Argentina is a country in the southeast of South America, uniquely positioned in the region with numerous natural sights, historical monuments, and cultural traditions. It’s a nation where people flock to experience its marvelous beaches, towering mountains, endless pampas, and rugged islands. The inhabitants, different from other nations, are known for being open, friendly, and independent. Welcome to Argentina—the country is waiting for you!
Argentina on the Map
The Republic of Argentina spans a vast area in the southern part of South America, stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Andes. With an area of 2.7 million square kilometers, Argentina ranks 8th in the world by this measure.
The country shares borders with Chile to the west and is bordered by Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, and Uruguay to the north, with a total border length of 12 thousand kilometers.
The country is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, featuring a coastline that spans 5 thousand kilometers. Argentina also encompasses part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and several other islands.
The country’s terrain is highly diverse, with the steep slopes of one of the world’s highest mountain systems, the Andes, in the west. To the north lies the Laplat lowland, while the south is characterized by the endless steppe expanses of the Pampa.
Argentina is home to Mount Aconcagua (6960 meters), the highest peak in the Andes, as well as the continent’s lowest point, Coal Valley (-105 meters).
Numerous rivers flow down the slopes of the Andes, with the Paraguay, Uruguay, and Parana rivers being the largest. The confluence of the last two forms La Plata, a massive estuary resembling a sea bay with fresh water.
The country’s fauna and vegetation are quite diverse, varying across specific climatic regions.
In the global peace index, considering factors such as the tranquility of the environment and attitudes towards tourists, Argentina ranks 66th, not far from countries like France and Sri Lanka.
Argentina experiences an average level of street crime. Tourists need to be cautious as there are swindlers attempting to cheat them, including tactics like swapping notes or overestimating the cost of services. Pickpocketing is prevalent, particularly in major cities and crowded places. While robberies are rare, caution is advised in certain areas, such as La Boca in Buenos Aires.
Road traffic in the country is generally safe, though local drivers often disregard traffic rules. However, the quality of the roads themselves is high.
There is a risk of contracting tropical infections, especially in the north of the country. Tourists are advised to get vaccinated against hepatitis, yellow fever, and typhoid fever. Mosquitoes and wild animals are vectors for many infections.
While Argentina’s flora and fauna are considered generally safe, there have been more frequent attacks by piranhas in the country’s rivers. Other potential hazards include leeches, a small number of caimans (local crocodiles), pumas, jaguars, 18 species of poisonous snakes (mainly vipers), and several species of dangerous spiders.
In general, adhering to basic rules of caution and personal hygiene ensures a safe holiday in the country.
Public Holidays in Argentina
Argentinians, for the most part, are open and cheerful people. They enjoy lively holidays and festivals, in which they always take an active part.
Public holidays in Argentina are divided into religious and secular. The former include Easter, Christmas, and the Day of the Immaculate Conception. The latter encompass New Year, Carnival (lasting several days, but with only two days off), and various commemorative dates such as Independence Day, Sovereignty Day, May Revolution, and others.
Additionally, the country regularly organizes thematic festivals dedicated to various events in religious and cultural life.
The main carnival of the country is held in the city of Gualeguaychú, a suburb of Buenos Aires. While it may be smaller in scale than the Rio Carnival, it can surpass in terms of colorfulness and fun. Thousands of tourists attend this festival every year.
Tango is very popular in the country, as Argentina is considered the birthplace of this passionate dance. Several festivals and competitions dedicated to tango take place, and dancing couples can be found on the streets of cities.
A popular event in the country is the Gaucho Festival, celebrating local cowboy-shepherds, as well as the harvest festival, called Vendimia.
Among unusual holidays, it’s worth mentioning the annual gay parade in Buenos Aires, which attracts representatives of minorities from all over the world.
What’s Fun in Argentina
In recent years, the tourist flow to the country has been constantly growing, and local authorities are making efforts to develop relevant infrastructure. Now, Argentina can boast to its guests not only luxurious nature but also comfortable conditions for recreation. Tourists are provided with a variety of fun for all tastes. Here are the 10 most important things that a tourist should definitely do in Argentina:
1. Beach holidays: The country has a small number of beaches suitable for swimming, mostly located in the north around Buenos Aires and La Plata. One of the most popular places is the beach in Mar del Plata, probably the most visited Argentine resort.
2. Surfing: This active holiday is popular in Argentina throughout the year. In January, the water temperature is higher, but the waves are less stable and strong. In summer, the water is cold for swimming, but the constant winds bring decent waves. Most surfers gather in the Mar del Plata area.
3. Kayaking: Kayaking, canoeing, and rafting are very popular, primarily due to the marvelous scenery. Both the Patagonian and Paraná rivers are suitable for such holidays.
4. Safari to Iguazu Falls: This is a popular tour in Argentina, involving travel through the jungle and riding a speedboat under the jets of the country’s largest waterfall, providing unforgettable impressions.
