Hola hola, you sexy globetrotter! My name is Martina, and I’m here to help you plan your trip around Argentina. Let me take you on a journey across my country and its landscapes, foods, and all-in-all awesomeness.
I’m from Buenos Aires but have been living overseas for the past 6 years. Between flights, you may have seen me freezing in Denmark, eating ramen in Japan, sipping coffee in Italy, hiking in New Zealand -where I currently reside-, and more!
And because travel is such a big passion in my life, I’m honored to share bits of my culture with you. Hopefully, today I’ll help you shape your very own South American adventure!
You may not know this, but Argentina is actually the 9th biggest country in the world. And kid you not, you’d find nearly any type of landscape around the globe here. From mighty mountains to massive waterfalls, cosmopolitan capitals, and even one of the worlds’ largest wetlands, Argentina is a perfect travel-hub for thrill-seekers and city sleekers alike!
Not that I’m from there, but Argentina is known around the world for many things. Football, Tango, steak, Patagonia, the pope, Messi, Maradona, wine…anything that rings a bell? So, regardless of where you go, you’ll get to experience the country’s distinct culture. A blend of classic South American warmth, vast landscapes, stories of immigrants, music, and passion.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that us travelers should be prepared for anything.
Travel insurance has always been high on my list of things to organize before I travel but now more than ever it’s at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So you need to find an insurer that covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, World Nomads, Safety Wing, or Travel Insurance Master are the ones to go for.
World Nomads is great for incidents that happen prior to your trip, so if you get sick or are unable to travel due to travel restrictions some of their policies will cover that as cancellation cover.
Safety Wing goes the extra mile and covers quarantine outside your home for up to 10 days, they also have a really handy map on their website showing requirements and restrictions for each country.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation-type trips as they are cheaper than World Nomads a lot of the time.
If you are doing shorter trips or a longer backpacking trips then WorldNomads or Travel Insurance Master are the best options. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for SafetyWing.
Jujuy is Argentina’s northernmost province, limiting with Chile and Bolivia. Desertic landscapes, charming little villages, indigenous heritage, and authentic Andean culture, nestled among colorful mountains.
The Iguazu Falls -Cataratas del Iguazú- are a massive waterfalls system scattered between Brazil and Argentina. Voted in 2011 as one of the World’s 7 Wonders, the waterfalls’ somewhat remote location leaves them out of many itineraries. However, travelers looking for unique, nature-packed, lush landscapes should definitely meet the Iguazu Falls in person!
Perfect for eco-conscious travelers willing to get off the main touristic routes! The Iberá Wetlands -Esteros del Iberá- present untouched landscapes of shallow waters, wild animals, and stunning sunrises and sunsets.
The province of San Juan, just north of Mendoza, still remains as one of Argentina’s best-kept secrets. The Izchigualasto National Park, aka Valley of the Moon, offers sceneries that do seem from a different planet. Plus, you’ll get to hang out with heaps of dino fossils!
A must for wine lovers, Mendoza boasts the most famous vineyards around the country! Home of stunning views and the highest peak in the Western hemisphere, Mendoza is a traveler’s dream. Climbing the Aconcagua is a feat that attracts outdoorsy peeps from all over the globe, so if you feel like giving it a go, or just want to sip some ancestral goodness, then Mendoza is for you.
Buenos Aires is a bustling city packed with all the things you could expect from a major world capital -including the traffic jams! Culture, art, music, food, Tango, football, architecture, and the passion of the Argentinians are reflected in each corner of this unique metropolis.
San Carlos de Bariloche is a top destination for both locals and international travelers. Recognized as Patagonia’s gateway, Bariloche stands as quite the ‘snowy mountain wonderland.’ A lovely city embraced by lakes, alpine houses, a knack for all-things-adventure, and a slew of chocolate goodies. Oh…heaven!
Sea lions, whales, penguins, dolphins, and many other ocean friends lie at the soul of Puerto Madryn and Península Valdés. Often overlooked by travelers heading into the Andes and west Patagonia, this spot lets visitors indulge in its wide and lively ocean life.
What about visiting one of the world’s most famous glaciers? The Glaciar Perito Moreno is a UNESCO site located in Southern Patagonia. Unique and magnificent, visitors get dazzled by the thundering sound of ice cracking and crushing into the lake.
If you are into creating travel bucket lists, make sure to add Tierra del Fuego to your top things to do in Argentina roundup! The southernmost tip of the Americas it’s also known as “the end of the world.” Epic, right? Visit Ushuaia, see oceans merge while you cross the Beagle Channel, and enjoy the treats the land of ice and fire has to offer!
