Argentina Travel Guide: My Personal Recommendations

Welcome to Argentina! If this is your first time travelling to Argentina and Buenos Aires, then this Argentina travel guide is for you. I’ve spent over 3 weeks exploring Argentina in April 2024, and I have my best tips right here in this blog to help make your trip to Argentina unforgettable. 

Welcome to Argentina! If this is your first time travelling to Argentina and Buenos Aires, then this Argentina travel guide is for you. I’ve spent over 3 weeks exploring Argentina in April 2024, and I have my best tips right here in this blog to help make your trip to Argentina unforgettable. 

How is Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is the most European-looking city in Latin America.   

The capital of Argentina is a huge and colourful city. You’ll want to spend days exploring the streets and admiring its European-influenced architecture. You can use public transport to go all around the city. The Metro works just fine, and trips are cheap. 

But once you are in Buenos, you’ll discover that Argentina struggles with its ever-increasing inflation. Locals love their pets, and traffic gets crazy at rush hour. Argentina is a huge producer of wine, and the local obsessions are mate, a tea that is drunk with a special straw, and the alfajor, a specific biscuit to have with your coffee or tea. 

Argentina sees itself as the capital of culture on the South American continent, and it’s obvious to see why. The vibrant art scene, literary heritage, and thriving art galleries are all testimony to Buenos Aires’ cultural richness. 

Oh, and let’s not forget the tango music and dance, which was invented here, and you can choose from a variety of tango shows daily to enjoy it. 

Argentina travel guide

Best time to visit Argentina

Argentina experiences diverse climates due to its vast size and varying geography. If you have looked at the map of South America, then you must know that Argentina is absolutely huge, and that’s why it offers a bunch of very different climates. 

That’s why it is absolutely necessary to plan your trip to Argentina and have an idea of where you want to go and where, because you will need to pack different clothes for different types of weather. I know I did. 

Argentina travel guide

To give you an idea of what the weather in Argentina looks like, here is the climate in Argentina for each of its major regions:

  • Northern regions: Subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters.
  • Central regions (including Buenos Aires): Temperate climate with four distinct seasons.
  • Western Andes: Alpine climate with cold winters and mild summers.
  • Southern Patagonia: Cold, windy climate with harsh winters and cool summers.
  • Eastern coastal regions: Maritime climate with mild temperatures year-round.

One thing that I realised very late in my life is that I am from Europe.

Being in the Southern Hemisphere means the seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere. So, while it’s summer in North America and Europe, it’s winter in Argentina, and vice versa. This should be considered when planning activities and packing attire for a trip to Argentina.

Argentina travel guide

Seasons in Argentina, and when is the best time to go to each region

Spring (September to November):

  • Buenos Aires: Pleasant weather with blooming jacaranda trees.
  • Mendoza: Ideal for wine tasting as vineyards come to life.
  • Patagonia: Wildlife spotting and hiking in national parks with milder temperatures.

Summer (December to February):

  • Beaches: Enjoy the Atlantic coastline, which includes Mar del Plata and Pinamar.
  • Bariloche: Popular for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and skiing (in higher elevations).
  • Buenos Aires: Summers are the ideal time for city exploration and cultural activities.

Autumn (March to May):

  • Wine Regions: Harvest festivals in Mendoza and Cafayate offer wine tastings and cultural events.
  • Northwest: Pleasant temperatures for exploring the rugged landscapes of Salta and Jujuy.
  • Buenos Aires: Tango festivals and cultural events.

Winter (June to August):

  • Andes Ski Resorts: Hit the slopes in Bariloche, Las Leñas, or Chapelco.
  • Southern Patagonia: Whale watching in Peninsula Valdés or exploring glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park. But it will be very cold, as you are super close to Antarctica. 
  • Iguazu Falls: Witness the falls in their full glory with lush vegetation.

Of course, you can choose to visit any part of Argentina, at any time, as flights run throughout the year, but the climate changes dramatically, and you have to go prepared. 

