Summer in northern and central Argentina is hot, hot, hot. Avoid the sultry heat of the region by going west to the magnificent Andes mountain range around Salta, head south to Patagonia or the Argentinian Lake District.
Autumn is an ideal time to explore Buenos Aires or Cordoba when the stifling heat has dissipated. It’s a beautiful time in Patagonia too.
And if you’re on a road trip northbound, reaching the ski resorts around Bariloche in time for winter is a great call. Winter in Patagonia isn’t beyond the realms of possibility either.
Quiet, completely beautiful and Perito Moreno Glacier is open year round!
The landscape, weather and activities in Argentina are so diverse. The country is almost 3 million square kilometres so that’s not so surprising really.
If you plan to cover long distances between destinations in Argentina, you’ll need to pack for different seasons and the activities you plan to do when you’re there.
Buenos Aires has a mild winter and a sultry summer. It can rain at anytime of the year – we experienced a few torrential downpours in the height of the summer.
For trips to central and northern Argentina, pack for a mild climate. T-shirts and shorts are perfect day time wear. You’ll feel more comfortable with a nice evening outfit for the city restaurants and theatres.
And it can get quite cool during winter so pack a few extra warm layers too.
Don’t forget to pack anything you need specifically for the activities you want to do.
If outdoor pursuits is your thing, consider hiring equipment on location to save on excess baggage and lugging hefty kit around.
Packing for Patagonia
If your trip includes any time in Patagonia or in the high Andes region, regardless of the time of year, you need to pack for the great outdoors.
We’ve published a complete Patagonia packing list covering everything you need when planning your trip to Patagonia. These are THE key essentials:
Hiking boots | A decent pair of walking boots will make your treks and day hikes much more comfortable. A good quality boot provides excellent ankle support and keeps your feet warm, dry and blister free.
Back pack | 35 litres is a good size bag for 1 day hikes. It’s big enough to carry your camera gear, lunch, water bottles and other essentials. We even strap our tripods to it. Try to get one with a rain cover and if it doesn’t have one, buy one separately.
Waterproof jacket | We can pretty much guarantee at least some rain during your trip to Patagonia. A good quality raincoat will ensure it doesn’t stop you in your tracks.
Hiking poles | You won’t need poles for all the hikes in Patagonia. But for some of the longer trails or if you feel you need a little assurance, bring them along.
Reusable water bottle | Drinking water taps and perfectly pure mountain streams are available throughout Patagonia. There’s no need to buy water with a reusable bottle.
Travel money & the Argentinian Peso
The Argentinian Peso is volatile in the extreme because of economic difficulties with the country.
While some years ago, travel in Argentina for foreigners was especially expensive by Latin American standards, today it’s quite the opposite.
When we first entered Argentina in 2018, the exchange rate was about ARG $33 to the British Pound. Today, we can get as much as ARG $110 and believe me, it’s not the strength of the Pound responsible for the increase.
While at the same time prices have risen a little, they have a long way to go before they rise as much as the currency has fallen.
This has resulted in travel in Argentina for non Argentinians being quite cheap now. A litre of fuel is about ARG $53, a good quality bottle of wine about ARG $300 and you can camp for ARG $250 per person. A decent hotel room can be snapped up for as little as ARG $3000 per night.
Accessing cash in Argentina
The volatile economy and value of the Argentinian currency has led to a black market in the peso.
There’s an official exchange rate and an unofficial rate, known as the “Blue Dollar” rate.
The Blue Dollar rate gets you more pesos. As at today, US $1 will buy almost ARG $61 at the official rate and ARG $81 at the Blue Dollar rate. You can check the Blue Dollar rate online.
But better still (at least for foreign travellers), you can get inflated rates at Western Union. As at today, you can get ARG $89 for the same US $1.
ATM’s charge an extortionate transaction fee so avoid them. Instead, use either the Western Union service or bring plenty of US dollars or Euros with you to exchange at the Cambio sellers on Calle Florida in Buenos Aires.
Phone and data packages are dirt cheap in Argentina so it’s worth bringing an unlocked phone with you.
You can buy 3gb of data for as little as ARG $270 (less than GBP £3 or US $4.20).
The most popular carriers are Claro, Movistar and Personal.
The best place to buy a sim card (or chip), is in one of the many carrier stores. They’ll register it for you – bring your passport, load it credit, help you buy the data package you want and show you how to top it up online.