Now that you got a roundup of the top places to visit in Argentina, I’ll share with you the top 10 things and experiences you should definitely take on during your trip. All these activities are ideal for culturally curious travelers -and outdoor lovers!
It’s amazing to think of how many people head to Buenos Aires exclusively to immerse themselves in the culture of Tango -have you heard of Tim Ferriss? Take a class, go to a Milonga, experience Tango’s passion, and become one with Buenos Aires’ neverending nights.
If you love local celebrations, then visiting Argentina in February would give you perfect timing! The most important carnival festivities are in Gualeguaychú, in the province of Entre Ríos. Entre Ríos is on the way from Buenos Aires to Misiones -home of the Iguazú Falls– so it’d be a natural addition to your itinerary. The carnival celebrations in Jujuy and Salta are also great, full of color and indigenous rituals honoring the Pachamama -Mother Earth in the Quechua language.
The Asado is such a big part of Argentinian culture that it’s an absolute must. Forget about the touristic guides, I’m telling you this as a local. A real Asado it’s not just about the meat –vegetarians are most welcome! It’s about sharing with friends and family long days of chilling, with all these foodie-goodies lying on the grill. Making a real Asado is a form of art. It requires love, patience, and dedication!
Going to a football match in Argentina is also an activity that oozes culture and over-the-top passion! A word of wisdom: football matches can get quite heated, so if you plan to go to one research and plan ahead.
Hiking fans will go crazy in El Chaltén! This charming mountain village in Santa Cruz -Patagonia- is the perfect base for trekking and climbing. Mountains, pristine landscapes, a young atmosphere, and a slew of hikes suited for all levels of fitness have earned El Chaltén the official recognition as the “National Capital of Trekking.”
Hiring day or overnight trips in Argentina doesn’t come cheap! There are a gazillion things you can do for free. However, if you want to explore further, going on an expedition during your visit it’s worth it. Go ice-trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, sail the Beagle Channel in Ushuaia, or go scuba diving in Peninsula Valdés. Whatever your choice, make sure to select operators that follow eco-friendly practices!
Argentina’s north-west is packed with arid, mysterious, and even eerie landscapes that seem to last forever. The Train of the Clouds -Tren de las Nubes-, in Salta, is amongst the highest train rides in the world. Taking travelers up to 13,800 ft altitude in a few short hours, you’ll be popping your ears in a heartbeat! Even though Salta is often overlooked, the province is packed with great things to do and has a quite developed tourism infrastructure.
San Juan is also overlooked in many itineraries. But this province has no shortage of cool things to experience! The Parque Nacional el Leoncito hosts El Leoncito, a major astronomical complex with 2 important observatories. There, keen visitors can spend the night learning from real astronomers! Once you are it, head to the Barreal, a huge prehistoric lagoon that is, nowadays, a dry, salt-lake bed -and a major hub for wind-karting.
Are slow travel and road-tripping your jams? Then you’ll note that Route 40 is to Argentina what Route 66 is to the US. Its 5224 km connect the country’s whole length! This winding road goes through some of Argentina’s most renowned spots like Bariloche and Mendoza, to name a few. Taking a road trip along the Ruta 40 will give you a real taste of the country’s enormity and diversity.
Tasting local wine is the ideal indulgence to finish off this roundup of the top 10 things to do in Argentina! Even though Mendoza is the most famous spot for tasting Argentina’s top wines, San Juan and La Rioja -among others- are also up and coming wine regions. The good news is that no matter where you are in the country, there’s always wine. What’s the time? It’s sip-o-clock!
Argentina has quite a developed tourism network, meaning you’ll find good accommodation pretty much anywhere.
Some travelers choose to stay in hotels or ‘hosterías,’ which are like Bed & Breakfast establishments.
Airbnb and Couchsurfing are quite common across the country. If you choose to coordinate a stay on Couchsurfing be mindful of your hosts. Be open to spending time and sharing experiences with them! Argentinians love sharing and are very generous. For sure you won’t regret your Couchsurfing experience!
Outdoorsy folks can join the joys of freedom camping or head to locally-run or private campsites. Bring your tent and camping essentials along, but make sure your gear is suited for changeable weather and strong winds!
Finally, another awesome type of accommodation is… mountain huts! Called ‘refugios de montaña,’ these huts can be found along overnight or multiday hikes. These offer cozy, simple shelters for adventurers hiking their bottoms off!
You will find almost all accommodation in Argentina on Hostel World and/or Booking.com, making booking very simple.
