The Ultimate Argentina Itinerary (2-Week Solo Travel Trip, 2020 Update)

The view from the top of Cerro Campanario, Bariloche, Argentina

Updated post 04/01/2020 | January 2020

It’s easy to understand why Argentina is one of the most popular countries in South America. From the romance of the tango cafes of Buenos Aires to the vineyards of the Mendoza Valley to the glacial majesty of Patagonia, it has culture and natural beauty in spades.

However, putting together an Argentina itinerary can be challenging.

Argentina is a BIG country, the 9th largest in the world and around twenty times the size of the UK. Added to this, the seasonal weather patterns vary depending on where in the country you are.

Therefore, unless you are able to spend months out there, you will need to accept that you will not be able to cover it all in one trip. You will need to make some tough choices.

To help you plan your perfect trip to Argentina, here are the main things that you should consider. These include are how to put together your Argentina itinerary, the best time of year to visit, where to stay, how to get around the country, safety tips and typical costs for a solo traveller on a mid-range budget.

 

 

How to get to Argentina

Most travellers arrive in Argentina by air. There are direct flights to Buenos Aires from Europe, North America, Australia, South Africa and from many South American countries.

Buenos Aires has two airports: Ezezia (EZE), serving mostly international flights, and Aeroparque (AEP), which is the domestic hub as well as handling some flights to other South American countries.

Bonus tip!

As EZE and AEP are 40km apart, tight connections between these two airports are not recommended. In legendary Buenos Aires traffic, it can take over two hours to make the journey between EZE and AEP.

There are also overland entry points into Argentina from Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

 

What should you include in your Argentina itinerary?

This is entirely up to you!

Do you want an active holiday, hiking in Patagonia or in the Lake District perhaps? Or is wine tasting in Mendoza or learning to dance the tango in Buenos Aires more your thing?

The Argentinian landscape is extremely varied, from snow-capped Patagonian peaks to tropical jungles and waterfalls.

Start with a scoping exercise. Take a look at a few guidebooks for inspiration, surf the web for interesting blog posts. See what takes your fancy.

This will start to shape your Argentina itinerary.

 

When is the best time to visit Argentina?

Although Argentina is a year-round destination, weather patterns vary according to where you are in the country. Therefore, the time of year you visit Argentina will depend on where you want to go and what you would like to do.

  • Buenos Aires is ideal in autumn (March-May) and spring (Sept-Nov) when temperatures are not so oppressive. If you visit in springtime, the jacaranda trees should be in full bloom, which is a wonderful sight.
  • Patagonia and the southern Andes are best visited in summer (Dec-March) when days are longer and warmer.
  • Iguazú Falls is a year-round destination but can be steaming in high summer (Dec – Feb).
  • Winter (June-Aug) is the best time to visit the Northwest.

 

How can you travel around Argentina?

For long-distance travel, you are looking at buses or planes. But considering the size of the country, to maximise your two weeks in Argentina, flying is going to be your best bet.

Buses in Argentina have a reputation for being good and cheap. However, because of the distances involved, it can take a very long time to get from A to B. Platform 10 is a popular resource to research routes and timetables.

That considered, I took domestic flights between the main hubs, using the service of LATAM and Aerolineas Argentinas.

When planning your flight routing, be aware that Buenos Aires is the hub for domestic flights. There are no direct connections between many major cities.

Trains are also an option. Due to lack of investment, the Argentinian rail network was in the doldrums for many years. However, it has been undergoing a recent revival.

Check here for current information on the Argentinian rail service.

 

A 2-week Argentina itinerary

I visited Argentina for just over two weeks in March.

This gave me enough time to marvel at the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, go hiking in the Lake District, get soaked at the Iguazú Falls and absorb the culture of Buenos Aires for a decent chunk of time, with a side trip to Colonia in Uruguay.

2 week argentina-itinerary-map
Map of my Argentina itinerary

I could have done this over a shorter time period. However, I was keen to build in some wiggle room in case of unforeseen incidents. It was also important for me to have time without a particular agenda.

Too often when travelling, I have fallen into the trap of pinging from one ‘must-see’ site to another. Whilst there will always be places to see and things to do, there’s also a lot to be said for just ‘being’.

