Argentina Vacation Guide
K: I’m really excited about today’s post! This was such a huge trip and I knew we needed a dedicated blog post covering details and a guide of our three different vacation regions of the country: Patagonia, Mendoza, and Buenos Aires. Each one is almost its own vacation because they are so different! If we don’t cover something that you’d like to know, please feel free to email us directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment at the end!
Argentina Vacation: Getting There & Getting Around
Our initial flight was from Dallas to Buenos Aires: ten(ish) hours in the air and endless movie options. I talked on Stories about how I am not the best traveler, especially on planes. I’ll be posting later this month on tips and tricks for nervous flyers because I learned quite a few things! In the meantime, I simply wanted to cover the unique aspects of Buenos Aires two airports and how we got around for the majority of our trip.
The Buenos Aires Airport Saga
Okay, so first and foremost, you’ll fly in to the international airport (EZE) but then, if you’re going to any other city or destination, you’ll have to drive 45 minutes to the domestic airport (AEP). There is a city bus that you can pay to ride, but we opted for a driver, simply because of the language barrier. Allow for traffic and a very inefficient airport check-in process at AEP. We had a five hour layover, simply to ensure we could get from one airport to the other. Luckily, there were no problems for us but I’ve heard of others who did not get so lucky in making a tight connection.
The other thing to know about the domestic airport is that it serves as a “home base” essentially for other flights. Brandon compared it best to Dallas. For the smaller cities in Texas (San Antonio included), most flights will take you through Dallas and then on to your final destination. AEP is the same way. When we wanted to go from Bariloche to Mendoza, we had to stop at AEP, even though it was backtracking. Kind of frustrating, especially if you hate to fly like me. All that to say, be prepared for some time in the air if you plan on touring different parts of the country!
Last but not least, getting around in all of our different locations was fairly easy. Do NOT rent a car; I honestly feel like it is too dangerous and would be extremely stressful. We relied on taxis and a service that is similar to Uber (Uber is illegal); the service is called Remises and we talked about it briefly in our Mendoza post.
Food, Shopping, & Currency
Argentina Vacation: Food
We’ve been to Mexico so many times and often find that we’re able to use the US dollar at most places. Argentina was very different in that regard. No one accepting anything but the Argentinian peso. Luckily for us, that meant that everything was extremely affordable. We’d go to really nice restaurants and eat a multi-course meal for under $60. That was one thing we loved about visiting; once you’re actually there, everything is pretty cheap. We never felt guilty about meals.
One other really nice aspect is that most hotels will actually provide breakfast. We bought one breakfast meal on the whole trip! That meant that we only had to buy two meals a day and sometimes, we’d eat a big breakfast and last until dinnertime. Brandon and I both packed some granola bars for the trip and would use that as a snack if we didn’t feel starving at lunch.
Argentina Vacation: Shopping
I was actually a little disappointed in the shopping. I’d heard great things about the quality of leather and really hoped to find a great leather bag or even a pair of nice shoes. Granted, we didn’t make shopping a huge priority, but I figured that we’d find some cool stores when we walked or explored. The best shopping opportunities of the trip were definitely in Buenos Aires in the Palermo neighborhood. Other than that, we weren’t super impressed.
I really hoped for some fun markets but unfortunately, everything we found was crowded or seemed a little too touristy and not very authentic. Brandon and I don’t often shop while we travel so I certainly can’t speak to any “insider” spots, but I think my biggest piece of advice would be to just focus on the food, rather than the shopping. In fact, we brought back a jar of dulce de leche as a souvenir and a box of packaged alfajores (the cookie treat that we ate almost every day). That seemed a little more authentic and also fun to share with friends/family.
Cities To Visit On Your Argentina Vacation
We actually did a full blog post on Mendoza and the wineries right here. Without a doubt, this was one of my favorite and most memorable parts of the trip. The city of Mendoza is beautiful but the countryside and wine region will take your breath away. We visited the Uco Valley and wrote all about our experience.
Oh. My. Word. Talk about the views! Again, we did a full blog post on this one because it was one of the most memorable experiences ever! We spent time in the city of Bariloche and then hired guides to take us camping and fly fishing in the Andes. Patagonia is a gorgeous area. You can explore tons and if you love nature, this city has to be on your list!
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Obviously, if you visit Argentina, you have to spend some time in Buenos Aires! My one regret is that we didn’t get to see authentic tango! I think we just ran out of time! Buenos Aires is a little bit overwhelming with its 15 million residents and massive span, it can be hard to get around. When I did my research, I wasn’t sure how far it would take us to get from place to place. We didn’t end up getting to see everything that I’d planned. Still, we were able to do a pretty good amount for just having spent 3 nights there!
*Side note: We stayed at L’Hotel and it was an incredible spot! I highly recommend if you want to be in a great area of the city. It’s a boutique hotel that is very affordable and it took our breath away with the design!
Helpful Things To Know:
Expect a lot of meat. If you aren’t a fan of beef, really do your research on restaurants. Brandon and I rarely eat red meat and I spent a lot of time finding options for us all over the country to relieve us of the constant beef haha. Luckily, Argentina has a fantastic European influence and we actually ate some pretty amazing Italian food while there. Seek it out though!
Just like any city, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. I’m not going to get into the details, but we did have a scary moment while we were in Buenos Aires. Don’t carry big bags, don’t wear or bring anything flashy, and always keep an eye out. Pickpockets are very real and especially in a massive city like BA, you need to be careful.
Enjoy the time! There were so many cultural lessons and new ideas for us during this trip. It was our first time to South America and I feel like we learned so much! Definitely practice your Spanish because we found that very few people spoke English. Embrace everything and try living like a local to the best of your ability. We’ve found that’s what makes a trip fun and exciting!