Argentina’s food combines traditional dishes with strong European influences. European immigrants, primarily from Italy and Spain, shaped the country’s culture in every possible way, food included! Check out my top choices of Argentinian food you must try:
If you could try only one dish during your visit to Argentina, that’d be Asado. As I told you before, it’s not just about the food. It’s the whole experience surrounding an Asado gathering. A full-on ‘Asado a la parrilla’ includes different meat cuts and interiors. Chinchulines -beef small intestines-, kidneys, sweetbreads, a type of blood sausage called ‘morcilla,’ and choripán -chorizo sandwich- complete a picture-perfect Asado. Set aside some time to take a siesta after this barbeque experience, you’ll need it!
Another staple of Argentinian cuisine! Empanadas are simply semicircular pies made of pastry and different fillings. This is everyday street food -and my personal favorite meal of all time. If you are traveling on the cheap, eat empanadas! These affordable bites of heaven can be found pretty much anywhere.
Ah! My personal 2nd favorite dish in the world. This rich, thick stew made of butternut squash, pork, and white beans has its origins in the Andes. It’s truly a perfect winter-fix that will keep your soul warm. We always eat it over independence national holidays -I’d munch on it every single day tho!
You won’t find this one in the mainstream media but it’s such a granny’s classic! Many people wouldn’t do tripes but honestly, these ‘nasty bits’ deserve respect. More so when they end up in a flavorful, soft, and tender stew like the traditional Guiso de Mondongo.
Argentinian-style pizza, similar to Italian focaccia. It’s simply a pizza base with loads of onion on top, oregano, and black olives. If you happen to be in a traditional ‘pizzería,’ double up and get the filled version of the Fugazzeta. This comes stuffed with ham and cheese -only for the badass foodies!
Don’t be surprised that one of the top things to eat in Argentina is actually Italy’s culinary masterpiece! Italians shaped Argentinian culture -I actually have 100% Italian roots-, so it’s no wonder that we adopted their cuisine. Eating ravioli with tomato sauce is another granny’s Sunday lunch classic. However, not only grannies love ravioli. You can get your dose at nearly any restaurant -cheap or expensive- as it’s a staple lunch menu item. If you visit Buenos Aires, you’d be surprised to see pasta houses everywhere!
To finish up this massive drooling sesh, I’ll wrap up with Argentina’s top sweet indulgence….the Dulce de Leche! It’s like caramel, but better. What’s best, we add it to most desserts, pastries, and cakes.
This is not food, but a type of tea! Some people think it’s the only thing joining all Argentinians. Regardless of where you live and what you do, chances are that if you are Argentinian, you are addicted to Mate. This type of tea consists of a mate cup filled with a dried herb called ‘Yerba.’ The cup also contains an aluminum straw with a strainer at the bottom. To drink it, hot water is poured into the cup and sipped through the straw.
Backpackers Budget – $3,700 ARS ($25 USD)
Accommodation: $11 USD
Food: $8 USD
Activities & Transport: $7 USD
Mid Budget – $7,100 ARS ($48 USD)
Accommodation: $14 USD
Food: $17 USD
Activities & Transport: $17 USD
Luxury Budget – $13,800 ARS ($92 USD)
Accommodation: $40 USD
Food: $25 USD
Activities & Transport: $27 USD
In general lines, Argentina is safe to visit. However, many problems are hitting the country. You’ll likely see a fair share of poverty during your trip. Corruption, protests, drug addictions, and people living in the streets are sadly quite common things that obviously affect society on many different levels. As a visitor, many of these issues won’t likely affect you directly, but it’s important to take precautions and be mindful.
Major cities like Buenos Aires, Rosario, and Córdoba are safe. Yet, certain areas can be quite dangerous, especially at night.
Street dollar scams are not uncommon so try to stay away from people in the city center claiming to change your money.
Use your common sense and avoid flashing your electronics in the middle of the street. Or carrying money in your back pockets. Opportunists love distracted tourists! Paying attention will keep you from harm. The same goes for jewelry!
Even though many people speak English -even if basic- knowing a bit of Spanish will help you find your way around the country.
If you are a woman traveling solo, research, try to connect with locals, or ask the staff at your accommodation which areas you should avoid -this also applies to men!
Street harassment and men shouting nasty things to women walking on the street is, sadly, quite common.
Finally, avoid walking down the street on your own at night time, regardless of where you are. The same goes for taking a taxi in the city or waiting for the bus alone. Even though Uber it’s not legal in Argentina, there are many trusted taxi services you can call to get back to your accommodation.
Argentina isn’t a cheap country! To help you plan with ease, I’ve put together a few money-saving tips:
Budgeting for a trip to Argentina can be quite hard. More so when what you’ve read on a travel guide from 2 years ago may not reflect at all current costs. So, here’s my simple tip: make sure you are reading current information when planning your trip. Argentina’s been heavily hit by inflation for years. The value of the dollar in relation to the local currency changes pretty much every day!