 

Argentina itinerary day-by-day

DAY 1LONDON TO BUENOS AIRESArrival late am. Botanic Gardens, Japanese Gardens, Rose Gardens.
DAY 2BUENOS AIRESHistoric centre – Plaza de Mayo, Cathedral, Casa Rosado. Downtown area.
DAY 3BUENOS AIRES TO EL CALAFATEArrival mid pm. Arrange day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier.
DAY 4EL CALAFATEDay trip to Perito Moreno Glacier
DAY 5EL CALAFATE TO BARILOCHEArrival late pm
DAY 6BARILOCHEWalk – Circuito Chico
DAY 7BARILOCHEWalk – Lago Gutierrez
DAY 8BARILOCHE TO IGUAZUArrival late pm. Arrange transfer to Iguazu Falls.
DAY 9IGUAZUIguazu Falls – Argentinian side
DAY 10IGUAZUIguazu Falls – Brazilian side
DAY 11IGUAZU TO BUENOS AIRESArrival late pm. Arrange day trip to Colonia.
DAY 12BUENOS AIRESDay trip to Colonia, Uruguay
DAY 13BUENOS AIRESWalking tour of La Boca. Ecological park at Puerto Madero.
DAY 14BUENOS AIRESSan Telmo & El Zanjon
DAY 15BUENOS AIRESLa Recoleta Cemetery. Palermo street art.

 

Day 1 – 2: Buenos Aires

I’m going to level with you. However long you spend in Buenos Aires, it won’t be enough.

This most European of South Ameican cities will seduce you with its colonial architecture, its rich history and the romance of tango.

What to do in Buenos Aires

Most international flights land in Buenos Aires late morning or early lunchtime. Therefore, to get your bearings – and to keep jet lag at bay – why not take a stroll around the city’s Botanical, Japanese and Rose Gardens on the afternoon of your arrival?

But begin your two weeks in Argentina proper by exploring the Plaza de Mayo, the beating heart of Buenos Aires. Surrounded on three sides by iconic buildings – the Catedral Metropolitana, the Cabildo and the Casa Rosada – this is the perfect place to start to get know the city and its history.

The Casa Rosada is the star turn here. It was from the balcony of this pink government house building that Eva Perón (aka Evita) gave her final speech in 1951.

exterior of casa-rosada-buenos-aires
Casa Rosada

Take a stroll to Av. 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world (although Brazil contends that the record belongs to the Eixo Monumental in Brasilia). In the centre of Av. 9 de Julio is the Obelisk, rising above the oval Plaza de la República like a giant exclamation mark. This Buenos Aires icon was erected in 1936 to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of Buenos Aires.

obelisk-in buenos-aires

 

Where to stay in Buenos Aires

I recommend staying in Palermo Soho or Palermo Hollywood. These sub-barrios have more than enough bars and restaurants to satisfy your culinary and drinking needs, and felt safe to walk around at night.

Mid-range hotel

Duque Boutique Hotel – I stayed at this charming boutique hotel in Palermo Soho. It has a tiny spa, a delightful small garden and terrace and exceptionally friendly staff. There are many great bars and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.

Duque Boutique Hotel is on Guatemala 4364 and costs from 93 USD for a single room (2020 prices).

Here are some other hotels that I have found in Palermo that may suit other budgets:

Budget hostel

Caravan BA Hostel Boutique – Dorm beds in this air-conditioned hostel in the thick of things next to Plaza Serrano. Lots of excellent reviews online and it has a small seasonal swimming pool.

A splurge

The Glu Boutique Hotel – This is where I would have stayed if my budget had stretched a little further. Discerning friends stayed here and highly rated this all-suite Palermo Soho hotel, located three blocks from Plaza Serrano. All suites have either a private balcony or a terrace.


READ MORE: How To Spend 4 Days in Buenos Aires

 

Day 3 – 4: El Calafate / Perito Moreno Glacier

Stretching back as far as the eye can see above the turquoise water of  Argentinian Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park, the Perito Moreno Glacier is an extraordinary sight.  Stretching for over 30km in length, 5km across and towering 70 meters above the surface of Lago Argentino, the glacier covers an area of 250 square kilometres.

