Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world and stretches for 4,000 km from its sub-tropical north to the sub-Antarctic south. Argentina is bordered by the Andes Mountains and Chile to the west. The country is divided into four regions: The Andes, the North, the Pampas, and Patagonia with the Pampas being the agricultural heartland.
Its terrain includes part of the Andes mountain range, swamps, the plains of the Pampas and a long coastline. In the last decades Its people have had to struggle with military dictatorship, a lost war over the Falkland Islands, and severe economic difficulties.
Argentina is rich in resources and is one of South America's largest economies. It is also the land of tango, passion and tragic love. Once you visit it will never leave you.
Population: 43,6 million
Capital: Buenos Aires
Currency: Peso Argentino (ARS)
Government: Presidential Republic
WHEN TO GO
- High Season, between November and March, with warmer temperatures and clear sunnier skies.
- Low Season, between June and September with more rain and freezing temperatures specially in higher regions and the South. In the North, subtropical weather applies.
- In Buenos Aires, weather is generally good all year round;
- In Patagonia and the South, the ideal time to travel is between November and March when trekking and outdoor lovers can experience better conditions;
- July is ideal for skiing in the higher regions like Bariloche, Mendonza and Ushuaia;
- If you are a wine lover, the best time to travel is March with Mendonza having its grape harvests and wine festival.
- For animal sightings in Patagonia and Peninsula Valdez, travel from September to March
- For nature and trek lovers, travel between November and March;
- For winter sports, travel between June and August;
- For wine lovers, travel in March.
Average Temperature (C)
MONEY AND COSTS
Argentina is not a cheap country but you can easily travel at a low cost and save some money with several budget options. Big cities like Buenos Aires, Mendonza or Cordoba are usually more expensive, but in more touristic areas, like Iguazu or in Patagonia, you can also expect to pay more for both acommodation and food.
The official currency is the Argentinean Peso (ARS). It is better to try to exchang part of your money before entering the country as inflation and poor conversion rates usually make you lose money.
Sleeping costs in Argentina always depend on the city or region your are staying in and the time of the year you are travelling. Nevertheless, in most big cities like Buenos Aires you can always find budget-friendly hostels as well as be able to splurge yourself in top-notch five star hotels.
Be prepared to pay extra for staying in regions like Iguazu, Mendonza, the Lake District and Patagonia.
- Hostels and low-range hotels: from US$20/night to US$50/night
- Mid-range hotels: from US$50/night to US$150/night
- Top hotels: from US$150/night
You cannot talk about Argentina without mentioning its food.
Argentina is known for its legendary beef steaks so you cannot leave the country without trying a parrillada for at least once. Expect to see the best juicy meats coming out of the grill in a mix of flavors you will never forget.
In Patagonia trying the patagonean grilled lamb is also a must even if you are not a big fan of it. Chimichurri, a green salsa made of chopped parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, chilli pepper, olive oil and a touch of lemon or vinegar is also a must around here.
Empanadas of all kind are also sold everywhere in the streets or restaurants. Once a cheap working class meal, empanadas now became a national institution stuffed with all kinds of ingredients, either sweet or salty.
On a sweet side, no one can leave Argentina without trying alfajores - crumbly biscuits sandwiching jams, mousses or dulce de leche - or getting strongly addicted to dulce de leche, a sweet thick blend of caramel and condensed milk.
Don´t forget to try yerba mate, a herbal and caffeine-infused drink, made from the naturally caffeinated and nourishing leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree. They say yerba mate has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate" all in one beverage. Do you want to miss it?
Argentina is generally a very safe country to travel and visit. Only in the big cities, especially in Buenos Aires you may need to be extra careful with your belongings. Be aware of pickpockets, specially in public transportation and avoid showing off your phone, camera, wallet and passport in public. More than ten million people live In Buenos Aires greater area so avoid getting lost in less-known areas of the city and more problematic neighbourhoods like Boca and Caminito after sunset. The city center is generally safe at any time of the day.
Everywhere else in the country you will feel very safe and people are usually very welcoming. Just open up and embrace the argentinean way of living and their incredible energy.
Given the sheer size of the country, the easiest and fastest way to travel in Argentina is by plane. Good and safe airplane companies like Aerolineas Argentinas and LATAM provide affordable flights connecting most of the top spots.
Bus travel is also an option if you want to save some money and you don´t mind travelling for long hours on the road - travelling between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, for example, can take you up to 36 hours. Buses connect almost all destinations in Argentina and are also a good option to travel between countries.
Renting a car and travel on your own is also a good option as most of the roads are paved and pretty safe throughout the country.
Argentina is a moderately safe country to travel to concerning health conditions. In big cities there is a good network of health providers, clinics and hospitals but in the inner parts of the country you may need to be extra careful.
The main concern about diseases these days is related to Zika virus; pregnant women are advised not to travel to certain parts of the country like the northern region or be extra careful with mosquito bites. Apart from that, general health precautions apply: eat and drink safely (avoid unsafe tap or well water), prevent bug bites (always carry a good repellent and wear long cloths), keep away from animals, reduce exposure to germs and avoid sharing body fluids or risk behaviours. In high altitude and colder regions, mosquito bites risk is very low.
Be sure to travel with your usual medicines, a dhiarrea antibiotic, malaria prevention medicine, antihistamine, medicine for pain and fever, cough medicine and sunscreen. Mosquito bite treatment is also recommended.
Check your routine vaccines before leaving and getting a Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccine before arriving is also advised.
For more info check: CDC Health Information - Argentina
SEE & DO
From Iguazu waterfalls to Buenos Aires, from Patagonia and Peninsula Valdez to the Andes and from the vineyards of Mendonza to the deserts of Salta, Argentina is rich in its fauna and flora and also home to some of the most fascinating landscapes on the planet.
If Buenos Aires vibrates with tango on the streets and the salero of its people, Iguazu vibrates with the roaring of its mighty and beautiful waterfalls and Patagonia vibrates with the strenghth of its winds and dramatic landscapes.
The coast of Patagonia is home to elephant seals, fur seals, penguins, and sea lions. Its mountains and glaciers define a landscape that populate every phoographer´s dreams. The waters off the Atlantic are home to sharks, orcas, dolphins, and salmon. Patagonia is a sparsely populated area rich in natural resources and wildlife, also including herons, condors, pumas, tortoises, and guanacos.
In the north, there are many large cat species such as the cougar, jaguar, and the ocelot. There are also crocodiles and caiman. Flamingos, toucans, turtles, and tortoises also live in the subtropical north.
A TRAVEL TIP
Packing for Argentina is not easy, given given the country´s variety of weather, different geography and type of terrains. The best thing to do is to pack clothes for all four seasons - from the scorching heat of Buenos Aires streets to the freezing cold of Patagonean winds and glaciers, you will get all kinds of weather. Don´t forget to take a light water-proof jacket, warm sweaters, dry-pants, shorts, good hiking shoes (if you are into trekking), small towel, sunglasses, a watch and a lantern.
Check your electrical converters and don´t forget to bring your camera or phone!
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