google-site-verification=SABS4ZJGfd5mpgJxYBUXMY76jHr6tIS0dWd8A24AhUo
top of page

Argentina

Iguazu falls, Argentina side

 If like us, you love wine and steak, you are already set to love Argentina, but that is not all Argentina is good for. Being the second largest country in South America it is home to some of the best nightlife, outdoor activities and the most incredible landscapes and scenery.  The Andes mountain range runs down the west of the country providing a natural border to Chile. The jaw-dropping Iguazu falls; which is the largest waterfall system in the world; sits on the eastern boarder separating Argentina from Brazil & Paraguay and the south of the country runs all the way down into the Arctic Circle!

Argentina is an outdoor lovers dream. We have enjoyed some of the best hiking and breath-taking scenery we have ever encountered anywhere in the world here. From humongous glaciers to flamingo filled lakes, from snow capped mountains to lush, wild-flower filled countryside and remote desert to endless salt flats, it can all be experienced in Argentina and then washed down with a delicious glass of Malbec. 

1 - Daily budget in Argentina

Argentina was for a long time considered as an expensive country to travel. Actually, at one point it was one of the most expensive countries in the world. Now though, due to some very turbulent times in the Argentine financial markets causing inflation at eye watering rates, it has become a lot more budget friendly for foreign travelers as they can take advantage of the Blue Chip rate (more info, click here). 

The pie chart breaks down where our money was spent & below are some typical costs. Our average daily spend during our 4 weeks was $32,629.13 (£81.57/$97.89) for the 2 of us, living on flash packer budget.

Argentina backpacker mid range daily budget breakdown

Typical costs

Large Beer in a restaurant/bar

Bottle of house Malbec

A Coffee in a café

$ 500 - 800

$1,500 - 4,000

$ 600 - 800

Steak in a restaurant

Private double room

Dorm bed

$1,700 - 2,500

$5,000 - 15,000

$4,000 - 10,000

2 - Currency in Argentina

The currency in Argentina is the Argentinian Peso, at the time of writing this in January 2023 the exchange rate was

GBP £1 = $ 229.90 (Blue Chip $ 451.70) ARS 

USD $1 = $ 185 (Blue Chip $ 560) ARS

However it is always best to check current rates, with Argentina suffering with extreme inflation these rates are likely to be out of date very soon! I usually use XE to find up to date rates.

For more information on taking advantage of the blue dollar rate read Western Union transfers, Argentina.

3- Withdrawing cash in Argentina & Western Union Transfers

Normally our advice when travelling to a country is to take a travel credit card but Argentina is definitely an exception!!

When travelling to Argentina you could take enough USD with you to exchange as you go. However, we generally advise against carrying larger amounts of cash than your travel insurance will cover. See Travel Insurance on our Travel Tips page for our recommendation for the best insurance.

With regards to withdrawing cash above the amount you can comfortably carry, Western Union transfers are by far the best way to access cash in Argentina. If you are not sure how to take advantage of this see Western Union transfers, Argentina.

4- Best time of year to visit Argentina

As Argentina is such a vast country (3,650km from north to south!) deciding on the best time to go totally depends on your planned activities & where in the country you wish to visit. With Argentina, like the rest of South America, being in the southern hemisphere the seasons are the opposite of Europe & the US, with summer falling December to February & winter from June to August.

Seasons in Argentina 

High season - Summer – (December to February) – This is the hottest time of year with average temperatures in the north reaching 27 °C & in the far south the average highs are around 12°C. This is high season in Argentina & you will be fighting the biggest crowds & also experiencing the highest prices. 

Shoulder seasons - Autumn – (March to May) & Spring (September to November) - Day times are generally warm/mild, depending on where you are in the country, with the nights cool. These months are often considered good times of year for budget backpackers as you can catch good weather, less tourists & cheaper prices than in high season. 

Low Season – Winter (June to August) – Average highs of 14°C in the north & 4°C in the south. This is not an ideal time to visit (but still visit if this is the only time you can come as there will still be loads to do) if you want to see the whole country as down in the south it can be extremely cold with very short days of only 7 hours 12 minutes of daylight on their shortest day! 

Best time to visit Argentina by activity 

Best time to visit Iguazú falls

The weather in the northeast of Argentina, on the borders of Brazil & Paraguay, is tropical. The summer months there are the hottest time of year, but also the wettest. This means from December to February the falls will be at their most impressive, however you are likely to get wet! Summer is peak season at the falls as people want to see it at its most impressive, but the falls do have a number of days where they are closed to visitors on the Brazilian side (you can visit both sides easily) due to the board walks being under water (This happened to a number of people we met on the road)!! 

