Travel in Argentina
Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is the second largest country in South America, made up of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires. It is the eighth-largest country in the world by land area and the largest among Spanish-speaking nations, though Mexico, Colombia and Spain are more populous.
Argentina's continental area is between the Andes mountain range in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. It borders Paraguay and Bolivia to the north, Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast, and Chile to the west and south.
What Currency is Used in Argentina?
The Argentine Peso is the official currency of Argentina. Check out the daily exchange rate here. For more information regarding ATMs and credit cards in Argentina please see our Practicalities Section.
What is the Time difference in Argentina?
Argentina is UTC -3 hours. You can see the current time in Indonesia here. For information regarding internet connectivity and cellular service please see our Practicalities Section.
How Do I Charge My Electronics While in Argentina?
Argentina uses a Type C and I Europlug. The voltage is 220-240. Electricity is widely available throughout Argentina. However, when staying in tents on a mountain, there will be no power, so be sure to bring an alternative method of charging, such as a power pack or solar charger.
Remember that batteries hate the cold. When on the mountain, carry electronics close to your body to preserve battery life. A handy trick is to sleep with your electronics and spare batteries in your sleeping bag so they stay warm and charged.
What Language is Spoken in Argentina?
Spanish the official language of Argentina. However, there are over 40 spoken languages in Argentina, many of them are tribal languages and some are in danger of being extinct. English is spoken by all of the Adventure Alternative guides and staff. However, don’t expect to hear much English on the streets or around town.
Knowing some of the local language is considered polite. You will be treated well for trying, even if you can only say “thank you.” Check out this list of helpful Spanish phrases.
What is the Climate in Argentina?
Argentina spans several lines of latitude. Its large size equates to several different climate zones. In the north the climate is more humid and jungle-esque. The north west region of the country is extremely arid with both warm and cold desert climates. While the region bordering Chile with the Andes experiences temperate, dry weather typical for high-altitude environments. Towards the south, the coastal regions have temperate oceanic climates.
For up-to-date weather information check out snow-forecast.com.
The Andes are the world's longest continental mountain range. They lie as a continuous chain of highland along the western coast of South America. The range is over 7,000 km (4,300 miles) long, 200 km (120 miles) to 700 km (430 miles) wide and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft).
Over its length, the Andean range is split into several ranges, often two great ranges, named Cordillera Oriental and the Cordillera Occidental, often separated by an intermediate depression. The Andes Mountains extend over seven countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, known as Andean States.
The Andes mountain range is the highest mountain range outside of Asia. The highest peak being Aconcagua, rises to 6,962 m (22,841 ft) above sea level. The summit of Mount Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is the point on the Earth's surface most distant from its center, because of the equatorial bulge.
Mendoza is a fantastic place to visit, very lively and beautiful with fine wine and food. It is definitely worth a few days exploring. You can go on wine tours or just enjoy the nightlife which is exceptional. Some restaurants are wonderful and the ice cream is world-beating. Near the hotel is a large supermarket which sells anything you may need. There is also a gear rental shop opposite the hotel where you can buy or rent almost anything you may need for your trip.
Mendoza is the capital city of the Mendoza Province, in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes.
Ruta Nacional 7, which is the major road running between Buenos Aires and Santiago, runs through Mendoza. The city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere) and for adventure travellers interested in mountaineering, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and other sports. In the winter, skiers come to the city for its easy access to the Andes.
Two of the main industries of Mendoza area are olive oil production and winemaking. The region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America. As such, Mendoza is one of nine cities worldwide in the network of the Great Capitals of Wine, and the city is an emerging wine tourism destination and base for exploring the hundreds of wineries in the region.
Travel facts for Argentina
Do I need a Visa?
A visa is not required,unless you are staying for more than 90 days.
When is the best time of the year to visit Argentina?
Travellers should be prepared for unpredictable weather at any time of year. Most travelers consider the warmer months of November to March to be the best time to visit Argentina however when it comes to climbing Aconcagua the best season is December and January.
What vaccinations do I need?
No vaccinations are required for entry but it is generally recommended that travellers should have a hepatitis A vaccination. Travel advice regularly changes so it is best to confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.
What's the currency of Argentina?
The currency is the Peso, which can be pre ordered from your bank or you can change any mainstream foreign currency on arrival. ATM’s and card payments are also widely accepted in towns or cities.
What are some basic Argentine traits?
Most Argentines are primarily of European descent, which separates them from other Latin American countries where European and Indian cultures are more mixed. Culturally and emotionally, Argentines often seem more European than Latin American with a warm, enthusiastic and expressive communicative style.
What is the time difference and phone code for Argentina?
Argentine time is GMT/UTC minus 3 hours and the international code for dialing to Argentina is 0054.