5. Biking: The vast expanses of the country and the variety of landforms present great opportunities for biking enthusiasts. Tours are available in mountainous or pampa terrain, towns, and national parks.
6. Trekking: Hiking in Argentina is also extremely popular, especially in Patagonia, famous for its interesting trails. The town of El Chalten at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy is considered the capital of trekking, offering dozens of trails of varying difficulty and duration.
7. Rock climbing: The abundance of mountains and picturesque views attracts climbing and mountaineering enthusiasts to the country. Besides regular rock climbing, options include climbing a glacier or participating in an amateur championship. Many programs require prior preparation and an obligatory guide-instructor.
8. Alpine skiing: The presence of high snow-capped mountains implies the development of ski tourism. There are several high-class resorts in Argentina, such as San Carlos de Bariloche, Cerro Catedral, and Las Leñas. Skiing is available here even in the summer, when most European ski resorts are closed.
9. Culinary tours: In Argentina, you should definitely visit a tasting of local wines, held on ancient plantations, for example, at Catena Zapata. In addition to gastronomic pleasure, you can also admire the wonders of the local nature.
10. Architectural attractions: The capital, Buenos Aires, is a beautiful city with old neighborhoods often compared to Barcelona. Colonial architecture, numerous monuments, and museums have been preserved, making a walk around the city a wonderful experience.
What’s Important to Know about Argentina
If you are planning to visit this country, here are some of the most important things to know:
The official language of the country is Spanish.
The country is currently home to just over 46 million people, making it the third most populous country in South America. By this indicator, it is second only to Brazil and Colombia.
Almost 85% of Argentinians are descendants of European migrants, while mestizos constitute about 12%. Another 1.5% are indigenous people, with Guarani and Mapuche predominating.
- More interesting facts about the Argentinians, their character, and local color can be found in this article.
The national currency is the Argentine peso, which is divided into 100 centavos.
Currently, there are banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, and 2000 pesos in circulation, as well as coins in 1, 2, 5, and 10 pesos.
Tourists are better off taking dollars with them, preferably banknotes of 50 and 100 dollars, as they have a more favorable exchange rate. Dollars or other currency can be exchanged in any bank or at special points. Payment for goods and services inside the country is made only in pesos.
The approximate exchange rate is 350 pesos for 1 dollar.
The majority of the population of the country professes Christianity, with the largest group being Catholics (77%). About 13% are Protestants, mainly Pentecostals. There are Muslim (500 thousand people) and Jewish (180 thousand) communities in the country.
The territory of the country lies in several climatic zones. In the north, it’s tropical and subtropical, in the center, it’s temperate, and in the extreme south, it’s subantarctic.
Argentina holds two temperature records in South America: the highest air temperature (+47 degrees Celsius) and the lowest (-9 degrees Celsius).
The north of the country, located directly on the Tropic of Capricorn, experiences only two seasons: a hot summer and a warm winter. There is little precipitation, and the average temperature is +27 degrees Celsius.
In the central parts of the country, all four seasons characterize a temperate climate. There are windy and warm autumns, cool winters (sometimes with snow), and hot summers, during which storms and tornadoes often occur. Precipitation is constant throughout the year, although some areas of Patagonia experience frequent moisture shortages.
Snowfall is frequent in the extreme south in winter.
The average seawater temperature off the coast of Argentina experiences considerable annual variation. The temperature is also influenced by the latitudinal position of the country’s region. Thus, in the extreme south, the water is not suitable for swimming, while popular beaches are located in the north. The bathing season in the country is limited to the winter months – the local summer. The ideal time for beach and sea tourism is considered to be from December to February.
- Water temperature in winter (December-February): +24 to +25 degrees in February.
- Water temperature in spring (March-May): from +24 degrees in March to +17 degrees in May.
- Water temperature in summer (June-July): from +13 to +14 degrees Celsius.
- Water temperature in autumn (September-November): from +16 to +22 degrees in November.
The main natural hazard in the country is floods, which are usually not characterized by duration but can be very intense. For example, severe floods hit the capital and neighboring cities in 2013 and 2015, peaking in late summer in August and early September. Floods are caused by heavy rainfall and often force the authorities to evacuate residents of small towns.
Tornadoes are also frequent disasters in Argentina, occurring both in summer and winter. In 2018, a powerful tornado passed through the province of Santa Fe, leading to the death of more than 300 people.
Earthquakes are quite common, especially in the Andean regions. Weak tremors occur annually, and larger ones, with a magnitude of 6-7 points, happen once every few years. The most catastrophic earthquake in the country’s history was the 1944 San Juan earthquake in the central Andes. Its magnitude reached 7 points, and the number of victims reached 10 thousand people.
While tsunamis are not typical for Argentina, volcanic eruptions do occur. In 2016, the Capaue volcano on the border with Chile erupted, but the eruption was not particularly strong.
