The local currency is the Argentine peso (ARS), although US dollars are accepted in many places throughout the country. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in major cities and in tourist areas, but pesos are still preferred and recommended for local markets. It is also handy to have smaller bills to make smaller purchases for snacks and drinks and for tipping.
The official language of Argentina is Spanish,the Rioplatense dialect to be exact. English is commonly spoken in large tourist areas, especially by locals working in the tourism industry.
Best Time to Go
The best time to travel to Argentina depends on what you want to do there. Summer is when the country is driest and warmest, which allows for more activities. For the outdoorsy traveller, Patagonia is most accessible during the summer months. In spring, nature lovers will love the Lake District and wine aficionados will appreciate spending their time in the wine valleys that surround Mendoza. Buenos Aires is enjoyable all year round. During the winter, the temperatures are much lower, but it is the ideal time to visit Bariloche and visit a ski resort in the mountains.
Argentina has a variety of climates and microclimates such as subtropical, oceanic, semi-arid, Mediterranean, and tundra due to the vast size and wide range of altitudes across the country. It experiences all four seasons: spring (September to November), summer (December to February), fall (March to May), and winter (June to August). Average temperatures in the north range from 26°C/79°F in the summer to 14°C/57°F in the winter. In the cooler south, average temperatures are 12°C/54°F in the summer and 4°C/39°F in the winter.
Argentina offers experiences for a variety of interests. Hikers and nature lovers can explore Iguassu Falls and the stretches of Patagonia including Perito Moreno Glacier, while foodies and wine connoisseurs can enjoy the vineyards of Mendoza and the gastronomic culture of Buenos Aires. It makes for a great vacation no matter the interest.
Getting There From North America
The main airport in Argentina is Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, which is located about 35km southwest of the city. There is also the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires that operates local flights to the country’s different regions.
Major Air Routes from the United States
In the United States, many airlines have direct flights to Buenos Aires from New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston.
Major Air Routes from Canada
In Canada, Air Canada is the only airline that has direct flights to Buenos Aires from Toronto. Throughout the rest of Canada, travellers will have to connect via the United States or Toronto.
Essential Sights in Argentina
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and a cosmopolitan city renowned for its exciting history, great food scene, and associations with tango. Its center is the famous Plaza de Mayo surrounded by 19th-century buildings, which gives it a European city feel. Be sure to visit the Presidential Palace (Casa Rosada) and the Teatro Colon.
Located in southern Patagonia, El Calafate is the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, where the famous Perito Moreno Glacier is located. It’s a good base for exploring Patagonia, with many trips through Argentine Patagonia connecting through the town at some point.
This mighty waterfall system is located in the north of the country on the border with Brazil. When taken altogether, these waterfalls form the largest waterfall system in the world. There are a variety of vantage points of the falls from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides.
Other Highlights of Argentina Off the Beaten Path
Located in Patagonia, this city borders a beautiful glacial lake (Huapi) that is surrounded by spectacular vegetation and the great mountains of the Andes. Due to its architecture and the surrounding mountains, you could mistake Bariloche for a city in the Swiss Alps.
This frontier town is located in the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) at the southern tip of South America. It’s the gateway to the Magellan Strait and Antarctica, with most Antarctic cruise vessels embarking here.
The city with modern architecture and Art Deco buildings is located in the heart of Argentina's wine country. In Mendoza, travellers can tour many of the bodegas (wineries) and enjoy a variety of red wines, especially Malbec, or visit the Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno and appreciate the modern and contemporary art on display.
Top Activities and Experiences in Argentina
Dance the Tango
Tango is one of the most famous dances in the world, originating in 18th-century Argentina and Uruguay and becoming a staple of the national identity. It combines Indigenous dance rhythms with Spanish European influences. You can take a Tango dance class while visiting Buenos Aires or attend an evening show to watch skilled dancers show off Tango in all its glory.
Eat Argentine BBQ
Argentina is famous for its meat, in particular its beef. The Gaucho culture and the country’s livestock are famous throughout the world for the quality of their meats. Be sure to visit an Argentine barbeque restaurant and try some Argentine roast meat, as it’s unlike barbeque anywhere else in the world.
Visit a Vineyard
Argentina is famous for its quality of wines, especially its Malbec. If you visit a wine region, be sure to visit bodegas (vineyards) to learn about the winemaking process and to have an opportunity to try out different vintages of this classic Argentine drink.
Essential Argentine Foods to Try
This drink is made by steeping dried yerba mate leaves with water, creating an infusion similar to tea. It’s Argentina’s national drink and has a distinct earthy, bitter flavour that is iconic across the nation.
Dulce de Leche
This Latin American version of caramel is a favourite dessert topping in the country. It’s prepared by slowly heating sweetened condensed milk or milk and sugar, until it becomes rich and caramel-like. It is a delicious sweet treat that can be found in a variety of local desserts.
This sweet dessert is made with biscuits and sweet filling, and is common across the country. It’s unique flavour is a hit with locals.
Asados (Argentine BBQ)
Argentina’s cattle tradition has earned a reputation around the world for producing high-quality meat that is lean and flavourful. Visit a parilla or steakhouse to enjoy asado and try some meat for yourself, including grilled cuts of steak and chorizo.
Tips for Sustainable Travel
Book with tour operators who are dedicated to sustainable travel and committed to responsible and ethical practices. Rest peacefully and stay in eco-lodges and hotels when possible as they focus on providing sustainable accommodations that reduce the impact on the environment. Try to travel with reusable items like reusable straws, refillable water bottles or even better, reusable water bottles with filters and avoid plastic bags or items wrapped in plastic to minimize waste. Do not leave waste behind when traveling to remote areas where waste management is not available. Respect that campfires are banned in parks, especially in regions like Patagonia. Stay on marked trails to avoid disturbing surrounding areas and delicate natural habitats. Also, make sure when you’re buying local souvenirs and other goods that they are not made from animals and other precious natural products.
Where to Go Next
One of the best things in South America is that you can easily connect to a variety of countries by land. After you visit Argentina, you could extend your trip into Chile. You can connect via Patagonia (Calafate in Argentina and Torres del Paine in Chile) or you could do an Andean traverse through the Lake Region (crossing from Bariloche, Argentina to Puerto Varas, Chile). Another popular connection is to finish your tour in Iguassu (Argentina) and cross the border into Brazil to see both sides of the falls and then fly to Rio. You can also visit the spectacular Punta Del Este beach in Uruguay or take a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica.
Most Popular Itineraries for Argentina
Argentina Top to Bottom is a 9-day vacation that offers a comprehensive overview of the nation, from Buenos Aires to Patagonia and finally Iguassu Falls. El Calafate & the Perito Moreno Glacier is a 3-day stopover that takes you to El Calafate, a small town in the heart of Patagonia, where you’ll connect to majestic Perito Moreno Glacier and explore the quaint town. Argentina in Style VIP offers a 9-day luxury experience from Buenos Aires to Iguassu Falls, with visits to some of Argentina’s best restaurants, finest wineries, and Gaucho farms.