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Know Before you Go
General Information and Insider Tips
Visitors from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries do not need a visa to visit Argentina, however a Reciprocity Fee must be paid online in advance for Canadians. This fee was recently suspended for Americans and Australians, but check the Argentina Consulate or Embassy website in your home country for the latest information. For other countries, check visa requirements here. Always ensure you have at least six months of validity on your passport before expiration.
If you are travelling from or through the United States, and are not a US national or resident, you will need to obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), ideally at least 72 hours prior to departure. ESTA has replaced the paper form that used to be filled in prior to landing in the US. The authorization costs $ 14 USD and needs to be paid by credit card.
The safety of our clients is of the utmost importance to us, and our local experts are always well-informed about the current situation in Argentina. For up-to-date information about safety, security and travel warnings, please refer to the US State Department, UK Foreign Travel Advice, or your local government resource.
Most sockets use the European two-pronged round plugs (Type C), but some use the three-pronged Australian plugs (Type I).
At Better Places Travel, you book your own international flights. Your travel expert will gladly advise you on the best option. Read here for more information and tips.
When to go
Argentina is a big country, with hot, humid summers in the north and frigid winters down south. Most visit Patagonia in summer, from November-January. Buenos Aires is mildest in spring and fall, which coincides with its high seasons (October-November and March-April), and harvest festivals can typically be enjoyed in the Mendoza wine region in March.
The national language is Spanish. Here are some useful words to learn:
Hello = Hola
Goodbye = Adios (formal) Chao/Ciao (informal)
Please = Por favor
Thank you = Gracias
Excuse Me = Perdón
Insider Tip: In Argentina, buses are called ‘colectivos‘. Autobus and Omnibus are not commonly used terms.
Argentines, especially in big cities, stay out late. Some restaurants don’t open for dinner service until 7pm, and most people eat between 9pm-11pm. Dance clubs are pretty quiet until about 2am, with most patrons leaving when the sun comes up. While locals don’t take traditional siestas, merienda (tea time) is widely observed between 4pm-6pm, and cafés often have set menus that include coffee and a pastry or sandwich. Mate is a traditional tea (yerba mate) that is sipped out of a gourd through a metal straw, commonly passed among friends and family.
Insider Tip: Buenos Aires locals are called porteños owning to the city’s location.
The local currency is Argentine Peso (ARS)
Credit cards are widely accepted, but cash is also commonly used, particularly at casual restaurants and cafés. Always keep pesos handy for small purchases. 3,000 ARS is the maximum ATM withdrawal per day. It is also recommended to carry US Dollars for emergencies, which can be readily exchanged.
- Restaurants- 10% is customary, even if there is a service charge (cubierto) on the bill, as that goes to the restaurant, not the staff
- Cabs- Not expected, but you can round up the change
- Hotels- Tip bellmen about 10 pesos per piece and housekeeping 10-15 pesos per day
What you pack is entirely dependent on where and when you’re travelling. Below is a guide for the more well-traveled areas.
Porteños are generally quite stylish and cosmopolitan, especially when going out at night. Bring comfortable walking shoes as you’ll want to explore the various neighborhoods on foot, and nicer clothes for evening. Shorts and tank tops are suitable in summer and some locals even don swimwear when basking in the sun at local parks.
Must pack item: Umbrella
Rainfall in Buenos Aires doesn’t vary substantially throughout the year, so whenever you visit, pack an umbrella!
If you’re visiting Patagonia, you probably won’t be spending much time inside, so be sure to take appropriate outdoor gear including good hiking boots, waterproof pants and fleeces. Here’s a packing list we like.
Must pack item: Rucksack
A sturdy, lightweight, comfortable pack is essential in the wilds of Patagonia.
Temperatures are usually hot and humid in this northern area that borders Brazil. Wear comfortable sandals and loose-fitting clothing.
Must pack item: Insect Repellant
Keep those mosquitos at bay!
Insider Tip: In Iguazu Falls, a visa may be required to visit the Brazilian side, so be sure to check
Insider Tip: In Iguazu Falls, a visa may be required to visit the Brazilian side, so be sure to check requirements before you go.
At the foothills of the Andes, summer days can be hot and humid, whereas winter nights can dip below freezing. If hiking or biking the surrounding area, bring appropriate outdoor gear. Casual clothes are fine for touring wineries during the day, but you may want something nicer for evenings. While much of the year is sunny and dry, summers are wetter than winters, with January being the rainiest.
Must pack item: Sun Protection
With plenty of sunny days, don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
Insider Tip: Check customs limits for your home country when transporting wine in your luggage.
Be sure to check out our Sustainability Checklist for more tips on how to respect the environment and local culture while traveling.