Argentina travel guide: everything you need to know before your trip

Dec 06, 2023

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Tango, steak, football, Maradona, Evita... Argentina has a number of stereotypes attached to it, but what makes this South American country truly special are its contrasts and diversity.
Given its enormous size, there are landscapes, climates and activities to suit every taste, from mountains to lakes, beaches to forests and jungles. Argentina is a holiday destination all year round.
City lovers will enjoy the culture and architecture of the capital Buenos Aires, but a two-hour flight in any direction can take you to wine country, a high plateau, a subtropical jungle or ski resorts. What tourists also often overlook is how cheerful and friendly Argentines are - some of the most hospitable people in the world.

Best time to visit Argentina

Argentina is located in the Southern Hemisphere. Given the varied latitudes of the world's eighth-largest country, the southern Patagonian province of Tierra del Fuego is typically cold and snowy year-round, while Misiones, home to the spectacular Iguazu Falls, is humid and warm.
However, Buenos Aires is seasonal. The best time to visit the capital is autumn (from late October to December) and spring (March and April). Please note that March in Mendoza is dedicated to the annual Vendimia festival - a grape harvest festival. Many areas of the province participate in it to showcase themselves.

Popular destinations

Buenos Aires

Although Buenos Aires is a busy metropolis, it is ideal for walking and cycling. Slow down and soak up the unique atmosphere of neighborhoods like cool Palermo, affluent Recoleta, boho San Telmo and hipster Chacarita. Enjoy the diverse architecture, vintage and trendy cafes, indoor and outdoor flea markets and eateries, and the spontaneity that drives this city. Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) are sociable and, despite the country's rising inflation, always find a way to have a good time, whether it's gossiping over a cup of coffee, sharing a grilled cheese pizza, or going to a concert. There's rarely a dull moment in this exciting city.

Cordoba

With its contrasting mix of hills and steep mountains, rocky rivers and lakes, the province of Cordoba is a gem worth visiting by car. Start with the city of the same name, the second largest in Argentina. Explore the 16th-century Jesuit quarter by day, then enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Further afield in Calamuchite is Villa General Belgrano, home to Argentina's largest Oktoberfest. Wine lovers should visit the wineries of Tralasierra. Sierras Chicas has plenty of ranches and estates to relax in, and folk music fans should definitely book tickets for the legendary summer Cosquin festival.

Iguazu National Park

The Cataratas del Iguazu World Heritage Site is home to some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. 275 cascades belong to Argentina and Brazil. The largest of them is called "Devil's Throat". Head to the falls early in the morning before the crowds gather, then explore the tropical national park, home to 450 species of birds, including toucans, giant anteaters and howler monkeys. The best time to visit is spring or autumn.

Mendoza

Wine fans should visit Mendoza, a western province surrounded by the Andes where 76 percent of Argentine wine is produced. The real beauty is in the vineyards of Luján de Cuyo, Maipú and the Uco Valley. Many wineries offer short guided tours before lunch. Particularly recommended wineries are Zonda in Lagarde, Riccitelli Bistró and Piedra Infinita in Zuccardi. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking or horseback riding in the Andes, while serious climbers can conquer the highest peak in the southern hemisphere, Aconcagua.

Patagonia

Whether it's a whale-watching expedition along the rugged Atlantic coast, following in the footsteps of the world's largest dinosaur, or hitting the ski slopes of Bariloche, Latin America's answer to the Alps, the vast region of Patagonia always offers a solid dose of remoteness and intimacy with land and aquatic nature.

The UNESCO-protected Peninsula Valdez is a seasonal refuge for killer whales and right whales. Get up close and personal with the cheerful Commerson's dolphins and the Magellanic penguin colony further south in Playa Union and Punta Tombo. An exciting trip can include Puerto Madryn, Trelew, Gaiman and Trevelin. Santa Cruz is home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, is the starting point for Antarctic cruises.

The best destinations from the unpopular ones

Cabo Raso, Chubut

Only two people live in Cabo Raso. The directional sign is barely visible, and there is no telephone signal at all. The city is a real antidote to the modern noisy world. Stay in a no-frills lodge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, 90 minutes' drive south of the Welsh-founded town of Trelew in Chubut, and truly relax. Take a wild stroll along the beach, stop at a nuclear bunker built by former President Juan Peron and admire shipwrecks, then enjoy a barbecue. For a similar but richer experience, book a room at the eco-friendly Bahía Bustamante, which has its own penguin island.

Pune, Jujuy

Many visitors to Jujuy head straight to the Salinas Grandes salt flats to get the perfect photo, but turn this easy day trip into an exciting overnight experience visiting indigenous communities of the high plateau. Surrounded by the majestic Mount Huancar, whose slopes are a favorite spot for sandboarders, Abra Pampa is Pune's largest settlement. Visit the Leopoldo Abanque Archaeological Museum, then admire the stunning reflections in Lake Pozuelos. Every August, residents of nearby Casabindo pay homage to the patron saint of the Virgen de la Asunción, followed by a bull run and bullfight in the main square.

Wetlands of Ibera, Corrientes

When the Land Conservation Trust discovered that endemic species were in steep decline due to hunting in one of the world's largest wetlands, it purchased the land to privately restore it. The Foundation then donated it to Argentina and the locals as a national park. Although work continues to revive Esteros del Ibera, jaguars have already returned to the ecosystem, and the numbers of giant anteaters and single-ringed pecori pigs are also recovering.

Best activities

Carnival in Gualeguaychu

On the eve of Easter, the residents of Gualeguaychu are completing preparations for an enchanting carnival. There is also a dress code - revealing clothes with sparkles and feathers. Lots of feathers!

Travel along Route 40

The legendary Ruta 40 is a route in western Argentina with a length of approximately 5194 km and constantly changing landscapes. The best way to overcome it is by SUV: try the northwest road from Salta to Cafayate. Admire lunar landscapes, colorful pepper farms and towering vineyards.

Traditional festival in San Antonio de Areco

Gauchos gather in this city, 90 minutes north of Buenos Aires, to demonstrate their horsemanship in the first week of November. Please note that no such festival would be complete without the obligatory set of bronco and asado (barbecue).

Truffle hunting in Espartillare

Five hours southwest of Buenos Aires, the tiny rural town of Espartillar is home to Argentina's leading truffle route. Travel there between June and the end of August, then try the three-course tasting menu. Neighboring Piguet hosts a mega-party in December: an annual giant omelet competition.

Visiting the vineyards of Quebrada de Humahuaca

This impressive canyon in the northwestern province of Jujuy has a wine route. The vineyards start at an altitude of about 2200 meters above sea level and rise upward. Family-owned wine cellar Kindgard is a recent addition, and Viñas de Uraki is home to the highest vineyard on the continent at 3,329 meters above sea level.

How to get around Argentina

You can travel in a comfortable minibus or long-distance bus from Buenos Aires to distant destinations. Budget airlines have emerged over the past few years. The leaders here are the carriers FlyBondi and JetSmart.

The authorities have invested little in the railway network to make travel around the country convenient and comfortable. But if you want to take the Argentine railway, take the train from Buenos Aires to Rosario (seven hours) or Mar del Plata (six hours).

How to save money in Argentina

Inflation is rising rapidly in Argentina. The peso depreciates daily, so Argentines value the stable cash currency of dollars. There is an official and unofficial rate at which you can exchange money several times more profitable. Before you begin the exchange, ask the hotel staff.

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