It is twice as wide as the Niagara Falls. Spreading over 3 countries, together, it is the world’s biggest water fall system.
Valdes Peninsula A nature reserve, UNESCO World Heritage site. A huge variety of flora and fauna here.
San Carlos de Bariloche A city province in Rio Negro, within a national park. There is skiing, mountaineering and trekking.
Mendoza Stopover while visiting the Aconcagua Mountains. City with charming streets. It is in some of the best wine growing regions. Foothills of the Andes, where there is skiing.
Quebrada de Humahuaca A narrow mountain range in the province of Jujuy, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2003.
Parque Nacional Talampaya In the La Rioja province. UNESCO World Heritage site with important archaeological and paleontological sites.

Getting There

Most tourists take the flight and arrive at Buenos Aires. Ezeiza International Airport is 20 miles or 35 kilometers from the capital city. It is connected to all major cities in the Americas and many cities in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Aeroparque Jorge Newbery is the domestic and smaller airport in the city.

You can also fly into Ministro Pistarini, which is the country’s largest international airport. It is also close to Buenos Aires.

There are regular domestic flights to Rosario, Mendoza, Córdoba and other cities. The transportation infrastructure is advanced. You will find buses, trains, and even boat service. Argentina railways have a network of 47,000 kilometers.

Visa

If you have a passport of these countries, you do not need a tourist visa to visit Argentina – 

Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Barbados, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Colombia, Croatia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Finland, France, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Japan, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Nicaragua, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Panama, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Russia, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Uruguay, United States, Vatican City and Venezuela.

UNESCO World Heritage sites in Argentina – Los Glaciares National Park, Iguazú National Park, Valdés Peninsula, Cueva de las Manos, Talampaya Natural Park, Quebrada de Humahuaca, Los Alerces National Park, tango, and more.

Tips For A First-Time Visitor

  • Money – Carry U.S. dollars. You should be able to exchange it easily at the airport, and in many places throughout the country. Avoid using the credit card outside the big cities. Carry plenty of loose change. Do not rely on ATMs as they frequently run out of cash.
  • Transportation – Take public buses. The connectivity is excellent. The rail network is 47,000 kilometers, but there is fewer number of trains. Limited departures.
  • Language – Spanish is the most popular language. About 41.7 million people speak the language. But the pronunciation is unique. They pronounce the double ‘I’ and ‘Y’ as ‘sh’. You may also hear a lot of slang and unique expressions.  Keep the book ‘Che Boludo’ handy.
  • Dining – Many will complete their dining by 10 PM. Keep this in mind if you are visiting any home. But the bars and nightclubs can stay open till 2 AM, and sometimes longer.
  • How To Greet – A typical greeting consists of a kiss on the cheek, mostly for friends and acquaintances. A handshake is enough for those you don’t know.
  • Politics – Steer clear of political comments. The political situation is not always stable. Also, do not compare Argentina with USA, Chile or Brazil. Do not mention Britain or the Falkland Islands. They are sensitive issues.
  • Food - Don’t miss a food tour. It will be one of the highlights. Try the meats and wine of the country, an intrinsic part of the culture.

Weather

Month Temperature ( Max / Min ) Celsius Rainfall ( Days )
January 33.9 / 19.2 9
February 32.6 / 18.1 8
March 29.9 / 16.4 9
April 25.3 / 11.8 10
May 22.6 / 9.7 7
June 19.1 / 7.6 9
July 19.7 / 5.8 8
August 22.3 / 7 8
September 24.6 / 9.5 8
October 27.2 / 12.8 11
November 30.6 / 15.5 10
December 33.1 / 17.69 9

 

Best Time To Visit Argentina

The best time to visit Argentina depends on where you are going, as it is a big country with different climate zones. 

  • Spring – Between September and November. Good for almost every region, except the extreme south where there can be icy gales.
  • Summer – Between December and February. Best time for climbing the Andes peaks like Aconcagua. This is also a good time for visiting the Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the southernmost tip. However, the capital Buenos Aires will be hot and sticky this time of the year. The north will also be scorching. Roads are likely to be flooded because of storms.
  • Fall – Between March and April. Good time for visiting the provinces of San Juan and Mendoza as this is the time for wine harvests. In Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia you will see orange and red hues.
  • Winter – Between June and August. Good for the ski resorts of the Andes. But avoid the south and Patagonia a many towns can be cut off due to blizzards. The north, however, will be pleasant.

How To Visit Argentina On A Budget

Argentina is big, which means, travel costs will be higher. Plus, it is not particularly a cheap country. In Patagonia, it will be even more difficult to stay on a budget.

But you can still save money with a few tips –

Accommodation – Save money by staying at cheap hostels. The accommodation will be more expensive in Patagonia. Hostels can cost $17 USD here, while elsewhere it is around $6 USD. You will also find many camping opportunities. Some hostels allow tourists to pitch up their tents.

Transport – This is where you may have to spend the most money because of the country’s size. Airfare is expensive because there is a tax on non-citizens. A2-hour flight may cost $200 USD. Take the bus wherever possible unless you are rushing.

Hitchhike – This is very common, especially in Patagonia. Many locals and tourists hitchhike and long-distance buses are expensive and not very frequent. But it is not that common in the north.

Food – Eat like the locals. Always look for cheap places for food. You will find many sausage on bread stands, pizza and burger stalls. It may not be the healthiest, but the food is tasty and cheap. Eat at the roadside and you will save a lot of money. For drinks, it is best to buy wine. Beer will be expensive.

Bike Rental – You can also rent a bike for transport. You will find many rental shops in the big cities. Many hostels will also rent out for $10 USD a day. Bike rental is particularly good in the wine country of Mendoza. You can easily visit different wineries on your bike.

Tango – Go to San Telmo in Buenos Aires. Free tango events are held here on Sundays at 8 PM. The renowned La Bomba de Tiempo dance and music event is on Monday. It costs only $6 USD.