Did you know?
- Argentina is the second largest country in South America, and the eighth largest country in the world, spread over an area of 2,766,890 square kilometres
- Argentina is bordered by Paraguay and Bolivia in the north, Brazil and Uruguay in the northeast and Chile in the west and south
- Mt Aconcagua at 6,960 metres in height is the tallest mountain in all of South America
- Moreno Glacier is amongst the few glaciers in the world that are advancing
- The popular dance form “Tango” belongs to Argentina
- The majority of the population in Argentina is of European origin
- It is thought that there were inhabitants living in Argentina as far back as 13,000 years ago. The evidence is still being studied by archaeologists. Argentina has been the place where some of the oldest and largest fossils of dinosaurs have been unearthed.
- It was in 1520 that Ferdinand de Magellan arrived on Patagonia’s shores before he discovered the strait connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans
- Argentina became independent from Spain in 1816. After this date migrants began arriving from UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to Argentina do not need a visa at this time.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
Australian Embassy in Argentina:
Buenos Aires C1426BMJ
Ph. +54-11 4779 3500
Fax. +54-11 4779 3581
The official currency of Argentina is the Argentine Peso. Notes come in denominations of AR$500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2.
The recommended currency to take to Argentina is the US Dollar. Once there, you can exchange your US Dollar for the Peso. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have US Dollars with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Argentina is approximately USD1.50
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately USD5.50
- The price of dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately USD11
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately USD2
Argentinians love to eat and to cook. The country is famous the world over for the quality and prevalence of meat, particularly beef. It is most commonly cooked simply on a traditional barbecue as steak, or stripped and cooked gaucho style, by roasting on a skewer or knife-point. Due to the masses of immigrants who arrived during the 19th and 20th centuries, you can find a range of European, Asian and Indian restaurants throughout the country. That is, besides the more expected offerings from South and Central American cuisines, including Brazilian, Chilean, Mexican, Caribbean and Peruvian. Not only that but Argentinians claim, and many people agree, that they have better Italian food than the Italians!
Local specialties include Locro a stew made of meat, potatoes, corn and sundry other vegetables (usually a winter dish). The empanadas are popular – fried meat ball pies, sometimes filled with ham and cheese, corn, spinach, onion and cheese, prunes and ham, pineapple and ham, chicken, tuna fish or indeed just about anything you have leftover! The traditional Argentine barbecue, Asado, is tantamount to a religion itself. Roasted meat (usually beef but sometimes goat) forms the cornerstone of every meal in Argentina. The wild grazing of the Pampas produces arguably the world’s finest beef. For dessert – chocolates are very popular and of high quality, amongst the best in the world! Bariloche is known as Argentina’s chocolate capital, you can choose between 130 varieties of chocolate and you can even enjoy chocolate fondues.
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
Buenos Aires has a mild and warm climate throughout the year. The winter months are from June-August and the summer months are from December-February. Spring (September-November) and autumn (March-May) are ideal times to visit while the summer can be hot with high humidity. Winters can be cold, and in the mornings and at night it can be foggy and misty. Rainfall is higher in the months of May, October and November. But no matter what time of year, Buenos Aires remains a pleasant destination with many beautiful sunny days.
The hottest months in Iguazu Falls are from October-April. During the rest of the year the climate slightly changes based on the hot breezes from the Amazon and cold winds from Patagonia. Winter months are a bit cooler especially at night. The best time to visit Iguazu Falls is from January-March (the rainy season) when water flow of the waterfall is significantly increased. However, the waterfalls still look unbelievable at any time of the year.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
Yellow and black taxis can easily be hailed from the pavement. You can also book a radio taxi (considered the safest option) a reputable company is Radio Taxi Pidalo (tel: (011) 4956 1200). Trusted companies include Remises Universal (tel: (011) 4105 5555) or ‘fixed-fare taxis’ booked in advance, and generally work out cheaper.
When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Argentina…
Wander down Buenos Aires’s Calle Florida and Ave Santa Fe for the most up-market stores in the country. Although the selection may be similar to back home, the prices will be better with some real bargains to be found. The best things to buy are traditional crafts that Argentines have made for centuries. Throughout the country you will find fabulous leather work from bags, belts and accessories all the way to full coats. The quality is always excellent. Argentina has a reputation for producing fine metalwork and intricate jewellery. Handmade bracelets and necklaces reflect traditional Latin American design. If you fancy gaucho there are several items of traditional clothing that you could purchase, but remember that ponchos and traditional woven trousers, bombachas, might look fine on the Pampas but not too good wandering around the shops back home! Tapestries, traditional ponchos and handwoven rugs can be found for sale in markets and tourist stores. For soccer fans you can purchase an icon of modern life in an Argentine football shirt. The distinctive pale blue and white stripes are the most famous colours in soccer – besides the yellow of Brazil. The most famous number is “10” for Maradona.