How to visit Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate

  • The small town of El Calafate is the springboard for a visit to Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Reaching the glacier from El Calafate is simple. Multiple tour operators which line the town’s main street, offer day trips.
  • Alternatively, you can take a taxi, rent a car or take the bus from the bus station. The drive takes about 90 minutes.
  • I took a day tour with Chalten Travel. At a cost of ARS 700 (35 USD), this was only marginally more than the return bus fare, and I did not have the inconvenience of hiking to the bus station which is now on the outskirts of town. Although we had a guide on the return bus journey, who gave us a useful introduction to the park, once we were inside we were left to our own devices, which suited me just fine.

Bonus tips!

  • The weather is highly unpredictable in Los Glaciares National Park and it can be very windy. Layer up!
  • As dining options at Perito Moreno Glacier are limited and expensive, I suggest bringing a packed lunch. It’s hard to beat munching on your cheese sarnie whilst revelling in one of Mother Nature’s great shows.

What to expect from a visit to Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier is nature’s sight and sound show.

Multiple viewing platforms, connected by colour-coded walkways, provide different vantage points, each one seemingly better than the last.

Although it is difficult to tear your eyes away from its beauty, it’s its activity that makes it so spell-binding.  As the glacier advances, immense ice chunks break off, plummeting into the lake, a process called calving.

This is extraordinary to witness. First, there is a low rumble, like thunder. Visitors wait in eager anticipation, cameras at the ready. Then as the ice mass fractures and crashes into the water, there is a collective gasp of awe.

There is also a one-hour boat trip that takes you around the base. This is well worth the ticket price, stopping a mere 100 meters from the ice wall. You can almost feel the glacier’s icy breath!

This gives you yet another perspective of the glacier, its jagged peaks reaching skywards like giant icy fingers striated with irregular blue veins. Just stunning.

Perito Moreno Glacier: View of the ice wall from the boat
Perito Moreno Glacier: View of the ice wall from the boat

How much does it cost to visit Perito Moreno Glacier?

  • However you get to Perito Moreno Glacier, you will need to pay the entrance ticket on arrival. This costs 30 USD (2019 price). Only local currency accepted (no credit cards).
  • The boat trip cost 500 ARS. There is no need to book this in El Calafate. I recommend deciding on the day in case of inclement weather. Reportedly, the boat trip is only cancelled if the weather is really, really bad.

This was my most expensive day in Argentina. However, it is certainly a day that I will never forget.

Where to stay in El Calafate

As El Calafate is the main jumping-off point for visits to Los Glaciares National park, it is awash with accommodation choices.

Cheaper accommodation tends to be within a few blocks of the town’s main street. More luxurious options are located further out with views to match the prices.

Mid-range hotel

Calafate Parque Hotel I stayed at this mid-range hotel, reminiscent of a ski lodge, which was in an excellent location. It costs from 218 USD per night (2020 prices)

Here are some other hotels that I have found in El Calafate that may suit other budgets:

Budget hostel

Nau Bed & Breakfast – This bed & breakfast near the Calafate Parque Hotel has garnered superb reviews for the hospitality of its hosts, the rooms and for the breakfast provided.

A splurge

Esplendor Hotel – This is where I would have stayed if my budget had stretched a little further. A four-star boutique hotel, located four blocks uphill from the town’s main road, boasting those pricetag-worthy views across El Calafate to the mountains.

 

Day 5 – 7: Bariloche

Bariloche is the gateway to northern Patagonia’s glacial lakes, pine forests and volcanic mountains. A great way to explore this area is by doing some or all of the Circuito Chico.

The Circuito Chico is a spectacular 60km road journey that includes fragrant forests, magnificent mountains and languid lakes and is a must-do if you are in Bariloche. Although having a car makes life a little easier, it is possible to tackle the Circuito Chico by bus from Bariloche.

Highlights of the Circuito Chico

The first stop on the Circuito Chico from Bariloche is the Cerro Campanario. With a cool breeze brushing your face, the chairlift will whisk you through the forest to the mountain’s summit.

At an elevation of just over 1,000 metres, Lake Gutiérrez & Lake Perito Moreno, encircled by pine forests, are clearly visible, as are Cerro Catedral and Llao Llao in the distance.

The next stop is the famed resort of Llao Llao, located between Perito Moreno and Nahuel Huapi lakes. Built in 1940, it resembles an oversized ski lodge.