Argentina travel guide

Argentina’s cultural heritage 

Argentina’s cultural heritage is a rich tapestry woven from diverse influences, shaped by centuries of history, immigration, and indigenous traditions. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Indigenous Heritage:
    • Before the arrival of European colonisers, Argentina was inhabited by various indigenous groups such as the Mapuche, Quechua, and Guarani.
    • These indigenous cultures contributed to Argentina’s cultural landscape through their languages, customs, and artistic expressions, which are still preserved in some regions today.
  2. Colonial Legacy:
    • Argentina was colonized by Spain in the 16th century, leading to the introduction of Spanish language, religion (Catholicism), and customs.
    • Colonial architecture, particularly evident in cities like Buenos Aires and Cordoba, reflects this period of Spanish rule.
  3. Immigration Waves:
    • From the late 19th to the early 20th century, Argentina experienced significant waves of immigration, primarily from Europe.
    • The largest groups of immigrants came from Italy and Spain, followed by other European countries such as Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
    • This influx of immigrants brought diverse cultural traditions, cuisines, music, and arts, contributing to Argentina’s multicultural identity.
  4. Italian Influence:
    • Italian immigrants, in particular, had a profound impact on Argentine culture, shaping its culinary scene with dishes like pizza, pasta, and gelato.
    • Tango, Argentina’s iconic dance and music genre, has strong Italian influences, blending European and African rhythms.
  5. Jewish and Arab Communities:
    • Argentina is also home to significant Jewish and Arab communities whose cultural contributions are evident in cuisine, music, and festivals.
  6. Gaucho Culture:
    • The gaucho, Argentina’s iconic cowboy, represents the country’s rural heritage and is celebrated in folklore, music, and literature.
    • Traditional gaucho attire, including the bombacha pants and wide-brimmed hat, is still worn during festivals and cultural events.
Blue Dollar Rate In Argentina: Everything You Need To Know 

Money in Argentina

Money is a controversial topic in Argentina. The country’s economy is not doing great, and it has been experiencing great inflation over the years. This resulted in an alternative exchange rate.

The current blue dollar exchange rate can be checked here. Note that it isn’t as bad as it used to be, and paying with a card for smaller transactions will not break the bank. 

I wrote everything there is to know about it in this guide about the blue dollar exchange rate in Argentina, including tips for travellers in Argentina. 

The bottom line is that the official exchange rate given by the banks and most credit or debit cards is much worse (you lose money) than what you get for exchanging US bills in the exchange houses. So when travelling to Argentina, go with US dollar cash.

If you are travelling there for longer, then use Western Union to send money to yourself, as they provide a good exchange rate. 

Argentina travel guide

Public transport in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a huge city, and the best way to explore it is by using public transport. The metro will take you anywhere you need to go in the central area. If you want to explore a bit outside the centre, you will need to take the bus to some neighbourhoods, such as Boca. 

To use public transport in Buenos Aires, you need a Sube public transport card, which you can top up with cash at any metro station.

Then, you just tap the card at the metro or bus, and the corresponding fee will be deducted from the card. Note that for the bus, you need to tell the driver where you are going (name of the stop you want to get off), so they know what to change, and then tap the machine with your card. Otherwise, the bus driver will charge the maximum amount for the bus ride. 

I visited Argentina in April 2024, so the prices were 125 ARS ($0.14) for a metro ride and a maximum of 150 ARS ($0.17) for a bus ride. A SUBE metro card was about 850 ARS ($0.97) to buy (at any metro station). 

However, given the high inflation that Argentina is experiencing, these prices might change by the time you visit Argentina. 

You can also use Uber in Argentina to pay with your card through the app. I used it a few times early in the morning when I needed to get to the airport. It was ok, but once, I had to remember the driver to start the trip as he started driving without starting the trip. Always pay attention to details like that because you never know. 

To get from the airport to the centre, you can use Uber or public transport. I landed at Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) twice and took Tienda Leon bus. 

Argentina travel guide

How to travel within Argentina

As I mentioned so many times already in this Argentina travel guide, the country is huge. It starts with a tropical land, at the edge of the Amazon in the North and ends with the Southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, the port for all cruises that go to Antarctica. 

Since the distances are so great, the best way to travel within Argentina, is by plane. All regions of Argentina have airports and regular flights scheduled throughout the year. There are flights between the different regions, but most of them are connected through Buenos Aires. 

When I travelled to Ushuaia, it was already late autumn, and the plane was full of locals, who were travelling between their hometown and Buenos Aires. And that’s the case with most of the places in Argentina. 

Argentina travel guide

Driving in Argentina

While I didn’t rent a car in Argentina, I would have loved to. 

Unlike other countries in Latin America, Argentina has great roads and offers normal driving conditions. From my personal observations, drivers are careful, respect traffic laws and signs, use signals when changing directions, and respect pedestrians. 

It felt very safe to walk and drive in Argentina. Given that Argentina is huge, renting a car is an advisable activity if you plan to discover a region of Argentina. For instance, many choose to rent a car in Ushuaia or in Iguazu.

That way, you will not have to wait for public buses, spend money on taxis and Uber, and be a lot more flexible in making your schedule. 

However, if you plan to stay longer in Argentina, one more adventurous plan would be to drive all the way from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. 

Note that this is a very long drive, and you will probably need at least a month to do it (road trip). Some rental companies might not allow this since Ushuaia is not connected to the rest of the country, and you need to cross the border to Chile and then cross the border once more. 

