By The Non Fiction Author
Published by The Non Fiction Author
Copyright ©2017 The Non Fiction Author
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The information provided in this book is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. The author’s books are only meant to provide the reader with the basics travel guidelines of a certain location, without any warranties regarding the accuracy of the information and advice provided. Each traveler should do their own research before departing.
Introduction: Are You Ready for an Amazing Experience?
Chapter 1: Welcome to beautiful Argentina!
Chapter 2: Let’s Start at the Beginning – Planning Your Trip!
Chapter 3: Budgeting, Prices & Currency
Chapter 4: Immersing Yourself in Argentina (Culture, Language & Manners)
Chapter 5: Buenos Aires Is Much More than Tango!
Chapter 6: Cordoba
Chapter 7: Mendoza
Chapter 8: Salta ‘la Linda’ & Jujuy
Chapter 9: Patagonia
Chapter 10: Iguazu Falls – a Natural Wonder!
Chapter 11: The Malvinas (aka The Falklands)
Conclusion: Aren’t You Excited? Your Trip Is About to Begin!
Welcome to Argentina! If you have planned a trip here and had any idea of what you might to see and do, you might have figured it out pretty quickly that Argentina is a really big country! From North to South, from the Andes on the west to the coast on its east, Argentina is a beautiful and awe inspiring country with its vast and unique landscapes. Your visit to Argentina will at times seem familiar, yet there is always something new for you to experience around the next bend. It is one country where you can enjoy a rich urban vacation one day and the next, you can completely escape from civilization.
Of course, Buenos Aires is Argentina’s iconic city. More than likely, you will land in this grand city on your way to another location of Argentina. Even if you are not a city person per say, you must stop for a night or two and experience it. Go out for the traditional parrilla of grilled meats and other treats for dinner paired with the iconic wine varietal, Malbec. If you are there the right time of year, you have to catch a world-class futbol (soccer) match. See a tango show in many of the city’s most popular barrios (neighborhoods), visit their numerous museums and have a picnic in the Bosques de Palermo, the major city park.
Argentina is a country with an amazing culture of great proportion and one with a dramatic history. The people of Argentina are welcoming and happy to have you. They want to share with you what they love about their country, their cities or their own neighborhoods. You might even be cordially invited into one of their home to have enjoy an asado on a Sunday afternoon or pass around the mate. Do take the invitation if it is presented to you. Your hosts will be happy to tell you of their past, their history, both good sides and even the darker sides. They are survivors yet they remain a people with a passion for life.
There are endless things to see and do in Argentina, but as always when you are travelling to a new destination, you must have a bit of a checklist so as not to miss anything which might be of importance to the country, its heritage, people or language. If you find yourself in Buenos Aires then you must visit any or all of the popular neighborhoods, referred to as barrios. Visit Palermo for great restaurants, bars with great mixologists making an art of the cocktail, for nightlife and shopping. Go to Recoleta to visit Evita’s grave. Do some shopping here and peruse the large markets open on the weekends and if your feet are tired head to the Buller Pub for a good brew. San Telmo has great restaurants too and it is an intricate part of the historical aspect of Buenos Aires. Here you will find the presidential governmental house, Casa Rosada, the famous Tortoni Cafe, churches and museums. In Boca you can take an afternoon stroll on the weekends and watch as couples dance the tango on the sidewalks. This is also the home of the famous Boca stadium, where you can catch a heart-pumping, thrilling, world-class soccer game.
Outside of Buenos Aires, there is another grand city with a rich culture and history as well, Cordoba. For nature lovers and city dwellers it has a little bit of everything depending on your mood. Visit the historical and cultural heritage sites for a couple of days and then get outside of the city center for some sightseeing and great hiking trails.
For wine and food lovers, Mendoza might be something to put on your list for world renowned wine and food. If you are into outdoors, there is plenty of that in the province outside of Mendoza city and depending on the time of year, there is white water rafting, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding… Should I continue? You can enjoy all of this up north in the sister wine region of Salta, or in the south of Patagonia too! And we have only just gotten started!
How to Use this Guide
You have made the decision to visit Argentina or maybe you already have your tickets booked! This guide will help you make the most of your visit to beautiful Argentina. It will assist you in organizing your travel, ideas on where to stay, eat and highlight cultural and iconic attractions. It will help you budget and help you work out details you might not have thought of.
Chapter 2 will get you started with planning your trip. There is a section for travel requirements and how to get around if you are in the major cities. This chapter will give you tips on travelling locally and cross-country with example and detailed, themed itineraries. It is a good section to really get the details and dates of your trip planned.
Chapter 3 is the second part of planning your trip. It will help you have an idea of what to budget for and what to expect in different regions with your spending. It will offer advice on exchanging money, budgeting intelligently and more.
Chapter 4 will introduce you to the overall general Argentine culture from its language to the pride of each region, their food, what to do on the weekends and more!
The remaining chapters will walk you through each main city or special region to open your eyes and mind to other parts of Argentina and even some less-traveled. They will discuss the local flavors, where to stay and eat and most importantly, how to get there.
This guide is meant to answer any questions you might have before your travel to Argentina or use as a reference while on your trip. It is easy to go through for main points and it is fun to read. Let this guide take care of the details so that you can cross the must-see and do items off your list and enjoy your trip to the fullest!
This is the first part of planning your trip to Argentina. This part in the guide will give you information about what to organize before your travel and give you an idea how to travel and your options for travelling around Argentina both locally and cross-country once you arrive.
Basic Travel Requirements
Before you even book a ticket no matter where you want to travel in the world, it is always important to research the documents, if any, that you will need to enter the country. Not all, but there are at least a handful of countries that require a visa to enter Argentina, the United States citizens do require a visa to enter Argentina. Most, if not all of European citizens can enter without a visa, but double-check as these things may change.
For United States citizens, this visa is referred to as a ‘reciprocity fee’. This is the name of the visa as the US requires citizens of Argentina to acquire a visa to enter the United States, so Argentina ‘reciprocated’ the cost for US citizens to enter. The visa is easy to acquire and you can do so online and receive the approval form in just under a week. PRINT OUT THE FORM AND BRING IT TO THE AIRPORT ON YOUR DAY OF TRAVEL! The cost of the visa will be around $US170 and is good for multiple entries for up to 10 years.
Upon your arrival to Argentina, they will give you the visa, which is a small piece of paper. DO NOT LOSE THIS PAPER! Your accommodation will want to see this on your arrival. If you lose it, you will have to pay an IVA fee, which is a hospitality tax and it will increase the cost of your accommodations up to 20% extra. Not only that but if you lose it, you will have to purchase another if you return to Argentina again within the ten year’s time. They do not keep these records in their computer, well, perhaps they do, but they will not go out of their way to search for your visa specifically. Put it in a safe place or even stick it to a page in your passport.
Getting Around the Major Cities
When you get to Argentina, more so if you are staying on in Buenos Aires or another major city, getting from point A to point B is relatively easy and inexpensive. A taxi/hired car from/to the international airport will cost an average of $US40 to get to where you are staying. Taxis can easily and safely be hailed in the city, but at the airport it is not recommended. Before you leave the airport you will see various booths to organize a hired car. These are professional services and they will get you to where you need to go.
Taxis can be hailed on the street. A free taxi will have a light in the upper corner on the passenger side saying ‘Libre’, ‘free’. Stick out your arm and they will pull over for you. These taxis are safe in the city, but as mentioned, it is not recommended to get one of these from the airport. If you do not want to get a taxi yourself, just ask the reception desk where you stay and they will call you a ‘radio taxi’. They know the drivers and work with them on a regular basis. It will just cost an extra 10 pesos for the service charged by the taxi added to your final fare when you reach your destination. For people visiting Argentina, taxis are very inexpensive. In traffic, it may take thirty minutes to an hour to get where you need to go. It is always best to travel in taxi during the off-peak times, which are typically from 8 – 9am and 4 – 7 pm. However a 30 minute ride to an hour will range from $US7 – 10.
Some advice! If you plan on using taxis most of the time, only pay with small bills. Taxis are safe to use, however, some take advantage of the tourists. If you give them a large bill, say a 100 peso bill, a crooked driver will ‘give it back to you’ saying they have no change. The bill they often return to you will more than likely be fake! Have a stash of smaller bills with you to use for the taxi. Ask your hotel or accommodations for some change.
Bus or ‘Colectivo’
If you are on a budget, the ‘colectivos’ are a good way to get around. You will see them all over the city and they are quite something to see. Each line is painted a different color and many colors, sometime hand-painted with the signature ‘fileteado’ design and whitewall tires. The ‘whistle’ of the colectivos ring through the air all times of the day.
There are literally hundreds of bus lines and even for a local, it can get confusing as to which line to take and figure out where it goes. At many of the magazine kiosks, you can ask for a booklet with all the bus lines and maps of how and where to catch them. It is called the”Guia T de Bosillo” or “Pocket Guide”. It is in English and Spanish. All you have to do is look up the street name and block number of where you are. It will then give you the bus lines from where you are or close to where you are and where the lines go. It will tell you which line to take and give you a page and block on the corresponding page map so you know your location. To return to where you come from, you normally have to do is cross the street from when you got off and catch the returning bus. If you are having trouble, the locals on the bus are happy to help.
You will need coins to pay with. They do not except bills. Tell the driver the intersection of where you will get off and they will give you a price. You will place the coins in a machine when you enter the bus and it will give you a ticket. The cost to get to your destination can range from $US3 – 5.
A Classic Colorful Colectivo of Buenos Aires
If you are staying on in Argentina, especially Buenos Aires for an extended time, even for a week and you know you will be travelling by bus most of the time, there is an even cheaper way to travel around on the bus, this works for the subway too. If you go to a Kiosk, you can ask if they sell the ‘tarjeta de SUBE’. It is a subsidized card by the government for locals to make using public transportation more affordable. Some kiosks will have a sign advertising they are sold there. They cost 20 pesos for the card and then you give them extra pesos to add credit to the card. With this, you will swipe it on a machine after you tell the driver where you are going and it will charge the card. It is generally half the normal price. However, as they are really only permitted for residents, the kiosks may or may not sell the card to your. If this occurs, you can sometimes ask the employees where you are staying and they will usually be happy to get one for you.
*Warning: When travelling on the subway or any public transportation in Buenos Aires or other major city, ladies, keep your bags in front of you and guys, your wallet in your front pocket. They can be quite crowded and if you travel during peak hours you will be smashed in with many other people. Pickpockets are not uncommon.
The ‘Subte’ or Subway
If you need to travel during peak hours or even off-peak hours this is the quickest and most efficient way to get about the city and maybe the cheapest. It is cheaper if you have the ‘tarjeta de SUBE’ (just explained above in the ‘Colectivo’ section). There are six lines and the city is expanding for even more. You can purchase a ‘Guia T de Bosillo’ that explains both the colectivo lines and subte lines to get around the city. It is in English and Spanish and will be your best purchase ($US1) if you are staying in Buenos Aires for even just a week. Of course, as with any public transportation, guard your purse and/or wallet. Pickpockets are common.
Travelling by Train
A few years ago, not even the locals wanted to travel by train. They trains go to the provinces with some lines travelling through some very impoverished areas and past ‘villas’ or ghettos. They were seen as means of transport for thieves to grab what they could from the passengers, even right out of their hands and jump from the train even while it was moving. Today, the trains are not that at all. Theft still takes place and there are pickpockets on occasion, but like in any public transportation, just keep an eye on your stuff. The trains are clean and efficient ways of travel. Most of the lines have only just recently been renewed with new and modern rail cars. Many tourists do not use them or have need for them, but if you would like to visit the smaller city of La Plata, just south of Buenos Aires, of the Tigre neighborhood in the north, it is a nice day trip. These parts are much slower, there are good cafes and restaurants, nice markets on the weekend and good neighborhoods to visit. In La Plata and Tigre, there are are parts where some of the most wealthy of Argentina reside and the there are businesses which cater to this demographic. The train can get you there in just a couple of hours. By highway on bus or car, it might take you double. Your ticket can be purchased with your SUBE card or you can pay in cash no more than around $US4.
Transport Outside of City Centers
If you are outside of Buenos Aires or another city, transportation and getting around can be quite challenging. Rental cars can be a little expensive or there might not be any available, depending on the season you are visiting. There are typically always buses, but in the remote provinces, they run at slower intervals and you may find yourself waiting longer than the length it might take you to get to your destination. If you, for instance, are staying in Mendoza, Salta or in Patagonia, whether in city centers or in the provincial regions, you can ask the front desk or reception where you are staying to call you a taxi or ‘remis’. A remis is a hired car. In some parts there are no taxis and this is how even the locals get around if they do not have their own transportation.
Long-Distance Travel About Argentina
It has already been mentioned and noted before in this guide that Argentina is a vast and expansive land. If you are planning on traveling across or to other regions of Argentina, it is important to plan ahead of time. During the peak tourist season, plane tickets, bus and ferry tickets may be booked full for weeks onwards. So book a couple months out if possible. There are a few ways you can travel across the country and there are options even for those on a smaller budget. Even by plane, travel cross-country can be time-consuming so make sure you have enough time planned for travel to get to your destination and when you need to return, if you do need to return. Here are your options for long-distance travelling about Argentina.
Renting a Car
If you wish to do the road trip through parts of Argentina on your own, it is highly recommended. Of course, you will need a larger budget, but it will be well worth it. Do have a decent idea of where you are travelling and what places you want to see, as not all the roads are serviced nor paved. On some roads, a fairly inexpensive sedan rental will not due and a four-wheel drive would be better. Some routes are being improved and paved, but it is a slow-going process and some areas will always be remote. Be sure to have enough cash on you as some more remote areas will not accept credit cards to fill up with gas or accepted at restaurants.
During peak season, there are rental car shortages. This was not always the case, but over the last decade, the government has put a halt on exports and imports and purchasing parts or new cars has been difficult or expensive or completely inaccessible for most rental car companies. Plan in advance as stated just before and have a general idea where you will be traveling so you will know what your needs are when you contact your rental company.
If you are from the United States or Europe, your driver’s license should be valid, but it does not hurt to get an international license. This is pretty easy to do and typically there is no extra testing. You just need to apply and pay for the license and they will mail it straight to your door.
To rent a car, you the rental car company will need to have a copy of your passport and driver’s license and a credit card and oftentimes a deposit that you will be refunded when the car is returned in good condition. Insurance will be mandatory to purchase unless you can prove that you have some international insurance auto insurance.
Travelling by ‘Micro’ or Bus
Traveling by bus cross-country is one of the most popular means of long-distance travel in Argentina. There is such a huge market that there are various bus companies to choose from. The tickets are inexpensive and many of the buses are overnight and you will reach your destination just as you are waking up. There are a few options of seating and service. A couple websites to visit to book tickets are www.plataforma10.com and www.ticketonline.com.ar. Put in your ‘ida’, date of leave and your ‘vuelta’, your return date after putting in your starting point and desired destination, a listing of various companies, seating options and prices will pop up. Here are some tips on getting the best value and what some of the options are translated for you.
The best bus companies to go with are Via Bariloche and Chevalier. The others may be just slightly more economical, but their cleanliness is subpar and some of their wording on how they advertise their seating is not always honest. You can opt for a cheaper option, but for some a difference in paying just an extra $US5 -10 is worth your comfort, especially if you are going to be sitting on an overnight bus for fifteen hours or more.
Seating Options on Micros
Semi-Cama or ‘partial bed’, is basically a chair that reclines at about 45 degrees. The chairs are fairly narrow and the legroom is limited, though not quite as bad as flying coach. This service can be complete with meal service, but you can opt for a seat without service. If you are travelling overnight, you will get both dinner and breakfast. Though the food is not that great, be sure to maybe bring your own snacks and a bottle of water.
Cama or ‘bed’, is a chair that can be fully reclined flat and a piece can come up flat for your legs to stretch out. Bus levels with camas will have three to each row with one chair on one side and two together on the other side. The chairs which are doubled together can be divided by a curtain for some privacy while you sleep if you are traveling alone. This service can also include a meal and two, both dinner and breakfast if you are travelling overnight. Again, even if you are paying more, the food is not all that great. Maybe bring your own favorite travel food and some water. You can also opt for a bed without service.
Each of the ‘semi-cama’ and ‘cama’ services are divided into other categories, maybe ‘ejecutivo’ (executive), ‘suite 1°’ (first-class suite). The only difference might be the spot where they are located on the bus with slightly more legroom in the first-class seat than the executive, but there is really no difference.
Beware*! When you pick your seats online and you are purchasing a ‘cama’ seat, only choose the seats on the upper level. A couple companies will offer you seats on the lower level, where there are a lesser amount of seats, so you might think there is more room. However, these seats are not beds, merely over-sized chairs that only recline 45 degrees. The views are better from the second-level anyway.
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Welcome to Argentina! If you have planned a trip here and had any idea of what you might to see and do, you might have figured it out pretty quickly that Argentina is a really big country! From North to South, from the Andes on the west to the coast on its east, Argentina is a beautiful and awe inspiring country with its vast and unique landscapes. Your visit to Argentina will at times seem familiar, yet there is always something new for you to experience around the next bend. It is one country where you can enjoy a rich urban vacation one day and the next, you can completely escape from civilization. Of course, Buenos Aires is Argentina’s iconic city. More than likely, you will land in this grand city on your way to another location of Argentina. Even if you are not a city person per say, you must stop for a night or two and experience it. Go out for the traditional parrilla of grilled meats and other treats for dinner paired with the iconic wine varietal, Malbec. If you are there the right time of year, you have to catch a world-class futbol (soccer) match. See a tango show in many of the city’s most popular barrios (neighborhoods), visit their numerous museums and have a picnic in the Bosques de Palermo, the major city park. Argentina is a country with an amazing culture of great proportion and one with a dramatic history. The people of Argentina are welcoming and happy to have you. They want to share with you what they love about their country, their cities or their own neighborhoods. You might even be cordially invited into one of their home to have enjoy an asado on a Sunday afternoon or pass around the mate. Do take the invitation if it is presented to you. Your hosts will be happy to tell you of their past, their history, both good sides and even the darker sides. They are survivors yet they remain a people with a passion for life.