Coverage in and around the main towns and cities is good across Argentina. Once you get away from urban areas, the signal often drops somewhat.
The only town we ever struggled to get a good signal was in El Chalten in Los Glaciares National Park.
Speaking Spanish in Argentina
English isn’t widely spoken in Argentina.
To get the most out of your Argentinian trip, we strongly suggest you learn a little Spanish before you arrive.
Here’s a few key resources we recommend to help you prepare well:
DuoLingo | a free language learning app you can load on your smartphone. A great way of passing some time while improving your Spanish
Learn Spanish with Michel Thomas | Angela’s favourite way of improving her Spanish. The teacher, Michel, is incredibly a Holocaust survivor. He has a fabulous approach to teaching the principles of the language so giving a solid foundation to understand what others are saying and importantly, to be understood.
Getting around Argentina
Because of its vast size, the most practical way to get around Argentina is by air.
Buenos Aires is of course the main hub for flying around the country. You can be in Patagonia in under 3 hours and at Iguazu Falls in less than 2!
Internal flights are quite cheap too.
Long distance buses are popular with budget travellers but what you make up for in money saving you lose out on time.
While a flight from Buenos Aires to Bariloche will take around 2 hours and cost around US $80, a bus will take 24 hours and cost around US $40.
Of course, we think driving in Argentina is the best way to see the country and get off the beaten path.
Depending on where you want to travel, car rental in Argentina may be the ideal way for you to get around, at least on part of your trip.
Car hire can be quite expensive and demand soars between December and March so plan ahead.
Take a look at our booking resources for the country for some useful links for flights, buses and car hire.
Travel guide books for Argentina
We use our travel guide every day and with limited wifi availability, it’s a fantastic source of inspiration.
Coupled with our mapping software with thousands of points of interest, it’s an integral part of our route planning too.
Buy your Argentina travel guide book now at Amazon by clicking on the images below.
Booking & planning resources for travel in Argentina
Here are some of the most useful apps, websites and other booking resources for overlanders, backpackers and other independent travellers to Argentina.
Travelling to and in Argentina
Kiwi.com – we recently came across this company when looking for flights to Easter Island from Santiago. They offer some of the lowest fares we’ve found. They’re now our go to site and we never book a flight without checking their prices first.
Skyscanner – another great search engine for comparative quotes for flights in and out of Argentina. The country is so big you may need a few internal flights too.
If you plan on spending anytime in Buenos Aires, there’s loads of useful information in our guide to getting around Buenos Aires. It covers how to use the public transport system, get free bike hire and loads more.
Check on the Omnilineas website for the latest information on long distance bus timetables and ticket prices throughout Argentina.
Rentalcars.com – we recommend you use this company for comparative quotes because car hire in Argentina isn’t cheap.
Maps & Navigation
Maps.Me – we’ve been travelling with Maps.Me as our primary source of GPS mapping for several years now. It serves us well and we’ve had no need for any other mapping software. Best of all, it’s free and works offline on mobile devices!
iOverlander – an app created by and for independent travellers. It enables users to submit, amend and find information about places for accommodation, fuel, points of interest, border crossings and multitude of other places. Make sure you prepare your mobile devices to use iOverlander offline too.
Booking.com – with a no deposit policy and wide selection of accommodation to suit all budgets, we think this is the best all round booking site.
HostelWorld – the best hostel accommodation booking site available on the internet today.
Airbnb – ideal for alternative accommodation and finding a home from home. We spent almost 3 month in Buenos Aires in an Airbnb and it was perfect! If you’re new to Airbnb, get $40 off your first stay!
Organised Argentina tours
Get Your Guide and Viator – If you want to do any organised tours in Argentina, check out the wide selection available with these 2 companies. Get Your Guide tend to have lower prices while Viator have a much wider selection.
Travel insurance – if you can’t afford a travel insurance policy, you can’t afford to travel. Don’t leave home without a policy! We recommend:
But there’s many more. Lihue Calel National Park is relatively unheard of yet we enjoyed 3 whole days here and felt we had the run of the park.
Sierra de las Quijadas is almost unheard of outside of Argentina too. Again, we enjoyed another long weekend of hiking, birdwatching and being surprised by enormous Patagonian hares, without seeing another visitor.
