Backpacking In Argentina

in Argentina,Best Places To Backpack,South America

argentinaArgentina is quickly growing into a major backpacking destination along with nearby Brazil. The economic collapse of a few years ago has made the economy favorable for visiting backpackers and foreigners and Argentina offers a blend of European and Latin culture all in one place. While most backpackers stay in Buenos Aires, there is a host to do along Argentina’s long coastline, the Andes Mountains in the west, and you can even visit Antarctica in the south.

Visa Requirements

American and EU citizens don’t require anything outside of a tourist visa (which you’re granted upon entry in to the country) for a stay up to 90 days. Also citizens of most other South and some Central American countries also don’t require any special visas. You can extend your tourist visa once per visit so if you’re on your third month and want to stay a few more weeks you’ll mostly likely be granted an extension by visiting the embassy while you’re there. It’s not advisable to overstay your visit if you aren’t near an embassy though since it will significantly hurt your chances of entering later on.

  • An entry fee was recently added for US citizens running around $140. Check the official website to verify what and if there are fees waiting for you upon entry.
  • You will need a return ticket to show upon entry into the country. While agents in customs don’t always ask for it, if they do and you don’t have one you’ll be denied entry.

Hostels and Places To Stay

There are good hostels all over Argentina and these are only a few recommendations from two of the large cities you’ll most likely be staying in.

Buenos Aires

Cordoba

Hostelbookers is a good site to find and book hostels all over the world, including Argentina. You can find for hostels all over the country (and world) using the search box below.

Getting Around Argentina

If you’re already in South America, you can take a bus from most of the nearby countries. They don’t cost too much and are a relatively comfortable ride if you’re willing to pay a bit more for a bus company with a good reputation.

By Air

  • Within Argentina though you can fly across most cities using one of the low-fare carriers that operate in the country and there are plenty of big players in the market too, like Delta and United. Inside the bigger cities like Buenos Aires and Cordoba you can catch a taxi for a fairly low price and you’ll want to get around town after dark with taxi when possible. It’s safer than wandering around at night where pickpocketing and mugging are common in many parts of both large and small cities.

Bus

  • During the day you can get around using the local bus system, known as “colectivos”, which will get you to almost any part of each city. The roads are in good condition and the routes well laid out so it doesn’t take much to figure them out. It’s a good idea to check out your map and plan your route in a private place before heading out though, like in the hostel or a hotel room, since taking one out on the street makes you a more likely target of theft. The local buses are pay as you go and you just need to hand the driver some change, the fare based on where you’re headed. It’s also a good idea to find out from the hostel what the average cost will be, information that is also posted in many buses and around the bus stops as well.

Car Rental

  • This isn’t your best option if you’re on vacation or only staying in a place for a week or two. Renting a car requires an international license, something most backpackers neglect to get before leaving home, and navigating the large cities like Buenos Aires can be challenging for less experienced drivers. The costs are relatively inexpensive though and for those who’ve been in Argentina for sometime you can rent a car and get in between some local towns more conveniently than taking a bus. A car also gives you the freedom to stop when passing by interesting places or scenes to take pictures.

Climate and Weather

Argentina in general can have cold winters, particularly in the higher elevations. You’ll need to bring winter clothes if you’ll be in Argentina from about May through September as the seasons are reversed with the Northern Hemisphere. The winds across the country also tend to shift the weather rapidly during all times of the year so it’s a good idea to bring along a good fleece or a good insulated sleeping bag if you’ll be camping. The bags also come in handy in hostels that charge extra for sheets and linen. You can just sleep in your sleeping bag to save costs and you can be more confident of its cleanliness.

argentina resort argentina hotel argentina antartica

Things To Do

  • Eat Steak – Argentinians love beef and steak is their specialty. That isn’t to say there aren’t options for vegetarians, in cities like Cordoba and Buenos Aires you can find meat-free options at most places. Vegans will have a tougher time though as the concept isn’t well understood and you might be better off grocery shopping.
  • Walking Tours – A good way to learn about the city on foot so you can feel comfortable walking around. You’ll learn a bit about the city, the touristic areas, and catch many “to-do-later” things like art shows and restaurants.
  • Folk Music Show – Many of the smaller clubs have low entrance fees to catch some lively indigenous music with a lively beat. There’s also Argentinean rock, jazz, and reggae.
  • Take Tango Lessons – Don’t fall for the offers at large clubs but instead look for beginner courses at some of the local dance studios. Your hostel receptionist can probably point you to some good ones.
  • Attend a Soccer Match – Not for the faint of heart, an Argentinian soccer/football game is a whole other atmosphere. Make sure you know indicate which team you’ll be supporting and wear the appropriate colors. If you don’t have a clue about the teams, find some national or neutral colors to wear – fans are segregated in the stadium to prevent violence and you don’t want to be wearing the opposing team’s colors on the wrong side of the field.

Recommended Gear

The weather across Argentina varies quite a bit, even within seasons so we recommend the following gear for all times of the year.

Backpacking The Region

If you’re considering a regional backpacking trip try combing Argentina with:

| Costa Rica | Brazil | South America |

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