Argentina is a wide country and not always easy to travel to. Few airlines connect Buenos Aires with the rest of the country and long-distance trains are almost a legend… Argentina is a country of good drivers, locals are very used to driving everywhere, though sometimes roads are not in the best condition but generally in a proper one! What else?
Well, planning a trip to Argentina also means taking into account other factors such as medical insurance, how to get local currency, safety tips, clothing to wear (if you’re visiting other places outside Buenos Aires), and the documentation you must bring.
Our essential checklist on how to plan a trip to Argentina
To plan a trip to Argentina, which is for many a far-from-home destination, think about preparing your trip in advance. Why? First, because flights are always cheaper if booked way before the traveling date (the same happens with hotels, especially in Patagonia, a top-demanded destination of Argentina), and second because such an exotic trip is worth your planning time with a local travel expert. You may need more than one email or phone call with your agent to decide which kind of trip is the best for you and your budget!
Don’t worry, we have put together this starter checklist to save you a little time before making your luggage ready to travel to Argentina. You can put a mental “checkmark” (✔) in the little empty boxes next to each subtitle!
1. Medical Insurance
- It was always very important to book trusty medical insurance before the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s even more important now. You can check the website of World Nomads, we’ve been working with their travel medical insurance for years and always had the best reviews.
- Make sure that your travel insurance includes a Covid-19 covered policy if you need to follow a special treatment in place. To learn more about how we’re dealing with safety protocols in our trips, check out the “Book with confidence” on our website, or the FAQS about the latest updates on Covid-19 restrictions to enter Argentina (you have to scroll down and find de FAQS at the end of our recommended trips!).
- Read more about Covid protocols & travel restrictions in Argentina, Chile, Patagonia and Iguazú Falls in our website.
2. How to get local currency
- Argentina’s currency is the peso Argentino. If you’re traveling in dollars or euros, the change rate will be always in your favor. The Argentine peso has been (sadly) devalued many times…
- You can exchange your foreign currency at the two airports located in Buenos Aires (Ezeiza and Aeroparque). This is the easiest way but you may endure a bit of queuing time.
- In Buenos Aires, you’ll find many exchange houses downtown (Microcentro) or in the Palermo neighborhood. Be careful if you stroll around Microcentro, you’ll see people shouting “¡cambio, cambio!”. These are called “árbolitos” (little trees, no clue about the origins of this expression…) and promote black hat currency exchange.
- You can always withdraw money for ATMS if your bank allows it. Take into account the fee they may charge for international withdrawals.
- Some locals of Western Union offer currency exchange too.
- Very important: Make sure you get local currency in Buenos Aires. Other destinations may not have so many options, and ATMS can easily run out of money in little cities.
- Take always cash with you. There are many shops (little groceries) that do not accept any type of cards. Also, entrance fees to national parks are usually cash only.
- To enter Argentina, you’ll need to have an up-to-date passport (and for travelers under 18, parents/guardians will be obliged to present the minor’s birth certificate).
- When traveling North of Argentina you must bring a passport with you (not a photocopy which is recommended while daily touring Buenos Aires. You can leave it at the safebox of your hotel).
- Some countries require a visa to visit Argentina. Check out which are the countries that do not require a visa.
- It’s normal to cross the border to Chile, Bolivia, or Brazil if you’re visiting the most important attractions of the North, Patagonia, and the rainforest (Iguazú Falls for instance). To do so, you’ll always need to have your passport with you. Check if you need a visa, and other cross bordering requirements to visit those countries with the consulate of your hometown.
4. Tax & Refounds
- If you’re traveling from Australia, Canada, and the US you don’t need to pay reciprocity fees anymore! (lucky you…)
- If you have spent more than 70USD on national products at stores identified with the Tax-free logo, you can ask for a refund at the Customs office before boarding at the airport. But only if you keep the receipts!
- VAT (Value-added tax) on accommodation is excepted for foreign travelers who can prove that Argentina is not their home country and that shows the stamped passport at the check-in counter.
You can read more information about this matter on Argentina’s Government website. Unfortunately, it’s only in Spanish. If you don’t understand Spanish and need any help, we can chat with you directly on our home page.
5. Safety tips
- Argentina is not a violence-free country, like any country in the world is. Big cities like Buenos Aires follow the same patterns that other big cities in the world: crowded streets and public transports prone to pickpocketing practices, robbery increasing risk during the night, and unpopulated neighborhoods. Fortunately, the good news is that armed robbery is not common like it’s sadly in many other countries of South America. With common sense and insider tips from locals, you’ll be fine!
- Ask your travel agent, hotel receptionists, and tour guides about the safe places and practices to move around the city you’re visiting.
- Do not take any jewelry with you and leave your valuable objects in the safe box of your hotel.
- Be careful with your camera or cell phone, especially if they are expensive. Do not carry your phone or wallet in your butt pocket. And do not use it in big avenues, near the street: Unfortunately, flash-robberies in motorcycles are more and more common.
- Don’t carry with you more money than you need. If you need to do it, we recommend carrying it in a money belt inside your clothing.
- Don’t leave your purse, handbag, luggage, dog, kids…unsupervised on the streets, restaurants, airport. Anywhere…
6. Clothe to wear
- Buenos Aires does not require any special choice. Just what you would wear at home, and some fancy gals to go out at night. Not even for the dinner tango show, fancy clothes will be necessary. The weather is quite humid, it rains often and it’s very sunny almost 365 days of the year.
- Iguazú Falls, located in the country’s Northwest region, will demand you to bring light clothes for almost daily hot-humid weather. Bring repellent (lots of it…), and some waterproof items, especially when you visit the Argentine side of Iguazú National Park and hope on the boat to the cascades.
- Patagonia will demand you to bring: hiking boots or shoes, warm cloth for heavy winter weather (beanie, scarf, woolen sweater, windbreaker), but especially, it will require the ability to dress in layers, since you can have sunny days and freezing nights or afternoon, all in one day.
- North Argentina is a dry zone of the country, with hot and rainy weather and freezing temperatures due to altitude. When you visit the Great Salt flats in Salta or Quebrada de Humahuaca you’ll be almost touching the clouds!
How to travel to Argentina is our specialty. We have designed an Argentina travel guide with more insider tips for you to plan your trip to our beautiful country. You can read it, and if you have any more doubts, just send us a message! Good luck with your travel planning!