Are prices set in Argentina, or can we expect to haggle?
Generally the price you see is the price you pay, however on occasion it is possible to seek out the bst deal particularly when buying souvenirs.
Time Zone: Local time in all of Argentina is three time zones west of GMT, which is – 3 hours.
Money: The official currency is the Argentinean Peso, although the US Dollar is widely accepted. Sterling and Euros are also easily exchanged. Maximum USD$100 able to withdraw from ATM’s.
Language: Argentina and Chile’s official language is Spanish. English is spoken at most agencies, hotels and information centres. The Spanish is slightly different to European Spanish but spoken slower.
Power Supply: 220 volts, 50 hertz, most hotels have American and European shaving sockets or a combination of European/Australian sockets so it is worth bringing an adaptor with two flat blades.
Mendoza has plenty of supermarkets which sell any kind of base food and we will buy our mountain supplies here. Noodles, rice, oats, muesli, milk powder, chocolate etc. are all available. You can purchase all types of trail food, chocolate and sweets here, so there is no need to bring anything from home.
Practical Information for Visitors to Argentina
Below are a few practical items to keep in mind before you travel to Argentina.
Argentina Visa Information
Visas are not required to enter Argentina unless your stay exceeds 90 days. However, do check with your home country and the Argentina visa requirements for your specific requirements, as they can change at any time.
Where do I Arrive When Visiting Argentina?
Most international arrivals will arrive in Buenos Aires at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE). You can choose to explore the wonderful city of Buenas Aires or continue onward to Mendoza via the Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport (MDZ).
Will I Be Able to Contact Home While I Am Away?
Argentine time is GMT/UTC – 3 hours. The country code for Argentina is +54. International roaming rates can be uneconomical, be sure to check with your local carrier prior to your arrival. Consider downloading WhatsApp, a free internet-based texting and calling service to keep in touch with loved ones. Wi-Fi is available in most hotels and cafes in large cities and small towns. The connection may not be the speed you are used to, but much of the country has internet.
Cellular service is reliable in major cities and smaller towns have reliable cell phone service. However, as is the case with most mountainous areas, cellular service is spotty in the mountains. Be prepared to be unconnected with climbing or trekking in the Andes.
What vaccinations do I need?
Although no specific vaccinations are currently required on Aconcagua we advise that you schedule an appointment with a health professional prior to visiting Argentina, especially if you plan on visiting other areas in Argentina as certain vaccinations and malarial medication are required for certain areas.
Do plan on bringing any prescriptions you may require during your stay. Although you can obtain ordinary over the counter medicine at a pharmacy, we advise that you carry any prescriptions with you.
What is the Quality of Medical Facilities in Argentina?
Argentina has good medical facilities that are capable of handling most medical issues. Hospitals have doctors that often have overseas training. Medical care in rural areas can be hit or miss, but overall the quality is deemed acceptable.
Although we do not anticipate any problems during your time in Argentina, accidents do happen in the mountains. We require that you carry traveler’s insurance that covers a helicopter evacuation at the altitude you will be climbing and the activity you will be doing. For more information see our Travel Insurance page.
Will I have Access to an ATM in Argentina?
ATMs are widely available throughout Argentina. Many banks in the country are recognized throughout the world. Citibank in Buenos Aires seems to be the best ATMs that do not have excessive fees or only allow small withdrawals. It’s best to withdraw money from an actual bank instead of inside an establishment, as the fees tend to be lower and the amount allowed to withdraw is higher. Some ATMs called Banelco charge a $5 service fee and only allow you to take out the equivalent of $200USD, which can be a maddening experience.
Credit cards are widely accepted at most major hotels and restaurants. However, smaller establishments will often give you a better rate if you pay in cash or are cash only. Taxis also require cash, so it’s wise to have cash on hand.
What can I expect from toilet facilities?
Western-style toilets are the norm in most areas of Argentina. Along mountain and climbing routes, there are some toilets and pay toilets in the lower camps. At higher camps, facilities are not available and you are expected to bag your waste.
We advise that you bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Bathrooms ranges in quality on the mountain. To make life easier for females, consider using a “Shewee” or plastic device that allows women to urinate standing up. A wee-rag is another handy tool that helps cut down on paper waste. Simply wipe after a number one and affix the bandana or rag to your pack or tent to dry and sanitize. For menstrual issues, consider using a cup instead of tampons or pads. This also cuts down on pack-out waste and makes life simpler on the mountain.
What is the Water Quality in Argentina?
The tap water is potable in Buenos Aires, however many people find it unpleasant. If you are concerned, bring a way to filter and sterilize the water, such as a SteriPEN, bag filter, or tablets. You will need to sterilize water while you are trekking and climbing.
