From the fascination generated by its beauties such as the glaciers of El Calafate, the Atlantic coast with its amazing marine life, through the spectacular Iguazu Falls, Argentina is an impressive natural monument. Its capital, Buenos Aires, is one of the most important Hispanic cities in the world, not only by its size and demographics, but especially for its influence in international culture (sports, music, tango, cinema…). Argentina has an important tourist and hotel industry, in constant development, and in a large part of its territory.
Language and Religion
The language spoken is Spanish, « revised » to Argentine fashion. Catholicism is the religion most prevalent and practiced in Argentina.
Territory: 2 780 400 km2 – Capital: Buenos Aires
Its high season covers Argentine in Spring and Summer, from September to April.
Apart from this long season, tourist activity is profoundly reduced: many hotels and estancias close, trips are shorter and less numerous. Some domestic air connections are no longer assured.
However, in low season, it is also significant that you can take advantage of these natural places emptied of the crowds of tourists.
During winter, sports activities related to the level of snow are taking place, like skiing in Ushuaia, dog sledding, snowshoeing, snow scooters, …
Wildlife Ushuaia: Magellanic penguins are visible from October to April.
Peninsula of Valdes (Wildlife)
It is important for this destination to consider the seasonality of various animals seen on the Valdes Peninsula and its surroundings:
– Southern right whales: animals visible from June to December
– Magellan Penguins: animals visible from September to April
– White Dolphins: animals visible all year
– Dark Dolphins: animals visible from September to May
– Sea lions and eared seal are visible all year
– Orcs: animals visible from September to December and February to April, but very difficult to observe.
They can be visited all year round, and summer is the hottest season (tropical climate). Sometimes, some tours cannot be done because of the amount of water, depending on the period and the climate:
– It is too high and therefore dangerous,
– It is too low and therefore some areas are impassable.
From December to March is the rainy season. For this reason, it is low season at this time. Indeed, the rains that affect the Northwest Region during the summer may sometimes prevent access to certain areas of the mountains and some traditional tours, even if the area remains largely accessible.
All the territory of the Argentine Republic is regulated by time zone GMT -3.
From March to October the country has a common time.
From October to March, however we may encounter some areas two distinct hours.
No visa is required for citizens of most countries of Latin America, North America and Europe.
However, it is essential to have a valid passport, with which a stay of 90 days (3 months) is allowed, as part of a holiday.
If your program involves crossing a border, Chile, Brazil (if you want to visit the Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side), Bolivia or Paraguay or Uruguay, we recommend you to check the conditions prevailing in each country (of course we will guide you through this process).
The Argentine currency is the peso ($) Argentina (note the symbol close to that of the Dollar!)
It is recommended to change your money at hotels, banks (Monday to Friday from 10am to 3pm) or exchange points, where you must present your passport. The exchange rate against U.S. Dollars and other currencies is variable; it is desirable to look for signs before exchanging your money.
Currently (November 2017), it is approximately 1 USD = 17,40 Argentine Pesos (ARS) / 1 EUR = 20,62 ARS
There are cash withdrawal points in all major cities, running 24h/24h (Visa, Visa Premier, Master Card, Eurocard, American Express). Beware though, it is often impossible to withdraw more than 300 pesos (about 70 USD) at a time (for example VISA). Several series of withdrawals are of course allowed (within the ceiling set by your bank) but then you will pile up fees for withdrawal. Check with your operator card before you leave.
In shops of Buenos Aires most credit cards are accepted, especially American Express, Visa, Diners and Master Card.
Regarding travellers checks, it is difficult to change or use outside Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires, they are directly exchanged at American Express headquarters and branches located in the city centre.
Traditionally the Argentina food is identified by the « asado », the national dish of excellence, which corresponds to a barbecue meat and / or grilled offal. The various methods of cooking and preparing the asado vary depending on the region. This gaucho ritual gourmet is usually served with salad or fries.
In each region, there are however some local specialties.
In the Northwest, we find the culinary traditions of Inca influence, indigenous or Spanish-Creole influence. Corn and potato are the basis for the preparation of regional dishes such as the empanadas, the Locro the Humita, the tamal…
To make your trip easier, we recommend you to bring a large bag (or backpack with wheels if possible) and a backpack to carry by hand.
It is important to know that all passengers are allowed to carry up to 20 kilos on the plane on most scheduled Transatlantic flights (check with airlines for confirmation of these conditions on your flight). It is advisable to take out « »loss of luggage” insurance. »
Recommended clothing: In Patagonia, a good mountain equipment is necessary. Allow enough to cope with four seasons in one day!