Natural fires are also a fairly frequent disaster in the country, periodically breaking out in central Patagonia, the Cordoba area, and along the coast of La Plata.
- You can read about the most destructive disasters in the history of Argentina in this article.
Argentina is a federal presidential republic. The head of state is the president, who appoints the prime minister, forming the government. Legislative power is represented by the National Congress, consisting of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
Administratively, the country is divided into 23 provinces and 1 federal district.
The capital of the country is Buenos Aires.
The Largest Cities and Resorts
Buenos Aires is the capital and the most populous city of the country. Founded in 1536 by the Spaniards, it is now home to 3.1 million people. A beautiful city, it attracts about 10 million tourists every year with its historical buildings, monuments, fun festivals, and more.
Cordoba is a large city in the central part of the country. Established in 1573, it is home to 1.3 million people. Tourists are drawn here by the architecture of the colonial period, including the country’s oldest Catholic church, a zoo, and several museums.
Mar del Plata is a seaside resort 400 kilometers from the capital, inhabited by 600 thousand people. It offers tourists a developed infrastructure with hotels, restaurants, and sports facilities. The best beaches of Argentina are spread here.
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, with a population of 80 thousand people, located on the island of Tierra del Fuego. Tourists are attracted here by the national park with penguins and whales, as well as the opportunity to swim or fly over the Antarctic islands.
Symbols of Argentina
- Gauchos: Local shepherds and horsemen, very colorful and respected in the local culture.
- Tango: The favorite dance of the Argentines, which has become immensely popular worldwide.
- Seibo: The national flower of red color. It grows on the tree of the same name, which can reach 10 meters in height.
- Football: Argentines are passionate fans, and there is a real cult of football in the country, one of the symbols of which is Diego Maradona.
- Rhodochrosite: The country’s national stone, an ornamental stone of delicate pink color known as the Rose of the Incas.
- Mate: A tonic drink made from crushed herbs and rich in caffeine.
How to Get to Argentina
For a European or Asian traveler, getting to the country is almost exclusively by plane. Argentina has 19 international airports, with the capital city’s Jorge Newbery Airport considered the central air gateway. It is one of the busiest airports in South America, serving more than 9 million passengers annually. There is a second international airport in Buenos Aires, named after Minister Pistarini, with passenger traffic estimated at 5 million people.
Other international airports in the country are less busy, although many tourists enter through them. More than a million people a year pass through the airports of Cordoba, Mendoza, Bariloche, and even the distant airport of Ushuaia approaches this significant figure. From Uruguay, Argentina can be reached by ferries and other riverboats by crossing the Gulf of La Plata.
Cost of a Holiday in Argentina
The cost of a holiday in Argentina can vary widely, depending on whether you plan to holiday independently at your own risk or use the services of a tour company and trusted guides.
Argentina is located on the west coast of South America, quite far from Europe. Therefore, for EU tourists, flying here will not be cheap. For example, a round-trip ticket to Buenos Aires from Paris will cost at least $600-800, depending on the season.
The most inexpensive tours to the country start at $2000 to $3000 for 7 days, excluding flights. Their advantages include a comprehensive travel program, allowing you to acquaint yourself with the main attractions of the country. Separate tours to the carnival in Buenos Aires have a cost that varies from $3500.
In the country itself, tourists will encounter the following costs:
Food: Prices for products here are slightly lower than in Europe. For example, lunch in an average restaurant will cost $25-50 for two people, and in a local snack bar, only $5-10. For instance, a cheeseburger costs $1.5, and a cup of cappuccino is about $1.6.
Accommodation: The average price of a double room in a three-star hotel is $80-90, but you can get a room in a hostel for only $20. The most comfortable hotels offer rooms from $160.
Visiting attractions: Beach services will be free when staying at a hotel, with the exception of additional services such as diving. Visiting many historic buildings and churches is free, but you’ll have to pay to enter a museum. Themed tours can cost anywhere from $30 to $2,000. For example, a guided walk around Buenos Aires will cost $50 per person, but a trip to the Iguazu Falls will cost $500. Tours to Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica are even more expensive.
Souvenirs: From Argentina, tourists bring mate kalebasa (starting from $1), ceramics, ornaments made of ornamental and jewelry stones, capybara leather products (belt starting from $3), ponchos, and clothes with national patterns. Food items like mate tea, wine, grape oil, and liqueur fernet are also popular. Costs for souvenirs are individual and can vary considerably.
Transport: It is easier, and sometimes safer, to move around cities by public transport – buses and shuttle buses. A ticket costs about 15 to 60 cents. The cost of boarding a taxi is $1, and further, on average, $0.75-1.2 for each kilometer.
Thus, taking into account the reserve amount for unforeseen expenses, a holiday for two people will cost in Argentina from $2500 to $5000 for 7 days, including the flight. And, of course, the maximum amount for the holiday can be much higher.
If you have already visited Argentina, please share your impressions in the comments. Write a few words about what you liked most, which moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!