Also, there are strict regulations in Patagonia about what you are allowed to bring with you (no fresh food, meat, seeds, plants). 

I would have normally rented a car in Ushuaia, but this was the end of the season, and it was starting to feel really cold, so I wasn’t sure if I would go out much to explore. But during summer, many tourists rent cars, as this is the only way to reach some of the beautiful trails offered by the Argentinian Patagonia. The other option would be to go by taxi or on a tour, which tends to be the more expensive option. 

Argentina travel guide

Getting around Argentina without a car

If you decide that you won’t rent a car in Argentina, then that should be fine too. 

Getting around Buenos Aires shouldn’t be a problem, as you have public transport and Ubers to take you anywhere you need to be. 

In other places in Argentina, you will have two options – Uber and tour agencies. 

If you are more of an adventurous traveller who enjoys planning your own trips, then you can do that by simply calling Uber or local taxis to get to your places. 

Luckily, all those tourist places are really close to a city, and there you will have the option to take taxis. Prices are generally good, and nothing too crazy. Taxis are also very safe in Argentina. 

If you don’t know or want to go hiking or sightseeing on your own, then you can join a local tour guide. In all the tourist locations in Argentina, you will find local tour agencies organising daily trips to the most popular attractions nearby. You will find those in Ushuaia, El Calafate, Mendoza and Iguazu, for instance.    

Argentina travel guide

Domestic flights from Buenos Aires

Aerolineas Argentinas are the largest carrier in Argentina, and you can book flights directly on their website. I used it in Spanish and had no issues booking my flights to Ushuaia and Iguazu. 

One important note about travelling with Aerolineas Argentinas is that they have a specific rule for domestic flights. 

On domestic flights with Aerolineas Argentinas, you are allowed to bring only a personal item and a carry-on of up to 8 kg.

They have several ticket classes, and each comes with benefits, but if you are travelling only with a carry-on like I was, then check the dimensions and weight of your carry-on because they will check at the luggage check-in (if you need to go there). 

Since I realised from the start that my luggage was too big and heavy, I bought the checked luggage online before getting to the airport. Remember that buying your luggage option at the airport is always the most expensive option, so try to anticipate it, and you will save money. 

I had a 40-litre backpack that was overflowing, but nothing was hanging on the outside. I had to check it in on three flights in Argentina, and all these times, my backpack was okay. My backpack survived, nothing broke, and nothing bad happened, so I do recommend Aerolineas Argentinas, as the service was very good. 

Argentina travel guide

Top tourist attractions in Argentina

  1. Iguazu Falls:
    • It is one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world, located on the border of Argentina and Brazil.
  2. Perito Moreno Glacier:
    • A stunning glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier is known for its massive size and dramatic ice formations.
  3. Buenos Aires:
    • The vibrant capital city is known for its European-style architecture, rich cultural heritage, and tango dance performances.
  4. Bariloche and the Lake District:
    • A picturesque region in Patagonia that is renowned for its stunning lakes, snow-capped mountains, and outdoor recreational activities.
  5. Mendoza Wine Region:
    • Argentina’s premier wine-producing region is famous for its Malbec wines and scenic vineyards.
  6. Salta and the Northwest:
    • A region that is known for its colonial architecture, Andean landscapes, and the scenic Train to the Clouds.
  7. Tierra del Fuego National Park:
    • Located at the southern tip of Argentina, offering breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
  8. Valdes Peninsula:
    • A UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its diverse marine wildlife, including whales, seals, and penguins.
  9. Ushuaia:
    • The southernmost city in the world, serving as a gateway to Antarctica and offering opportunities for adventure sports and cruises.
  10. Cordoba:
    • Argentina’s second-largest city is known for its colonial architecture, historic Jesuit churches, and vibrant cultural scene.
  11. Quebrada de Humahuaca:
    • A UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring stunning rock formations, colourful mountains, and indigenous culture in the Andean foothills.
  12. Pampas Region:
    • Experience traditional gaucho culture, horseback riding, and ranch stays in the vast grasslands of Argentina.
Argentina travel guide

Where to stay in Argentina (hotels and accommodation) 

I always use a combination of Airbnb and Booking, depending on the current prices and options. 

Argentina is a really popular destination in South America, so you had better book your hotel as soon as possible. 

Even the best apartments in Buenos Aires need to be booked in advance, regardless of the season. 