Argentinians love culture! You wouldn’t believe the amazing state-of-the-art things and events you get to experience at zero cost! For example, the Centro Cultural Kirchner, in Buenos Aires, has a slew of top artists performing for free every single night. Jazz musicians, Tango singers, and even world-renowned pianists, all for free.
It’s going to be pretty much impossible to get Argentinian Peso in any other place but Argentina. Bring a fair amount of cash and exchange for Pesos. Many places don’t accept credit cards. Others will give you a discount if you pay cash. Make sure to double-check the official exchange rates of the day!
Hitchhiking is quite a common practice amongst local and international travelers alike. Argentinians love talking and telling stories, so obviously, getting a ride-buddy can be a great sharing experience.
If you are a seasoned traveler, then you may cry every time you see your hard-earned money slip away in accommodation! Couchsurfing, camping, and staying at Airbnb or hostels are the most common ways to save money in accommodation.
There’s a massive difference in the costs of traveling during peak or off-season! Whenever possible, try to stick to low or shoulder season months and make your money count. The low season runs from March to June and from September to November.
I know this is easier said than done, but good prepping and research can help you stay out of the main tourist traps. Uber-expensive restaurants, tours, Tango shows, and more, are some of the things you should avoid if you want to save some money. Browse the internet and try to find out references for local prices.
A trip to Argentina will definitely involve outdoor adventures! If you are anything like me and love hiking and camping, make sure to bring at least hiking boots or shoes, and a good cold weather sleeping bag, especially if you’ll head to Patagonia. It’s true that some things you can rent, but when it comes to comfort, your shoes and outdoor sleeping system are essential.
Bring layers of clothing, and don’t trust the summer! Even in the midst of if you’ll get to experience cold nights, not only in Patagonia but also in the north-west.
Recoleta Luxury Boutique Hotel
Argentina, being such a huge country, offers many different means of transportation suited for all types of budget.
As I told you before, hitchhiking is quite common and can save you a lot of money. Try to do some research before because you may find yourself in remote locations at times, with not that many cars passing by.
On a side note, if I was a woman traveling solo I wouldn’t hitchhike alone -at least not if I didn’t speak the language fluently. I’ve got my fair share of experience hitchhiking, and I guess I wouldn’t do it on my own anywhere. But hey! That’s me, and I understand this is a very personal choice.
Long-distance buses may be the locals’ top transport option as you can find services to every single place in the country. Buses are also more affordable than flights. Plus, you get to enjoy the scenery! On the downside, if you are traveling against the clock, you’ll have to avoid buses as they take forever. Distances in Argentina are quite long.
Also, some routes are not in the best conditions or have massive traffic. All in all, buses are a great option for the chilled traveler.
Renting a car in Argentina is fairly easy as you only need a valid drivers’ license and a credit car. However, in all honesty, driving in Argentina can sometimes be risky if you are not highly experienced -or if you get stressed easily.
Argentina has quite a record of car accidents as many routes are either not up to standards, or are single lane -meaning that every time you need to pass a car you must go on the opposite lane. Some drivers also love speed and intimidation, more so in areas with high traffic. In conclusion, driving in Argentina can be an amazing experience, but you need to get used to the ‘local style.’
Flying in Argentina can be quite pricey! It was only in the past few years that the first low-cost airlines landed in the country, and they are already accounting for quite a few angry customers.
Aerolíneas Argentinas is the national airline, and even with its ups and downs, it’s quite a trustworthy option for domestic flights.
Most foreign visitors arrive in Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza airport first. The city’s international airport it’s quite far from the city -over 30km. You can head into town by taxi, private shuttle, or public bus. Although the last option is the cheapest, the trip can take up to 2 hours. Once you arrive at the airport, head to the official counter, and find out all the transport options.
Argentina is definitely a year-round destination. Even if you only stick to the most touristic places, you’d be able to enjoy them regardless of the season -if you don’t mind crowds, that is. Of course, if you are planning an epic trip to Patagonia and don’t enjoy winter, then maybe focus on summer and spring months.
As Argentina is located in the Southern Hemisphere, summer starts in December and Winter in June. Hence, the peak season starts just before Christmas and finishes at the end of February. Things pick up again over winter holidays, with a strong season running from July till mid-August.
Martina is a freelance content creator focused on SEO Copywriting -and a total travel-head! Originally from Buenos Aires, she has lived in Denmark, briefly in Italy, New Zealand, and has traveled extensively through South America, Europe, and Asia.
A lover of culture, food, and the outdoors, she started The Global Curious to share her top tips on travel, gear, and expat life!
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