ARGENTINA

“In Argentina, love is like the stars in the sky.” – Manu Ginobli

Argentina, also known as the “land of silver”, is a home to roughly 38 million people. The visitors are welcomed with a variety of things to do, from summer to winter and backpacking or a short holiday. Urban lovers will have a great time in the buzzling capital, Buenos Aires where the cafes, tango and football is a must. On the other hand, nature seekers will be treated to a real adventure in the Andes and of course the new wonder of the world, the Iguazu Waterfalls. Argentina has always been western hemisphere’s melting pot of European culture since the 19th century. Be ready to explore Argentina to a whole new level through this travel guide.  

Why I love Argentina

Argentina was a dream for me. I didn’t want to go there to see the sights — I came there to see culture at its finest and of course, to have a tangible and legitimate experience of real Argentine dining. The food is here is one of the best I tasted in the world. There is nothing like the Argentine people, too. It was so easy to feel at home here. I think I will always come back.

Cost Estimates

Accommodation. From hostels to airbnbs to hotels, you’ll never run out of options throughout the country. The hostels offer dormitory beds ranging from 9-20USD depending on where you are located while the private rooms for two is from 20-50USD. Airbnb properties has an average price of 60USD per night. If you are lucky, the cheapest room is roughly 18USD.  Budget hotels offers an average of 80USD per double room and three star hotels can go up to 175USD depending on the season. Homestays are a popular experience as well. For as low as 15USD to 30USD, you will be able to have an authentic stay with the locals and some even offer free meals.

Food. From empanadas to asado, there are several local dishes that shouldn’t be missed in your visit to Argentina. Meals in local restaurants start from 6USD while fast food restaurants start from 3USD. Fine dining restaurants that offer high quality steak meals offers at least 75USD to 120USD meals.  A good quality bottle of red wine is at 13USD while the beer from the supermarket costs a dollar. A regular cup of coffee is less than a dollar and can cost a little bit more in some cafes in the city.

Transportation. Options to short and long distance travel around the country never run out, from flights to trains and buses. Since regional trains and flights can be a little bit costly, bus networks improved over the years. There is a transportation card called SUBE, which you can reload and buy in selected stores. A monthly ticket for public transport might cost around 28USD. This can be used for buses, commuter trains and the subway. A cab ride around the city starts at 4USD every 5 miles.

ToursThe activities that you might want to spend on still depend on your interests. Polish your dancing shoes for tango private lessons from 40USD/hour. Wine connoisseurs will enjoy a 3-hour wine tour which starts at 70USD. Museums has entry fees ranging from 1-4USD. Tickets to a football game can also set you back from 150-300USD depending on the type of seats. Never miss walking around the cobbled streets and get fascinated by the facades and everyday life of the Argentines.

Top things not to miss

1. Aconcagua. Get those hiking gears ready and trek to the Western Hemisphere’s highest mountain. The journey to the summit, 7,000 feet above the ground, is definitely exciting but requires a substantial amount of preparation. A guided hike is highly recommended.

2. Cuevas de las Manos Pintadas.– Translated in English as the “cave of the painted hands”, this archeological wonder boasts 13,000 years old rock paintings made by its inhabitants in about 7300 BC. It is currently maintained and protected under the UNESCO World Heritage list.

3. Dinosaur fossils in Neuquen. Yes, dinosaurs did exist some lifetime ago! Witness a true to life Jurassic Park, where you will encounter fossilized dinosaur eggs and remains of some of the largest creatures that ever walked in the earth’s surface! The excavation site 95 kilometers away from the city of Neuquen which is accessible by bus, train or plane from Argentina’s major cities.  

4. Eat Asado. Don’t ever forget the barbeque parties or the asado! Having the finest beef in world, this mouth-watering experience is a great way to get to know more the Argentines. Cows still outnumber the residents and they are well-fed in the flat pampas. Of course, it is best paired with the best quality wines in the region as well. Win-win!

5. Iguazu Falls. A local legend suggests that an angry snake divided the river into two after a man rescued his lover from being the sacrificial lamb for the said snake. Nonetheless, wherever this spectacular display of nature came from, the Igauzu Falls has proven its might when it was declared one of the seven New Natural Wonders of World. It is shared between Argentina and Brazil which also marks their borders. The falls are higher and twice as wide as the Niagara (which astounded me having seen both, I still can’t believe how much water comes out of Iguazu), so the area has been nicknamed “Niagara on Viagra”.

6. Perito Moreno Glacier. Probably the most notable site to see when in Patagonia, go here before the rest of the world melts this attraction. This ice field is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water.

7. Ruta de los Siete Lagos. This scenic route is the famous passageway to the the seven lakes between San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura in the Neuquén Province. The lakes are Nahuel Huapi, Espejo, Correntoso, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner and Machónico which also have several fishing spots.

8. San Telmo. Time travel to the 17th century by visiting the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires. This area has some of the nicest museums, from historical to contemporary art. There are dozens of street markets and cafes where you can grab a choripan or spend a crazy night with tourists and expats. Learning tango in this neighborhood are also one of the cheapest in the city.

9. Trekking in the Andes. The Andes mountain range stretches 7,000km and is the longest continental mountain range in the world. The flora and fauna in the Andes are some of the world’s most unique. Outdoor enthusiasts will love this natural attraction, may it be from the base or a hike to the summit. There are locals in various stations who are willing to assist its visitors but never forget to respect their traditional way of life as well.

10. Ushuaia. This is the largest city of Tierra Del Fuego where travellers come from around the world to begin their journey to Antartica or end their South America trip. Don’t miss the “Train to the End of the World”, formerly built as a freight line to serve the prison of Ushuaia to transport timber. It is now a tourist attraction that leaves ‘End of the World’ station 8 km west of Ushuaia into the Tierra del Fuego National Park. It is also considered the southernmost functioning railway in the world. The snow capped Andes is definitely a picturesque backdrop.

11. Volcan Lanin. Bordering Chile and Argentina is this cone-shaped volcano that has been a dormant for the last 560 years. It is just one of the 60 of volcanoes in Argentina. There are campsites around the area for hikers that are interested to take on some adventurous climb which usually lasts from 2 to 3 days.

13. Wine tasting in Mendoza. Wines are pretty much a staple for every Argentine home. The Mendoza Province is one of the most important wine regions in Argentina with two-thirds of its production done there. They produce the finest Argentinian wine known  around the world. A trip to a winery is a must for fans of vino (like me). There are arranged tours that can take you to a couple of wineries that shows the whole wine production, even gives you free samples.

12. Watch a football game in Buenos Aires. If you haven’t realized it by now, football is a huge thing for Argentines. Definitely a home to some of the world’s finest football players. It is more than just a game but already a culture. Whether you are a football fan or not, get out with your friends and book the tickets as soon as possible.

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