Are you looking for a surprising and exotic trip? Travel to Argentina is the best choice. Prepare your walking shoes and your camera because this country is full of wonders unique in the world. Shiver in front of the Perito Moreno glacier, play hide and seek with the marine animals of the Valdès peninsula, cross Patagonia to reach Ushuaïa, the southernmost city in the world, and finally, sail at the foot of the giant waterfalls of 'Iguazu.
After this adrenaline rush, the adventure continues. Explore the Argentinian culture while strolling in the most beautiful museums of the big cities, criss-cross the kilometers of vineyards of Mendoza to taste the great wines, unravel the archaeological mysteries of Talampaya or San Ignacio, ride your horse following the legendary "gauchos" in La Pampas, enjoy a tasty barbecue, and let the languid Tango seduce you. Argentina is a multifaceted country that has more than one surprise for you to discover.
Are you ready? Follow our travel guide for a memorable experience.
1. Travel to Argentina; the best season to go
You can travel to Argentina all year round, but it is better to know:
It is very hot, and it rains a lot from December to March in the North-East (Iguazú) and the North-West (Salta).
Andean Patagonia (Bariloche, San Martín de Los Andes) and Tierra del Fuego are suitable for skiing from June to September and trekking from November to March. Atlantic Patagonia (Valdés peninsula) lends itself from August to December to observe marine fauna, on coasts often windswept.
For those who want to visit everything in one trip, there is no ideal period to visit everything, but we recommend March-April or October-November, periods during which it is neither too hot in the North nor too cold in the south.
2. Travel to Argentina; hotels and accommodations
There is something for everyone and for all budgets; charming hotels, youth hostels, homestays, boarding houses, and residences. All of these accommodations offer you unique experiences, right in the heart of Argentine culture. You spend restful nights there to start the next day better.
2.1 Hotels in Argentina
There are many hotels in Argentina of different kinds. Depending on your budget, you sleep in a functional and simple establishment or a four-star hotel, with cable TV, telephone, restaurant, etc.
In general, the rooms have a comfortable mattress; there is also a laundry service, a swimming pool, a bar, room service, a gym in luxury establishments. When you book, make sure that the services offered are equivalent to the price of the night.
By searching carefully, you will find charming hotels, housed in historic buildings or mansions with character. Those who prefer modernity are also happy to sleep in design hotels, where the decoration is very aesthetic.
2.2 Youth hostels (Juventud albergues) and hostels
They are numerous in the big cities and near the main tourist sites, like Iguazú, Salta, Tilcara, Humahuaca, Mendoza, Bariloche, El Calafate. Their size remains generally reasonable (few backpacker factories), and some resemble more at a family pension than at an AJ. In Buenos Aires, the districts of San Telmo and Centro offer a large concentration of cheap hostels. In general, they offer dormitory beds and double rooms with private or shared bathrooms. Most have an equipped kitchen and lockers (bring a padlock), often a courtyard, or even a garden.
Camping and shelter are another way to experience your stay. They make you live in contact with nature on public or private land. Most cities have municipal campgrounds. It takes between 30 and 50 ARS per night. You can also opt for private campsites which offer more luxurious services: washing machine, hot water, grocery store, swimming pool, barbecue, restaurant, etc.
2.4 Homestay accommodation (Casas de Familia and B & B)
Like “hostals," Bed & Breakfast accommodation offers a good alternative to traditional hotels while being a very good way to get to know Argentines. There are more and more, especially in natural sites, a little less in town. It is a perfect way to get to know Argentines and discover their way of life. Most often warm welcome. It is, of course, better to improve your Spanish.
Please note, the best addresses are known and quickly sold out, so it is better to make reservations before. Some Casas de “familia” have prices and services comparable to “residenciales," for example, in Ushuaia. Others are extremely inexpensive.
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3. Transportation; how to move around during your stay in Argentina?
Traffic patterns are a very important factor to consider when considering a travel to Argentina, a country where the terrain is a bit rough. You need to know exactly what to do to move freely and quickly.
Argentines call it “Bondi” (in Buenos Aires) or “Colectivo” for city buses and micro or “omnibus” for medium or long distances. Widely used for long and medium distances, buses are generally safe, comfortable, and reliable, with wide and more or less reclining armchairs (they are then called check cama or semi-cama), which allow you to sleep at night. The most comfortable companies offer a wifi connection on board.
The people of Buenos Aires borrow a lot of taxis, which contain inexpensive digital meters. The use of the meter is widespread in the capital, but not everywhere else, it is advisable to agree on a price in advance.
The discounts are standard radio taxis, generally without meters, which charge a fixed price (comparable to that of conventional taxis), established according to areas. You can order one from a hotel, restaurant or any other service.
Where public transport is rare, it is possible to hire a taxi. It is a useful and economical solution for a group, especially for visiting a region. Always negotiate the rate beforehand.
Trains serve almost the entire province of Buenos Aires and some neighboring provinces. During the holiday period, it is imperative to book.
The train is generally cheaper than the bus, but also slower; besides, the cities served are fewer. You will find sleeping cars for long-distance connections.
There is also the Trochita, for amateurs, which goes from Esquel to El Maitén (small Mapuche village) in Patagonia, a tourist train; more than a means of transport performing a very short and picturesque circuit.
The last inexpensive way to visit the country is by bicycle. Road bikes are ideal for paved roads. But overall, mountain biking is the most convenient mode of transportation on unpaved trails. However, bring warm clothing and a windbreaker for your transport. You can find bicycles for rent or purchase on site.
4. Food in Argentina
A paradise for meat lovers, Argentina offers countless delicacies for food lovers. A travel to Argentina is, therefore, the perfect opportunity to indulge in tastings of some of the country's legendary steaks. Whether you are attracted by the romanticism of animal farming or by the cosmopolitan urban life of the country, you will always find, between each walk, the opportunity to taste Argentinian culinary specialties.
The Argentine currency is the peso ($ ARS). There are banknotes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 pesos. The peso is divided into 100 centavos. There are coins of 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos, and of 1 and 2 pesos.
The US dollar is the easiest currency to change. You will have no problem reselling your Chilean or Uruguayan pesos at the border.
In most major cities, there are Cambios (exchange offices) that accept US dollars and euros.
For other currencies, it is better to plan to do operations in Buenos Aires.
You will need your passport for any foreign exchange transaction. Avoid as much as possible the informal "blue market" exchange offices (the black market).
Argentina is one of the safest destinations in Latin America. Despite an increase in petty crime, the big cities of the country are no more dangerous than capitals like Paris or London. Like everywhere, it is above all necessary to use common sense.
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Originally published on Live Positively.