Planning Your Trip
1. What is the climate like?
Argentina's climate is as varied as its terrain, ranging from subtropical in the north to humid and steamy in the centre, and cold in the temperate south. The Andes region has erratic rainfall, flash floods in summer, searing heat, snow at higher elevations, and the Zonda - a hot, dry wind. The lowlands receive sufficient rainfall to support swampy forests and upland savanna, but rainfall decreases from east to west; shallow summer flooding is common in the east. The winter dry season is pronounced, and the summer heat can be brutal. Patagonia is mild year-round in the east and glacial in the south. Weather in Patagonia can be very unpredictable, and can change drastically and unexpectedly. Argentine Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego have summer averages of just 11°C (52°F); nighttime temperatures will most likely be in the 1°C-5°C. For more weather information in other regions, check out Argentina Weather.
2. When is the best time to go to Argentina?
Travelers should be prepared for unpredictable weather at any time of year. Most travelers consider the warmer months of November to March (seasons are reversed south of the Equator), to be the best time to visit southern Argentina. However, the hottest summer months, (December - February) can be unpleasantly humid in Buenos Aires so travelers that plan on extending their stay in the capital may opt for the shoulder seasons (October - November or April -May) instead. Holiday weeks (Easter and Christmas) tend to be the busiest times so avoid these times if you want to avoid the crowds.
Travelers can visit Iguazu Falls yearround, though again the summer months can be incredibly hot. Visitors to Northwest Argentina will also want to avoid these hot summer months. In fact, the best time to visit this area is during the coolest months of May to September.
3. What are the most important places to visit once in Argentina?
Buenos Aires is a destination in itself - allow a minimum of 3 to 5 days to visit its many museums and art galleries, enjoy the sophisticated night life and take some of the half and full day tours.
After Buenos Aires, the most important places to visit and the average stay are:
- Iguazu Falls - 3 days-2 nights
- Bariloche - 3 days-2 nights
- The North - 5 days-4 nights
- Peninsula Valdes - 4 days-3 nights
- El Calafate - 4 days-3 nights
- Ushuaia - 3 days-2 nights
- Mendoza - 4 days-3 nights
4. How do I get around in Argentina?
Argentina is the eight largest countries on earth, fourth largest in the Western Hemisphere and second largest in South America. Travel from Buenos Aires to major points is by air. From certain points within Argentina overland travel may be the only way to get to the desired destination.
There is a Visit Argentina Airpass available - it requires staying on the same carrier for all flights, does not allow back-tracking, has a maximum length of 30 days and must be purchased outside of Argentina. Rates are dependent upon the number of flight coupons (one per segment) and the time of the year. All flights must be confirmed - no open dates or flights allowed. Once the Air Pass is issued, there are penalties for changes and-or cancellations.
5. Are these trips suitable for kids?
Yes and no. Patagonia destinations and Iguazu Falls tours are great choices for families with school-aged children who have an interest in nature and wildlife. Awesome Argentina and the Northwest Cultures and Landscape tours are also possible options for kids that enjoy hiking and nature. Some of our tours include more advanced trekkings, that are generally recommended only for kids age 12 and above.
We realize that you know your kids best so we will be happy to answer all of your questions and try to give you the most accurate impression of what to expect.
To make family tours easier, we often recommend having a private group and guide, though families with well-behaved children are welcome on our group departures as well.
6. What is the typical age range for our tours?
Our Argentina tours tend to attract all ages. The more adventurous trekking tours tend to attract a slightly younger group (mostly 20s-40s), but we've also had active 70 year olds do great on these treks so don't let age discourage you if you are fit and healthy.
7. Are the tours are a good choice for solo travelers?
Yes, some are. Solo travelers are welcome on any of our tours!
8. Do tour rates include international flights?
Tour rates do not include international flights. We find that it is usually less expensive for travelers to book these separately and this also allows you the flexibility to choose the schedule and routing that is most convenient for you. Alternatively, we can help you arrange these flights with an airfare consolidator who specializes in South America flights.
