Capital: Buenos Aires Population: Around 45 million Language: Spanish Time: GMT-3 International dialling code: +54 Visas: Not required by UK nationals for stays of up to 90 days Money: Argentine peso (ARS), currently around ARS48 to the UK£ and, at the time of writing, suffering rampant inflation. There are ATMS in cities and major towns and credit cards are accepted at most hotels and shops but you’ll need cash for cheaper establishments, markets and tipping.
When to go
Spring: Argentina is a year-round destination but spring (September-November) is one of the best times to region-hop. The Lake District is also beautiful during this time.
Summer: Patagonia is most accessible in summer (December to February). Misiones is warm all year around, but the hottest month is January (the coldest is July, while the wettest is October).
Autumn: The winelands are lovely in autumn (March–may). Avoid January, Easter and July to beat the abundant crowds.
Health & safety
Make sure you’re up to date on basic jabs, including tetanus. There’s a low to no risk of malaria and a moderate risk of Zika. Be aware of the effects of altitude
sickness, which can begin at 2,400m above sea level. Tap water is generally safe to drink.
A daily direct service with British Airways (britishairways.com) flies from Heathrow to Buenos Aires. Flight time is approximately 14 hours; return fares start from £695 return. There are also flights to Buenos Aires via Madrid and US hubs with other carriers. LATAM (latam.com) flies from Buenos Aires to Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport in Misiones.
Distances are huge, so air travel is the quickest way to get around. Argentina also has an excellent long-distance bus network that is fast, comfortable and good value. On overnight buses it’s worth paying a bit extra for ejecutivo class (wide, almost fully reclining seats) or cama-suite class (essentially a bed). Large baggage is stowed in the hold and bags are tagged for security.
The author travelled with Journey Latin America (020 8600 1881, journeylatinamerica.co.uk) on a ten-night tailormade itinerary costing from £6,398 per person based on two sharing. This includes two nights at Awasi Iguazú and three nights at Puerto Valle on a fully inclusive basis, international flights with British Airways, domestic flights, transfers and two nights in Buenos Aires B&B, including excursions.
Cost of travel
If you’re on a budget you can get by on under US$50 a day by sleeping and eating cheaply.
Upgrade to between US$60 and $200 a day, and you can
stay in comfortable hotels, eat at better places and take tours. A stay in a luxury hotel, eating in fancy restaurants and taking taxis can set you back Us$200-plus a day. Tip in restaurants where a service charge isn’t included.
Argentina has accommodation to suit all budgets, from familyrun guesthouses to boutique hotels; camping sites to luxury hotels. In Misiones, Awasi Iguazu (awasiguazu.com) has villas from Us$2,100pp (£1,617) for a twonight stay, including all food, drink and excursions. Puerto Valle (puertovalle.com.ar) in Corrientes has doubles from US$820 (£630), all-inclusive. In Buenos Aires,
Legado Mitico (legadomitico.com) has B&B doubles from US$250 (£190) and Vain Boutique Hotel (vainhotel.com) has B&B doubles from US$99 (£75).
Further reading & information:
Argentina (Lonely Planet, 2018) www.argentina.travel – official site of the Instituto Nacional de Promoción Turística www.lata.travel – The Latin American Travel Association
Town & country Find bright colours in both Buenos Aires(above) and the sparkling Lake District
Malbec & mountains The Mendoza region offers fine wine in wild landscapes