 We would recommend the best time to visit to be in the Autumn when the average rainfall has dropped so you are likely to keep drier, the number of tourists also drops, but the water is still likely to be high (not quite summer high).  

Realistically you can visit the Iguazú falls all year round & see an impressive sight, this is the largest waterfall system in the world after all. In winter months you are likely to have clear skies, but the water will be at its lowest. Summer has the most impressive spectacle as the water is high, but you are likely to get wet too. Shoulder seasons have the best of both worlds.

Best time to visit Mendoza & Cafayate (wine country)

The main wine producing region of Argentina is Mendoza (about 70% of Argentina’s production) followed by Cafayate. Luckily both areas have similar climates and so can be visited on the same trip. 

Summer months (Dec-Feb) offer the warmest weather & the vines are in full bloom.  

October/November is spring, the vines are in bud, the weather is slightly cooler but still pleasant.  

The end of February & month of March is Autumn, this brings beautiful warm colours across the region, the vineyards are buzzing as all hands are on deck harvesting the grapes at the optimum time, which ends with the Fiesta de la Vendimia (end of harvest celebration).

Wine tours do continue all year round so you can visit at any time however the vines can look a little bare in winter months.

Best time to visit Buenos Aires & Central Argentina

Summer (Dec-Feb) can be extremely hot in cities like Buenos Aires, if you happen to be there for Christmas make sure to stay somewhere with a pool!

As with many places shoulder seasons are often best so Spring (Sep–Nov) & Autumn (Mar–Jun) offer warm days & cooler evenings.

Best time to visit Patagonia (Southern Argentina)

Summer (Dec-Feb) is high season in Patagonia & the best time for hiking. Unfortunately, as you may have guessed this comes with the biggest crowds, so prices will be at their peak & you need to book accommodation & transport early. Summer in Patagonia does mean the lowest rainfall, however it also coincides with the windiest time of year, so get ready for some blustery days!!

Shoulder Seasons, Spring (Oct-Nov) & Autumn (Mar-Apr) are often considered a great time to visit as although the weather won’t be quite as warm & it is a little wetter, there will be less tourists so it is easier to book things & prices are a little cheaper.

In Winter (Jun-Aug) some of the parks in Patagonia shut down & transport can be tricky. However, if you are wanting to ski in the southern most ski resort Cerro Castor in Ushuaia or in Cerro Catedral near Bariloche, this will be the time to visit, but wrap up well!!

Realistically Patagonia’s weather is extremely unpredictable & the above is a general guide. We visited in November/December & had some amazing weather but did also had rain, hail & snow. It lived up to its name of having 4 seasons in a day!

Best time to climb Aconcagua

The mighty Aconcagua has a short climbing window between November & March, with the last time to commence your climb being the last day of February. The best time is December & January having the best weather & the best chance of reaching the summit. We are yet to climb this mighty peak but it is on our list!

5- Travelling around Argentina by bus

Bus travel around Argentina is easy and whilst still affordable, perhaps a little more expensive than in some other South American countries such as Bolivia.  There are also fewer companies servicing the routes which probably explains why prices are a little higher if there is less competition, but it makes deciding who to go with easier at least! 

When it comes to booking bus tickets we found the price displayed online was the same charged at the bus station, but you want to pay in cash at the bus station to take advantage the blue dollar rate. You can use the following websites to check whether your route is possible, which companies service that particular route and the price.

www.rome2rio.com

www.busbud.com

For overnight or long journeys we always opted for higher class seats which are roomy and recline a comfortable amount to allow you to get some sleep. To get a better understanding of the seat classes see our blog South America bus classes explained.

6- SUBE cards (public transport), taxis & Uber in Argentina

Public transport & SUBE cards

For most of the country, the public transport consists solely of buses, however in Buenos Aires there is also a great subway system too. Either way, for public transport in Argentina you need to get yourself a SUBE card, you can even use them for trains & highway tolls!

Where to get a SUBE card

SUBE cards are sold at most kiosks in the cities/towns the SUBE network covers & you can top them up at the same place. At the time of writing this the cards cost $350 (£0.90/$1.10), you don't need to buy multiple cards for a group of people as you can tap more than once as you board.

Using a SUBE Card

Just simply tap the SUBE scanner as you board & you can see the price of the journey & your remaining balance. Our journey prices ranged from $40-$120 (£0.10-£0.30/$0.12-$0.40) so extremely cheap to get around, we just topped up around $500 at a time. They do allow you to go slightly into a negative balance if you do not have enough on your card for a journey, but this is a safety net only and so I wouldn't rely on it. 

