Introduction to Argentina
Argentina is such a diverse country that it’s hard to know where to begin! From the sun-baked high-altitude landscapes of the North to the frozen tip of Southern Patagonia, the country’s vast expanse is packed with one jaw-dropping view after another. Just the word Argentina conjures up images of lone gauchos riding across vast plains of the Pampas, of sultry characters locked in tango’s passionate embrace and of exuberant football fans cheering on the infamous Maradona. All of this can indeed be found within Argentina’s broad borders, but this dynamic country goes beyond the stereotypes and delivers much, much more.
In the endlessly fascinating capital of Buenos Aires you’ll find a vibrant metropolis that keeps up with the pace of any other world capital when it comes to fashion, fiestas (nightlife), art and culture. The city’s nightlife is legendary, and live rock music, folkloric music, tango, electronic music and everything in between can be enjoyed there from dusk till dawn any day of the week. In the North you’ll find some of Argentina’s most intact colonial villages and a thriving traditional culture, while in the South wildlife enthusiasts will be captivated by the marine wildlife of Peninsula Valdes. Lovers of the great outdoors are spoiled for choice, with Iguazu Falls and, the lakes and glaciers of Patagonia forming some of the most incredible landscapes in the Americas, while the mighty Andean Mountain range strides down the western reaches of the country creating a wonderland for hikers and climbers. At the foot of these peaks in the West of Argentina are the vineyards of Mendoza where wine flows as freely as water. The perfect azure waters of the Patagonian Lake District give way to ancient glaciers and ice fields at its southern tip, before the frozen world of Antarctica takes hold – and all of this is waiting to be enjoyed, by both serious hikers and day-trippers alike.
Explore the Highlights
Argentina’s cultured capital, is many people’s favorite city in Latin America. With its thriving arts and music scene, feisty Latin character, fascinating history and, stunning architecture; the city is filled with a rich past and an equally as captivating present. Read on…
Patagonia Glacier National Park
This UNESCO World Heritage Site has some of the region’s most dramatic scenery. Embark on a boat trip passing shimmering icebergs or, hike across the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier in South America’s kingdom of ice and glaciers! Find out more…
Named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Iguazu hosts over 250 separate falls thundering down from heights of up to 269ft. (82m), a truly inspiring experience. These giant falls can be enjoyed from both sides of the Argentina and Brazil border. Read more…
Peninsula Valdes juts out from Patagonia’s Atlantic Coast providing a haven for a host of marine wildlife and birdlife. Spot sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins, penguins and between September and December, the impressive Southern Right Whale. Keep on reading…
Ushuaia is the last point of civilization before the frozen stretches of Antarctica take hold. An attractive and colorful coastal town, you’ll be spoiled by its surrounding beautiful landscapes and the vast National Parks of Southern Patagonia. Discover more…
Nestled among the lakes and mountains of the beautiful Patagonian Lake District, Bariloche is a well-developed base for visitors. Explore the great outdoors, its alpine style and the fresh air of the surrounding countryside backed by snowy peaks. Find out more…
Salta’s attractive colonial architecture effortlessly lives up to its nickname, La Linda, meaning ‘the beautiful’ in Spanish. It’s without a doubt one of the most well-preserved colonial cities in Argentina and the perfect base to visit the rest of northwest Argentina. Find out more…
Home to the Torrontes vineyards, Cafayate is unique in its production of a refreshingly light white wine. This charming colonial town has a lovely laid-back and small-town feel with a pleasant central plaza where you can dine al fresco on regional specialties. Read some more…
With beautifully preserved colonial villages where the locals wear traditional Andean clothes, expansive Salt Flats, and rocky mountains swirled with a rainbow of colors; Jujuy Province has some of the most stunning landscapes in all of Argentina! Find out more…
The Province of Mendoza boasts the perfect climate for wine growing. If you like a little wining and dining (let’s face it, who doesn’t?), you won’t want to miss at least a few days of indulgence here in the beautiful and bountiful Province of Mendoza. Find out more…
When to travel in Argentina
Best times to go
Argentina has opposite seasons to those in the Northern Hemisphere, with summer falling from December to February and winter from June to August. Given its size, Argentina experiences very different degrees of the seasons, depending on which part of the country you are in. For example, the winter months in Southern Patagonia are a flurry of snow and icy winds. This is not the time for hiking in the southern Andes or seeing the glaciers. However, if you are into snow sports, by all means wrap up warm and hit the slopes. Conversely, the winter months are the best time to travel in the north of the country when the fierce heat of summer abates. The center of the country can be visited at any time, though spring and fall are the prettiest times to visit both Mendoza and Buenos Aires. Spring is the all-out best time of year for nature spotting along the Atlantic Coast of Patagonia.