Culture of Argentina
The culture of Argentina varies widely across the different ethnic groups and the immigrants that settled there. Largely influenced by Spanish, Italian and other European backgrounds, modern Argentina is a modge podge of European meets American Indian. This unique blend gives Argentina its distinctive cultural flair. For example, Buenos Aires is often referred to as “little Europe” because it is home to fantastic European architecture in a South American setting.
Although native Indians once dominated Argentina, the onset of European settlers drove Argentina to be a majority Roman Catholic. Catholic holidays are observed on the national calendar and churches can be found almost everywhere. In fact, the current pope is Argentinian.
Argentina is one of the more fashion-forward countries in Latin America. People dress smart and in fashion for the season. Argentina isn’t as conservative with dress like other nations. However, if you do plan on visiting churches, be respectful. In more rural ranching areas, fashion trends towards more traditional gaucho or cowboy dress.
On the whole, Argentinians are direct and blunt. They are warm people who often communicate in close contact with one another. It is not uncommon to have little physical distance between speakers. When meeting people from Argentina a handshake with eye contact will do. If there is a third party, wait to be introduced.
If you are invited into an Argentine home dress well (wear a tie or dress) and arrive 30-45 later than expected. Being on time in Argentina is not considered normal. Bring a small gift, but nothing like a knife or scissors, as this is a symbol of cutting ties.
When dining, wait for the host to tell you where to sit. Always keep your hands visible and do not put your elbows on the table. Wait for a toast before you drink. Also, it is considered ok to leave a small portion of food on your plate when you are finished.
Food and drink
Argentina knows good food and drink. The culinary ingredients of South America met the flavors of Europe in Argentina. The result was magic. Empanadas are a popular snack in the region and throughout South America. Essentially a stuffed meat pastry, these tasty snacks are sure to satisfy your hunger.
Asado, or an array of BBQ’d meats are a staple of every Argentine diet. Argentina is the highest consumer of red meat in the world and to many, Asado is their national dish. Vegetarians will have a hard time here, as the concept is not well understood in Argentine culture.
A for drink, there is, of course, wine. Argentina contains the largest wine industry outside of Europe and is the fifth largest wine producer in the world. One of the more famous regions is the Mendoza region, home of the Malbec. Malbecs are rich reds that have more earthy tones. Another famous Argentine drink is Mate. Traditional in many South American countries, Mate is made with dried leaves of Yerba Mate. The drink contains mateine, which is similar to caffeine. Traditionally this drink is served in a hollow calabash gourd and served with a “bombilla” or special metallic straw. The drink is strong and produces effects similar to espresso.
Haggling is not customary in Argentina. However, if you are buying items in bulk, you might be able to ask for a discount. Remember, others need to make a livling too. However, if something is extremely over-priced, buying it will only encourage vendors to overcharge.
Tipping 1-5 pesos at hotels is considered acceptable. For restaurants, a 10% tip is appreciated for good service. In taxis, simply round up your fair or leave a few pieces of change.
Tipping your guide and porter is certainly welcomed, but not required. To read more about Adventure Alternative’s thoughts on tipping, check out this page.
Here at Adventure Alternative we always promote sustainable tourism practices. We believe in treating your water instead of relying on disposable plastic bottles. In the mountains where there are no toilet facilities, we require you to pack out your waste. Furthermore, we encourage you to go one step further and use cloth bags for your shopping, cutting down on the use of disposable plastic bags. Be aware of what you are buying and the packaging it is in. Together, we can make a difference and minimize our impact on the planet.
Annual holidays include holidays recognized by the Catholic church, such as Christmas and Easter. However, Argentina has several other holidays and festivals to note.
- San Antonio de Areco Gaucho: The Gaucho Festival held in November in the town of Parque Criollo
- Gualeguaychu Festival: held in January and February the town of Gualeguaychu has a colorful festival filled with parades, dancing, and live music.
- Tilcara Carnival Festival: The Carnival festival of Tilcara lasts nine days and celebrates Earth. People believe that the devil takes possession of their souls during this time so people let loose.
- Buenos Aires Tango Festival: Every march people from all over Argentina come to the capital to celebrate tango.
- Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival: A 10-day festival in May that celebrates the indy film scene.
- Buenos Aires Contemporary Art Fair: This exhibit in late May celebrates the extensive contemporary art scene in the capital
- Independence Day: Held July 9th, this festival marks the emancipation from Spain. It is a patriotic festival.
- Tango Word Championships: August is tango season. This competition is held in Buenos Aires every year
- Semana Musical Llao Llao: In November, the town of Bariloche celebrates classical music with performances from artists world-wide.
- Buenos Aires Gay Parade: There is a large gay population in Buenos Aires. Every November is pride festival.