Safety on public transport

In most towns and cities you are able to jump on the local bus and travel around safely. They do get crowded at times, so be aware of pick pockets. 

Taxis

There are two main types of taxi in Argentina, regular urban taxis you can flag down in the street & remises which you pre-book & pre-arrange the fare with. The regular urban taxis operate on a meter so you can feel at ease and not worry about getting a higher 'gringo rate'. However, as a general rule of thumb the remises are cheaper, especially if you are going a longer distance out of town. As a general rule taxis are cheap compared to the cost of living in Argentina.

Uber

Uber is available in larger cities & is fairly competitive with normal taxis. Make sure you select to pay cash though to take advantage of the 'blue chip rate' over the official exchange rate (see Western Union transfers, Argentina for more details).

7- Hitchhiking in Argentina

Hitchhiking always has an element of risk & it is generally advised against for solo female travellers. Hitchhiking is fairly common in Argentina & it is definitely one of the safest places in South America to do it, especially down in Patagonia. Make sure to take plenty of supplies if you are planning to hitchhike as there have been reports in Patagonia of people queuing on the quieter routes in summer months. 

8- Is Argentina safe to travel?

Argentina is much safer than many of it's South American neighbours. We never felt any threat and found the people to be kind and helpful.

 

The main reports from the British embassy are regarding petty theft & pickpockets so keep your wits about you on public transport & in crowded places. In certain areas of Buenos Aires there have been reports of violent thefts, most reported in the La Boca area. If you want to watch a football match at Boca Juniors it is much safer to go with an organised tour than trying to make your own way. For up to date information refer to the gov.uk website.

9- Language spoken in Argentina

In Argentina the official language is Spanish, pretty much all Angentines speak Spanish as their first or second language. There are 15 indigenous languages still spoken in Argentina, the most prominent being Guarini & Quechua.

 

English is mandatory at school in Argentina so you will find it the easiest country in Latin America to travel with little Spanish. However knowing some Spanish will enrich your journey & adding pleasantries in the native tongue is always appreciated.

10- Buying a SIM in Argentina

Buying a SIM card in Argentina was very easy, it ran smoothly and we found the staff were well-versed in tourist SIM packages.

We picked our SIM up in Salta (but places to buy SIMs are plentiful throughout the country & were advised by the hostel owner to go with Claro. We went into the branch with our passports and were directed to grab a ticket with a number. When our number was called we went up to a desk together, explained we’d like to buy a SIM card (the staff spoke great English) & were shown a few options for SIM packages. The package, including SIM, cost $3,400 (£8.50/$10) for 25GB of data & unlimited WhatsApp valid for 30 days. The staff set it up, inserted the SIM into our phones and applied for the package, showing us the confirmation text messages and we were on our way again within 15 mins.

If you are going to be in the country for more than 30 days you can top up the SIM on your phone and purchase another package.

11- Argentinian food & drink

Argentina is a meat lovers paradise and you will be spoiled with delicious steak and Patagonian lamb, all washed down with a glut of amazing malbec wine. Vegetarians and Vegans will have a harder time here but most menus do have options available. 

Read our Argentina Food & Wine blog for a list of delicious dishes and must tries whilst in Argentina.  

12- Argentina visa requirements

When visiting a new country we would always refer to the GOV.UK website before travelling as we find we can rely on them being up to date & we found some foreign governments websites entry requirements page a little confusing at times. The UK governments entry requirements page currently states

"On presentation of a valid British passport you will be granted permission to stay in the country for a period of up to 90 days at the discretion of the Immigration Officer. You can obtain proof of your last entry or exit from Argentina from the Argentine Migration Office website. If you wish to extend your stay for another 90-day period, seek advice from the Argentine Migration Office before your current authorised stay runs out."

13 - What vaccinations do you need for Argentina?

Even if a country doesn’t have specific vaccination requirements for entry, we always check Fit4Travel & Travel Heath Pro to see what is advised. You should speak to your travel nurse 12 weeks before travel to ensure you have enough time to receive the vaccinations recommended.

Required

For Argentina, there are currently no required vaccines.

Advised/ to be considered

Diphtheria

Hepatitis A

Rabies

Tetanus

Yellow Fever.

14- Argentina plug type

There are two plug types,

Type C (two round pins)

Type I (three flat pins arranged in a triangular pattern)

Argentina operates on a  220 supply voltage, 50 Hz AC.

​I recommend buying this universal adapter, as it is the best one we've had.

Argentina blog posts

1
2
bottom of page