Argentina Travel Guide
Welcome to the dynamic world of Argentina, a land brimming with diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. From the bustling city life of Buenos Aires to the breathtaking beauty of the Andes, Argentina offers an abundance of experiences that are sure to captivate any traveler.
Whether you're drawn to the enchanting waterfalls, expansive vineyards, stunning mountain ranges, or the alluring tango rhythm, there's something to appeal to everyone's taste. Our Argentina travel guide invites you on a journey to explore the diverse wonders of this vibrant South American country.
Capital city: Buenos Aires
Currency: Argentine Peso (ARS). 1 USD = 273 ARS.
Electricity: Power voltage is 220 Volts. Power sockets type C and I.
Languages: Spanish, but also Quechua and Guaraní, and other Indigenous languages. Other languages such as Italian are also spoken, coming from the various immigration waves.
Fun fact: Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world? Mendoza, a region nestled in the foothills of the Andes, is known for its high-quality Malbec, a grape originally grown in France but now Argentina’s flagship variety.
10 Handpicked Highlights of Argentina
Here are 10 of the most amazing places to visit in the country.
The Iguazu Falls, located at the junction of the Iguazu and Paraná rivers, divide Argentina and Brazil and comprise one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. The falls are almost three times wider than Niagara Falls and are surrounded by the verdant vegetation of the Iguazu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The spectacle of 275 individual drops cascading down is an unforgettable experience. The park also offers a variety of activities such as hiking, bird watching, and boat trips that provide an intimate encounter with the falls’ power.
Known as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires merges European grandeur with Latin passion. Here, you’ll find a city of broad boulevards, vibrant street art, and an array of architectural styles from Spanish colonial to French Beaux-Arts.
The city’s neighborhoods each tell a story, from the vibrantly painted houses of La Boca to the upscale boutiques and restaurants of Palermo. Buenos Aires is also the birthplace of tango, and the city pulsates with music from its bustling nightclubs to professional shows in grand theatres.
History lovers can delve into Argentina’s past at numerous museums, while foodies can indulge in famous Argentine steaks paired with world-class wines.
Perito Moreno Glacier
One of the few advancing glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno offers a dynamic and powerful spectacle of nature. The 30 km long glacier is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the world’s third-largest reserve of fresh water.
Visitors can witness “calving,” the process where chunks of ice break off from the glacier and crash into Lake Argentino, from a series of walkways or take a guided trek on the ice itself. The surrounding park also offers other activities like hiking, sailing, and spotting wildlife, including condors and guanacos.
Mendoza Wine Region
Nestled in the shadows of the Andes, Mendoza is the heart of Argentina’s wine country and famous for producing some of the world’s best Malbec.
However, it’s not just about wine; Mendoza offers breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities like horseback riding and rafting, and a burgeoning culinary scene. Wine enthusiasts can tour century-old vineyards and state-of-the-art wineries, learning about the winemaking process from grape to glass, and of course, enjoying ample tastings along the way.
The enchanting city of Bariloche, situated amidst the snow-capped Andes and crystal-clear lakes, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether it’s hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter, or exploring the breathtaking scenery of Nahuel Huapi National Park, Bariloche is a year-round destination.
The city also boasts a rich history of German and Swiss immigration evident in its alpine architecture and renowned chocolate shops. Don’t miss the iconic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route) for some of the most mesmerizing lake views you’ll ever encounter.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Peninsula Valdes, is one of the most important marine wildlife reserves globally. It’s home to an impressive variety of marine mammals, including sea lions, fur seals, and the southern right whales, which come here to breed between June and December.
The area is also famous for its Magellanic penguin colonies, where visitors can walk among thousands of penguins. Various tours offer the chance to view these creatures in their natural habitat and learn about their behaviors and ecosystems.
Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego
Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, is a gateway to the remote wilderness of Tierra del Fuego and the icy continent of Antarctica. This windswept archipelago, often referred to as “the End of the World,” offers dramatic landscapes from glacier-carved mountains to subantarctic forests and the serene Beagle Channel.
Activities include trekking, skiing, and even sailing to view sea lions, penguins, and diverse bird species. Ushuaia’s unique location also provides a rich history from its indigenous people to early explorers and penal colony past.
The Andes and Aconcagua
The Argentine Andes offers endless opportunities for adventure, from the verdant vineyards of Mendoza to the arid high-altitude deserts near Salta. At the center of it all is Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside Asia, and a magnet for mountaineers worldwide.
Even for non-climbers, the Aconcagua Provincial Park is worth a visit for its panoramic views and hiking trails. The region also offers activities like horse riding, rafting, and exploring Incan ruins, combined with breathtaking landscapes at every turn..
Quebrada de Humahuaca
Quebrada de Humahuaca, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a deep valley carved out by the Rio Grande and adorned with stunning multicolored rock formations. This geological marvel has been used as a caravan road for over 10,000 years and is rich in history and culture, with numerous pre-Columbian archaeological sites.
The small towns scattered along the valley, such as Purmamarca, Tilcara, and Humahuaca, offer vibrant local markets, colonial architecture, and opportunities to learn about indigenous cultures.
