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A Tourist Guide to Argentina

An introduction to Argentina

We have put together this guide to introduce Argentina to you knowing that is very easy to get bamboozled by too much information. We hope this short guide will be enough to set you on the right course, without being too detailed. As such it is not meant to be definitive – for further details we strongly recommend that you look at southamericaodyssey.com/argentina or get in touch; we would be delighted to talk to you through the options.

Country summary
Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world which makes you spoilt for choice when deciding where you want to visit. Deep in the south is an outdoors lover’s paradise – Patagonia. Here you can don crampons and crunch along glaciers, trek or ride through national parks, visit penguin colonies or catch a boat to Antarctica. In the northern part of the country you will find some of the worlds most renowned and revered wineries. No trip to Argentina would be complete without a stint in Buenos Aires which you can explore by day before slicing into a succulent steak at a traditional parrilla before heading to a late night tango show.

Highlights of the county
Patagonia
Argentinian Patagonia is vast, remote, wild and breathtaking. It is made up of extremes in terrain and landscapes. Dotted in certain parts are different wildlife species so you must plan your trip carefully depending on what you want to see as it is such a huge region.
South, at the edge of the world, you can sail over to Antarctica from Ushuaia.
Take a boat from El Calafate to the impressive Perito Moreno glacier – the only advancing glacier in the world.
Further north you can visit the Fitzroy national park for beauty equalling the acclaimed Torres de Paine in Chile – though less visited than Torres. Here you will find jagged horizons, wildlife and flora over rolling hills and nestled in between these, crystal lakes. From the glaciers in the south to the snow tipped volcanoes in the north you will not be disappointed. It is such a huge region but we suggest you base yourself at Eolo Lodge for very comfortable accommodation to come back to after your excursions and adventures in the north of Argentinian Patagonia.

The Lake District
Here, you will find scenes of unparalleled beauty. Think crystal clear, glacier-fed lakes in between dramatic rolling hills, snow-capped mountains and lush green forests. Along with the spectacular sights, be enthralled with all the activities this fantastic region has to offer such as skiing in the winter, walking, horse riding, kayaking and fishing – endless things to do.
Bariloche is an ideal place to base yourself in whilst you travel around the Lake District – it is characteristic of the region in its beauty and sits just on the outskirts of the beautiful Nahuel Huapi Lake. Bariloche has varying styles of accommodation but all of which are excellently situated. Stay at Llao Llao Hotel for an activity based big hotel experience, or to the more intimate Las Balas for great views of the lake from your window.

Buenos Aires
This is Argentina’s vibrant capital and is known as the ‘Paris of South America’. The romance of this city is encapsulated by the Latino performers in the bustling squares, fantastic wine selections, interesting art and colourful barrios (neighbourhoods). It is thriving, stylish and nostalgic which contributes to the European feel of the city, but with the zest of South America. For a supremely luxurious stay look to the classic and stylish barrio of Recoleta, and within it Alvear Palace.

The Pampas
The endless plains of the Pampas are home to the classically Argentinian cowboys who wrestle and rodeo, make this a stop of point to ride horses and guzzle on fantastic wine and BBQ beef. Although not much there but a few nice towns, it has a definite atmosphere and authenticity to it – so we would recommend it as a good relaxing introductory stop to get a feel for the history of Argentina and its culture.
For a great Argentinian cowboy experience look no further than Estancia La Bamba – with its great views, very comfortable accommodation and array of activities it is an ideal base.

Mendoza
Mendoza is a wine lover’s dream. Here, in the west of the country, some of the best wines in Argentina are produced. The feel of the region is pretty much encapsulated in its nickname as the “land of sunshine and wine”. You can also do activities from here if you are not content with sipping Malbec and soaking in the scenes of the Andes outside your window.
We would recommend staying in one of the vineyards like Cavas Wine Lodge which offers a super comfortable stay in a 60 acre private vineyard with dramatic views, and of course, excellent wine.

Iguazu Falls
The Iguazu Falls is a collection of 280 waterfalls and without a doubt one of the “big 5” tourist attractions in South America. Many colourful bird species and small mammals call this extraordinary place home. As well as helicopter rides you can water-raft, take a short train ride to where the Parana and Iguazu rivers merge or take an exhilarating speed boat ride under the falls. The only hotel worth staying in for these excursions is the Loi Suites. With its excellent location, this is the only option for fully immersing yourself in the wild close proximity of the falls.

The North-West
The North West provides an alternative and varied region, slightly off the beaten track. A great place to base your-self here is Salta. Find pre-Inca ruins, and historical museums, beautiful villages and architecture, and scenery ranging from salt flats, moonscapes, to huge mountains. We would recommend a stay at Legado Mitico, a colonial mansion whose individual rooms are dedicated to a local hero.

Ibera Wetlands
If you have not yet had your fill of wildlife spotting visit the Ibera Wetlands – the expansive marshes are home to over 300 bird species and a huge variety of mammals and fish. Go here for birding, horse riding and go on boat trips. Stay at the fantastically located Aguape Lodge – you will get a comfortable stay in a great location to explore the area from.

Neighbouring countries to combine with Argentina itinerary
This is a good opportunity to visit Chile, and see what the other side of the Andes has to offer. Cross in several different locations – in the north travel from Salta to the Atacama Desert, from Mendoza to the bright lights of Santiago, from Bariloche to Puerto Montt or from El Calafate to Torres del Paine.

General information on Argentina

When is the best time to visit?
Prime time to visit is between the months of December to March when most of the country is hot and dry. September, October and November are considered the shoulder seasons where the north is still basking in the sun, but the weather in Patagonia can be harsh. Those looking to try out the world class ski resorts should consider a trip in July and August.

How much dos a trip to Argentina cost?
There is no easy answer to this one as all of our itineraries are designed from scratch to suit your interest and budget. As a general guide then, a 22 day trip to Argentina staying in mid-range hotels would cost $8,000 per person excluding international flights. For  itinerary samples please see here.

Is the altitude a problem?
Whilst most regions are not high altitude, some Northern parts of Argentina, specifically on the mountainous road trips in the Andes can get up to very high altitudes . It is not a problem, but just something to be wary of and we always take altitude into consideration when designing trips. Even if you are very fit, keep in mind to always stay hydrated and hopefully you will acclimatise quickly. Talk to your GP if you have any medical conditions prior to your trip.

What is the currency?
Argentinian Peso is the currency. UK credit or debit cards are accepted in many hotels and for restaurant bills they are handy, but it is a good idea to have a bit of Pesos cash too before your visit. This is because it can prove tricky withdrawing Peso from ATMs there because of charges, limits and faulty machines. Generally, bringing US dollar is a good idea, as you can exchange these for Peso at a bank (notes less than US$50 are not generally accepted).

What is the language?
Spanish.

What is the time difference?
GMT -3 hours.

How do I get there?
There are direct flights from UK but some routes change aeroplanes in Brazil, Europe or the US. Average flight time is 16 hours.

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