Vaccines: No vaccination certificate is required to enter the country, if you are from European countries. There is no disease in Argentina requiring specific immunity.
However, as a precaution, we recommend:
– In the northern part of the country (Misiones, Salta and Iguazu / Jujuy in summer) provide a repellent to prevent mosquito bites and, for an extended stay in the area of Misiones / Iguacu, consider vaccination against Yellow fever (a few human cases have been reported in recent years – it is essentially a preventive measure). Since early 2009 Argentina was hit by an epidemic of Dengue: advices in terms of prevention are identical (repellents, long sleeves at night…).
Water: Across the country, it is preferable to drink bottled water and avoid water faucets, especially in less developed areas (no risk in Buenos Aires).
Food: Concerning food, the consumption of fruit and salad represent no particular risk. It depends, again on the level of development of the area where you are.
In Argentina, public hospitals are available to tourists and are open for emergencies 24 / 24 pm, free.
In the capital, hospitals provide a high level of medical services, which is not the case across the country.
We recommend that you check with your health insurance/Social Security / mutual repayment terms in case you need to cope with medical costs in Argentina.
Finally, if you want to visit the neighbouring tropical countries (Paraguay, Bolivia or Brazil), we recommend you learn about preventive measures recommended for each of these countries.
Argentina is deemed to be a relatively safe country for travellers.
However, it is necessary to take the normal precautions peculiar to any destination:
– Handbags or backpacks closed
– Do not change, take or leave the money in public places with high density,
– Avoid showing off your valuables: cameras, jewellery, and so on.
Important notice: in case of theft in a hotel, it will only cover, if necessary, a burglary within its walls, with evidence of tampering. So remember to use good security lockers for your important personal documents (money, passport, plane tickets, etc.).
If you are a victim of theft, consider lodging a complaint in the police area in which the wrongdoing occurred and not, for example, returning from an excursion to Buenos Aires, or a visit to another neighbourhood.
There are public phones, but most people use « Locutorio » a sort of public telecommunications facilities, often open 24/24. It is possible to call abroad or across the country from any payphone or « Locutorio”.
To call from abroad, you must dial the country code: 00 54, then the code of the province’s national community that you want to join.
From abroad: (00) 54 + city code + number
From Argentina to call another city: 0 + city code + phone number
To call a mobile phone from the outside: 9 + city code + number
All major cities have Internet generally available in hotels. Cyber cafés and locutorios (you can find plenty of them in Buenos Aires) are very cheap in most internal destinations.
Our guides are all English-Speaking professionals, each with its specialization (wildlife, wines, history, architecture, tango, etc…)
Although not mandatory, the gesture to leave a 10% tip is appreciated and generally expected in restaurants, hotels (doormen), and for the services of drivers and guides.
Without knowing the exact amount of each service, it is recommended to give per person:
– Meals: 2-3 pesos for a simple meal, 5 pesos for a more sophisticated meal
– Hotels: between 2 and 5 pesos depending on service (2 pesos per bag)
– Driver: between 2 and 15 pesos depending on length of service (hours, days or several days),
– Guide: depending on the quality of service, and its duration, it is suggested to give five pesos more …
Terrestrial: terrestrial vehicles tourist of 1st class, depending on the amount of passengers. Vehicles are generally comfortable: Berlingo (2 to 3 persons), Combi or Mini-Van Mercedes Sprinter (from 4 to 23 people), bus with air conditioning and sound system (more than 25 people).
All vehicles offered are recent and respect local standards.
There are many bus companies for domestic routes: they typically offer high-capacity buses with semi-sleeper seats (recline 150 degrees) or full beds (180 degrees). The services are generally very good.
Air: given the size of the country, air transport is most suitable for tourists wishing to visit various destinations throughout the country.
Two companies share flights on the entire territory: Aerolineas Argentinas and Austral.
Another company offers services only to certain destinations (Mendoza, North West, …): LAN Argentina.
Finally, the company serves various destinations in Los Andes (Salta, Jujuy, Iguazu, Puerto Madryn, Cordoba).
Note: Several cities are served only from Buenos Aires, leading to longer distances and transfer time between the various tourist spots in the country.
Note a: The weight limit per passenger is typically set at 15kg.
Maritime: Maritime transfers mentioned in tourist shared boats in first class.