Take your pick! There’s enough to suit every taste! Check out our guide to 9 of our all time favourite Argentina National Parks.
Travel in Argentina’s Patagonia is a unique experience and more than lives up to expectations. We loved every minute of our journey.
From the chocolate box town of San Martin de los Andes in the Lake District, to the end of the world in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia is vast and diverse.
Wildlife, incredible mountain hikes and vistas, enormous turquoise lakes, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field all connected by Ruta 40.
This is a once in a lifetime, bucket list worthy pinch yourself wild destination. Get planning, you know you want to!
With such a diverse landscapes, Argentina is made for road tripping.
Northeast Argentina, with its infamous red earth and massive wetlands will appeal to anyone up for a bit of wildlife spotting and historic architecture of the Jesuits.
To the west, the majestic Andes mountains call. The scenic drive up and over Abra del Acay, one of the world’s highest highway passes, is quite spectacular.
Many are well known like Iguazu, Tierra del Fuego and Los Glaciares. But Lihue Calel National Park is relatively unheard of.
It’s remote location deep in La Pampa province, means few passers by. With no big ticket natural wonders, or nearby popular tourist attractions, Lihue Calel National Park (Lihué Calel Nacional Parque in Spanish) doesn’t even make it onto a tour bus itinerary.
El Chalten is one of the best places for hiking in Patagonia. Located inside Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province, the town lies in the shadow of one of the most famous views in all Patagonia.
While Mount Fitz Roy is the most well known landmark, there’s a lot more to discover in the area too.
When you get to the town, you’ll see many people taking on epic day hikes and multi-day treks.
As the trekking capital of Patagonia, there’s no shortage of hiking opportunities to suit every level of fitness.
We’ve rounded up the best El Chalten tours and activities here so you can pick those that suit you best.
Patagonia is enormous. Covering the entire southern cone of South America, Patagonia is over a million square kilometres.
From Bariloche in the north to Ushuaia in the south is a distance of almost 1600 kilometres as the crow flies.
It’s surrounded by the world’s largest oceans, the high Andes Mountains, the Patagonian desert and Antarctica. So the climate differs drastically across the Patagonian seasons and the different regions within it.
Finding the best time to visit Patagonia is completely dependant on what you want to do when you get there.
The city’s oldest barrio, San Telmo is the heart of Buenos Aires.
Evidence of its rich history remains. Cobbled streets are tough on the ankles for those not wearing sensible shoes.
Antique lamp posts still illuminate plazas, spilling their dim light onto couples performing impromptu tango dances.
The crumbling facades of once grand colonial mansions now house antique shops, restaurants and milongas. The rest serve as apartments, hotels and conventillos.
The air is filled with the aromas of Argentinian steaks cooking over hot parrillas and pepperoni from pizza houses run by 3rd generation Italians and the occasional unpleasant scent wafting from one of the neighbourhood’s down and outs.
It all adds up to a unique bohemian atmosphere – one we imagined in our mind’s eye before ever arriving in Argentina, let alone Buenos Aires.
Most intersections have at least one corner café-bar and each just has that look. You know the quintessential Buenos Aires street scene?
A corner building with tables on the sidewalk to savour the morning caffeine hit with the daily papers under the shade of a leafy tree. A couple dancing the tango beneath lamplight as onlookers sip Malbec into the small hours.
Well, it isn’t a figment of a painters minds-eye. These places actually exist.
Travel in Patagonia, Argentina is a unique experience and more than lives up to expectations. We loved every minute of our journey.
We’ve created this guide to Argentina’s Patagonia guide to help fellow travellers prepare for their own unforgettable road trip in the southern reaches of South America.
You’ll find key information here as well as links to our articles to help you plan your route.
You’ll discover the unmissable spots, guides to important practical information to know before you set off and plenty of photos to make you realise how Argentinian Patagonia really is as diverse and beautiful as everyone says.
Visiting Iguazu Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, is a deserving entry on any bucket list. And with over a million visitors each year on both the Brazilian and Argentinian side, Iguazu Falls is clearly on a lot of bucket lists.
Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit.
The world’s 2nd largest wetlands seeps across 13000 square kilometres of northeastern Argentina. Not so much on the tourist trail and not too easy to get to, Esteros del Ibera wetlands is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts.
We couldn’t resist a visit on our northbound journey.