From it's subtropical north to its glacial south, Argentina is a vast wonderland. Not only does it boast the highest peaks of the Andes but it offers lush wetlands, deep blue lakes, dense forests, and desert side by side, down to the dramatic, arid steppe of Patagonia, natural diversity is in oversupply in this stunningly varied country.
Argentina is beautiful and intense. The eighth-largest country in the world and yet one of the least populated. From the vibey cafe culture of Buenos Ares to the vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina will seduce you with its rich history, gaucho culture, and street-side tango. This country has a charm unlike anywhere else in the world.
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ARGENTINA QUICK FACTS
Capital: Buenos Aires
Currency: Argentine Peso (ARS)
Area: 2,780,400 km²
Population: 41,660,417 (2013 estimate) Considering its vast size and with a population of under 45 million, Argentina is one of the least densely populated countries on Earth!
Religion: Roman Catholic 78%, 12% Evangelists, 12% agnostics, 4% atheists, Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, 1.5% Muslim
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz (European plug)
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ARGENTINA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
24 March, National Memorial Day for Truth and Justice
2 April, Malvinas Day
1 May, Labor Day
25 May, Anniversary of May Revolution
20 June, Anniversary of the Death of Manuel Delgrano/National Flag Day
9 July, Independence Day
3rd Monday in August, Anniversary of the Death of General José de San Martín observed
2nd Monday in October, Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity
4th Monday in November, Day of National Sovereignty
8 December, Immaculate Conception
Also, Carnival Monday and Tuesday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday.
BEST TIME TO VISIT ARGENTINA
Overall the country is mostly temperate and experiences (dry) southern summers between December and January and (wet) winters between June and July. Visit in the spring (September through November) for lots of sun and balmy temps. This season is the perfect time for hiking and whale watching, or if you prefer, exploring Argentine cities on foot without the intense humidity.
Argentina is characterised by rich pampas in most of the territory, Patagonia in the south, and rugged terrain from the Andes in the west. Climate can range from subtropical in the north to arid and cold in the south and along the Andean mountains in the west. Northeastern regions have a tropical climate with warm temperatures and abundant precipitation all year round. Precipitation decreases toward the west, producing arid and almost desert-like environments at the foot of the Andes. The central region experiences semiarid with seasonal precipitation.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN ARGENTINA
The ski season in Argentina begins in June and continues to October with the best ski conditions being from mid-July until early September.
HIKING & CYCLING IN ARGENTINA
You can enjoy outdoor activities in Argentina from November to May when the weather is more moderate.
BEACH OPTIONS IN ARGENTINA
The most popular time to enjoy the beaches of Argentina is from November to March, with the peak season between December and February.
SURFING IN ARGENTINA
Argentina has great surf throughout the year. Although Mar del Plata is the surf capital of Argentina with the best swells from April to June, these are some other great surf spots to also consider: Playa Varnesse, Waikiki, Playa Grande, Miramar, Playa Union, Peninsula Mitre, Quequen, Chapadmalal, and Necochea.
KITESURF IN ARGENTINA
The best conditions for kitesurfing in Argentina is from September to April. December and January are the busiest months for kitesurfing as the weather and water are at its warmest.
HEALTH RISKS IN ARGENTINA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
ARGENTINA TRAVEL COSTS
Argentina cannot really be described as a cheap destination, and with inflation unofficially estimated at around thirty percent, it’s getting rapidly more expensive all the time. But the quality of what is on offer is mostly pretty good, and outside Buenos Aires and the main tourist destinations, you can find real bargains in shops and hotels.
ARGENTINA TRAVEL TIPS
In Buenos Aires, the Sube (subway), is quick and cheap, when there aren’t delays. In other cities, light rails or public buses will be the best option. In the countryside, self-driving or booking a remis (charter car) is the norm.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF ARGENTINA
People come to Argentina for romance. Those in love with nature make a beeline for Patagonia to experience a unique adventure of trekking around emerald lakes, surrounded by the majesty of hanging glaciers and mountains. Other travellers, in love with the past, prefer to sit in the cafes of Borges sipping on a mate, or to dance the tango in a steamy milonga. Those who love wine can bike around the hills of Mendoza, vineyard hop, and sample ruby-red malbec along the way. You will never have enough time to see and experience all that Argentina has to offer, but we all have to start somewhere.