Llao Llao Patagonia argentina
Llao Llao, Patagonia

Around 1 km from Llao Llao is the Bosque de Arrayanes. You feel very small walking between its 300-year-old arryan trees to reach Playa Moreno on the shores of Lake Perito Moreno.

small boat on Lake Perito Moreno patagonia argentina

Leaving Lake Perito Moreno, it’s now time to catch the bus back to Bariloche. Before hitting its many chocolate shops, stop in the main square to admire the statue of General Roca astride his horse.

This celebrates his victory in the 1870s, the Conquest of the Desert, which resulted in the death of more than a thousand indigenous peoples and the displacement of a further 15,000 from their traditional lands. No wonder his horse is looking embarrassed.

Statue in main square Bariloche Argentina
Main square, Bariloche, Argentina

How to do the Circuito Chico by bus from Bariloche

  • Take bus #20 from Bariloche to Cerro Camapanario, which is around 11 miles from the city centre. This journey takes 25 minutes.
  • To get to Llao Llao, hop back on the #20. The journey takes 15  minutes; the bus terminates at the hotel.
  • Buses accept Sube cards (no cash). For further information on these contactless payment cards, check out my post on how to spend four days in Buenos Aires.
  • If you have not picked up a Sube card earlier on your trip, many hotels and hostels will lend you one.

Where to stay in Bariloche

As the gateway to the Patagonian Lake District, Bariloche does not suffer from a shortage of places to stay. However, as its accommodation options can be a considerable distance from the town centre, check the address carefully before booking.

Mid-range hotel

Calafate Parque Hotel I stayed at this exceptional friendly, mid-range guesthouse that has a lakeside location. Book well in advance.

Here are some other hotels that I have found in El Calafate that may suit other budgets:

Budget hostel

Patagonia Jazz Hostel  – In a superb location close to Bariloche town centre, this friendly hostel offers dorm beds and private rooms with breakfast.

A splurge

Cacique Inacayal Lake Hotel & Spa – To splash the cash, look at this 4-star hotel, in a prime position on the lakeside but within a kilometre of Bariloche town centre. It has a spa & fitness centre and a private beach.

 

Day 8 – 11: Iguazú Falls

Iguazú Falls was one of the most extraordinary sights that I encountered on my two-week Argentina itinerary.  Straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil, these world-famous waterfalls defy superlatives.

To help you make the most of your visit, here are my top four tips for visiting the Iguazú Falls.

Tip 1: Allow enough time to visit the Argentinian side of the Iguazú Falls

Your $25 admission ticket gives you access to five different trails, ranging from 600m to 7km in length. I spent around six hours inside the park but didn’t have enough time to check out every trail and take the boat ride.

This maze of walkways on the Argentinian side allows you to get close up and personal to the Iguazú Falls. For an overall panoramic view, follow the green trail from the Visitors Centre, and the take the shortest trail, the upper trail (Circuito Superior).

Then take the lower trail (Circuito Inferior), a 1.6km romp through the forest leading to some of the parks most spectacular waterfalls, including Salto Ramirez and Bossetti.

Make sure that you build in time to take the train to the Devil’s Throat (Garganta Del Diablo) station. From there, walk on wooden platforms suspended over the churning waters to reach the Devil’s Throat.

Dozens of powerful waterfalls converge in a horseshoe shape, and it is tricky to distinguish mist from water. Multicolour butterflies flutter around your face, vivid against the dazzling opacity of the falls.

Tip 2: See the bigger picture from the Brazilian side of the Iguazú Falls

Go across the border for an unforgettable panoramic view. In exchange for 18 USD of your hard-earned cash, you get access to Trilha das Cataratas. This is a 1km trail with sweeping views of the falls leading you right into the Devil’s Throat. Unmissable.

Iguazu-Falls brazilian side
Iguazu Falls, Brazilian side

For an extra cost, other activities are available (e.g. kayaking, boat ride, jeep tour through the park).

Bonus tip!

Many nationalities require a visa to cross over to the Brazilian side of the Iguazú Falls. Check before you head off.

Tip 3: Don’t forget to look at the wildlife around the Iguazu Falls

I know that the main reason for visiting Iguazú Falls is to wonder at their power and beauty. But the wildlife is a bonus.