- Argentine Spanish sounds a little like Italian so you might not be properly understood if you have studied the Mexican dialect of Spanish. If you don't speak Spanish, say "no hablo castellano," rather than "no hablo espanol," because Argentines refer to the language they speak as Castilian, rather than Spanish.
- If you get the opportunity, try “yerba mate”. It’s made from dried, chopped leaves and hot water, the beverage is drunk with a silver straw from a gourd that is passed around. The preparation and presentation can be rather elaborate—the point of it all is sharing, and an invitation to join in is a sign of friendship and acceptance.
- Avoid placing your feet up on a table or chair as it's considered rude
- Both men and women tend to greet one another with just one kiss on the right cheek
- The hand gestures representing ‘ok’ and ‘thumbs up’ are considered vulgar
- If you see an Argentine hit the palm of their left hand with their right fist, this means they don’t believe what you are saying or believe it ludicrous
Celebrations & Public Holidays
What better place to celebrate the start of winter than in Bariloche, with a four day Snow Festival held at the Mount Catedral, the largest ski resort in the southern hemisphere. San Carlos de Bariloche comes to life with music shows, art exhibits, pageants and sporting events. Visitors flock from afar to witness the amazing ‘Descent of the Torches’ as the glistening snow white backdrop is lit with colourful torches at sunset, by the local ski schools and teams cascading down the mountainside.
Celebrating the origins of the tango dance, Buenos Aires’ Tango Festival sees locals and visitors, both novice and professionals alike, pair up to show off their skills. The two week extravaganza includes free concerts, tango classes and milongas, topped off with the most important international tango championship, the Mundia de Tango.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year's Day
- Carnival / Shrove Monday (Monday before Ash Wednesday)
- Carnival / Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday)
- Memorial Day (March 24th)
- Holiday for Day of the Veterans (April 2nd)
- Maundy Thursday
- Good Friday
- Labor Day / May Day (May 1st)
- National Day/May 1810 Revolution (May 25th)
- Commemoration of General Don Martín Miguel de Güemes (June 17th)
- Flag Day (June 20th)
- Independence day (July 9th)
- San Martín Day (3rd Monday in August)
- Day of respect for cultural diversity (2nd Monday in October)
- National Sovereignty Day (4th Monday in November)
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th)
- Christmas Day
Both a traditional and avant-garde city, Buenos Aires is the biggest and the most populated metropolitan city in the country. Deriving its name from Nostra Signora di Bonaria, a sanctuary located in Cagliari, Sardinia, Buenos Aires is Spanish meaning “fair winds”. The city is most easily defined by its neighbourhoods: Recoleta with its world-famous cemetery, Palermo Hollywood with its designer bars and worldwide cuisine, and San Telmo where one can buy antiques in a market surrounded by colonial buildings. Witness the elegant Puerto Madero and La Boca where the first Genoese immigrants settled in colourful houses along picturesque Caminito Street. A visit to Palermo Park and the Plaza de Mayo is a must with such symbolic buildings as the Cabildo (town hall), the cathedral and the Casa Rosada, the government’s headquarters. Photo Credit: Chloe Marshman
Whether you spell it Iguassu Falls (Brazil) or Iguazu Falls (Argentina), these thundering falls are arguably the most impressive waterfalls in the world and from the Argentinian side it is possible to get up close and personal! On this side, the walkways and vantage points are a lot closer to the falls than on the Brazilian side and from here it is possible to experience the intensity of the Devil’s Throat. Straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina, the falls stretch across four kilometres, hurtling down eighty-two metres into the Iguazu River. Dramatic scenery and the sheer scale of the falls have made them a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photo Credit: Jeremy van Heerde
Small Group Tours
Discover the very best of South America, staying at some of the continent’s grandest hotels and enjoying the old-world charm of luxury rail journeys.
Explore the incredible wonders of South America during this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Uncover incredible South America on this cross-continental adventure.
Embark on an in-depth journey across scenic South America.
Independent Tours & Extensions
This Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands cruise delivers you into a landscape of dark rugged rock, pure white snow, and a fantastic variety of wildlife.
The most scenic way to travel from Argentina to Chile! Enjoy Bariloche, one of the most scenic cities in the world, and then sail across Lake Nahuel Huapi and Frias Lake. Travel over the Andes mountains and cross Todos Los Santos Lake, which offers some spectacular views of Osorno Volcano.
Journey deep into southern Chile’s Patagonia region and explore its remarkable landscapes. The exotic names - Torres del Paine National Park, Los Glaciares National Park and Punta Arenas - conjure up images of adventure and sheer natural beauty.
Sail through the southernmost region of the world on board the expedition ships Stella Australis and the newest ship, Ventus Australis, following legendary maritime routes through the Strait of Magellan.
Travel in luxury, deep into southern Chile’s Patagonia region and explore its remarkable landscapes. The exotic names - Torres del Paine National Park, Los Glaciares National Park and Punta Arenas - conjure up images of adventure and sheer natural beauty.