Mythical Road 40. Argentina.
Each region of Argentina has something to show you, it all depends on the type of trip you wish to have, the level of adventure, the timeframe and budget, but more important your interests.
A country that has been inhabited by mankind since the Paleolithic era, invaded by the Incas in the north during the XIVth century, colonized by the Spaniards from the east since the XVI century, attempted invasions by the British twice at the beginning of the XIXth century, and filled with European immigration by the arrival of the XXth Century, Argentina is a cultural melting pot. Worldwide known for soccer, tango, Evita – our cultural icons that attract over 4 million tourists a year, but this is just an appetiser for what really makes Argentina one of the best destinations to visit in South America. Let us show you more…
Argentina is the land made of silver, as it’s name refers to but also a land full of contrasts. During the second half of the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, people from all over the globe came here to start a new life, Argentina was and still is the land of opportunities for thousands of immigrants that come every year. What makes this the land of opportunity? You have to see it to believe it.
Argentina’s length (north to south or vice versa) of almost 5000 km stretches from the Tropic of Capricorn until the Southern Ocean, a vast and varied stretch , considering this is more than the entire horizontal width of the Continental United States. As the 8th largest country in the world by surface area, it has only 45 million inhabitants which mathematically relates to huge expanses of unpopulated natural environments, the long scenic roads with very little traffic, small cozy countryside towns that contrast with its modern, cosmopolitan capital city, Buenos Aires..
Argentinians love to drive. And if they don’t drive they still travel by road, taking a long distance bus. Traditionally the middle classes take very comfortable long distance buses to the beach or to the mountains. This not only saves money on the flight but also an overnight, and being able to enjoy the landscapes, becomes a big part of travelling through Argentina.
At Argentina Self Drive we give you the opportunity first to manage your own pace, your photo stops along the way, your timing, there will be no departure or arrival time. We also offer you the freedom to blend in, to be a local, to go as the locals go, to do what the locals do. To make this possible, not only will you have the flexibility of your own means of transportation, also an updated digital handbook created by our local team with all the “local’s advice” on each destination and route descriptions. Having a local vehicle gives you the opportunity to go off the beaten path, to go to the local spots and enjoy that unique meal, or stay at that unique property.
Find below a description on each region so you can have a clear idea on which you might be more interested on or which suits you more!
A common question from many of our clients: Is Argentina a safe country? Is Argentina a safe country to travel to? Overall, is Argentina Safe? All National (US, UK, EU) Safety Advice websites recommend visiting Argentina. You can visit your own to get specific info, but to quote some lines:
“The most common incidents affecting tourists are distraction thefts, bag snatching, pick pocketing and street robberies.”
“The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Argentina at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions in the country.”
As Lonely Planet states on its website, “Argentina is one of the safest countries in Latin America”.
That said, you should use common sense when wondering around cities, and especially how you look after your valuables. Buenos Aires has over 10 million people, it is a city comparable in size to Paris, London or New York, so you should behave as you would in any of these.
Citizens from these countries are not required to have a visa to enter Argentina for tourism purposes:
Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong (With Passport R.A.E.H.K.), Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Santa Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Suriname; Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican city, Venezuela, Grenada; Hong Kong (With British Passport B.N.O.); Jamaica; Republic of Kazakhstan and Malaysia.
For the countries not listed on the above list, The Argentine Migration Office recently introduced a system that allows those citizens to get an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA [AVE in Spanish]) instead of the traditional paper visas. This new system makes the application process much easier. The ETA (AVE) application process is very simple and 100% online. Once the application is submitted and accepted, the applicant will receive their ETA (AVE) and payment confirmation, which must be printed and shown to the immigration officers upon arrival. Yes, it’s that simple!
Travelers must have their passport with at least 6-months validity from the date of arrival and have at least 1 page available for stamping.
Possession of a valid passport or the Argentina ETA (AVE) does not provide automatic right of entry into the country. The Immigration Officer at the port of entry may refuse entry to any person, if they consider that a person is unable to fulfill the immigration requirements or that such person’s presence in Argentina would be contrary to national interests or security. This unusually has happened but it is stated by law.
The answer is definitely YES!
With this in mind, there are things to consider before booking a Self Drive Tour.
Road tripping in Argentina is not only to journey through astonishing scenery, from national parks to mountains, towards glaciers and alongside rivers, up high into The Andes and down towards ancient valleys, it is also getting to understand the nature of Argentinians, who they are, getting deep into the culture. How? You would be travelling with the constant guidance of a local team offering enormous experience as Local Guides, specialists in different regions of the country, Trip Leaders and Business Owners, but most importantly: we are TRAVEL MANIACS! who love to share everything there is to see, to do, and to experience along your road trip, for you to really get the most out of your journey.
But just in case you hesitate about this adventure being right for you… let us clear some points to help you decide:
Planning your trip to Argentina is exciting and sometimes also exhausting, so we have prepared some tips to help you decide when to come and where to go. Of course these are suggestions, but if your availability is only a specific timeframe, don’t hesitate to chat to our team about it and we can come together with a plan!
Most of the visitors that come to Argentina, fly in between mid December and the end of January, an ideal time to hike in Patagonia, visit the Lake District, or shower in the Iguazu Falls. But it’s not always the best moment to visit Buenos Aires, where temperatures soar or the north interior, where the heat and humidity can be tough to bear. The shoulder season of the southern hemisphere’s summer, end of spring and beginning of autumn are actually the best times to come to Argentina.