Here are some options of where I stayed in different parts of Argentina that I recommend:

  • Buenos Aires: Stay in the Recoleta neighbourhood. I stayed at this Airbnb
  • Ushuaia: I recommend staying in the city, so you can easily walk around to restaurants and shops. I used Booking in Ushuaia, and I stayed at this beautiful apartment with the best views. 
  • Puerto Iguazu: This is, without a doubt, one of the most famous falls in the world, so book your hotel wisely and timely. I recommend this hotel because I stayed at a budget one, which was so much worse, and I don’t recommend going on a budget there. 
  • El Calafate: The famous glacier of Argentina is a sight you shouldn’t miss. I recommend staying here. 
Argentina travel guide Tango

Foods to try in Argentina

  1. Asado (Argentine BBQ):
    • It is a quintessential Argentine dish featuring various cuts of grilled meat, often served with chimichurri sauce. I don’t eat meat, so I can’t really recommend a place, but trust me, you will find it everywhere.
  2. Empanadas:
    • Savoury pastries filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, or a combination of ingredients, baked or fried. These are so popular in Argentina, people line for at lunch time to get them. 
  3. Milanesa:
    • Breaded and fried meat cutlets, usually made with beef or chicken, served with mashed potatoes or salad.
  4. Provoleta:
    • Grilled provolone cheese, often seasoned with herbs and spices, is served as an appetiser or side dish.
  5. Locro:
    • A hearty stew made with corn, beans, meat (usually beef or pork), and vegetables, often enjoyed during winter months.
  6. Matambre:
    • Thinly sliced beef flank steak stuffed with vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and herbs, rolled and cooked until tender.
  7. Choripán:
    • Grilled chorizo sausage served on a crusty bread roll, typically topped with chimichurri sauce.
  8. Humita:
    • A traditional dish made with ground corn, onions, and spices, wrapped in corn husks and steamed.
  9. Dulce de Leche:
    • A sweet, caramel-like spread made from condensed milk, used in desserts, pastries, and as a topping for toast or pancakes. Probably you won’t eat it as it is, it’s usually sold in jars, much like Nutella.
  10. 10. Alfajor:
    • A double biscuit with cream inside, usually dulce de leche. It’s sold everywhere, from supermarkets, to local pastry shops, and can come in all sorts of combinations. It’s a nice snack to have by the side when enjoying your coffee. 
  11. Medialunas:
    • Flaky, crescent-shaped croissants are often enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack, plain or filled with dulce de leche.
Argentina travel guide

Drinks to try in Argentina

  1. Mate:
    • A traditional South American herbal tea made from dried yerba mate leaves. This is much more popular than coffee in Argentina, you will see people drinking it everywhere, even in the metro. It is drunk with a special straw, called “bombilla”. Local often carry a thermos with them with hot water, to replenish their cup. 
  2. Malbec Wine:
    • Argentina’s most famous red wine variety is known for its deep colour and rich flavours, particularly from the Mendoza region. The best way to enjoy it is by planning a trip to the Mendoza region and going on a Mendoza wine tour. 
  3. Fernet and Coke (Fernet con Cola):
    • A popular Argentine cocktail made with Fernet, a bitter herbal liqueur, mixed with cola and served over ice.
  4. Torrontés Wine:
    • A fragrant white wine variety native to Argentina, featuring floral aromas and fruity flavours, often paired with seafood or spicy dishes.
  5. Quilmes Beer:
    • Argentina’s leading beer brand, offering a range of lagers and ales, best enjoyed ice-cold on a hot day.
  6. Submarino:
    • A simple and comforting drink made by dunking a bar of chocolate into hot milk until it melts, creating a rich and creamy beverage.
  7. Café con Leche:
    • A classic Argentine coffee drink consisting of equal parts espresso and steamed milk, often enjoyed for breakfast or as an afternoon pick-me-up.
  8. Cider (Sidra):
    • Particularly popular during the holiday season, Argentine cider is a refreshing and slightly fizzy beverage enjoyed chilled.
  9. Pisco Sour:
    • While more commonly associated with Peru, this South American cocktail made with pisco (grape brandy), lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white is also enjoyed in Argentina.
Argentina travel guide

I hope you enjoy Argentina

The Argentinian land is one of the most desired tourist destinations in all of South America. It’s obvious why that is the case — the beautiful landscape, rich culture brought by immigrants from all over the world, and overall safety are not an issue.

I have heard stories from other European backpackers who said they weren’t as safe, but I wouldn’t deem Argentina unsafe. And there is so much of it; it would be really unfair to categorize Argentina in one way or another when there are literally hundreds of touristy places, each with a different vibe and a different scene.

So if your dream is to travel to Argentina, by all means, do it. Go to those places you’ve always dreamt of going to, enjoy yourself, and become a better person and a well-travelled individual. South America awaits you!

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog, Juliasomething.com.

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