9. How much should I budget for tips?
Tips are not required on any of our tours. However, it is customary in Latin America to offer a small tip for exceptional service. Tipping amounts vary widely, though some travelers report that ~$2-$10/ day for your guide and ~$1-$3/ day for your driver is common. Other travelers opt to bring small gifts from their home to give to service providers along the way.
10. How far in advance should I book?
You can book your Argentina tour at any time and generally the earlier you book, the better.
That said, we are often able to accommodate last minute travelers (some even departing in less than one week!!), so give us a call and we will do our best! For last minute bookings, it helps to be flexible and organized. Your first choice tour may not be available for your selected dates, but our staff can probably recommend some other similar options that would be equally interesting!
11. What other countries can I visit at the same time?
Argentina is generally visited one of four ways:
A) As a single destination - going to Buenos Aires and then visiting other destinations in Argentina
B) As a part of an east coast, multi-country itinerary - Brazil is the most popular second country
C) As a part of a "southern cone" or Patagonia trip, combined with Chile
D) As a stop-over on Around South America multi-country program - Buenos Aires and Iguassu Falls are definite, Bariloche in conjunction with a Lake District Crossing is often included.
Before You Go
12. What should I pack?
A water/windproof jacket, fleece, and sun protection are recommended for all Argentina tours. Patagonia experiences an amazing variety of climates; snow and wet weather are common. Fast-drying clothes that can be layered work best for these areas.
13. How safe is Argentina?
According to the US State Department, there is no evidence of terrorist organizations or violent groups in Argentina that specifically target U.S. visitors. However, street crime is relatively common in the major cities and travelers should take common sense precautions. Don't walk alone or at night and don't carry large amounts of valuables with you. Most hotels have safes where you can store your belongings.
14. Is the water safe to drink?
The tap water is safe to drink in Buenos Aires and most parts of the country. To be sure, ask your guide or the hotel/ restaurant staff. Bottled water is readily available and should be used in remote rural areas.
15. What immunizations are recommended/ required?
No immunizations are currently required for visiting Argentina. Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. For the most current information, please consult your doctor.
16. Do I need a visa/passport?
All visitors must have a valid passport to enter Argentina and proof of onward passage. Your passport should be valid for at least six months after your departure date.
There is a reciprocity fee charged to citizens from the United States, Canada and Australia that must be paid online in advance of your arrival to Argentina. This includes airports, land border crossings, and ports. If one arrives in Argentina without showing proof that the fee was paid, he/she will not be able to enter Argentina.
*Payments can be made here: https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/
This fee applies to citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia. Each traveler must pay the following amount:
· United States: $160 (fee is valid for 10 years - transferable to a new passport if you show your old one)
· Canada: $75 (valid for one single entry)
· Australia: $100 (valid for a year - and multiple entries for that year)
For all other nationalities, please consult with your nearest embassy or consulate for information on entry requirements. Entry requirements change with surprising frequency. It is each traveler's responsibility to check with the consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.
17. What is the local currency, exchange rate, etc.?
The local currency is the peso. Most restaurants, markets, and other service providers readily accept US dollars. They will generally give you change in local currency. It is handy to have a few pesos as post offices and some other institutions will not accept dollars.
18. Should I bring cash or Traveler's checks? Are ATMs available? Can I use credit cards?
Most travelers bring a small amount of US cash with them and withdraw from ATMs as they need it along they way. ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and cities. Travelers can withdraw US dollars or local currency at fair exchange rates. Traveler's checks are fine, but they can be more difficult to exchange and you will usually receive a poorer rate or be charged an additional fee. Credit cards are accepted only in the larger restaurants and stores. Although it is helpful to bring a credit card along for emergencies, don't count on using it for most purchases.
19. Can I use my cell phone?
Check with your cell phone provider. Each company is different and they can give you the most up-to-date information.
20. What time zone is Argentina?
Argentina is three hours behind GMT (two hours before EST). They do not observe daylight-savings time so during these months (April-October), Argentina is only one hour ahead of EST.
21. Do I need an electrical adaptor?
Argentina uses 220 volt, 50 cycle electricity. Travelers will require a voltage converter for 110 volt devices. Plugs are either two rounded prongs or three angled flat prongs so travelers from the US will also want plug adaptors.