I will never forget the butterflies, dancing around my face in a riot of kaleidoscopic colours. Or the toucans soaring high above the pathway to the Devil’s Throat on the Brazilian side.

And let’s not forget those pesky coatis, racoon-like creatures that roam the park and will gladly relieve you of your lunch. The vicious little beasties bite too!

Coati Iguazu Falls argentina
Coati, Iguazu Falls

Tip 4: Try to allow at least two full days for visiting Iguazú Falls

There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, ideally, you need a day for each side of Iguazú Falls. But secondly, as the weather is extremely unpredictable, I advise building in some wiggle-room.

Whilst the falls are spectacular in the sunshine, walking around them in the torrential rain would diminish the experience. Don’t put yourself into a position where you have to choose between the two sides.

How to get to the Iguazu Falls

  • I used the hotel’s transfer service to get to the Argentinian side of the Iguazú Falls. It cost 12 USD. Buses from Puerto Iguazu’s station also go to the falls.
  • I splashed the cash and took a taxi to the Brazilian side of the Iguazú Falls. This cost 37 USD for the return journey.
  • With two sets of immigration to navigate there and back and a very helpful driver to guide me, this was well worth it. Again, you can get the bus from Puerto Iguazú.

Where to stay to visit the Iguazú Falls

You can base yourself in either Foz Iguazu in Brazil and Puerto Iguazú in Argentina to visit either side of the falls.

Compared with other tourist hubs in Argentina – take a bow, El Calafate and Bariloche – Puerto Iguazú leaves much to be desired. Therefore, do yourself a favour; splash the cash and stay in one of the resort-type hotels in the jungle on the way out to the falls.

A splurge

La Cantera Lodge –  I stayed at this 4-star property, in a wonderful location in the heart of the Selva Iryapú Jungle. Iguazú Falls were a ten-minute drive.

Here are some other hotels that I have found near Iguazú Falls that may suit other budgets. However, the less expensive properties tend to be closer to Puerto Iguazu.

Mid-range

Marin Apartments –  Highly-rated, air-conditioned apartments that are close to the bus station in Puerto Iguazu. From the photos online, these apartments look superb.

Budget hostel

Ambay suites & dorms – This new accommodation choice in Puerto Iguazu offers dorm beds and more expensive private rooms. It has glowing reviews for its staff and its cleanliness.

 

Day 12 – Colonia, Uruguay

Day 12 of your Argentina itinerary and an opportunity to visit your third country in two weeks: Uruguay.

Colonia, or Colonia del Sacramento (to give it its full name), is a short hop across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires. With its cobbled streets, colonial buildings and a smattering of vintage cars, it makes a perfect day trip from Buenos Aires.

A short history of Colonia

The architecture and urban planning in Colonia reflect the influence of its two colonial powers – Portugal and Spain – and are unique in this part of South America.  This makes Colonia quite special.

The Portuguese street plan, with its irregular cobbled streets, can still be seen in its historic centre, whilst the surrounding areas have newer Spanish architecture.

In1680 the Portuguese established Nova Colonia do Santissimo Sacramento (The New Colony of Blessed Sacrament). This gave them a prime position in the Rio de la Plata, all the better to access the mines in Peru and huge swathes of agricultural land.

Having settled Colonia, the Portuguese wanted to hold onto it and they set up defences on the small island of St Gabriel, which was close to Buenos Aires.

However, the Spanish, the landlords of Buenos Aires, were having none of this. A long fight ensued, which lasted into the latter half of the 18th century. Finally, in 1777, Colonia became a Spanish city.

Peace reigned for a short time, but between 1811 and 1828 the town bore the brunt of fierce independence battles between Portugal and Brazil. Colonia came in for it yet again from 1839 to 1851 when the new nation of Uruguay was at war with Argentina.

Peace finally came to Colonia in the middle of the 19th Century.

What to see in Colonia

Colonia is an achingly picturesque and laid-back place to wander around. Having said that, there’s not too much to see and do, and I found three or four hours in the town were just about right.

