After getting married earlier last year, in December we decided to go big for our honeymoon and try and cover a fair bit of Argentina over 3 weeks.
Flying a few days before Christmas and being there over New Year meant we were in their peak summer season so things were a little bit more expensive but it was our honeymoon and you only do this once (we hope!).
Before I continue, I need to point out, that like Tuscany, the plan and logistics for Argentina were mapped out by my husband (one of the reasons I married him obviously), however I’ll happily take credit for buying the Lonely Planet Guide to Argentina and picking some of the places at the destinations.
The route looked like this…
Before I continue on the journey, here are a few words of advice on how to get around, get by and enjoy yourself in Argentina.
Travelling internally, we chose to fly to save time as Argentina is HUGE! Bigger than Europe and the 8th largest country in the world. Most of our flights were with Aerolineas Argentina (it’s a toss up between them and LatAm on internal flights).
It’s probably not hard, but they are so much better than EasyJet and RyanAir, with complimentary drinks and snacks – the occasional flight had a TV too with films.
BOOK THESE AS SOON AS YOU CAN! Especially if you’re travelling in peak season, these can get booked up very fast and with it prices will go up. Plus, if you are in there quick, you can book the fancy seats for not much more.
When in the destinations, we mostly took taxis when lugging luggage as one of my wheels managed to break, plus my packing for 3 weeks of travel across different climates isn’t the lightest… Taxis aren’t too pricey compared to your London Ubers, recommend making friends with your airport taxi driver if you are going to need more taxi journeys in your stay, as you can often strike a deal (we did this in Iguazu).
They do rack up rather quickly however.
Argentina’s answer to the Oyster card. Quite a few of the cities use these, unlike the UK so it’s worth picking one up. You can buy these at corner shops and it’s roughly 70 pesos per journey and it’s surprisingly easy to get around.
The US Dollar vs. Peso debate
Everywhere we read said bring US$ as this currency is king, you can get a better rate and most places will take it and value it over their own currency (currently Argentina’s financial climate is experiencing 60% inflation rate).
THIS IS NOT TRUE!
Don’t use the ATMs if you can avoid them, as they charge anywhere between 15-20% on top of what you take out.
If you pay with dollars, you’ll get change in Pesos, so aim to do this where possible to get a bank of pesos going. Best places are airports, hotels and posh restaurants.
There are also people in areas popular with tourists who will exchange US$ for Pesos, although recommend not doing your full amount in one go as there are stories of being mugged of the money afterwards… We never tried these out so can’t comment.
Another one to book in advance if there’s a specific place you really want to stay – we ended up redesigning our route as a place we wanted to stay became unavailable on the original dates!
If you’re not bothered, you can book when you’re there as last minute deals pop up and sometimes you pass somewhere that looks amazing, and around the corner is your hotel for the same price looking…not so amazing (this happened to us too!).
The baine of my life!
I’m not a light packer and for a trip where we’re travelling through every climate possible, this made it slightly harder…
Obviously this depends on your itinerary and what you plan on doing.
Our travels included: waterfalls in a rainforest, hiking in a desert and a snowstorm, seeing penguins, walking on glaciars, hitting up museums & city sights, gymming & swimming, fancy dinners and not so fancy dinners.
Based on the above, my advice for the basics is:
Portable charger – for the times you might not have power available
Travel plug like this one
A good camera – the views are incredible and the likelihood is it’s a once in a lifetime trip so do the memories some justice!
Travel clothes wash – it means you can pack enough pants for just week and you don’t have to rack up expensive laundry service bills (or waste time in a laundrette).
Suncream, whatever drugs you may need (I escaped any stomach trouble but better to be safe than sorry!) plus the usual toiletries as these are pretty expensive out there.
Mosquito spray! – embrace eau de deet as you will need this EVERYWHERE!
Day rucksack to take the necessities on the hikes and to throw stuff into when you’re over your luggage allowance.
Waterproof hiking boots – I bought these Brasher ones from Blacks and felt incredible smug when I had dry feet hiking through waterfalls and across streams.
Walking trousers / gym leggings – I opted for leggings, as they’re great to travel in, hike in, chill out in and the rest. I brought 2 normal pairs and Sweaty Betty’s thermodynamic run leggings for the chillier parts!
Trainers – Because sometimes you won’t need hiking boots or might want to go for a run. Woodall had trail shoes which covered both bases.
Windproof jacket that’s also breathable – yes it gets cold but it also gets bloody hot and sweaty when hiking! I learned the hard way as my jacket wasn’t breathable!
Sunglasses – because it gets sunny (duh!) and sometimes you need to hide the hungover eyes in photos
Scarf – comfort on the flights/buses and to keep you warm in the cooler evenings
Wooly hat – the weather in Patagonia can be scorching one minute and snowing the next!
Data / Phone Use
I’m on O2 and Argentina is covered under their free data and phone use abroad which is brilliant!
A few of the far flung places had no signal however, but a lot of bars/restaurants/cafes and the like have public wifi.
That said, bring a good book and enjoy being offline!
Obviously the most important part, aside from wine.
It’s surprisingly cheap to eat well in Argentina, provided you don’t head to the tourist attractions.
Overall, it’s simple yet effective.
Key things to try are:
- Empanadas are incredibly cheap
- Steak as the meat is great quality and a tenth of the price in UK
- Parilla – Argentine open BBQ. Usually lamb on a crucifix.
- Choripan – chorizo sandwich
- Submarino – hot milk with a chocolate bar melted in.
- Alfajores – biscuits stuffed with dulce de leche
- Dulce de Leche
- Torrontes – a white whine local to Salta, Argentina
- Malbec – bit obvious
Argentina’s water is drinkable in Buenos Aires and in el Chalten but try it and see how you feel as us Brits might not be able to stomach the different bacteria.
Might be best to stick to the bottled stuff.
In El Chalten you can drink straight from the running water as they are super strict on waste and water management!
And other Liquid
WINE! If you head to Salta, try their local white wine called Torrontes. Also, expect less hangovers. Whether that’s down to the fresh air or that most of the wine is organic, I’m not sure.
There’s also a hell of a lot of microbreweries for you non-wine drinkers.
Couldn’t not include this in the round up as the wild-domestic dogs are EVERYWHERE! We can only assume that people let their dogs take themselves for a walk when they leave for work.
Initially we approached with caution, however there soon came a point where I made friends with every dog I came across. Beware! Not all dogs are friendly!