Buenos Aires is much more than just its glorious past and you will find an elegant shopper’s paradise and cosmopolitan centre. To see its cultural side, visit the Cathedral Metropolitana, the Teatro Colon (the world’s largest opera house), the Ambrosetti Museum, the Museum of Colonial History, the Basilica Lujan, Iglesia San Ignacio Church, and the Isaac Fernandez Blanco Museum of Spanish American Art. The old artists’ quarter of La Boca, is the original home of the tango and is located along a narrow wharf lined by meatpacking plants.
Comprising the provinces of Río Negro, Neuquén, and Santa Cruz, Patagonia - the southernmost portion of South America (a part of which is in Chile, apart from Argentina) - is a vast region scattered with parks and nature reserves. The Patagonian coast is home to herds of seals, sea lions, blue whales, and thousands of penguins.
Nahuel Huapi National Park contains the huge Nahuel Huapi Lake that stretches over 100 km to the border with Chile. Rent a car and drive south through spectacular scenery, passing the shores of three lakes, to El Bolsón, 130km from Bariloche, known for its hops and fruit orchards. The wildlife and desert scenery of Peninsula Valdez on the Patagonian coast attracts visitors from all over the world.
Located approximately 400 km from Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata is the main tourist resort on the Atlantic coast. Often referred to as 'Mardel', Mar del Plata's sandy beaches attract thousands of visitors during the December to March season.
Lake District is paradise on earth – what with active volcanoes, lakes, widespread forests, and singing rivers rich in trout! These eastern Andean slopes are ideal recreation grounds.
Moreno Glacier in the Santa Cruz Province is one of the world’s few advancing glaciers and is truly an incredible sight. One of the province's main attractions is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Los Glaciares National Park, an area of great natural beauty, with rugged mountains and numerous glacial lakes, including Lake Argentino.
Unlike Buenos Aires, Cordoba has preserved much of its colonial character. Alta Gracia, 35 km southwest of the city, is one of the best-known places dotted with colonial hermitages and churches.
The Mendoza Province is Argentina's main wine-producing region and the annual grape harvest festival, the “Fiesta Nacional de la Venimia”, is held at the end of February and the beginning of March. The Andes mountain ranges can be seen in the distance from many parts of the city, whose universities, museums, theatres, and art galleries testify to lively cultural life.
Buenos Aires — or "Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires", occasionally called Capital Federal to distinguish it from the province of Buenos Aires.
Córdoba — second-largest city, in the heart of the Pampas region.
Rosario — third largest city known for its beautiful neoclassical architecture.
Mendoza — well known for its extensive and high-quality wine production. It is also near the Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. Mendoza is the capital of the province of Mendoza.
San Miguel de Tucuman — the largest city in the northwest and the fifth largest city in Argentina.
La Plata — known as "the perfect city" for its layout; just look at a map of the street pattern of the city.
Salta — known as 'La Linda' due to its beautiful surroundings.
San Juan — a focus on quality wine production.
San Carlos de Bariloche — in the foothills of the Andes with lots of facilities for skiing and trekking. Known for its picturesque snow-covered landscapes and the European style of its buildings.
El Calafate — the main destination when visiting the Glaciers National Park; advancing to the Perito Moreno Glacier is a must when visiting Argentina.
Ibera Wetlands — a nature reserve of 13,000 km² with its eco village Colonia Carlos Pellegrini right in the heart of the reserve.
Iguazú Falls — incredible falls right in the north-east corner of the country.
Nahuel Huapi National Park — at the foothills of the Andes mountains with lakes, rivers, waterfalls, peaks, glaciers, and forests.
LGBTQ IN ARGENTINA
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Argentina are among the most advanced in the world. Upon legalising same-sex marriage on 15 July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America, the second in the Americas, and the tenth in the world to do so. In 2015, the World Health Organization cited Argentina as an exemplary country for providing transgender rights.
Today same-sex relationships are predominantly well-tolerated in Argentina. The country's capital and largest city, Buenos Aires, has become an important recipient of LGBT tourism and has been described as "Latin America's gay capital" and host an annual Gay Pride Parade. Nevertheless, reports of bullying against LGBT people, especially youth, do still take place occasionally.
WHERE TO STAY IN ARGENTINA
Argentina offers plenty of places to stay ranging from five-star luxury accommodation that can be found in the larger cities like Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Santa Fe to budget hotels with basic facilities that can be found throughout the country. Accommodation in youth hostels is also available in all cities.
Camping can be a low-cost option if you feel adventurous. Almost all major cities and towns have green sites where you can pitch a tent for a reasonable fee. Toilets, laundry facilities, hot showers, fire-pits, and other facilities are provided.