Argentina is generally safe but there are pickpockets, especially in the bigger cities. Be sensible, as you would anywhere in the world. Remember you are foreign and so will stick out already. Don’t wear lots of eye catching jewelry or flash expensive cameras, laptops or iPhones around. Don’t venture into unsafe areas. If traveling by bus, don’t leave belongings unattended.
No mandatory vaccinations are required to visit Argentina. We do recommend visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to make sure everything is up to date.
Nationals of the USA and the EU do not require a visa to enter Argentina and are granted a 90 day travel visa upon arrival. Citizens of other countries may require a visa to enter Argentina and it is generally advised that they contact the Argentinean embassy in their home country for information.The Wikipedia Visa Policy of Argentina is a great starting point to begin exploring whether or not any particular nationality might need to obtain a tourist visa to visit Peru.
Money / Currency – ATM, Credit Cards
The official currency of Argentina is the Peso and the exchange rate is approximately ~ ARS$ 15.00 to US$1.00. It is recommended that one brings cash in Dollars and/or Euros as these are easy to exchange anywhere in the country. Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express and Visa are all used in Argentina, with Visa being the most widely accepted one. There may be difficulties in changing traveler’s checks outside Buenos Aires. We recommend visiting the website XE Currency Converter to get current exchange rates.
The official language of Argentina is Spanish. English is the language that dominates the tourist sector and most tour guides, tour operators, and hotels are proficient in English. One can generally get by with English alone although life is made much easier if one learns a few simple Spanish sentences before arriving.
In Argentina the standard voltage is 220 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. If you’d like to learn more about the types of plugs in Argentina, check out the website What Plug Info – Argentina.
Family Travel in Argentina
Argentina is a great place for family travel and the Argentine people in general are very open-minded and welcoming when it comes to kids. It is one of those countries where children stay up late and eat with the family and you’ll find that restaurants won’t bat an eyelid if your kids pile in for pizza at 11pm – this is the norm and everyone else is doing it too. The country as a whole is very safe with low levels of crime and high safety standards. Argentina will also provide plenty of fresh air and exercise for kids and teens, and taking in such incredible sights as Iguazú Falls, the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate or spotting Southern Right Whales in Peninsula Valdes are bound to make a lasting impression – Argentina is one country where those geography classes will really be brought to life.
Getting Around Argentina
Argentina is BIG; it stretches over 2,175 miles (3,500 km) from north to south. The distances that you’ll need to travel if you want to see all of its incredible sights are pretty hefty. For that reason most people take an internal flight or two in order to save time and avoid lengthy journeys by road. Having said that, Argentina does have an excellent long-distance bus service and, although it may sound a lot, a twenty hour bus journey is perfectly manageable. Long-distance buses in Argentina come in various levels of comfort, but you won’t pay too much more for a fully horizontal bed and waiter service. Hot meals are served on board and it’s a great opportunity to see some of Argentina’s beautiful countryside or to get an idea of the vastness of the plains of Patagonia. In some regions, such as the Northeast or the Patagonia Lake District, it’s a great idea to hire a car and drive through their stunning landscapes independently.
Sample Itinerary of Argentina
Days 1-3 Buenos Aires
¡Hola, Argentina! Your tour will introduce you to the heart of Buenos Aires’ history and culture, from the Casa Rosada Government Palace and the hustle and bustle of downtown Buenos Aires to the vibrant streets of La Boca, San Telmo and beyond.
Days 3-5 Bariloche
The charming town of Bariloche with its Alpine-wood buildings, boutique chocolate stores and restaurants serving the best of Patagonian lamb is just the beginning! It is also surrounded by shimmering lakes and quaint mountain villages.
Days 5-8 El Calafate
Icebergs, mountains covered in glaciers, large open expanses of beautiful wilderness…welcome to Patagonia! Walk across the surface of the Perito Moreno Glacier and, watch and listen to the creaking masses of ice as your boat passes by huge glaciers and icebergs.
Days 8-10 Mendoza
Explore Argentina’s main wine valleys at the foot of the Andes in Mendoza. Your days are filled with wine tastings and gourmet meals as you discover the best of Argentina’s Malbecs, Cabernets and Bonardas, surrounded by the stunning landscape of the snow-capped peaks of the Andes.
Days 10-12 Iguazu Falls
Enjoy an up-close and personal tour of the Natural World Wonder of Iguazu Falls, followed by an incredible boat ride adventure through, up to and around the waterfalls of “Garganta del Diablo” (or Devil’s Throat). Don’t let the name fool you; it’s paradise!