Here’s my pick of the top things to do during a day trip:

1. Capture that Kodak moment in the Calle de los Suspiros (Street of Sighs)
colonial buildings in Street of Sighs, Colonia Uruguay
Street of Sighs, Colonia Uruguay
2. Watch life go by in the main square (Plaza Mayor 25 de Mayo)
lampost and ochre coloured building in plaza major Colonia Uruguay
Colonia, Uruguay
3. Climb the 118 steps to the top of the old lighthouse (Faro) for panoramic views over the town.
Faro in Colonia Uruguay
Faro in Colonia, Uruguay
4. Visit the Iglesia Matriz (Church of the Most Holy Sacrament),

This is the oldest church in Uruguay, built between 1695 and 1699 .

exterior of Iglesia Matriz Colonia Uruguay

5. Hunt for vintage cars 

Vintage car in Colonia Uruguay

Bonus tip!

As US dollars and Argentinian pesos, as well as credit cards, are widely accepted by businesses in Colonia, you should not need to get your hands on Uruguayan pesos.

How to visit Colonia on a day trip from Buenos Aires

  • Although a number of tour companies offer day trips to Colonia, it is very easy to get there under your own steam.
  • Three ferry companies that ply the waters between Buenos Aires and Colonia. I used BuqueBus but there are two other companiesSeacat Colonia and Colonia Express.
  • The crossing from Puerto Madero takes 75 minutes and the day trip costs 66 USD (2019 price), which includes a packed lunch and a short guided tour. The ferry leaves at 8.30, and returns at 4 pm, allowing ample time to explore the delights of Colonia.
  • I took a taxi to Puerto Madero from my hotel in Palermo Soho which cost 9 USD. For the return journey, I took the metro. The nearest station is Alem on the B line, around 10 – 15 walk from the ferry terminal.

 

Day 13 – 15: Buenos Aires

Your two-week Argentina itinerary ends where it started, in Buenos Aires.

What to do in Buenos Aires

The historic barrio of La Boca is a must-see in Buenos Aires. Its star turn is El Caminito, with its brightly coloured buildings that grace many a postcard, its live tango and art galleries.

brightly coloured building in la boca buenos aires argentina

As it is easy to veer off the tourist track into some less savoury areas, I recommend exploring La Boca on a guided walking tour.

On the way back from La Boca, why not spend a few hours strolling around the Ecological Reserve, located in Puerto Madero?

Take one of its trails leading to the waterfront promenade, from where there are sweeping views over the Rio de la Plata. If bird-watching is your thing, you will be sharing the reserve with more than 300 species.

bird in buenos-aires-puerto-madero ecological park
Ecological Reserve, Puerto Madero

Mention Buenos Aires to many people and it is San Telmo that comes to mind. Picture cobbled streets, a lively Sunday market and tango dancers in its main square.

building in san-telmo-buenos-aires argentina
San Telmo, Buenos Aires

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the underground labyrinth of  El Zanjón, a 19th-century mansion, which is a time-machine into San Telmo’s past.

La Recoleta Cemetery is a must-see on any Argentina itinerary.

Home to over 6,400 statues, sarcophagi, coffins and crypts, and spread over four city blocks, La Recoleta Cemetery is an eerily beautiful place.

One of Recoleta Cemetery's shaded walkways
One of Recoleta Cemetery’s shaded walkways – an essential part of an Argentina itinerary

Although Eva Perón is La Recoleta Cemetery’s most famous resident, the list of its other occupants reads like a Who’s Who of Argentinian history. From presidents to poets, athletes to academics, exploring its mausoleums and memorials gives you a fascinating insight into the country’s past.

On your final afternoon in Argentina, walk around Palermo Soho which is the epicentre of Buenos Aires’ street art scene. Although you can easily mooch around by yourself, guided street art walking tours are also available.

Palermo street art montage buenos aires argentina
Palermo street art

 

How much will a two-week Argentina itinerary cost?

I’ll be honest. Argentina is not bargain-basement South America. However, neither it is ludicrously expensive.

Excluding international flights, the trip cost me $3590. This worked out to be $225 per day.

In descending order, this was made up of the following:

  • Hotels $1690
  • Flights $930
  • Food & drink $455
  • Other ground transport $245
  • Entrance fees $150
  • Day trips $120

As I was travelling alone, accommodation costs were accordingly high. I could have done it a lot cheaper by staying in less expensive, shared accommodation in a not so nice area. But it was important to me to have a comfortable room in a relatively safe location to retreat to at the end of the day.