The harvest time in the wine region of Mendoza starts in March, and the cooler temperatures in the capital city make this a great time to visit Buenos Aires too. From September through November, a colorful burst of flowers and foliage spreads through the countryside, along with a busy schedule of outdoor fairs and festivals. That said, summer has the advantage of very long days that are appreciated by those who want to spend all day long outside. Also it is easy to avoid big crowds if you follow our tips! We have a list of Top 10 places to go in Argentina to avoid big crowds, look for it in our blog.
As Argentina is a long country, stretching from the Glaciar Parks to the Tropical Jungle, the answer to the question of When is the Best Time to Visit Argentina is also answered with: Well, it depends where you want to go. You can visit our regional descriptions and decide then, when and where you would like to start your journey.
Due to limited availability of accommodation in the months of summer (specially January and February) we strongly advise planning your road trip in advance for these months.
Argentina Self Drive Tours offers a variety of trips in order to suit everyone’s interest. Our Itineraries are divided by region and length but if any of them are partially of interest and you would like to make some changes, we are flexible and willing to help you out.
Each region of Argentina has its own unique beauty, rhythms, weather patterns and outdoor activities, so look into them to see which is the right one for you!
We have divided Argentina into 5 regions, this doesn’t mean you can’t overlap them or request a tailor made itinerary that flies from one to another region, but to simplify, and based on the most common requests of our clients, we have come up with the geographical / biome based regions.
You should seek medical advice from your local health practitioner before travelling to Argentina and ensure that you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations not to enter Argentina but to get back to your home country, since Argentina does NOT require any vaccination. As a guide tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid and hepatitis A are strongly recommended. A yellow fever vaccination is also recommended.
Certain areas of Argentina have a very low risk of Malaria including the northern Salta province (along Bolivian border), but locally malaria tablets are not necesarily suggested. Extra care should also be taken to avoid mosquito bites as cases of the Zika or Dengue virus in the areas this have been reported. Sleeping under a mosquito net at night is advised as is using a strong repellent containing at least 50% DEET. For more information on the malaria risk in Argentina visit the NHS Fit to Travel page or the CDC Traveler’s Health page.
Argentina is overall a “low” country but when you travel along the northernmost sections of Argentina from the Central Andes towards the border with Bolivia, you will occasionally drive at heights that exceed 2.000 meters (6,560 ft) above sea level, and once you go above that elevation, you may begin to feel the first symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness or (AMS), also known as altitude sickness or, in Spanish “Apunamiento” or “Soroche“. We will give you tips on how to mitigate its nasty effects, but as it is a serious issue, if you are planning to travel on the Central Andes o Northwest of Argentina, it would be a good idea to talk it through with your personal physician, before travelling.
This “sickness” is how your body responds to the lack of oxygen (hypoxia) and the lower atmospheric pressure in high-altitude environments. The key to prevent serious issues is to acclimatize.
Gaining high altitudes very quickly is one of the causes of altitude sickness. The wonderful part is that the human body can adapt and adjust to a lower amount of oxygen after a few days (usually from one to three days).This Acclimatization is provoked by some small changes in your body, you breathe deeper because your body produces more red blood cells to carry oxygen more efficiently and it produces larger quantities of an enzyme that mediates the release of oxygen from the red blood cells’ haemoglobin into the surrounding tissue.
As it is a sickness which can have serious negative consequences, and can even cause death, it should not be taken lightly. So, as stated before, you should visit your physician before travelling to a place located at high altitude.
Argentineans are well used to preparing meat thanks to their flesh-filled cuisine so, generally speaking, meat will be safe to eat and cooked properly. Salads and fruit are fine to eat, and water is safe to be drunk in almost all of Argentina but it’s also inexpensive and avoids your body having to adapt to local micro flora, to drink bottled water. As always, if food doesn’t look or smell right, or might have been left out in the sun for too long then stay away from it.
Argentinians do eat late, both lunch (average 12:30 to 2pm) and dinner (9 to 11pm) so don’t expect many restaurants open before 7:30 or 8pm. Eating out Argentinias like to have bread and butter so it is standard in most places to have it placed on the table. Many times this has an extra charge, called “cubierto”. You can ask for it to be removed beforehand but most likely it’s an inexpensive item on your bill.
Although Spanish and Italian inmigration shaped the culinary aspects of Argentina, locally you will find each region to have it’s own dishes and customs. We will provide you with recipes and deeper knowledge about this aspect in each region you choose to travel.
Generally you can’t really barter in Argentina unless you’re shopping in handicrafts markets or street stalls, however, it’s possible to negotiate lower prices on specific items, specially made by the person selling them but not so much on retail products. Asking politely will get you to know right away if it’s possible or not.
A short trip extension, connection or a trip within itself that will take you from the snow capped Patagonian andes, hiking, glamping and then across the vastness of the steppe, into the real Patagonia and end at the Ocean, where marine fauna await you.
This amazing Road Trip will take you to two of the most amazing natural beauties of South America, and in between fantastic landscape and easy driving. A once in a lifetime experience where jungle, water, history and wildlife will be the main characters.