The Pampas and Gauchos
The vast plains of the Pampas is the home of the gaucho, the legendary Argentine cowboy, and the heartland of Argentina’s beef production. Visitors can stay on traditional estancias, enjoying horseback riding, watching gauchos at work, and partaking in asado, a traditional barbecue.
This is not just about experiencing the cowboy life but also the wildlife. The region is home to various animals like capybaras, marsh deer, and over 200 species of birds, making it a hotspot for nature enthusiasts.
Argentina's Geography & Landscapes
Argentina, the second-largest country in South America, boasts an incredibly diverse geography, extending from the steamy jungles of the north to the frozen expanses of Patagonia in the south. In between, you’ll find four main geographical regions, each offering unique landscapes.
The Andean Region: Stretching along the western edge of Argentina, this is where you’ll find the towering Andes mountains, the highest peaks in the Western Hemisphere. This region includes the high-altitude deserts near Salta, the wine country around Mendoza, and the glacial landscapes of southern Patagonia.
The Gran Chaco: To the east of the Andes, the Gran Chaco is a hot, semi-arid lowland area characterized by savannas and thorny shrubs. It’s one of the country’s least populated regions but is known for its diverse fauna, including capybaras, jaguars, and numerous bird species.
The Pampas: The Pampas is a fertile, grassy plain that covers central Argentina. This is the heartland of the Argentine cowboy, the gaucho, and the mainstay of the country’s beef industry. The bustling city of Buenos Aires is located on the eastern edge of the Pampas.
Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego: The vast and windswept plains of Patagonia cover the southern part of Argentina, extending to the frozen archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. This region features pristine lakes, towering glaciers, and unique wildlife like guanacos and Magellanic penguins.
Best Time To Go To Argentina
Given Argentina’s vast size and geographical diversity, the best time to visit can vary depending on what regions and activities you have in mind. However, here are some general guidelines:
Spring (September to November): This is a great time to visit most parts of Argentina, including Buenos Aires, as the weather is pleasant and the spring blooms are in full display. It’s also an excellent time for whale watching in Peninsula Valdes.
Summer (December to February): Summer is the best time for visiting Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, as the weather is warmest (though still cool) and the days are longest. However, it can be very hot and humid in Buenos Aires and the northern regions.
Autumn (March to May): The fall foliage makes this a fantastic time to visit the wine region around Mendoza. The weather is also pleasant in Buenos Aires and Patagonia.
Winter (June to August): Winter is the best time for skiing in the Andes around Bariloche. It can be cold in Buenos Aires and the Pampas, and many parts of Patagonia are inaccessible due to snow and ice. However, it’s a good time to visit the northwest regions, as the weather is cooler and less humid.
Always remember to check the weather conditions for the specific regions you plan to visit closer to your travel date.
Traveling in Argentina
- Stay Alert: Keep an eye on your surroundings, especially in crowded areas where pickpockets may operate.
- Scam Awareness: Be wary of scams, particularly in tourist areas. This might include overcharging, fake currency, or distraction theft.
- Secure Your Valuables: Use hotel safes for your passports and other valuables. Never leave your bags or personal belongings unattended in public places.
- Be Cautious at Night: Avoid walking alone late at night, especially in less populated or poorly lit areas.
- Follow Local Laws and Customs: Respect local laws and customs to avoid any legal trouble or offending local residents.
- Travel Insurance: Ensure you have adequate travel insurance that covers medical expenses, including emergency repatriation.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, especially in the hot northern regions. Always opt for bottled water.
- Health Precautions: Stay updated on vaccinations and remember that certain areas have a risk of diseases like dengue fever and Zika virus.
- Money Safety: Use ATMs in controlled environments like banks or hotels. Be discreet when handling cash in public.
- Emergency Numbers: Keep a list of emergency numbers. The nationwide emergency number in Argentina is 911.
Getting to & Around Argentina
Getting to Argentina is generally straightforward, with Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport serving as the primary international gateway. Other notable airports include Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires for domestic flights, and airports in Cordoba, Mendoza, and Bariloche.
Argentina has a comprehensive bus network with comfortable long-distance buses (“colectivos”) serving nearly all towns and cities. Companies like Via Bariloche, Crucero del Norte, and Chevallier are known for their services.
Trains are limited but can offer scenic views, particularly the Train to the Clouds in Salta and the Old Patagonian Express in Patagonia. For more remote areas, car rentals are available, though be prepared for long distances.
In cities, taxis and ride-sharing apps like Uber are widely available. Remember that traffic in Buenos Aires can be chaotic, and drivers are generally aggressive.
Accommodation in Argentina ranges from luxury hotels and boutique guesthouses to hostels and homestays. Buenos Aires, in particular, offers a broad range of options to suit all budgets, with stylish design hotels and budget-friendly hostels.
In rural areas and smaller towns, estancias (ranch stays) provide a unique local experience, while eco-lodges and camping are common in national parks and Patagonia.
Prices can vary significantly depending on the region and the season, but it’s generally possible to find a comfortable double room in a mid-range hotel for around $50-70 USD per night. Hostel dorm beds can be as low as $10-15 USD.
Booking in advance is recommended, particularly in high season and popular areas like Patagonia and Iguazu Falls. Airbnb is also increasingly popular and offers a wide range of accommodation options.