The Ultimate Budget Travel Guide for Argentina
If you are a fan of delicious wine, outdoor activities, magnificent waterfalls and Andrean culture, Argentina could be the perfect destination for you. Enjoying many terrains and vast area, Argentina is a destination in South America that isn’t usually considered as a budget place to travel.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit this South American country depends on the economy and on the weather, but also heavily depends on what you want to see and do. As Argentina is in the Southern hemisphere, winter is from June till August and summer from December to February. The North of Argentina and most especially Buenos Aires are visited all-year-round; Patagonia on the other hand is a summer destination.
When deciding when to visit Argentina, it is essential to factor in the economy of the country that is very unstable at present. In 2019, inflation was at an extraordinarily high rate of 53%, the Peso, the currency of Argentina suffering rapid fluctuations over the dollar.
Getting Around Argentina
Argentina is an immense country, and unfortunately rail travel is really limited to Buenos Aires and its’ surrounding areas. The best way therefore to see the country is by long-distance bus.
Getting Around Buenos Aires
Public transport is abundant and cheap in Buenos Aires, subway tickets costing as little as 20 cents. To use public transport, you need to buy a SUBE card from a metro station or kiosk. The subway system has 6 different lines, and is the best way to get around Buenos Aires. You may also like to consider using the Uber App for transport.
Where to Stay
Hostels are the cheapest places to stay, most especially if you are traveling alone. In Buenos Aires you will also find cheap rooms to rent; in Patagonia the best option is camping.
Located in Palermo, the Malevo Muraña Hostel offers both dorms and private rooms at very reasonable prices. In the heart of San Telmo, the Art Factor is a hip and lively hostel with an excellent, friendly vibe. If visiting Bariloche, the Tierra Gaucha Hostel is centrally located and very affordable.
Things to Do
Buenos Aires is full of parks, cafes, restaurants, and European style Architecture. There are endless things to do such as a visit to the Colon Theatre or the Casa Rosada, or to a tango show.
The Iguaza falls are one of the 7 natural Wonders of the World, the falls being 700 meters long and over 80 meters high. For the very best, and sweeping panoramic views, I recommend you cross the border into Brazil, making time to take in a breath-taking sunset from the falls.
Salta Desert Moonscapes
The North West of Argentina is full of arid mountains, desert plains, and a culture of Andrean flavor. When you visit Salta you can take in the Andean culture without having to cross over the border to Bolivia, the vineyards in Cafayate being the perfect place to stop and taste Torrontes wine.
Hire a Bike
Hiring a bike is an excellent way to see the Bariloche area of the country. This “Lake District” of Argentina includes sapphire lakes, green hills, and pine forest peaks, all perfect for a day of mountain biking fun.
Hiking at Fitz Roy Range
Patagonia is another excellent region for hiking and for soaking up nature. Come prepared for weathers of all seasons, bringing your own meals or a camping stove if you are on a tight budget.
Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier
If you have never seen a glacier before, visiting the Perito Moreno is a must. If you are lucky you may catch chunks of the immense glacier breaking off and crashing below into the water. A once in a lifetime experience, this should be on your Argentina bucket list, regardless of your budget.
- Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires. For less than 4 USD, you can visit this cemetery where the rich and famous are buried, exploring the crypts and mausoleum.
- Wineries. Tours of wineries are relatively cheap in Argentina, Mendoza being an excellent place to visit.
- Free Museums. In Buenos Aires, many museums have a day where you can enter free of charge or for a much-reduced rate, the modern art museum being free on Wednesdays. At weekends, guided tours of Casa Rosada are also free.
- Go exploring. In Argentina there are plenty of unique neighborhoods to explore such as San Telmo and Palermo.
- Free walking tours in Buenos Aires
- Hiking. For lovers of the outdoors, hiking is the perfect budget activity. Trails are free and campsites are either free or very cheap.
- Cheap Eats. When visiting Argentina, you must try the pizzas, empanadas, and steaks. The great news is that you can even eat steak on a budget when you visit places like El Sanjuanino, or La Mezzetta for pizzas.
Since 2019 there has been a massive increase in locals traveling within Argentina. This is due to the 30% tax imposed by the Argentinian government on travel in 2019. Since 2019, tourist areas are therefore busier, most especially in high season. High season runs from January till February, a second high season existing in July.
Patagonia and the South of Argentina are more expensive, this being reflected in the price of food as well as accommodation. Speaking a bit of Spanish is most certainly an advantage when traveling anywhere except Buenos Aires.
When exchanging money it should be noted that there are both official and black market rates. Casas de cambio use the black-market rate, this rate being the best and actually not so “black market.” To be on the safe side, bring cash in US Dollars, as you can’t rely on ATMs for withdrawals. If you run out of cash, ask someone to wire you some via Western Union.