Planning Your Trip to Argentina

Does Argentina have any visa requirements or is there anything I need to do ahead of time to get into the country?

United States citizens, as well as Canadian citizens, do not need a visa and do not have to pay a reciprocity fee in order to enter Argentina. Every traveler must have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond dates of travel. You may also be required to show “proof of onward travel” before boarding your inbound flight (your return flight information fulfills this requirement).

What immunizations and shots do I need to travel to Argentina?

Argentina does not have any vaccination requirements beyond being up to date on your routine vaccinations. Hepatitis A and Typhoid are also recommended, although not required.

The mosquito-transmitted Zika Virus is found in the Iguazú region of Argentina, and in some of the northern-most regions of Argentina, including Salta. The CDC recommends travelers take extra precautions to avoid being bit by mosquitos. Use insect repellents with 25-30% Deet or 20% Picaridin, and wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes to protect against mosquito bites. If you are pregnant, Knowmad Adventures does not advise travel to the Iguazú or northern-most regions of Argentina in accordance with the CDC.

Ultimately it is a good idea to visit a travel clinic 4-8 weeks prior to any international travel. For more information, you can also visit the Centers for Disease Control website.

How do I get money and pay for things while in Argentina?

The two best ways to get money while traveling in Argentina are to exchange U.S. Dollars to Argentinian pesos, and to use local ATMs. ATMs distribute local Argentinian pesos and use the most current exchange rate, though many ATMs do charge a small fee for foreign cards (usually $3-7 USD). Your bank may charge an international ATM fee (usually $6 USD or under), so we recommend calling your bank before you travel. Some ATMs also have transaction withdrawal limits, so if you will need a large sum, plan ahead (you are able to make multiple transactions; however, any transaction fees will be assessed each time). Also, bring at least one ATM/debit card and at least one credit card if you can. If possible, we recommend bringing at least one ATM card that is not equipped with a chip, as some ATMs (in Patagonia in particular) are not compatible with this technology. Problems with ATMs, such as machines that do not accept your card, are common. If you have any questions or encounter any issues, please ask your guide for assistance.

We also highly recommend bringing U.S. Dollars to exchange, as there can be shortages or limits at ATMs during high season. You can change these to pesos at certified Casas de Cambio or money exchange offices. There is a money exchange office at the airport, or you can always ask your hotel or guide for other locations. We suggest exchanging money at the beginning of your trip in Buenos Aires, or other larger cities, to then have for the remainder of your time in Argentina. Credit cards are often accepted at restaurants and large shops. Cabs and businesses marketing to tourists may accept U.S. dollars, but local currency is preferred so we recommend having “greenbacks” only as backup funds.

How much should I tip while on my trip?

The recommendation for private guides is between $10-20 USD per full day of guiding per person, and $3-5 USD for private drivers per full day per person. If the tour is a half day or any other length, you can prorate accordingly. For large groups or group excursions it is appropriate to tip guides closer to $10 USD per person per full day or less. This is simply a guideline and it is Knowmad’s hope that you use it only as a framework and tip appropriate to the level of service you feel you receive. Tipping recommendations are in USD because exchange rates fluctuate frequently, and because in Argentina guides often prefer their tips in USD, although the local currency (Pesos) is fine as well.

Tipping for services in Argentina is customary: 10% in restaurants reflects very good service; spare change or small sums are customary for cab drivers and bellhops. Large bills can be difficult to break in most of the country, so hang on to small bills and change for tips. Please note, for included meals tips are not pre-paid as they are at the discretion of the travelers.

Lodges and cruises have varying tipping guidelines based on their structure and service level, and will provide their own specific recommendations. At Aguas Arriba Lodge, they recommended tipping approximately $30-40 USD per traveler per day, to be shared amongst all lodge staff. Awasi suggests $30-50 USD per traveler per day for lodge staff (placed in a shared tipping box) and $20-30 USD per traveler per day for private guides (cash only). The Australis cruise recommends tipping approximately $12-15 USD per passenger per day. Again, please tip based on the services you feel you received and what you feel comfortable with, and don’t hesitate to ask your Knowmad Adventures Operations Specialist if you have additional questions about your specific lodge, cruise, or itinerary.

Is trip insurance included or should I purchase trip insurance?

Trip insurance is not included in your trip cost. Knowmad highly recommends insuring your trip, as the unforeseeable is just that, unforeseeable. A few days after confirming your trip, you will receive an email from our recommended travel insurance provider, Travel Guard, with a pre-built quote. The policy will be built corresponding with your trip dates, total cost including estimated international and regional airfare, and your personal information. Should you choose to purchase this recommended policy, simply click the blue “Review my travel insurance quote >” link, review the coverage, and enter payment information.

Do I need a converter/adapter for the electricity in Argentina?

In Argentina you’ll need a plug adapter to make any charger or appliance fit the socket as Argentina has two types of sockets, and each individual building will only use one or the other. One plug is two-pronged, with wider-set round prongs; and the other plug has three flat prongs, the top two slanting inward and the bottom vertical (see examples on right). 220-240 is the accepted voltage in Argentina. Many higher-end electronics like cameras and phone chargers will accept this voltage, while hairdryers and curlers of 110 volts will likely fry. If your electronics do not accept 220-240 volts, you will need a converter. Knowmad recommends checking the labels on your electronic devices to see which ones will be compatible before you travel.

Can I drink the water in Argentina?

We recommend drinking bottled water. The water in Buenos Aires and most of the country is good, and most locals drink from the tap; however, the water can be highly chlorinated and can be unappealing to those note accustomed to it. In rural areas in the north of the country, tap water is not potable, and it is recommended to stick with bottled water at all times

Is it safe to travel in Argentina?

Argentina is considered a safe country; however, on occasion petty crime does occur. Travelers should take the same precautions that they would in any unfamiliar city. Be aware of your surroundings, travel with a companion, especially at night, and stay in populated and well-lit areas. We also recommend you keep a close eye on your belongings, especially in airports, crowded tourist sites, and busy markets. Do not use loosely hanging bags or purses (bags that zip are recommended), avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewelry, and when in crowds move backpacks and purses to the front of your body. Carry only the money you’ll need each day, and keep the rest in the safety deposit box in your hotel room, along with your passport and other valuables.

Being aware of common scams in Buenos Aires can also help reduce the risk of petty theft. When you are paying a taxi fare or for purchases in stores, be aware that you are receiving the correct change. A popular pickpocketing scam is to distract the traveler by spilling something on them (like coffee or water) and while that person helps clean it up, a partner steals the traveler’s bag or wallet. Prior knowledge of these scams and being aware of your surroundings will help reduce your risk of being taken advantage of by these practices.

Buenos Aires

The weather is mild in Buenos Aires during fall (March-May) and spring (September-October), with temperatures in the 60s-70s ̊F. During the hot and humid summer (November-March) the average highs are in the 80s °F. Winter temperatures (June-August) are moderated by the South Atlantic with temperatures in the 50s ̊F.

Mendoza & The Wine Region

Located in Western Argentina close to the Andes Mountains, Mendoza’s climate is comparable to California. Summers can be very hot and dry with temperatures in January reaching 100 °F; however, the lack of humidity makes it more bearable than a 100 °F day in Buenos Aires, for instance. Nights are cooler, with temperatures averaging in the 50s-60s ̊F for most of the year, and colder in the winter months.

Patagonia

The summer season in Patagonia (November-March) has daytime temperatures typically in the 50s and 60s °F. However, Patagonia’s weather can be highly unpredictable, and it can rain at any time of year as well as be extremely windy. Temperatures in Patagonia can drop to near freezing at night. Northern Patagonia or The Lakes Region (Bariloche) is similar to Southern Patagonia but a bit warmer and wetter. Springtime in Patagonia (September-November) is a little cooler than summer with slightly milder winds. Similarly, fall months (March-May) are a little cooler than summer.

Salta & The Northwest

This region contains many elevation changes, with the majority of the population living in low valleys
with a pleasant climate. To the west is the altiplano or high plains, which are arid and about 12,000 feet above sea level. Temperatures are warmest in January, averaging highs in the 70s ̊F, and this time of year is also the wettest. Winter temperatures average in the 50s ̊F, with June being the coldest month. Temperatures fluctuate greatly depending on the sun, and mornings and evenings can be decidedly cool.

Iguazu Falls

A subtropical climate with abundant precipitation and high temperatures year-round, the summer months (December- February) are the wettest and most humid. Summer temperatures can reach the 80s and 90s ̊F, while winter months average highs in the 70s ̊F.

Puerto Madryn & Peninsula Valdes

Located on the coast, this area gets an average annual rainfall of 6” to 8”, with average temperatures ranging from the 50s to the 80s °F. The coldest months are June, July, and August, and the warmest months are December, January, and February, with temperatures sometimes even reaching the high 90s.

Beyond open eyes, an open mind, and your sense of adventure, here are some guidelines for packing for your trip. Argentina is generally a casual country, however in Buenos Aires you’ll see an eclectic and chic cosmopolitan style. Weather varies dramatically between regions and elevations and can change quickly, so layerable clothing is recommended. Shorts are not as common in Argentina; however, they are acceptable in most settings. For all trips to Argentina we suggest the following items:

  • Passport and photocopies of passport
  • Immunization record
  • Health insurance card
  • Airline flight information
  • Debit/ATM card
  • Credit card (we recommend more than one if possible)
  • Cash (at least $100 USD in smaller denominations)
  • Sun protection: hat with brim, sunglasses, waterproof sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), lip balm with sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Electrolyte powder packets (Pedialyte or Emergen-C Replenisher) for dehydration
  • Rain jacket or rain poncho
  • Lightweight activewear
  • Jeans and/or trousers
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts, polo shirts, or other lightweight short-sleeved shirts
  • Long-sleeved lightweight shirts • A few nice trousers and tops
  • Jacket, sweater, or warm fleece • Socks and underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Bathing suit and cover-up
  • Comfortable walking or hiking shoes with good ankle support
  • Shoes for leisure activities
  • Camera, memory cards or film, and charger or batteries
  • Watch/battery-operated alarm
  • Other desired electronics and chargers
  • Converter & adapter, or converter/adapter combination
  • Personal first aid kit (Neosporin, band- aids, Immodium, aspirin, etc.)
  • Toiletries in small bottles
  • Facial tissues
  • Personal medications with prescription information
  • Small backpack
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Plastic bag or dry bag (for dirty items or protection from water)
  • Guide book such as Frommer’s, Fodor’s or Lonely Planet
  • Envelopes for tipping
  • Book, journal, and pen

Footwear

Comfortable walking shoes with good ankle support or hiking shoes are sufficient for most people and are less bulky than hiking boots, therefore we recommend them for most itineraries. For hiking-intensive itineraries, hiking boots are also great but not a necessity. We do not recommend buying a new pair of hiking boots or shoes immediately prior to your trip, as they will not be broken in and can result in painful blisters. A change of shoes intended for leisure activities is also recommended.

Patagonia

The recommended outfit for a day in Patagonia is layerable, non-cotton clothing designed for hiking and athletics, with an outer layer jacket and pants that are windproof and waterproof. We also recommend bringing along a neck warmer/gator and socks designed for hiking. The wind can be brisk in Patagonia, so bring a light down jacket or fleece, as well as gloves and a hat. If you will be trekking, we recommend a rain poncho in addition to a rain jacket, as they also can cover your daypack. Ideal bottoms to pack include a base layer (which many days you won’t use, depending on the forecast), comfortable athletic or hiking pants, and rain or wind pants. For your top, you should pack a base layer, an insulating layer (ideally fleece or light down), and a rain or wind layer. With these three layers, you will be well prepared.

Iguazu Falls

Due to the subtropical climate, it is important to pack your rain jacket for a visit to Iguazú. Light-colored, light-weight clothing is also recommended, and pants and long-sleeves are handy to ward off insects.

Kayaking

Required gear such as a lifejacket, a wetsuit, and a dry bag for items will be provided. For this activity, we recommend wearing a long-sleeved non-cotton shirt, and lightweight quick-drying pants. If it’s a cool day don’t forget a windbreaker, and if you like having gloves for paddling you should pack your own.

Biking

Required gear such as helmets will be provided. For this activity, we recommend wearing tighter fitting pants or shorts, layers on top, your raincoat just in case, sunglasses, and, of course, sunscreen!

Horeback Riding

For this activity, wear jeans or thicker pants and comfortable athletic shoes. It is also nice to bring a fleece or sweater that is a full-zip or button-down, as it can be difficult to pull a sweater over your head while on a horse! We also recommend bringing a hat for the sun, sunscreen, lip balm, and a water bottle.

Airline Baggage Policy

Please check with your carrier and refer to your ticket booking details for information on baggage restrictions and fees, as your fare category determines your baggage allowance. Aerolineas Argentinas Plus Fares include one piece of checked luggage that must not exceed 33 lbs, while Promo and Base Fares do not include checked baggage (bags can be checked for a fee). Flex/Air Shuttle Fares include two checked bags of 33 lbs each, and Club Economy Fares include two checked bags of 50 lbs each. LATAM Plus Fares include one piece of checked luggage, while Promo and Light Fares do not include checked baggage (bags can be checked for a fee). LATAM checked baggage must not exceed 50 lbs. Overweight baggage may be subject to additional fees.

Knowing a lot about a country before you visit can enrich your travels, help you meet and relate more to local people, and have deeper appreciation for historical and cultural sites. To learn more about Argentina’s history, culture, and people, we recommend consulting travel guide books, online websites, and travel blogs.

Further Reading

  • IN PATAGONIA by Bruce Chatwin is a classic non-fiction recounting of an English writer’s entertaining and thrilling six-month exploration of Argentinian Patagonia.
  • UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH by E. Lucas Bridges was first published in 1948, and tells of the true adventure of the first European settlers in Tierra del Fuego.
  • AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF A LANDSCAPE PAINTER by César Aira mixes fact and fiction into surreal history. Prodigious and talented Aira creates his own version of a German painter’s fateful journey to the Argentinian plains.
  • LABYRINTHS by Jorge Luis Borges serves as an excellent introduction to the life and works of the master, considered to be Argentina’s most important author.
  • MOTORCYCLE DIARIES by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara recounts the early years of the revolutionary as he travels throughout South America.

Helpful Spanish

PHRASES

  • Buenos Dias (BWEH-nohs DEE-ahs) – Good morning, Good day • Buenas Tardes (BWEH-nahs TAR-dehs) – Good afternoon
    Buenas Noches (BWEH-nahs NOH-chehs) – Good evening
    Por favor (POHR fah-VOHR) – Please
  • Gracias (GRAH-syahs) – Thanks
    ¿Cuánto cuesta esta? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah EHSS-tah) –
  • How much does this cost?
  • ¿Dónde está ____? (DOHN-deh ehss-TAH ___) – Where is ____?
  • ¿Habla inglés? (AH-blahs een-GLEHS) – Do you speak English?
  • ¿Qué recomienda? (KEH reh-coh-mee-EHN-dah) – What do you recommend?
  • Soy alérgico/a a ____ (soy ah-LEHR-hee-coh/-cah ah ____) – I’m allergic to ____

 

AT THE TABLE

  • la carta (lah KAHR-tah) – the menu
  • la cuenta (lah KWEHN-tah) – the check
  • agua (AH-gwa) – water
  • café (kah-FEH) – coffee
  • cerveza (sehr-VAY-sah) – beer
  • vino (VEE-noh) – wine
  • pescado y marisco (pehs-KAH-doh ee mah-REES-kohs) – fish and seafood
  • pollo (POH-yoh) – chicken
  • carne (KAHR-nay) – meat
  • sin gluten (seen GLOO-tehn) – gluten-free
  • vegetariano/a (veh-heh-tah-RYAH-noh/-nah) – vegetarian

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Have a question that you can’t find an answer to on our site? Or if you’d simply like to ask a real, live person your questions instead of browsing through these FAQ sections, we are more than happy to help. Just give us a call at 612-315-2894 or email travel@knowmadadventures.com.