I also used taxis where it was more convenient and safe to do so, instead of opting for public transport.

 

Money in Argentina

At the time of writing this post (November 2019), Argentina was facing another crippling economic crisis.

The economy in Argentina is complicated and its currency, the peso (ARS), fluctuates wildly, affecting prices. As the cost of goods and services can often change, this can make estimating the cost of any Argentina itinerary challenging, to say the least.

I strongly recommend bringing a decent amount of hard cash, specifically US dollars or Euros. Make sure that these notes are in good condition as you may find that some banks and currency exchanges will not accept those that have marks or creases.

Although you can withdraw pesos from ATMs, there are restrictions on the amount that you can withdraw and the transaction is likely to be subject to a hefty fee.

Although credit cards are accepted in more upscale restaurants and hotels, don’t rely on them as your sole source of payment.

For further information, check out this great article on how to change money and how to use your debit and credit card in Argentina.

 

What to eat in Argentina

A visit to Argentina is the perfect opportunity to tantalise your taste buds. During your visit, don’t miss these traditional favourites.

  • Steak – Argentina is steak-lovers’ heaven! I guarantee that even though you will eat some of the best cuts of your life, after 2 weeks in Argentina you will not be able to look another steak in the eye for some time.
  • Empanadas – hot, cheap and portable, an empanada is the go-to lunchtime snack. Half-moon shaped deep-fried pastry parcels, stuffed with a sweet or savoury filling.
  • Choripán – the ultimate Argentinean street food, choripán is a grilled chorizo-style sausage served between slices of crusty bread.
  • Provoleta – Argentina’s variant of provolone, discs of bubbling, almost-molten pungent cheese, topped with chilli flakes and herbs, served in a cast-iron skillet.
  • Dulce de leche – condensed milk is slowly reduced to a sweet and sticky caramel sauce.
  • Alfajores – think of these as biscuit (cookie) sandwiches. Alfajores are shortbread-type biscuits glued together with jams, mousses or dulce de leche.
  • Asado – Argentina’s asado, also known as parrillada, is legendary. Beef, pork, ribs, sausages, or even a whole lamb or pig, are roasted over an open flame.

 

Is Argentina safe for solo travellers?

As a solo female traveller, I found Argentina a safe country to travel around.

Like any major city, petty theft can be an issue in Buenos Aires, but take the same precautions as you would in your home city.

Don’t make yourself a target. Walk confidently and with purpose, be careful with your belongings, especially smartphones and laptops, and leave your diamond necklace at home. Watch your bag and your belongings and be street smart.

The most common street crime in Buenos Aires is the “mustard scam”. Thieves rob tourists while an accomplice pretends to help remove ketchup or mustard that has been ‘accidentally’ sprayed on them. 

Trust your instincts. Take a taxi when this is a safer option. Seek local knowledge on the safety of areas.

 

Argentina: Suggested Reading

Finally, do you want to learn a little bit more about the country? Here’s my pick of books to read either before your two weeks in Argentina or whilst you are there.

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

The author’s chronicles of his six months exploring the Argentinian Patagonian wilderness. An excellent introduction for those heading to Patagonia.

The Tango Singer by Tomás Eloy Martínez

The Tango Singer is a fictional tale of a New York student who travels to Buenos Aires to track down a Julio Martel, a legendary singer. Set in 2001 amidst the inflation-fuelled riots of the time, he finds Martel but also discovers the unsavoury underbelly of the city.

My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain by Patricio Pron

This novel by the award-winning writer Patricio Pron is not an easy read. However, it vividly brings to life Argentina’s so-called dirty war of the 1970s.

¡Che Boludo!: A Gringo’s Guide to Understanding the Argentines by James Bracken

¡Che Boludo! is an often humorous but always informative guide for visitors to Argentinian slang, dialect and cultural habits.

 

An Argentina itinerary: final thoughts

Argentina was a country that exceeded my expectations.

Wherever you end up, and however long for, I am sure that you will have a fabulous time. With its enormous diversity of landscapes, fantastic food and wine and warm & generous people it will be difficult not to.

Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment below!

PIN FOR LATER!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *