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Argentina

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Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic (Spanish: República Argentina) is a large country in the southern part of South America neighboring Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay to the north, Uruguay to the north-east and Chile to the west. It offers a great diversity of climates and landscapes from jungles in the north, great grass plains in the center and frozen mountains in the south.

Regions

In addition, the Falkland Islands, a United Kingdom Overseas Territory, are claimed by Argentina as the Islas Malvinas, but as they are not ruled by Argentina, they are covered in their own article. That fact should not be construed as expressing approval or disapproval of either side's claims.

Cities

  • Buenos Aires — or "Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires", which people occasionally call Capital Federal to distinguish it from the province of Buenos Aires
  • Córdoba — second largest city, in the heart of the Pampas region
  • Rosario — known for beautiful neoclassical architecture
  • Mendoza — well known for its extensive and high quality wine production. It is also near the Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas.
  • San Miguel de Tucuman — the largest city in the northwest
  • La Plata — known as "the perfect city" for its tracing; just look at a map of the street pattern of the city
  • Salta — known as 'La Linda' due to its beautiful surroundings
  • San Juan — a center of quality wine production
  • San Carlos de Bariloche — in the foothills of the Andes with lots of facilities for skiing and trekking. Known for its picturesque snow-covered landscapes and the European style of its buildings

Other destinations

  • El Calafate — the main destination when visiting the Glaciers National Park; advancing to the Perito Moreno Glacier is a must when visiting Argentina
  • Ibera Wetlands — a nature reserve of 13,000 km² with its eco village Colonia Carlos Pellegrini right in the heart of the reserve
  • Iguazú Falls — awesome falls right in the north-east corner of the country
  • Nahuel Huapi National Park — at the foothills of the Andes mountains with lakes, rivers, waterfalls, peaks, glaciers and forests

Understand

Argentina is located in South America, and is the eighth-largest country in the world. The highest and the lowest points of South America are also located in Argentina: At 6,960m, Cerro Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Americas while Salinas Chicas, at 40m below sea level, is the lowest point in South America.

At the southern tip of Argentina there are several routes between the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Oceans including the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and the Drake Passage---as alternatives to sailing around Cape Horn in the open ocean between South America and Antarctica.

The name Argentina derives from argentinos, the Ancient Greek diminutive (tinos) form for silver (argentos), which is what early Spanish explorers sought when they first reached the region in the sixteenth century.

Climate

Buenos Aires and the Pampas are temperate; cold in the winter, hot and humid in the summer.

The deserts of Cuyo, which can reach temperatures of 45°C, are extremely hot and dry in the summer and moderately cold and dry in the winter. Spring and fall often exhibit rapid temperature reversals; several days of extremely hot weather may be followed by several days of cold weather, then back to extremely hot.

The Andes are cool in the summer and very cold in the winter, varying according to altitude.

Northwest Argentina's climate varies by altitude with lowland areas experiencing hot summers and mild winters while icy conditions prevail at the highest altitudes.Salta and San Salvador de Jujuy are located in valleys and are characterized by a pleasant climate year round.

Mesopotamia to the northeast has a humid climate with abundant rainfall year round and high temperatures.

Patagonia is cool in the summer and cold in the winter. Much of the region is a desert except in the extreme west where rainfall is higher, supporting forests. The rainfall changes a lot within a small distance ranging from more than 1,000 mm (39 in) to just under 200 (8 in) less than 100 km (62 mi) away to the east. One defining characteristic of the climate is the strong, persistent winds that blow across the region, making the temperature feel much colder than it should be. Extreme temperature shifts within a single day are even more common here; pack a variety of clothes and dress in layers.

Don't forget that seasons are reversed from those of the Northern Hemisphere.

Terrain

The central region of Argentina is the rich plain known as La Pampa. There is jungle in the extreme northeast. The southern half of Argentina is dominated by the flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia. The western border with Chile is along the rugged Andes mountains, including the Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. The western Cuyo regions at the base of the Andes are mostly rocky desert with some poisonous frock trees.

History

Following independence from Spain in 1816, Argentina experienced periods of internal political conflict between conservatives and liberals. In the first decade of the 20th century, Argentina became the richest nation in Latin America, its wealth symbolized by the opulence of its capital city. During the roaring twenties, Argentina was one of the world's richest countries, with a GDP higher than that of major European economies such as France, Germany and Italy. European immigrants flowed into Argentina, particularly from the northern parts of Italy and Spain; by 1914 nearly 6 million people had come to the country.

After World War II, Juan Peron came to power and instituted a form of populism commonly known as Peronism. Under Peron, Argentina instituted a protectionist economic policy that heavily restricted foreign trade. While such policies led to the overwhelming popularity of Peron and other Peronist politicians among the masses of working class Argentinians, it also led Argentina's economy to stagnate. Peron was overthrown in a military coup in 1976.

After waging an unsuccessful war with the United Kingdom over the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands) in 1982, the military leadership lost power and Democracy returned in 1983.

A painful economic crisis at the turn of the 21st century devalued the Argentine peso by a factor of three and ushered in a series of weak, short-lived governments along with social and economic instability. However, later in the decade Argentina seemed to find some new stability, and currently has a much better economic outlook - albeit with the eternal problem of high inflation. Argentina is currently the third largest economy in Latin America - after Brazil and Mexico - and a member of the G20 group of major economies.

Electricity

Argentine electricity is officially 220V, 50Hz. Adapters and transformers for North American equipment are readily available.

The best way to use imported electrical equipment in Argentina is to purchase an adapter once there. These are available in the Florida shopping area in Buenos Aires for around USD2 or less in hardware stores outside the city centre. Buildings use a mix of European and Australian plug fittings. The Australian-style plugs are IRAM-2073, which are physically identical to the Australian AS-3112 standard (two blades in a V-shape, with or without a third blade for ground). However, the live and neutral pins in the Australian fittings are reversed. Therefore Australian equipment may be incompatible despite the apparent plug-compatibility. This is not a problem for battery chargers for devices such as Thinkpad, iPod, iPhone, and Blackberry.

European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" outlets and the non-grounded, but compatible, European CEE-7/16 "Europlug" outlets may still be found in some older buildings. US and Canadian travellers may want to pack adapters for these outlets as well.

Many sockets have no earth pin. Laptop adapters should have little problem with this. If your laptop adapter requires an earth pin you will need a plug adapter that takes three pins from the laptop and requires only two from the wall socket. This does work but may reduce electrical safety or affect your warranty.

Some Argentine sockets accept North American plugs, particularly ones on power strips. Beware - this does not mean that these sockets deliver 110 volts. Make sure that your equipment can handle 220 volts! Simply changing the shape of the plug with a USD2 adapter will not allow 110V equipment to operate on 220V Argentinian voltage, unless the device is specifically designed to work on both 110 and 220 volts, irreparable damage and even fire can result. Most laptop power adapters and many portable electronics chargers are designed to work on either voltage; check the specifications for your equipment to be sure. If your equipment cannot accept 220V voltage, you can purchase a '220-110V' transformer for approximately USD6 in most Argentinian electronics shops. This is much heavier and bulkier than a small adapter. There are two types of these transformers. One supports heavy loads for short durations, for example a hair dryer. The other supports light loads for long durations, for example an inkjet printer. Do select the right one.

Holidays

  • January 1 - New Year's Day
  • March 24 - Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice
  • 2 April - Malvinas Day
  • 25 May - Day of the First National Government
  • June 17 - Anniversary of the death of Martín Miguel de Güemes
  • June 20 - National Flag Day
  • July 9 - Independence Day
  • August 17 - Anniversary of the death of José de San Martin
  • October 12 - Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity
  • November 20 - Day of National Sovereignty
  • December 25 - Christmas
  • December 31 - New Year's Eve

Culture

Get in

Visas

Passport holders of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Argentina when the purpose of the visit is tourism for up to 90 days: Andorra, Australia,* Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada,* Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada (30 days), Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica (30 days), Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia (30 days), Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela (60 days).

Countries marked with an asterisk (Australia and Canada) are required to pay the reciprocity fee (see below).

Reciprocity Fee

While visas are not required for tourist visits for Canadian and Australian citizens, the Argentinian Government charges a "Reciprocity Fee" for citizens using passports from those countries. The fees paid by travellers are dependent on their nationality and similar to the amounts that Argentinian citizens pay for visa applications to visit Canada or Australia. Since 2013, ALL entries to Argentina at ALL ports of entry have required pre-payment of the reciprocity fee at the Argentinian Department of Immigration website.

For Australians, the USD100 fee allows multiple entries for 1 year. Canadian citizens must pay a USD92 fee for a period of 10 years or valid until 1 month before the passport expiration. Proof of payment needs to be printed out and presented to immigration officials upon arrival.

As of 24 March, 2016, reciprocity fees no longer apply to US passport holders. This is likely in order for Argentina to meet the requirements of the US Visa Waiver Program, which stipulates that US citizens have to be granted Visa free access. Older guidebooks and online sources might still refer to the reciprocity fee. This is outdated.

At arrival

You may bring in goods worth USD300 without paying duties.

If you are just changing planes at the same airport and not actually enter the country you will still be given a customs form to fill in but as of May 2014 nobody asks for it at the airport and travelers basically get to keep it as a souvenir.

By plane

Aerolíneas Argentinas and LAN Chile offer connections between Buenos Aires' international airport Ezeiza and many cities throughout South America, as well as North America, Europe and Australia. Air New Zealand flies direct from Auckland. Qantas no longer offers direct flights from Sydney to Buenos Aires, instead flying to Santiago - home of its OneWorld Partner LAN, where travellers can connect onto multiple destinations in Argentina.

There are international flights to other airports, such as to Mendoza with LAN from Santiago Chile.

On flights to and from Argentina the cabin is sprayed with insecticide before the security demonstration before take off (flight attendants walk down the aisles with spray cans). This is also done on flights in some other parts of the world where tropical diseases are prevalent like between Singapore and Australia. The spray doesn't have a particularly unpleasant smell and they state it is not dangerous for passengers, but the situation can be a bit uncomfortable when experiencing it for the first time.

If you're flying in or out of Argentina, Buenos Aires is the most common point of arrival and departure. The city has two airports, Ministro Pistarini International Airport (IATA: EZE) some 40km southwest of downtown Buenos Aires and the more centrally located Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (IATA: AEP). The former is for intercontinental flights and a few domestic ones (mostly to Río Gallegos and Ushuaia), which leave early in the morning but if you're continuing to another location in Argentina or to nearby international destinations (one flight hour away or so) by plane you'll in most cases have to travel from Ezeiza to Jorge Newbery. There are cheap shuttle buses which take you there in about an hour, but travel time varies greatly depending on traffic. Also, there are some flights to Jorge Newbery from three other important South American hubs, namely Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or Santiago so if you have a changed planes at those airports, your connecting flight might actually arrive at (or leave from) Jorge Newbery. Take an extra look at your ticket and make sure you are at the right airport!

You should be able to ride a motorcoach or hire a service taxi from one of the booths after you clear customs. The rate for a taxi from Ezeiza international airport to Buenos Aires is ARS130, the rate from the Jorge Newbery domestic airport to town is ARS40. (Mar 2012). You can now also ride an Uber from Ezeiza, the fare is sometimes dynamic and much lower than a taxi, and is recommended to send an SMS or call your driver, since they may need to coordinate the pick up spot with you.

If visiting another city there are a number of airports throughout the country. Many find it far easier to travel to a neighboring country and then take a short distance hop to the smaller airport. All major cities in Argentina and major tourist destinations like Mendoza, Perito Moreno and Iguazu Falls have airports nearby. There are several national airlines, with different levels of service. In general flying gets you everywhere quickly and cheaply (relatively). Although the buses in Argentina are among the most comfortable in the world and are reasonably priced, travelling takes a lot of time because of the distances and slow road travel involved.

Passengers leaving Ezeiza Airport no longer have to pay the "departure tax" of USD29 (USD8 to Uruguay and domestic flights) after check-in, as they are now included in the prices of the tickets.

By train

There are currently no international services to Argentina. A connection between Chile and Argentina is under construction.

By bus

International coaches run from all the neighbouring countries.

  • Retiro Bus Terminal: +54 11 4310-0700

The Retiro bus terminal is large and hidden behind Retiro train and Subte stations. For long distance buses it is advisable to buy a ticket several days in advance of your trip. Be sure to arrive about 45 minutes before your departure and always ask at an information counter if your gate number is the same as the one printed on your ticket. You will be given a range of possible gate numbers (for example 17-27). Watch your belongings carefully at Retiro as it is often crowded and there have been reports of thefts and even muggings at night. Traveling by bus is one thing you won't regret. You will come across the best costumer service and world class seats. Comparing Argentinian coach buses to those in the United States would be insulting to Argentina, for they have much higher standards than those like Greyhound.

By boat

Regular catamarans routes link Buenos Aires with Montevideo and Colonia in Uruguay. The company Buquebus has both a slow (3 hours) and rapid (1 hour) ferry service that departs several times a day to Colonia. Ferries depart from the downtown Buenos Aires neighborhood Puerto Madero. There are two companies (Cacciola and Líneas Delta) that link the city of Tigre with Carmelo and Nueva Palmira in Uruguay, respectively. Trains to Tigre depart from Retiro (one of Buenos Aires' main train stations) every ten minutes. The trip costs ARS1.1 and takes 50 minutes.

To a lesser extent, Grimaldi Freighters run freighters which carry up to 12 passengers from Hamburg, London, Antwerp, Le Havre, and Bilbao to Montevideo (Uruguay) every 9 days. They also carry cars and you drive your car on and off - unlike other freighter services. More information can be found on the website.

Get around

By train

In recent years the government has promoted the re-establishment of long distance passenger trains, although most lines still operate at a low frequency (one or two departures weekly). The rail network is very limited, and intercity buses offer better service and faster rides. Train fares are very cheap - often only a quarter of the bus fare.

Local travel in the Buenos Aires province is both by bus and by local trains, with fast trains being the quickest way to get through the city's traffic. The three largest train terminals in Buenos Aires are Retiro, Constitucion and Once. Retiro is actually three train stations alongside each other with the main long distance bus (or "micro") terminal behind the furthest of the train terminals (from the city centre).

One of the major long distance train operators is Trenes Argentinos, which departs from Retiro (Buenos Aires) to Rosario, Córdoba and Tucumán, and from Constitución (Buenos Aires) to Bahía Blanca. See also Satélite Ferroviario for up-to-date information on trains and services (in Spanish).

An amazing train ride is the Tren a las nubes (Train to the Clouds) in the northwestern province of Salta, but some people may get altitude sickness. This service, which has experienced suspensions, recommenced in August 2008.

By plane

Domestic flights are available within Argentina, but tickets are pricey, and most domestic flights pass through Buenos Aires' domestic airport Aeroparque Jorge Newbery. The main carriers are Aerolíneas Argentinas and LATAM Argentina. Aerolíneas Argentinas' subsidiary Austral, shares its parent's fleet, and tickets for both can be booked at the same office. The prices for tickets are double for non-residents, so be careful with publicized ticket prices.

An exception to passing through Buenos Aires for domestic flights is Aerolineas Argentinas' "Great Circle Route", going both ways Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays BA-Bariloche-Mendoza-Salta-Iguazu-BA (and reverse on another flight both days).

If you fly on your international trip to Argentina with Aerolíneas you sometimes get discounts on domestic flights. Sometimes you even get free flights with your international ticket but keep in mind that you probably already paid for this with the inflated price of your international ticket.

Always plan to arrive at your final destination before your flight home 2 or 3 days in advance, as Argentina, like most Latin American countries, experiences more delays and cancellations in travel than most areas of the world.

By bus

Argentina boasts an outstanding short and long-distance bus network. Since regional train service is limited and plane tickets are more expensive, bus travel is the most common way to travel from city to city within Argentina. Note that it is not as cheap as it was before, with about USD4-5 for each hour of travelling (Puerto Iguazú to Buenos Aires about USD100).

In Buenos Aires, a city bus is called a colectivo or bondi while a long distance, intercity bus is called a micro or omnibus; this is not always true though, usage varies somewhat in provincial areas.. The hub of this network is definitely Buenos Aires' Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro; it has up to 2,000 bus arrivals and departures per day, and multiple companies serve most destinations. Buses arrive and depart from a total of 75 platforms, and in order to buy your ticket you will have to choose between about 200 ticket booths situated on the upper level of the terminal.

The more expensive buses generally offer high-quality service, and for distances longer than 200 km, it is common to have food served on board. There is generally a good amount of legroom, and many buses have seats that recline horizontally into beds (called camas) making them a lot like travelling business class on a plane. The best category with completely reclining seats is normally called cama suite, but other names such as tutto leto, ejecutivo , cama vip or salon real are also in use. Somewhat cheaper seats only recline partially (semi-camas), or not at all (servicio común). Every service belongs to one of five official comfort classes with minimum requirements that are prescribed by law in order to facilitate comparisons. The better buses will provide everything you need, while for the lower categories it may be a good idea to take drinks and food with you, as well as toilet paper and ear plugs. If the trip is really long e.g. more than 12 hours it's definitelly better to spend a few more bucks and pay for a better bus service. If travelling with a large bag or suitcase bring a handful of coins to tip the porter that heaves your pack in and out of the taxi and bus.

Remember that, although buses usually arrive at their destination a little late, they almost always leave on time. Do not think that the relaxed approach carries over to bus departure times!

More information on bus schedules and fares is available on the webpages of the online ticket resellers Plataforma 10, Central de Pasajes. To buy tickets and to really have a choice to different bus companies you may visit Ticket Online or VoyEnBus . For buses departing or arriving in Buenos Aires, you can consult the webpages of the Terminal Retiro in Buenos Aires. A second bus terminal in Buenos Aires is situated in the Liniers neighbourhood, but it is smaller and less accessible than the one in Retiro.

For city buses in Buenos Aires you should check BA Cómo Llego (In English, also an app for smartphones) and Omnilineas (in English).

By car

Car rental is readily available throughout Argentina, though it is a bit expensive compared with other forms of transportation. Travelling by car allows you to visit locations that are hard to reach by public transportation. Patagonia, in the South of Argentina, is a popular driving location among tourists due to the breathtaking views across many miles of open land.

Argentina generally recognizes valid drivers' licenses from foreign jurisdictions. Drivers must be over 21. The rental companies will charge the renters card $6000 to be used in the event of an accident. They cancel this charge when the car is returned. On the rutas, in the provinces bordering other countries, the police frequently stop cars at controles policiales ("police checkpoints") to check insurance and registration papers and drivers' licenses. They do not stop all cars, though; when you come to a control policial, drive slowly and you will usually be waved through without stopping. Near provincial borders, these controles may also involve inspection of the trunk for contraband and a mandatory two peso fee for "disinfection" or removing insects from the car's underside by driving it over a mechanical sprayer that either sprays water or does nothing. The police have been known to set up roadblocks and demand bribes for passage, particularly around the city of Buenos Aires.

Traffic regulations in Argentina are generally the same as in the U.S. or Europe, but the locals often ignore the regulations. On roads and highways it´s mandatory to have car lights on, even during daytime. Be aware that the driving style in Argentina is aggressive and chaotic. Pay attention at night.

Maximum speed: 60 km/h in the city, 40 km/h on side roads and 100 km/h to 130 km/h on roads outside the city as well as on highways. There are frequent speed controls. However speed limits and lane markings are universally ignored, and running red lights is common. Most drivers treat stop signs, octagonal red signs reading PARE, as though they were "yield" signs, though some drivers ignore them completely. Within cities surrounding Buenos Aires it is proper to honk at an impending intersection and the one who honks first has right of way. Right of way is determined somewhat haphazardly by a combination of vehicle size and who arrives first. Make sure you are thoroughly confident in your driving skills before attempting to drive in Argentina.

Highways are limited to the areas around large cities. Most of the country is connected by paved unlit two-lane roads (rutas) shared by buses, cars, and large trucks. Some places are accessible only by gravel or dirt roads - indeed, some main roads in southern Argentina are unsealed, leading to 4x4 vehicles being more popular. This is particularly the case in the south. It is important to travel with a good map ( e.g. Argentina Waterproof Road Map from World Mapping Project) and to be well informed about your route distances, road conditions and the estimated travel time. In addition to a good map the website of cochera andina publishes useful information on more than 120 routes in Argentina.

The current cost of gasoline in central and southern Argentina is approximately 6 pesos per litre. In many small towns, particularly in the north, they may ration gasoline to ensure they have enough to sell until the next refuelling truck arrives, in which case you will only be allowed to buy 30 pesos worth of fuel at a time. It's advisable to fill your tank at regular intervals when the opportunity arises. In the Andes, the gasoline consumption of non-turbo charged engines increases due to the altitude.

By thumb

The hitchhiking club Autostop Argentina began in Argentina in 2002, inspired by clubs in France, Germany, Italy and the United States. As a result, hitchhiking has become more acceptable among the younger generation, and raising a thumb at a highway is a symbol most people understand.

Today, nevertheless, the thumb of a woman is gigantically more successful than the thumb of a man. A single man should count on long hours of waiting or just plain luck. If you do get a ride, you will in general be treated with much generosity though.

Talk

The official language is Spanish. Generally, most people speak Spanish using a local dialect, Castellano Rioplatense, which is subtly different from both the language of Spain and that of Central America. Most notably, the pronoun "tu" is replaced by "vos", and the you plural pronoun "vosotros" replaced with "ustedes", the latter being common throughout Latin America.

People from each city pronounce words differently as well. People from Buenos Aires speak differently compared to those from Spain and other Spanish speaking countries; example: chicken in Spanish (pollo) is pronounced PO-zhO or PO-SHO by the "Porteños" (residents of Buenos Aires), with the SH sound harder than in Spanish; unlike most other Spanish speakers of South America who pronounces it PO-yo. All Argentinians learn standard Castilian Spanish in school.

Rioplatense Spanish is also heavily influenced by Italian, even frequently being mistaken for it, a result of the large influx of Italian immigrants. Hand gestures derived from Italy are extremely common, and many colloquialisms are borrowed from Italian (for example: instead of saying "cerveza", which means beer, youngsters find "birra" cooler, which is in Italian). Most locals can readily understand most Spanish dialects, as well as Portuguese or Italian (especially due to its similarity to the local Spanish).

English is mandatory in high school and usually understood in at least a basic level in tourist areas. German and French can be understood and to some extent spoken by a few. A few places in Patagonia near Rawson have native Welsh speakers.

The interjection "che" is extremely common and means approximately the same thing as English "hey!". It can also be employed as a phrase known to someone you don't remember their names. Ex: "Escucháme, Che,...." Sometimes it is peppered throughout the speech, similar to the English phrase "yo," as in "What's up, yo?" Nonetheless, communication will not be a problem for any Spanish speaker.

Argentines will communicate with each other using lunfardo, a street dialect or slang. It is used together with Spanish by replacing nouns with their synonyms in lunfardo. As opposed to changing the original meaning, it just makes the phrase more colourful. An important aspect of lunfardo is that it is only spoken. For example, one knows the word dinero (money), but may use the word "guita" in order to refer to the same things. Lunfardo is composed of about 5,000 words, many of which do not appear in the dictionary.

See

For many travellers, Argentina as a country has the same seductive appeal as the tango it's famous for. Just like that iconic partner dance, Argentina embraces you, constantly moving to the rhythm of the streets and improvising every step of the way.

Urban vibes

Its large cities all bustle with life. The famous capital, Buenos Aires, is the most visited city in South America and a place like no other. Of course, there's fancy cosmopolitan boutiques, top of the line nightlife and gourmet cuisine. However, it's the classic, unpolished side of the city that makes it a world wide traveller's magnet. The downtrodden but colourful neighbourhoods where crazy traffic sounds drown out distant accordion tunes, the pleasant street-cafés and parillas (steak houses), busy outdoor markets and the lovely old centre with its European colonial architecture. San Telmo is the oldest neighborhood of the city and a good place to indulge in the city vibe of cafés, street artists, tango parlors and antique markets in a colonial surrounding. The atmosphere is perhaps Buenos Aires' biggest attraction, but some of the main sights include Recoleta’s cemetery and the Plaza de Mayo. Argentina's other big cities share the energetic buzz of BA, but have a distinct character of their own. Mendoza is a lively yet laid-back town, characterized by broad avenues. It's famous as a wine capital far beyond the borders of Argentina and a perfect starting point for the Argentina Wine Route along the hundreds of wineries in the area. As it's close to the Andes, it's also a good base for winter sports and other outdoor activities. The old university city Córdoba is known for its particular musical culture with the cuarteto as its number one music style. The city also boasts some of the best colonial heritage sights in the country. Bariloche, also at the base of the Andes mountains, is a major tourist destination, popular for its skiing opportunities, lovely beaches and chocolate shops.

Natural wonders

Fascinating as Argentina's urban life may be, the country's mighty natural attractions are at least as good a reason to come. The landscapes are incredibly various, from the high peaks of the Andes and the famous Perito Moreno Glacier to cacti filled desserts, sandy Atlantic beaches and biodiverse wetlands. With some 30 national parks in the country, there's always a good place nearby to see some of the country's natural wonders. A highlight in the subtropical north are the spectacular Iguaçu Falls, easily one of the most impressive waterfalls on earth. Argentina's wildlife includes ?amingos, penguins, caimans and capybaras, sea lions and -at times- even whales. Especially when you're visiting in autumn, the coastal town of Puerto Madryn is a must. From there you can easily make your way to Punta Tombo and Peninsula Valdes to go whale-watching and meet up close and personal with some of the million penguins who come to Patagonia each year to nest and raise their young. Head to El Calafate to organize your tour to the highly popular Los Glaciares National Park and see the famous glaciers and the icy Argentino Lake. Be amazed by the many colours and remarkable rock formations of Quebrada de Humahuaca, a mountain range in the north that extends far over the Bolivian border. Drive through and spot traditional villages and indigenous women and their goat herds. Other great destinations for nature lovers include the Ibera wetlands (with the most diverse fauna in the country) and Talampaya National Park, a primary site for archaeological and palaeontological finds.

Some other highlights

The countryside in general is a most pleasant side of Argentina; laid-back and with a taste for life close to nature. Rural villages are a breath of fresh air compared to the country's hectic big cities and a nice way to experience traditional culture. The north is as South-American as Argentina gets. Its wine regions are famous throughout the world and an increasingly popular tourist destination. If the bustle of Buenos Aires is too much for your taste, Mendoza and Salta are an excellent choice. They also make for a good base to explore the scenic regional vineyards and friendly villages with the Andes mountains in the background. Salta is also the starting point for the Train to the Clouds, a heritage railway that seems to be running solely to provide some unforgettable panoramas for travellers. The Traslasierra Valley is a pleasant green valley and one of the many places where you can enjoy a world class spa, as hot springs naturally occur around here. Finally, if you like a day at the beach, Argentina has plenty to offer for you. Mar del Plata is one of the top destinations for beach resorts.

Do

Walking Tours

Buenos Aires has a number of walking tour options. They include the typical tours you may find in any city, as well as interesting options including free walking tours, Downloadable MP3 Walking Tours, and even Running Tours.

Sports

The most popular sport in Argentina is fútbol (soccer). If you come to Argentina, you shouldn't miss the chance to experience a professional match live. Argentina's fans are very passionate.

Football teams

There are five teams called "Los 5 grandes", which are the elite of Argentinian football tournaments:

  • Boca Juniors - famous stadium "La Bombonera" where Diego Maradona played.
  • River Plate - Stadium "El monumental de Nuñez" where Argentina won the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
  • Racing Club - The first Argentine team to win the Club World Championships.
  • Independiente - won the most Copa Libertadores
  • San Lorenzo

Other Teams

  • Rosario Central - Stadium: "El gigante de Arroyito"
  • Velez Sarfield (European SouthAmerican Cup Champion in Tokyo 1994)
  • Estudiantes de La Plata - World Champion '68, Champion of America 1968 - 1969 - 1970 -2009. Club where Juan Sebastián Verón played.
  • Newell's Old Boys - team where Gabriel Batistuta played
  • Colón De Santa Fe - team with the largest number of supporters based on Argentina's coast

Other sports

Rugby and basketball (basquet) are also popular.

Argentine Polo is famous throughout the world, and the country is home to all of the highest ranked players today. First introduced by British settlers in the 1870s, skillful gauchos adopted it and the passion caught like wildfire. The Argentine Polo Open, usually played on early December every year, is a must for polo fans from all over the world. The sport's governing body is the Asociacion Argentina de polo and its webpage lists all the official tournaments held each year. Argentina is also well known for the many polo clinics held on clubs and farms around Buenos Aires.

Tennis has been growing in popularity with the Argentina's steady production of top players over the past three decades.

Field hockey has also became a popular sport, especially among women. The National Women's Field Hockey Team, Las Leonas (The Lionesses), has grown in the past years and developed into a now competes against the best in the world.

Car racing is popular too: The main leagues are Turismo Carretera (Ford vs Chevrolet), TC2000 (Touring Cars) and TopRace. The most important racetrack in Argentina is in Buenos Aires is "Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez.

Golf in Argentina is an increasingly popular sport thanks in part to the success of Argentinian players such as Angel Cabrera, Andres Romero and Eduardo Romero. There are currently around 280 courses in the country, most located around Buenos Aires and including such well-known names as the Jockey Club, Olivos and Hurlingham. On the Atlantic coast in Mar del Plata are a couple of courses that have held international events, and Patagonia has excellent resort courses such as Llao Lloa, Arelauquen and Chapelco (a Nicklaus design) as well as the 9-hole course in Ushaia.

Buy

Currency

The official currency of Argentina is the peso (ISO: code: ARS), denoted by the symblo "$". It is divided into 100 centavos. Coins come in 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos and 1 and 2 peso denominations. Banknotes are issued in values of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. Be prepared to receive small change in the form of golosinas (candies), especially in Chinese supermarkets.

Since 1969 thirteen zeroes have been dropped (a factor of ten trillion) the peso has been revalued again and again, and its name changed.

The exchange rate hovered around AR$3 = US$1 from 2002 to 2008, dipped to about AR$4 = US$1 from 2009 to 2011 and officially reached AR$6 in Nov 2013. In December 2015, all currency restrictions were lifted.

Black market

The government pegs the peso at an artificially high level and heavily restricts currency exchange from pesos into dollars, leading to a thriving black market in the "blue dollar" (dólar blue). The market is so huge that the latest rates are published in newspapers and on websites like DolarBlue.net. As of September 2014, the government rate is 8.40 pesos per US dollar, while the black market rate fluctuates around ARS14 = USD1. This translates to USD100 being worth around 840 pesos if exchanged officially or withdrawn from an ATM, versus 1,400 pesos on the black market. Other currencies like the Chilean and Uruguayan peso exhibit similar behaviour when exchanged for pesos, although the dollar commands a premium. The best rates will be received for USD100 bills in good conditions when exchanging more than USD1000.

Black market dealers are called arbolitos ("little trees") and they operate from cuevas ("caves"). They can be found everywhere, with Florida St in Buenos Aires being particularly notorious. If you choose to go down this route, remember that this is illegal, so take all possible precautions to avoid getting ripped off and remember that your money may be confiscated if you are busted by the police.

In October 2013 all exchange places at Foz do Iguaçu were officially selling Argentinian pesos for rates closer to the Blue rate than to the official rate. Other options to get a good rate are to transfer money electronically using services such as Xoom (only from the US) or Azimo (only from the UK) or compare with My Currency Transfer (from any country).

In December 2015 the newly elected government lifted most of the currency restrictions and unified the exchange rates with the peso trading within a band of 13-15 ARS/USD, blue dollar is no longer recommended as an exchange option, since you can get pesos anywere with a simmilar rate.

Credit cards

Peso purchases with foreign credit cards get exchanged at the terrible official rate, so this is best avoided. If you want to use a debit or credit card, the checkout operator in places like supermarkets will require you to present both your card and a form of identification such as a drivers' licence. Present both simultaneously at checkout and with confidence. A lack of confidence will lead to a request for your passport as identification. For larger purchases such as long-distance bus tickets you will need to present your passport and your credit card. Although this makes shopping difficult, do try to keep your passport in a location such as a hotel-room safe.

PIN cards have become the most common ones and should be accepted anywere, as well as magnetic band cards. PINs should be accepted but if not, the shop attendant will ask you to sign the invoice. Contactless credit cards are not commonly accepted as of November 2016.

Tipping

There is no obligation to tip in Argentina although it is considered customary. Sometimes rounding up or telling them to "keep the change" is enough on small checks, deliveries, gasoline tenders, etc. Leaving at least a 10% tip is considered kind and polite at restaurants, cafes, hotels, beauty parlors, barbers, ushers and car-washes. Tipping bartenders is not customary. Leaving no tip when feeling unsatisfied is not an uncommon gesture, and it's interpreted as such. Taxicab drivers do not expect to be tipped, but most people do so.

Another local custom is to tip the ushers in theaters and opera houses when they're also in charge of handing out the programmes (one may request one without tipping, at the risk of being considered cheap).

Service fees are included in most upscale hotels and restaurants, usually around 15%.

Shopping

The fashion and art scenes are booming. Buenos Aires' signature European-South American style overflows with unique art pieces, art deco furniture, and antiques. Creative and independent, local fashion designers - who are becoming a source of inspiration for the U.S. and European high-end markets - compose their collections based on lots of leather, wools, woven fabrics, and delicate laces with a gaucho twist. At times, the exchange rate can present good value for international tourists. For example, in early 2006 the dollar and the euro were strong in comparison with the then-weak Argentina peso.

Fashionable clothing and leather products can be found in most commercial areas; jackets, boots and shoes are easily available. However, Buenos Aires has a relatively mild climate, so truly cold-weather gear is harder to find here. Long coats or heavy gloves may not be in stock; similarly, jeans and other basics have a thin construction compared with those in cooler countries. The Andes regions and Patagonia are considerably colder in the winter, so thick clothing is much easier to find here.

Electronics are not cheap, as they are subject to heavy import tariffs. The price of music, books, and movies lags slightly behind changes in the exchange rate and can offer a bargain if the volatile exchange rates are in your favour.

Most freestanding shops in Buenos Aires are open 10:00-20:00 on weekdays, and some of them also Saturdays and Sundays, depending on what area of the city they are in. Enclosed malls, however, set their own hours, and are also open on the weekends.

Most places outside of the city of Buenos Aires, where most stores remain open during a siesta, still observe a siesta from approximately noon until 16:00; almost all businesses are closed during this time. The precise closing hours vary from store to store, according to the preferences of the owner. Shops and offices generally open again in the evening until 21:00 or 22:00.

Eat

Argentinian breakfasts are somewhat light compared to what travellers from English-speaking countries are accustomed to. Typically, it consists of a hot drink (coffee, tea, milk) with some toasts, medialunas (croissants, literally "halfmoons"), or bread.

Hotels typically provide a free buffet consisting of coffee, tea, drinkable yogurt, assorted pastries and toast, fruit, and perhaps cereal. These kinds of breakfasts are also readily available in the many cafes.

Lunch is a big meal in Argentina, typically taken in the early afternoon. Lunch is so big because dinner is not until late: 20:30 to 21:00 at the earliest, more commonly at 22:00 or even later. Most restaurants do not serve food until then except for pastries or small ham-and-cheese toasted sandwiches (tostados), for afternoon tea 18:00-20:00. Tea is the one meal that is rarely skipped. A few cafés do offer heartier fare all day long, but don't expect anything more substantial than pizza or a milanesa (breaded meat fillets) or a lomito (steak sandwiches) outside of normal Argentine mealtimes. Dinner is usually eaten at 22:00 and typically consists of appetizers, a main course, and desserts.

By the way, North Americans should beware that Argentinians use the term "entrée" to refer to appetizers. This is common outside of North America but can surprise some Canadians and most Americans. Only in those parts of North America (outside of the province of Quebec) is the "entrée" a "main dish". In Argentina the main dish is a "plato principal".

The entrée in Argentina typically consists of empanadas (baked pastries with a meat filling), chorizo or morcilla (meat or blood sausage), and assortments of achuras (entrails). For a main dish there is usually bife de chorizo (sirloin / New York Strip steak) and various types of salads. Dessert is often a custard with dulce de leche and whipped cream topping.

Beef is a prominent component of the Argentine diet and Argentine beef is world-famous for good reason. Argentina and Uruguay are the top 2 countries in meat per capita consumption in the world. Definitely check out Argentine barbecue: asado, sometimes also called parrillada, because it is made on a parrilla, or grill. There is no way around it - foodwise Argentina is virtually synonymous with beef. The beef is some of the best in the world, and there are many different cuts of meat. Lomo (tenderloin) and bife de chorizo are excellent. "Costillas" (ribs) is considered by locals the real "asado" meat cut and is very tasty. North Americans will see that costillas are different to those at home. Argentinians cut ribs perpendicular to the bone. Having a parrillada dinner is one of the best ways to experience Argentine cuisine; preferably with a bottle of wine and a good amount of salads. In some popular areas, parrilladas are available from small buffets, or sidewalk carts and barbecue trailers. Skewers and steak sandwiches can then be purchased to go.

Given that a large portion of Argentines are of Italian, Spanish and French descent, such fare is very widespread and of high quality; pizzerias and specialized restaurants are very common. Take note that a convention observed in Argentina is to treat the pasta and sauce as separate items; some travellers have found out what they thought was cheap pasta only to find that they were not getting any sauce. You will see the pastas for one price and then the sauces for an additional charge.

Cafés, bakeries, and ice-cream shops (heladerías) are very popular. Inexpensive and high-quality snacks can be found in most commercial areas, and many have outdoor seating areas. Empanadas (turnovers) containing meats, cheeses, or many other fillings can be bought cheaply from restaurants or lunch counters. The Alfajor is a must try snack of a two cookies with a dulce de leche filling and can be purchased at any local kiosco.

Smoking is now prohibited in all of Buenos Aires' restaurants and all of Mendoza's restaurants. In most cities, it's forbidden in all public buildings (cafés, shops, banks, bus stations, etc.), so it's better to ask before smoking anywhere.

Signature/national dishes

  • Asado
  • Empanada (baked pastries with a meat, cheese and/or vegetable filling)
  • Milanesa (breaded meat fillets)
  • Humita
  • Chorizo (sausage) and Choripan (with bread)
  • Tarta de Jamón y Queso (baked pastry crust with ham and cheese filling)
  • Guiso Criollo - with meat, vegetables and fruit

Desserts and snacks

  • Dulce de leche
  • Alfajores
  • Helado
  • Flan con Dulce de Leche
  • Torta de Ricotta
  • Facturas

Drink

Yerba mate (pronounced in two syllables, 'MAH-tae') is a traditional Argentine herbal drink, prepared in a hollowed-out gourd which is passed around in a social setting and drunk through a metal straw. Although usually drunk hot, mate can also be served cold, usually known as "tereré" - the version that is preferred in Paraguay. Mate contains less caffeine than coffee, but contains other vitamins and minerals that give it a stimulating effect, particularly to those who are not used to it. It is naturally rather bitter, so it's not uncommon to add sugar, though it's polite to ask before adding sugar to it. The drinking of mate with friends is an important social ritual in Argentina. The informal tea ceremony is led by a "cebador" or server and people arrange themselves in a "rueda" or wheel. Those who like the drink bitter and those who like it sweet are clustered together to aide the server.

Argentina is renowned for its excellent selection of wine. The most popular being Mendoza which is rated among the worlds most popular regions due to its high altitude, volcanic soils and proximity to the Andes Mountains. The terrain seems to complement the European grape varietals with interesting notes not present when produced in other climates, this allows the Argentine wine to be positioned in a league of its own. The best way to experience and understand the selection of Argentine varietals is one of the many tasting events.

The legal drinking age is officially 18, although most establishments will serve anyone approximately 16 or older. Most restaurants serve a broad range of liquors. Beer is offered in draft form in a chopp (small glass) or served in bottles or cans, and is typically a light, easily drinkable lager. The most popular locally made brands of beer are Quilmes, Isenbeck, Schneider and Brahma (although it's Brazilian). Widely-available imports include Warsteiner, Heineken, Budweiser and Corona. There are now many small pubs and bars in Buenos Aires that brew beer on premises, but most of these offer a poor quality product compared to what is widely available in parts of the USA and Europe. In the Buenos Aires area, the Buller Brewing Company in Recoleta and the Antares Brewery in Mar del Plata offer excellent handcrafted English/American style ales. Ask if there are "cervezas artesanales" to discover if there are locally hand crafted beers.

Fernet is widely consumed by Argentinians, especially in Córdoba, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires. Originally from Italy, it's a bitter drink made from herbs, with 40% alcohol by volume and dark brown in hue. It can be mixed with Coke (served in bars, pubs, clubs) and if you go to an Argentinian house they will have Fernet and Coke to offer you. Also, Fernet is usually served as a digestif after a meal, but may also be enjoyed with coffee and espresso, or mixed into coffee and espresso drinks. It may be enjoyed at room temperature or with ice.

Cafés often have fresh-squeezed fruit juices, which is otherwise hard to find.

Sleep

A wide range of accommodation possibilities are available in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country, from student hostels to homey bed and breakfasts to trendy boutique hotels in the city to luxurious palaces and modern five-star hotels. There are also many beautiful lake-side lodges in Patagonia, and fabulous regional farms (estancias) outside the cities.

Many vacation cabañas (cabins or weekend houses) are available for short-term rent directly from the owners in the mountains, seaside, and in rural areas. Drive around and look for signs saying alquiler ("rental"), or check the classified section of any major newspaper.

Bear in mind that, except in the 5-star hotels, usually the rooms are not as large as in hotels around the world.

Learn

There are a lot of public and private quality institutes who give Spanish lessons, and many more for Tango lessons, Argentinean art and literature, architecture.

Apart from Buenos AiresMendoza is another popular and excellent place to take Spanish lessons for those who want a more idyllic setting (see the entry for Mendoza for details).

Education in Argentina is free for everyone, no matter the level, and it has a good quality.

Stay safe

Argentina has a traffic mortality rate of 12.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. To put that in perspective, the figures for the USA and UK are 10.4 and 2.75 respectively. Drivers in Argentina kill 20 each day (about 7,000 a year), with more than 120,000 injured people each year. These deaths have included some unfortunate tourists. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution. Do not jaywalk if you do not feel comfortable, and always keep your eyes about you when crossing the street.

There is plenty of activity and foot traffic throughout the night. Nice areas have a very thorough police presence, perhaps one officer per 3 blocks, plus store security and auxiliary patrols. Public security in all major cities like Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario is handled by the Federal Police and the National Gendarmerie or the Naval Prefecture, especially in the Puerto Madero area of Buenos Aires.

As in any large city, certain particular neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires and other cities are very dangerous. Some shady neighbourhoods include Retiro, Villa Lugano, La Boca and Villa Riachuelo. Ask trusted locals, such as hotel desk staff or police officers, for advice. Pay attention to your environment and trust your instincts. If an area seems questionable, leave.

Many people in the street and in the subway hand out small cards with horoscopes, lottery numbers, pictures of saints, or cute drawings on them. If you take the card, the person will ask for payment. You can simply return the card along with a no, gracias. or simply in silence if your Spanish is not good. Persistent panhandlers are usually not dangerous; a polite but firm no tengo nada ("I don't have anything") and/or hand gestures are usually enough.

Most robberies are not violent, if it is just give the robbers everything, because they may be on drugs, drunk, have a knife or a gun; in most cases, if your wallet is stolen, you won't even notice until hours later. In the unlikely event that you are confronted by a mugger, simply hand over your valuables - they are replaceable. Watch out for pickpockets in the subway and on crowded city streets. Never hang your purse or bag from the back of your chair in a cafe or restaurant - stealthy theft from such bags is common. Keep your purse or backpack on the floor between your legs while you eat.

Popular demonstrations are very common in Buenos Aires, and are best avoided by tourists as these demonstrations sometimes grow into violent confrontations with the police or National Gendarmerie, particularly as they approach the government buildings in the city centre.

Since 2005 the government has cracked down on illegal taxis very successfully. Petty crime continues (like taking indirect routes or, less commonly, giving counterfeits in change). Taxicabs that loiter in front of popular tourist destinations like the National Museum are looking for tourists. Stay away from them. Your chance of falling prey to a scam increases in these situations. Stopping a cab a block or two away on a typical city street where others locals would do the same is good choice. Also having small bills will help you avoid issues mentioned, as well you will often find taxis that don't have change for 100 peso bills.

Carry some ID with you, but not your original passport; a copy (easily provided by your own hotel) should be enough.

Ezeiza International Airport Security Warning

In July 2007, Argentina's TV network "Canal 13" conducted an investigation revealing that a group of security operators at the airport were stealing valuable objects such as iPods, digital cameras, cellular phones, sun glasses, jewellery and laptops while scanning the checked luggage of passengers. According to the special report, security operators at the airport should check each bag before putting it into the plane; however, some operators take advantage of the scanner machine to detect valuable objects and steal them. The report states that this event occurs every day and that the stolen items include anything from electronic devices to perfumes and works of art.

You're strongly encouraged to place high-value items in your carry-on luggage to prevent any incidents.

Police officers will often try to get you to bribe them during a traffic stop. The best thing to do is to give them the money (they will keep you at a stop for a long time if you don't.) However, if you do wish to take the ticket they will give it to you without any problems.

Emergency numbers

  • Ambulance (Immediate Health Emergency Service, SAME in Buenos Aires): 107
  • Firemen (National Firemen Corps): 100
  • Police (Argentine Federal Police): 911 mostly, might be 101 in some smaller cities
  • Tourist Police: +54 11 4346-5748 / 0800 999 5000

Stay healthy

Visiting Argentina doesn't raise any major health worries. Certain vaccinations may be necessary for visitors, depending on what parts of Argentina you plan to visit. Yellow fever vaccinations are recommended for those visiting the Northern forests. Different climate conditions might take your body by surprise, so be aware of the weather before you arrive. An upset stomach is the most you're likely to have to worry about as your body adjusts to local micro-organisms in the food. It's also best to ease yourself gently into the local diet – sudden quantities of red meat, red wine, strong coffee and sweet pastries can be very unsettling for a stomach used to gentler repasts – and though tap water in Argentina is safe to drink, if sometimes heavily chlorinated, you may prefer to err on the side of caution in rural areas in the north of the country.

Although oral contraceptives are sold over the counter, without a prescription, a woman considering taking them is well advised first to consult a wise and licensed physician about their proper use, as well as possible contraindications and side effects.

Hospitals are free. They won´t charge you for any treatment, but it is customary to offer a contribution, if you have the means. In public/state run hospitals, it is now illegal for any hospital employee to receive or even ask for payment. This does not include private health care facilities, or for medicines.

Sun block is recommended in the north of the country, where the heat can be intense with 38°C (100°F) common in some areas. Heat rash, dehydration, and sunburns are common for first time visitors.

Dengue, a mosquito borne illness, is a serious and potentially fatal illness, but only a risk in the far north. Mosquito bites should be prevented at all costs in the far north, where they have many bug repellents, from lotions to sprays, as well as citronella candles, and 'espirales' (a spiral shaped incense). These are purchasable at most kiosks (kioskos) or pharmacies.

Respect

Successive peso crises have left many Argentines bitter towards some authorities and institutions. While many shops will appreciate payment in US dollars or euros and even offer you a better exchange rate than the banks, try to blend in elsewhere. Keep a supply of pesos on hand for those businesses that do not accept dollars.

Conversation

Argentines are very engaging people who may ask very personal questions within minutes after first meeting someone. They will expect you to do the same. Failing to do so would signify lack of interest in the other person.

Don't be offended if someone calls you a "boludo". Even though it's a swear word, to Argentines it means "pal", or "mate" (depending on the tone it is said). Argentinian people are infamous for the amount of cursing they do, so if they are talking to you don't pay attention to the cursing. If Argentinians are mad, teasing you or making fun of you, you will tell by the expression of their face or the tone of their voice as well as even more cursing than usual.

Also, don't be offended if an Argentinian says things to you in a very direct manner: this is very usual among locals and sometimes offends foreigners. Argentinians are very emotional and extremists, both when telling good things or bad things to anyone. You'll also see that they have an acid humour, make fun of themselves in every aspect, and sometimes they will make fun of you. Just reply back with another joke if this is the case; locals won't take it as an offence.

Taxi drivers (especially old people) are very friendly and usually very well informed about everything. Feel free to talk about whatever you want. Some of them even know lot of history and politics of the city.

Try not to compare "dulce de leche", pretty women, soccer, birome (bic pen), and public bus, unfavourably with anything else in the world, likewise for Argentinian meat; doing it will be considered insulting.

Greeting

Cheek kissing is very common in Argentina, especially in bigger cities, among and between women and men. People make contact with right cheeks, and make a light "kiss sound" but not touch the cheek with their lips (only once, two kisses -right and then left- is very rare). When two women, or opposite sexes first meet, it is not uncommon to kiss. Two men will first shake hands if they do not know each other, but will probably kiss when departing, especially if they have spoken for a while. Male friends cheek kiss every time when greeting, it is like a sign of trust. Trying to shake hands when offered a kiss will be considered odd, but never rude especially if you are an obvious foreigner. Remember when visiting another country its always interesting to try new customs.

In the rest of the country, regular handshaking applies. Also women will greet by kissing as described above, but it's reserved to other women and to men they are acquainted with. All the aforementioned applies elsewhere in Latin America and in the Iberian Peninsula (except the man to man cheek kissing, which is not common elsewhere).

Football

Since some Argentinians are extremely die-hard football fans, try to avoid wearing rival soccer jerseys, as one bad turn on the wrong street, or walking into a bar wearing the wrong colours, could be dangerous in low-class areas. You can wear European football club jerseys with an Argentinian player's name on the back (for example: a Manchester City jersey with Tevez's name, a Barcelona jersey with Mascherano's name, etc.). If you really want to wear a jersey, the safest plan is to wear an Argentina World Cup jersey.

Argentine "barrabravas" (An equivalent of the term "hooligans") cause various degrees of vandalism, assault, and deadly shootings in a few occasions due to football debates. It is recommended not to wear local football clothing too often, and you will be better off if you avoid using football clothing altogether.

The Perú national football colours (and jersey design) are almost identical to those of local team River Plate, so be cautious as to avoid misunderstandings.

Punctuality and perceptions of time

Argentinians generally take a relaxed attitude towards time. This can be unsettling to visitors from North America and non-Latin parts of Europe where punctuality is highly valued. You should expect that your Argentine contacts will be at least 10 to 15 minutes late for any appointment. This is considered normal in Argentina and does not signify any lack of respect for the relationship. Of course, this does not apply to business meetings.

If you are invited to a dinner or party at, say 21:00, it does not mean that you should be present at 21:00, but instead that you should not arrive before 21:00. You'll be welcomed any time afterwards. Arriving to a party one hour late is normally OK and sometimes expected.

This attitude extends to any scheduled activity in Argentina. Plays, concerts usually get going around half an hour after their scheduled times. Long distance buses leave on time though. Short-distance public transportation like city buses and the subway do not even bother with time estimates; they arrive when they arrive! Factor these elements into your calculations of how long things will take.

Delayed bus or train departures are not uncommon, especially in big cities. This is normally not a problem, as in general no one will expect you to be on time anyway. However, long-distance bus departures almost always leave on time (even if they arrive late), so do not count on lack of punctuality to save you when arriving late at bus terminals.

Things to avoid

Avoid talking about the "Falkland Islands" (Las Islas Malvinas) including the Falkland War and dispute, with their English name. These are very sensitive subjects to many Argentines and can cause a strong reaction and an unpleasant situation for you.

Avoid wearing any English and British symbols due to the above mentioned reasons. English and British flags as well as English national football (soccer) tops are definitely to be avoided. Although no assaults on people wearing them have been recorded, some people might be very upset about them and you might receive very icy looks and treatment from the population.

Also avoid talking about the Perón and Kirchner years and also about politics, the military junta and religion in general. These are very sensitive subjects to many Argentines and can cause a strong reaction as well.

Avoid comparing Argentina with its neighbours Brazil and Chile, because they are considered rivals - especially in the economic sphere.

Avoid comparing regional foods. This too can be a sensitive subject, as recipes and key ingredients vary from province to province.

Avoid asking for ketchup for anything other than a hot dog. There's fantastic beef in Argentina, and asking for ketchup, or barbecue sauce, then pouring it on a steak is not very welcomed. You should ask for Salsa Criolla or Chimichurri for beef and Chorizo

Same sex marriage has been legal since 2010, but in small towns, or the more conservative north of the country, some people (especially older generations) might be shocked by public displays of homosexual affection.

Drug use, while legal in Argentina, is frowned upon by most inhabitants. Alcohol is generally the vice of choice here. Paco, a crack-like mix of by products from the cocaine manufacturing process, is a serious problem, and its users should be avoided at all costs. These people are undeniably violent and unpredictable.

'Villas' or ghettos, usually composed of wooden or steel plate shacks, should also be avoided due to the high crime rate in these areas.

Connect

By phone

You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about ARS20 (about USD5) for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you might have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinian phone number, which is very useful to keep in touch with other travellers, either by calling or by writing text messages. Calls cost around ARS1 per minute. Still, having to register the SIM card is extremely rare.

Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.

To reload you can buy small cards with secret numbers at many kiosks, but the easiest way is just to ask for "Recarga Virtual" and tell the shop assistant your Phone number and company, and the amount of pesos you want to recharge.

Not related to mobile phones, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called locutorios, where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to Europe will cost about 10 Pesos (3 US-Dollars). Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive.

The phone numbering plan in Argentina is hopelessly complicated for foreigners. Do check out the Wikipedia article about it to find out more.

  • Directory Listing (The White Pages): 110
  • International Operator: 000
  • National Operator: 19
  • Collect National Calls: 19 from regular phones, *19 from public phones
  • Mobile phone numbers start with 15 or 11
  • Regional code for Buenos Aires: 011

Other useful phone numbers include:

  • Official Time: 113
  • Consumer Advocacy: +54 11 5382-6216 or 6217

All 2 and 3-digit numbers are free, except the official time service (113).

All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers, except if you call from a mobile phone.

Long distance calls from Argentina: You may use calling card, ARS0.18/min or ARS0.59/min for calling from Argentina to USA.

By internet

Most cafés and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi with an advertisement in their windows. All you need to do is buy a coffee and ask for the password. Public WiFi is also very common in Buenos Aires with great speeds. The network name will be BA Wifi

Hear about travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina as the Amateur Traveler talks to Leandro Gonzalez about his hometown. Buenos Aires is a large cosmopolitan city of 13 million people. Leandro tries to help us find options for travelers from the backpacker to the upscale traveler.

Hear about cruising from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile around Cape Horn in South America as the Amateur Traveler relates stories of a recent Holland America cruise on the Zaandam. 

You mean you haven’t already done it yet? That’s OK. Don’t panic! It’s certainly not too late. Luckily there are a few very good arguments in favour of leaving it until you’ve turned 40. If you’re anything like me, you have no idea how the world actually works until you’re 30. Then for many, this decade is taken up with starting a family, establishing a career & discovering humility. When 40 comes along you’re a little more immune to the pressures the world puts on you – who you should be, what you should look like… It’s experiences that become more important than anything else, and you become acutely aware of time. So our view is to not squander life’s most valuable commodity once the 4-zero hits. Here’s the top 5 arguments to get that 40 year old self booking a trip somewhere amazing…

You make better choices

You’re older, probably need to exercise more, and have some grey poking through, but you sure do make sounder decisions now. Gone are the days when you’ll book a boozy trip to Thailand, lie on a beach and go home with nothing really to show for it. Your adventure travel choices are still based on an element of escape, but because your time is valuable, that hiking trip in Nepal or the overnight stay in a New Zealand mountain hut is likely to have come from a more considered position, and be more fulfilling than a trip to Cancun that you can hardly remember apart from the neon lights.

Everest Base Camp, Active Adventures Making it to Everest Base Camp! Jerry Champlain, ‘EBC’ Trip

Because life is short

The clock is ticking. It’s that simple really. You only get one shot at this whole life thing so you might as well make it count. Experiences are what you’ll take to your final days, and they do shape you. Given that you now make better choices, you’ll also know that you’re still mobile (and will be for quite some time if you stay in shape!) and more than capable of hiking to Machu Picchu or snorkeling with seals in the Galapagos Islands. So think about what experiences are likely to stay with you until your dying days. And do it. Tick tock, tick tock…

Galapagos Islands, Active Adventures Snorkelling with the Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands Russ Meyer, ‘Tortuga’ Trip

You’re a better social animal

Communication and socialisation in general come easier when you’re older. You’re not out to prove a point any more. Hell – it’s even amusing poking a little fun at yourself from time to time. Your travel experiences are enhanced by the people you travel with, and those you meet along the way. Your better able to go with the flow, and willingness to meet like-minded people makes your adventures a shared experience, which is ultimately what we all want. What good is keeping that up-close encounter with a dolphin in Milford Sound all to yourself?

Milford Sound, Active Adventures Dolphins at Milford Sound Ruth Lucci, ‘Rimu’ Trip

No more slumming it

When I was 20, I felt obliged to stay in crowded, cold (or sometimes unbearably hot) hostels with simply awful facilities, eat cheap horrible food, and travel in a bus where there wasn’t room to scratch yourself. Part of that obligation was financial, but if I’m honest it was mostly because it was just what I thought was expected of me. But I’m not sure I actually enjoyed it that much – people snore, arrive late, chose to play drunken card games at 2am, get sick from eating terrible food, miss buses…. When you’re 40, there’s simply no pressure to slum it anymore, and you’re happy to say you want somewhere comfortable and memorable to stay, and you enjoy it. You’ve just hiked through virgin rain forest to see a spectacular glacier on the west coast of the South Island, why wouldn’t you want to kick your feet up in a comfortable lodge room with a glass of wine and some local cheese?

Braemar Station, Active Adventures Relaxing at Braemar Station Monica Hahn, ‘Rimu’ Trip

It’s the small things that matter

I used to think it was only the grandiose experiences that mattered to me. Kayaking class V rivers, surfing in the Mentawai Islands – the sort of thing I took away from my adventure travels. It’s now the brief encounters, momentary observations and flashes of uniqueness of a place that etch themselves in my memory. That’s down to a more discerning travel palate. A chance encounter with school children while on the trail to the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal, waiting for the sheep on the road to part while we drive through to Mt Cook National Park in New Zealand, an ice cream in the sun in El Calafate, Argentina – these things will never leave me, and add so much to my travel memories.

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Active Adventures Giggle from the fence on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek Michael Adams, ‘AST’ Trip

– Phil, Active Adventures Director

You haven’t been out of town enough lately. Take a trip on us.

Skift is teaming up with DailySecret, Fathom, SheFinds, and Poncho to give away a Buenos Aires vacation prize package worth over $3,500. Enter to win a luxury trip to Buenos Aires with 3 nights at The Master at The Clubhouse Buenos Aires, a VIP welcome basket with premium Argentine goods, a chef’s tasting menu for 2, a custom itinerary from Fathom (worth $500), and $1,000 toward airfare.

Click here to enter a chance to win a luxury trip to Buenos Aires.

The post Vacation Time: Go On a Luxury Trip to Buenos Aires appeared first on Gadling.

Women are amazing. Men are amazing too, but this post is about the female half of the species, specifically about ten women who blog.

One of the best things about travelling is the chance to meet new people. Craig and I are lucky enough to have friends all around the world; some are people we’ve stayed with through Couchsurfing or AirBnB, others are fellow travellers. Still others are members of the ever-growing travel bloggers’ community, which is full of truly excellent people. At a recent blogging festival, I met one of these people: Alys from The Wild Life. Last week, she nominated me for the Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award.

Hover over and click 'pin it' to share on PinterestHover over and click ‘pin it’ to share on PinterestI’d never heard of this award before and my search for answers on Google was not particularly fruitful, but it seems to be a way for women to share a bit about themselves and show some love to their favourite fellow female bloggers. Or at least, that’s what I’m going to use it for!

The rules of the award are:

  • State who nominated you.
  • Answer their questions.
  • Nominate ten other female bloggers.
  • Ask them ten questions.

My nominations

There are a lot of awesome female bloggers out there, these ten are some of my favourite people — check them out!

Sherry from Ottsworld.

We’ve known Sherry for almost as long as we’ve been travelling, and have met up with her in several countries. We’re always impressed by her intrepid adventures.

Jodi from Legal Nomads.

Jodi’s another inspiration. Her long-form articles are beautifully written, and though we may not agree about whether or not to eat olives, we love hanging out with her.

Lauren from Spanish Sabores.

As well as blogging, Lauren also runs a food tour company introducing travellers to delicious Spanish food.

Leigh from The Future is Red.

Leigh is one of those genuinely amazing people who it’s always a pleasure to be around. We spent six weeks with her and her husband at their home in Salta, Argentina, and were impressed with their work with indigenous people and underprivileged kids.

Deb from The Planet D.

Deb and her husband Dave are two of the most adventurous people I know — hence their motto “adventure is for everyone”. Deb is an outgoing, friendly person who always seems to have a good word for everyone.

Alisa from Alisa Abroad.

During my year in Alcalá de Henares, I spent a lot of time with Alisa, who worked at the same school as me. I enjoy her blog for its honest reflections on life.

Two female bloggers at the wine fight in Haro a href=There are some awesome female bloggers out there — like our friend Janine (in this photo, covered in wine).

Janine from Carry On Exploring.

If you listen to the podcast, you might have noticed that Janine is one of our best friends. We’ve travelled with her in a dozen or so countries and really enjoy her company — and her blog.

Liz from Young Adventuress.

Liz is a lovely person who it’s always fun to be around, and her blog is one of the most popular travel blogs out there. Plus, she’s living in New Zealand, so there are always lots of lovely photos of home on her site!

Leyla from Women on the Road.

Leyla is a super intelligent, dauntless woman who I have a lot of time for. Her blog is full of really useful advice for solo women travellers, so if you’re one of those, check it out.

Dalene from Hecktic Travels.

We met Dalene and her husband Pete at a blog camp they were running in Ireland, and I enjoyed their company SO MUCH. I also enjoy Dalene’s writing style, which is friendly and inclusive.

Questions for nominees

  1. Why do you travel?
  2. Suitcase or backpack?
  3. What luxury item do you take with you?
  4. Who do you like to travel with?
  5. What’s great about your home town?
  6. Do you ever feel tired of travelling?
  7. What’s the most challenging thing about travel?
  8. Tell me about a moment when you felt really happy.
  9. What have you only recently learned about travel or about yourself?
  10. Which travel destination would you love to go back to?
Trekking up the Roy's Peak track in New ZealandWho do you like to travel with?

Alys’s questions and my answers:

1. Where was your first ever trip abroad to?

I have no idea! My family travelled a lot when I was a child, and my first trip overseas was almost certainly before I turned one year old. It was probably to Australia, though, which is the closest country to our home country of New Zealand.

2. Why did you start your travel blog?

We’d been travelling for about six months and kept making ridiculous mistakes. We started the Indie Travel Podcast to share our errors with people so that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes we had.

3. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened whilst you were travelling?

When we were in Romania, we were sucked in by a scam. A man approached us as we were walking to our hostel and told us that it had been closed because someone had been murdered there the previous night. He led us to a taxi which charged us an extortionate amount to take us to a “tourist park” where we would be “safe”. I still feel sick when I think about it.

4. What’s your biggest travel achievement?

Keeping on going! We’ve been travelling full-time for almost ten years now, despite setting out with the aim of only being away for three.

5. What’s top of your travel wish list?

I really, really, really want to go to Colombia. We’ve been planning a trip there for four years and it still hasn’t eventuated, for various reasons. We’ll get there eventually, though.

Looking down the Sacred Valley, PeruPeru is the closest we’ve come to Colombia.

6. What’s the best food you’ve eaten whilst travelling?

Argentinian steak has to be right up there, paired with a glass or two of delicious Malbec wine. Yum.

7. If you could learn any language what would it be?

I’d love to be able to speak Chinese, but my attempts to learn it haven’t been very successful. I’m currently working on German.

8. What blog post are you most proud of?

I’ve recently been learning more about the technical side of podcasting. I’m pretty proud of how the Camino Primitivo podcast turned out, as it was one of the first ones that I edited solo.

Female bloggers also walk the Camino PrimitivoOne of the many views on the Camino Primitivo.

9. What’s your best advice for a first time traveller?

Pack light! You really don’t need as much stuff as you think you do.

10. Where are you off to next?

Next week, we are heading to Moldova. This is another destination that’s been on the wishlist for years, and recent changes in visa requirements have meant that it’s finally possible — I’m really looking forward to it!

Share your thoughts

Who are your favourite female travel bloggers? What are your answers to the questions above? Leave a comment below!

It certainly wasn’t what we expected, but Oundle has been good to us. It’s sad to say goodbye to our temporary pets Dude and Audy, who showered us with affection from the first day of our stay, and we’ll also miss the town’s beautiful buildings and the long walks we’ve been taking along the river.

We’ve been here for five weeks now, and the last two weeks have been a lot more like we imagined our stay here would be — long days of work with a few events thrown in. I started each day by taking the dog for a walk, then we both settled in for a morning in front of the computer. Craig took the dog out again in the evening while I cooked dinner, then we generally watched TV until we went to bed. Pretty domestic really! The Rugby World Cup has started, so a fair proportion of our screen time has been taken up with that — seeing Japan beat South Africa was awesome, and New Zealand vs Argentina was another excellent match.

Oundle war memorial in Oundle UKOundle town centre

Excursions

We have ventured out of the house a few times, though, notably to buy delicious cheese at the weekly market and to go to the theatre. We’d seen the signs for a production of The Great Gatsby, and since £12 seemed like a pretty good price for to see a play, we bought tickets and headed along one Tuesday evening. And it was incredible! I wouldn’t quite call it a musical, but the seven actors all sang and played various musical instruments as well as each taking on several roles. The production is touring at the moment, so if you’re in the UK and have a chance to see it, I’d recommend you go.

Cows near Oundle UKInquisitive cows.

Visitors!

Another highlight was having visitors for lunch. At BlogStock I’d run into Terry and Sarah Lee, who we’ve known for years but not spent much time with, and when we realised that their house isn’t too far from Oundle, we invited them over. They were enthusiastically welcomed by Dude, who covered their legs with dog hair, and we enjoyed their company in a slightly more restrained fashion.

Dog in river near Oundle UKDog in the river.

Final days

Our last few days have been pretty crazy, as we’ve been trying to fit in all the things we wanted to do before our time ran out. First, we joined a “quirky historical tour of Oundle” with a guide who’d grown up in the town, during which we learned that almost every building used to be used for something else, whether it’s a theatre that used to be a church or a church that used to be a telephone exchange. (Or a library that used to be a morgue or a house that was once a school…. the list goes on for some time.) The next day, we finally made it to Peterborough, and though that was really just to pick up Craig’s passport, we really enjoyed our visit to the cathedral, where we learned that Peterborough is twinned with our old home of Alcalá de Henares! And our last weekend was spent packing and tidying in preparation for the handover to the next housesitters.

Cathedral in Peterborough UKPeterborough Cathedral

The next adventure is a couple of days with my brother in London before flying to Moldova via Italy. We were gutted to hear that the wine festival we were planning to attend has been cancelled, but I‘m sure we’ll find other things to do while we’re there! If you have any advice for travel in Moldova or Ukraine, please let us know in the comments below.

Hear about travel to Patagonia as the Amateur Traveler talks to Jackie Nourse about this region of southern Argentina.

Hello, 2017. You’re a sight for sore eyes.

You’re also, so far, a bit of a mystery. Since I started this blog, I’ve never kicked off a year with less travel on my plate. In a way, it’s thrilling — anything can happen! — and in another it’s a little scary. Can I really let a year pass by without ticking one of my dream trips off my list? For someone who often can’t fall asleep at night because they are so consumed by all the places in the world they still have yet to see, it’s kinda of a panic-inducing thought.

Travel Plans 2017

And yet I find myself quite content, settled back in Koh Tao with a bright and cheery little apartment, a faithful little motorbike and unpacked bag nestled in the corner of my closet. As I do weigh up options for the year, I’m torn as always between revisiting old favorites (oh hello, island I’ve been returning to for seven years and currently living on again) and big bucket list dream trips (oh hey there, diving in Mozambique, which I daydream about constantly yet have no plans to actually make a reality).

Anyway, last year’s post outlining my 2016 travels was fairly accurate — it will be fun to see how this one fares!

January-May // Asia

I state this with a pretty inordinate amount of pride for someone who makes a living as a travel blogger, but at the moment literally only like 14 out of the first 120 days of 2017 will be spent not in my bed here on Koh Tao. I need this for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being I am so backlogged on content here on Alex in Wanderland. I just need to lock myself away and furiously type until I’m caught up writing on all my trips! I’ve already nixed two opportunities to travel to new countries in the first quarter of this year, with this being one of my primary reasons.

So what will I be getting up to?

In January, I will spend just three nights off Koh Tao — a quick trip to Bangkok to see my sister off. (In fact, I’ve already come and gone!) I actually wasn’t planning to leave the island at all as I really just got here in December, but alas, I can’t say no to Olivia — nor can I turn down a weekend in one of my favorite cities in the world. In fact, what started as a fun fantasy over the years solidified on this quick jaunt into a very strong determination to rent an apartment in Bangkok for a month or two someday, and see what it’s like to experience one of my favorite places for longer than just a few days at a time. Maybe in the fall that will come to fruition.

Bangkok

I have some pretty exciting plans at home for the rest of the month, though, like a week-long aerial silks workshop with Flying Trapeze Adventures and all my favorite shows re-starting after their winter hiatuses (don’t judge).

In February, I’ll be taking my “big trip” of this Southeast Asia stretch. First, I’m cobbling together a big crew to take to Wonderfruit, a festival in the Pattaya countryside that I couldn’t be more excited about attending. Between the fanciful stages hosting musicians from around the world, the wonderfeasts by some of Thailand’s top chefs, and the workshops on everything from yoga to living a plastic-free life, I’m not even sure which aspect I’m looking forward to the most.

Wonderfruit(source)

After the festival, Ian and I are off to Penang, Malaysia — Ian has to go to process his Thai work permit, and I’m tagging along for fun (and to reactivate my own visa.) I’ve never been to Penang other than in transit and look forward to exploring the city of Georgetown and hiking in Penang National Park. I’m still fairly bitter that the direct flight to Penang from Koh Samui has been discontinued, but alas, I still want to go. Who knows, we might even tack on a few days in Bangkok in-between!

Penang(source 12, and 3)

In March, I currently have no plans to leave Koh Tao. Gasp! Now that you all convinced me to get PRK surgery I am considering blocking off a week to go to Bangkok and do it then, but I also might also put it off until the fall. Back on Koh Tao, there’s going to be a big new festival that I’m pretty excited about (if you haven’t sensed a theme for the year yet, you will soon!)

In April, I’ll pop over to Koh Samui for a few days to meet a friend and possibly attend Paradise Island Festival. Otherwise I’ll be on Koh Tao enjoying Songkran, Easter, and my last long stretch of stillness for a while.

In May, I have a one last little trip in the works before catching my flight to the US for the summer. It’s all in pencil now but it involves a river cruise, showing Ian around one of my favorite Thai cities, and (duh) more Bangkok. Fingers crossed it all works out!

Ayutthaya(source 12, and 3)

May-August // USA

I’ve fallen into a pattern of spending more and more time back in the US every year, however I have to be frank — our current political climate makes me want to spend less time there than ever before. I’m not being defiant or trying to make a statement. It’s just that my heart literally sinks out of my chest every time I think about home, and unless that starts to fade I don’t know how many consecutive months I can walk around with that heaviness. I’ve never felt more disconnected from the place that made me. I’m adrift. Here’s hoping some peace and clarity find me in this department in 2017.

That said, I have three confirmed weddings and one other up in the air, one confirmed festival and a few others on the back burner (wink wink, fellow playa fans!), and lots of family and friends I love dearly and need to catch up with, regardless of what else is happening around us. Here’s a peek:

In May, I’m flying to Florida for the wedding of one of one of my closest high school crew in Sarasota. I’ll also be visiting my girl Angie in Jacksonville, heading to Orlando for a bachelorette weekend I’m planning at Universal Orlando, and hanging with my two favorite aunts in Tampa. I’m obsessed with Florida and would be thrilled if time allowed for me to dip over to Miami to see my cousin Eric, do some diving, or maybe even take that road trip down to Key West I’ve been dreaming of… but allegedly there are only thirty days in this particular month, so we will have to see how flexible the time space continuum ends up being.

Florida(source 12, and 3)

In June, I’m going back to Bonnaroo. Even better? I’m bringing my mom and her boyfriend Miller! The two of them hit it off big time with blogger bestie Kristin this past summer, and we all vowed this would be our year for fulfilling Miller’s dream of making it to ‘Roo. A festival as a family affair? I can’t wait to try it.

In July, I’m going to Maine! This is actually the only new state and/or country I currently have on the docket for the year, which is kind of crazy pants. Another one of my dearest friends from high school is getting hitched in Harpswell, and I’m pining to turn it into an excuse for a full-blown road trip. At an absolute minimum I want to spend a few days in Portland and check out Kennebunkport — and if the calendar shakes out enough days for me, I’ll venture north to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, too!

Maine(source 1, 2, and 3)

In August, I’ll head to Chicago for my cousin Kirsten’s wedding (congratulations to the beautiful bride-to-be!).

Aside from those anchors, the summer is still fuzzy. Here are some maybes: I might be sticking around post-Bonnaroo for a bachelorette party in Nashville. I will most likely be in Martha’s Vineyard the first week of July for family time — and I’m also considering popping over to Nantucket for the Nantucket Yoga Festival! I may have another family wedding in Illinois before the year is out.

And then there’s Nevada. I may return to the playa — Burning Man is still very much on my radar. I may put into action the Nevada road trip I’ve had percolating for the last year or two (I need to see Britney’s revamped show, visit the Seven Magic Mountains art installation and camp in Valley of Fire National Park, stat) so if those came together it would be pretty perfect.

Nevada(source 12, and 3)

Also, some big changes are heading my way and while I’m not ready to discuss them publicly just yet, I might be popping down to Central America for a bit over the summer to let them percolate in private first. More details coming your way soon.

September-December // And beyond…

Nine months down the line is simply too far to predict with too much accuracy where I’ll be. This time last year, I could have never guessed I’d spend these months in the United Kingdom, Hawaii and Jamaica (content coming soon!)

In the last month, as I started to feel the pressure of writing this post and having basically nothing on the horizon — a lot of the above has come together in the last thirty days! — I started to think more about really prioritizing my dream trips rather than just waiting and seeing what the universe throws at me or what’s convenient, as I have fallen into a habit of doing. In fact, I recently started working on actually putting pen to paper and writing a comprehensive travel bucket list, which I may turn into a blog post soon.

So in that spirit, here is a sampling of some of my dream trips that feel feasible for 2017, which I may work on slotting in somewhere from June onward, en route back to my winter basecamp of Thailand.

• Uruguay: I just really want to go here. I don’t know why. I feel like Uruguay is usually an afterthought tacked on to trips to Argentina or Brazil but I’m completely captivated by this little country. Maybe it’s my obsession with tiny nations, maybe it’s my love for their famously humble ex-president, maybe I just like beaches and wine and yoga. Bonus! This would be a new country for me. However, Uruguay’s beach cities and towns have a fairly tiny window of action in December-March, and since I’m in Asia through May this would have to be a December trip.

Uruguay(source 12, and 3)

• Burma, Borneo and/or Brunei: It’s now been eight years since I first began traveling to Southeast Asia, and I regularly marvel that there is still so much I have yet to see. Including both the countries of Burma and Brunei (I still have Timor Leste still to visit as well, but I’m shelving that one for the moment) and the Malaysian state of Borneo. Eventually visiting every country in this region is important to me, and so I hope that either a trip to Burma or a joint trip to Borneo and Brunei is in order for late 2017.

• Jamaica:  I’ve had a Jamaica road trip on the noggin for a while now. My surprise trip here at the end of 2016 (more on that coming soon!) only made taking a big one feel more urgent. I want to rent a car, hit the open road, and explore the raw, soulful side of this island nation in a way that few get the opportunity to do. Unlike Uruguay, Jamaica is a place I’d be thrilled to travel in the low season, and so summer or fall might be the perfect fit.

Jamaica(source 12, and 3)

• Mexico: There’s a glaring un-scratched swath on my scratch-off travel map, and it’s Mexico. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to wait and really do justice to, but I’m starting to think I just need to start somewhere and dive in there and get hooked so I can keep coming back over and over again. It’s hardly unchartered territory, but The Yucatan Peninsula is calling me pretty loudly. Whale sharks of Holbox… here I come! And yup, this would be another new country to add to the list.

3-devide-lines

I have a lot of other dream trips rambling around in my mind — CONTINENT OF AFRICA HI I WANT TO BE IN YOU — but these are the ones that I feel I could realistically tackle right now given my current energy levels and priorities and desires, though clearly, a lot can happen in a year. I think I kind of need a lower-key year in order to get my house in order — lol JK I don’t have a house but it’s a thing people say right? — and get really whipped up into a travel frenzy again for some wild adventures in the future.

When I first began this post I fretted that you all might think it a bit boring. Now that I’ve put it together, I couldn’t be more excited about the year ahead! Festivals, weddings, and so many favorite old places to fall even further in love with.

Love 2017

Okay so now that I’ve dished… what are your travel plans for 2017? Which of these trips are you most excited to virtually come along on?

Looking forward to talking all things travel in the comments!

35 of the world’s best places to travel in 2017

       

With so much negativity in the media, the world is often portrayed as risky, dangerous. And yet as travelers we learn the same lesson over and over: Preconceived notions of places and cultures are almost always wrong.

The world is, in fact, safer, more hospitable, more open and accepting than non-travelers could ever imagine. If only people everywhere could realize that on the opposite side of the globe are people not so different, so foreign, as they might believe.

Let’s make 2017 the year of traveling fearlessly. These places are just starting points. The next step is taking action. We hope to see you on the road.

       

1. Jordan

 

1. Jordan

Completely safe oasis isolated from the instability of the region

Jordan is a place of supernatural beauty. Imagine Yosemite as a desert with super luxury tented camps. That’s a bit how Wadi Rum feels. And Petra is so ancient you could use the Bible as your guidebook rather than a Lonely Planet. Beyond these obvious destinations, there’s also Al Salt, Jarash, and Amman. Travel here with an open mind, and get ready for and a hospitality that will blow away any expectations. Photo by Scott Sporleder.

       

2. Los Angeles

 

2. Los Angeles

Epicenter of Southern California with quick access to nature

LA has it all. The food options, historic sites, and outdoor access are enough to make you forget the 45-minute drives it takes to reach them. Your best bet (as always) is to hook up with locals (try travelstoke if you don’t know anyone there), and plan your travels around different neighborhoods. Photo by Scott Sporleder.

       

3. Yucatán Peninsula

 

3. Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

No-worries area of Mexico with luxury haciendas in the middle of the jungle

Beyond Chichen Itzá are other lesser known Mayan ruins worth exploring throughout the region, along with the cenotes, as well as world-class diving (the world’s second largest coral reef after the Great Barrier Reef, is on the Carribean side of Mexico) and beaches. Of special note is Rosas y Chocolate, one of the top urban hotels in all of Mexico, pictured above.

       

4. Sisimiut, Greenland

 

4. Sisimiut, Greenland

Above the Arctic Circle, and almost like dropping off the map

Sisimiut is the second-largest town in Greenland. 5,500 people live on a tiny, rocky promontory just north of the Arctic Circle. If you are lucky enough to travel to Greenland, your goal should be connecting with locals and getting invited to a kaffemik. These are celebrations such as birthdays or weddings, and guests may can come anytime you want and leave whenever they feel like it. Photo by Greenland Travel.

       

5. Península Valdés, Argentina

 

5. Península Valdés, Argentina

The overlooked part of Patagonia, with stunning marine wildlife

The stark, windswept, and seldom-visited Atlantic coast of Patagonia has intense concentrations of wildlife with its epicenter at Peninsula Valdes. Each year between June and December is the Southern Right Whale migration. Throughout the year are other wildlife viewing possibilities, including Magellanic penguins, and elephant seals. Awesome family adventure. Image: Matiasso

       

6. Hamburg

 

6. Hamburg, Germany

Harbor city unlike anywhere else in Germany

Hamburg is more fish than sausage and more tea than beer. It’s home to one of Germany’s oldest red-light district, the Reeperbahn, where many musicians, like the Beatles, got their start. Explore the Speicherstadt, attend the Hamburger Dom, or check out a Sankt Pauli soccer game; Hamburg’s notoriously rowdy soccer team. Image: Nick Sheerbart

       

7. Faroe Islands

 

7. Faroe Islands

Otherworldly North Atlantic escape

Off in the North Atlantic somewhere between Iceland and Norway, this group of 18 islands is like a dream world: dramatic sea stacks, well-trodden hiking trails, and cosmopolitan small cities with great food scenes. The country has incredible infrastructure with most islands connected by bridge or undersea tunnel. For those islands not connected by road, there are fast ferries and subsidized helicopter transport. Photo by Stefan Klopp.

       

8. Auckland

 

8. Auckland, New Zealand

Ultimate urban backpacker hub for exploring wilderness and beaches

Auckland is one of the largest cities by land area in the world, with plenty of natural reserves, surf spots, and Maori cultural experiences throughout and surrounding the city. There’s also a great cafe culture. It’s a perfect base for exploring both coasts of NZ’s North Island. Photo by Rulo Luna.

       

9. Dominical, Costa Rica

 

9. Dominical, Costa Rica

Surf, yoga, and natural foods paradise within easy reach

Out of all the places in Costa Rica that should’ve gotten overrun with mass tourism, Dominical has been spared. It remains a small, uncrowded town with a super cool expat scene and awesome restaurants. There are exceptional AirBnb properties overlooking nearby Domincalito (as well as in town). For surfing, Dominical is almost never flat. Photo: Blaze Nowara.

       

10.Montreal

 

10. Montreal, Canada

Multicultural city with world-class paddling options and nightlife

2017 marks Montreal’s 375th anniversary, and the city plans to celebrate all year. Join in for a big party and some birthday cake on May 17, the official date that the city was founded on. Culturally diverse Montreal will also welcome you with free festivals, concerts, cultural activities, exhibitions, foodie events, tastings, tours, and theatrical performances. Photo: Michael Vesia.

       

11. Portmagee, Ireland

 

11. Portmagee, Ireland

Coastal Irish village with access to ancient sites

Portmagee is both a rad little village on its own, and the departure point for Skellig Michael. Take a ferry there, hang with puffins and dolphins all day, enjoy seafood caught steps away at the family owned Moorings Guesthouse while listening to traditional Irish song and dance and lulled to sleep by the ocean. Photo by Tony Webster.

       

12. Belfast, Maine

 

12. Belfast, Maine

Scenic seaport on Penobscot Bay, loaded with architectural treasures and historic districts

Belfast is known for welcoming the back-to-the-land movement of the ’70s. It gets a lot of credit for the craft beers of Marshall Wharf, Delvino’s authentic Italian food, served in an old hardware store, and the many local farmers who’ve taken the torch from those revolutionary back-to-the-landers and are fueling the city’s sustainable food movement. Photo by Bruce C. Cooper.

       

13. Havana

 

13. Havana, Cuba

Rapidly transitioning nation grounded in Caribbean culture and vibrancy

 

Cuba has been among the hottest places to travel for our staff at Matador, with reports always containing two elements: 1. People have more fun there than anywhere else they’ve been in years, and 2. The wifi is the worst they’ve found anywhere (Correlation anyone?). On a recent filmmaking journey, it was noted: “Everyone here has rocking chairs. This is place where people know how to chill.”

       

14. New York City

 

14. New York City

An energy unrivaled anywhere in the world

With so many things to do and places to see, NYC can be quite disorienting for a first-time visitor, which you should just accept as part of the experience. The quintessential walking city, stroll the Highline, Brooklyn bridge, and Riverside Park. Photo by Jaden D.

       

15. Franklin, Tennessee

 

15. Franklin, Tennessee

Classic small town southern vibes and beautiful watershed

A short drive from Nashville, Franklin has a great small town vibe with their Main Street as the site of numerous festivals and the Harpeth River (and connected trails) flowing right through town. The upcoming September Pilgrimage Festival will be in its 3rd year, and with Justin Timberlake as producer, it is going to be awesome.

       

16. Durango

 

16. Durango, Colorado

Outdoor adventure hub in a region dotted with storybook towns

Durango is one of the raddest towns in the US with the powerful, free-flowing Animas River running deep through the San Juan Mountains and right through the city. World class ski resort + backcountry adventures via kayaks, skis/snowboard, and great events from Snowdown in January to the La Plata County Fair in August. Photo by Avery Woodard.

       

17. Abu Dhabi

 

17. Abu Dhabi, UAE

One of the best places in the world to experience Islamic culture

Abu Dhabi is a desert emirate, dotted with oasis towns, date farms, historic forts, natural reserves, mangroves, and dunes that have lured explorers throughout history. As one of the largest mosques on the planet, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque receives pilgrims from all over the world during Eid celebrations. Outside of prayer times, it’s also open to non-Muslims and has free guided tours.

       

18. Seattle

 

18. Seattle

All in one foodie, art, music, and outdoor adventure destination

Seattle has been blowing up for the last two decades and continues to be one of the most interesting cultural centers in the US. But beyond the city itself, Seattle is special for its geography. Simply jump on a ferry for a day trip to the San Juan Islands or over to the Olympic Peninsula and you’re deep in coastal rainforests and mountain ranges–another world. Photo by Vincent Lock.

       

19. Sicily

 

19. Sicily, Italy

The Mediterranean’s largest island, rich in archeological sites and culture

Sicily has retained a strong sense of identity, and nowhere is it more enmeshed with the rich history than in the ancient walled neighborhood of Ortigia, in Siracusa. The high stone buildings and cobblestone streets give the sense of stepping back in time. Make sure to also hit up Mt. Etna (Europe’s tallest active volcano), Cefalù, and Taormina. Actually, just go everywhere. Photo by Scott Sporleder.

       

20. Varanasi

 

20. Varanasi, India

The cultural center of North India

According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi was founded by Lord Shiva. The city is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism. It is also a city surrounded by death. The biggest tourist attraction here is to witness the cremations that take place along the banks of the Ganges. Varanasi is Photo: Arushi Saini Photography.

       

21. St. Petersburg

 

21. St. Petersburg, Russia

Russia’s cultural capital

The historic districts of St. Petersburg comprise a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Hermitage is among the top museums in the world. Bar hop along the trendy Ruben Street and wander the massive Nevsky Prospekt main drag. Lastly, as Russia prepares to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, St. Petersburg will serve as the backdrop for the 2017 Confederations Cup Final. Photo by Victor Bergmann.

       

22. Quebec City

 

22. Quebec City, Canada

While Canada is 150 years old in 2017, Quebec City dates back to 1608 and is like nowhere else in North America. The fortifications and French colonial stone buildings of the Old Town make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time. Photo by Julien Samson.

       

23. Charleston

 

23. Charleston, South Carolina

One of the most fun party weekends in the US

Take your time here in the Lowcountry. Have a meal at Hominy Grill, a sailboat ride up around Fort Sumter, spend an evening being touristy on King Street, and definitely take the short ride to Folly Beach. Sipping beers and eating seafood at Red’s Ice House overlooking the fishing boats on Shem Creek isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon either. Photo by North Charleston.

       

24. Montreux

 

24. Montreux, Switzerland

The French Swiss city, surrounded by vineyards and towering alps

Belle Époque buildings overlook a long promenade along Lake Geneva, making Montreux one of the most picturesque places in the world. Every July is the Montreux Jazz Festival, which celebrated its 50th year in 2016. Photo by Karim Kanoun Photography.

       

25. Óbidos, Portugal

 

25. Óbidos, Portugal

Portugal’s scenic literary powerhouse near world class-surf

Once you’ve walked the 13th century streets, filled your bag with books and your stomach with bacalhau and vinho verde, you can drive 45 minutes to Lisbon or explore the area around Óbidos. Peniche, a surf paradise, is 25km away, and there’s a natural park (Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiro) also nearby. Photo by lagrossemadame.

       

26. Pokhara, Nepal

 

26. Pokhara, Nepal

Nepal’s relaxing, fresh, and super close-to-nature second city

Nepal’s second city doesn’t rival the capital Kathmandu in many respects but it’s the hands-down winner for a relaxed vibe and adventure access. The hilltop viewpoint of Sarangkot is one of the best places in the world for paragliding; there are kilometers of trails just around Fewa Lake, and if you’re out of energy, Pokhara is an ideal place to chill out. Photo: Aalok dhakal.

       

27. Cabo San Lucas

 

27. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Works all ways: place to get waves, have family fun, or as a romantic getaway

Most people associate Cabo with spring break, tequila, and loud music. The scene has changed over the last few years, with the main attractions being nature wildlife, and classy upscale resorts. Photo: Ben Horton.

       

28. Nelson, Canada

 

28. Nelson, Canada

The friendliest little ski town in British Columbia

Nelson’s history includes the settlement of the pacifist Doukhobors from Russia as well as Vietnam draft dodgers, which played no small part in its progressive values and “hippie vibes.” Nelson has a thriving music, arts, and cultural scene, and a surprising amount of cafes, bars, restaurants and locally-owned shops for a city of only 10,000 people. Photo: Carlo Alcos.

       

29. Altér do Chão, Brazil

 

29. Altér do Chão, Brazil

The “Brazilian Caribbean” hidden in the Amazon jungle

This is the perfect place to explore the Amazon rainforest. You can go on day trips to see sloths, river dolphins, and other animals, and you can taste exotic fruits and food only found here there. If you go during the rainy season, Altér do Chão is super quiet, with a hippie-ish vibe. Photo by lubasi.

       

30. George Town, Malaysia

 

30. George Town, Malaysia

A mind-blowing combination of Chinese, Indian, and Malay cultures

Spice, herb, and fresh produce stands between colonial architecture and street art offers a sensational experience with the chatter of diverse languages, like being a walk away from India and China. Photo by Ah Wei (Lung Wei).

       

31. Luang Prabang, Laos

 

31. Luang Prabang, Laos

A relaxed introduction for newcomers to Asia

Argentina: Where To Go, What To See - A Argentina Travel Guide (Argentina,Buenos Aires,Córdoba,Rosario,Mendoza,San Miguel de Tucumán,La Plata) (Volume 1)

Worldwide Travellers

Worldwide Travellers Present: Argentina - The Ultimate Travel Guide • Are you looking to visit a country you've never been to ? • Have you already booked your trip and you're now curious what to expect ? • Maybe a friend loved the trip and you want to have the same great experience now... Either Way, We Got You Covered ! In This Single Guide, You Will Find All The Information You'll Need What This Guide Covers: Major CitiesTraditionsSightsMust-Do ActivitiesHotelsRestaurantsand so much more !

Lonely Planet Argentina (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

#1 best-selling guide to Argentina*

Lonely Planet Argentina is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Experience the vivid nightlife of Buenos Aires, be deafened by the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls, watch the slide of icebergs in Patagonia; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Argentina and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Argentina Travel Guide:

Full-colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - daily life, music, literature, cinema, outdoor activities, environment, cuisine Free, convenient pull-out Buenos Aires map (included in print version), plus over 80 colour maps Covers Buenos Aires, Bariloche, the Lake District, Cordoba, the Central Sierras, Iguazu Falls, Mendoza, the Central Andes, The Pampas, Patagonia, Salta, Tierra del Fuego and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Argentina, our most comprehensive guide to Argentina, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

Looking for a guide focused on Buenos Aires? Check out Lonely Planet  Buenos Aires for a comprehensive look at all the city has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

*Source: Nielsen BookScan. Australia, UK and USA

Argentina - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Robert Hamwee

The second-largest country in South America, Argentina has been through great changes in recent years. Its journey from dictatorship to democracy has left many scars, but these are largely eclipsed by the pride and resilience of the Argentinian people, who have developed a style, a language, and a joie de vivre that are all their own. The political maelstroms the country has experienced have had a profound effect on its economy, its people, and its relationship with the rest of the world. Despite this, the generosity, warmth, and openness of the Argentinians continue to place Argentina at the top of any list of must-visit countries. Its unique geography provides a plethora of enticing and captivating destinations, from the mesmerizing wonders of the glaciers or the bucolic landscapes of the Andes valleys to the buzz and excitement of Buenos Aires, famous for its nightlife, gastronomy, and cultural life. This new, updated edition of Culture Smart! Argentina looks at the attitudes and values of the people today and how they have adapted to the challenges and events over the last decade. From their immense pride in an Argentinian pope, to their passion for football and their constant striving for political and economic stability, this book provides a key to understanding the richness and complexity of Argentinian culture. It focuses on their attitude to life, business, and family to help you adapt to their working style and practices, so that you know how to behave appropriately and what to expect in return. It touches upon how Argentinian identity has been shaped over time and the reasons behind many of the traditions, beliefs, and norms of these complicated but amazing people.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Argentina

DK

Explore Argentina's cathedrals, miles of pristine beaches, and exciting culture. Experience Buenos Aires and the Beagle Channel and hike Aconcagua.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Argentina.

   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city maps include street finder indexes for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations.

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Argentina truly shows you this country as no one else can.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

Argentina

Florian Von Der Fecht

Book by Von Der Fecht, Florian, Hosne, Roberto, Duggan, Carol

Argentina (National Geographic Adventure Map)

National Geographic Maps - Adventure

• Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Travel Map

National Geographic’s Adventure Map of Argentina is an invaluable tool for travelers seeking to explore the diverse landscapes, rich history, and stately architecture of South America’s second largest nation. This expertly crafted map provides global travelers with the perfect combination of detail and perspective, highlighting hundreds of points of interest including archaeological sites, camping areas, museums, beaches, protected areas, World Heritage sites, and more. Cities and towns are clearly indicated and easy to find in the user-friendly index. A road network complete with distances and designations for highways, major routes, roads, unpaved tracks, and more will help you find the route that’s right for you.

The north side of the print map details the most highly populated areas of the country including the provinces of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Santa Fe, as well as the impressive landscape of the Cordillera de los Andes bordering Chile on the northwest. Vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina's world-renowned wine producing province are included, as are ski areas in this popular tourist region. An inset map shows the small province of Misiones that juts into the neighboring countries of Brazil and Paraguay. The south side of the map details Argentina's extensive coastline from Mar Del Plata to Tierra Del Fuego highlighting beaches, preserves, and areas noted for fishing and surfing.

Every Adventure Map is printed on durable synthetic paper, making them waterproof, tear-resistant and tough — capable of withstanding the rigors of international travel.

Map Scale = 1:2,300,000Sheet Size = 25.5" x 37.75"Folded Size = 4.25" x 9.25"

Fodor's Argentina: with the Wine Country, Uruguay & Chilean Patagonia (Full-color Travel Guide)

Fodor's Travel Guides

Written by locals, Fodor's travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for 80 years. From the scenic Mendoza wineries in the foothills of the Andes, to the cultural riches of Buenos Aires, to the gorgeous glacial terrain of Patagonia, Argentina offers experiences for all types of travelers. Whether they plan to marvel at the spectacular waterfalls of Iguazu Falls or dance the tango in a swanky nightclub, Fodor's Argentina helps travelers take in the most memorable sights and experiences of this culturally and geographically rich country.This travel guide includes:· Dozens of full-color maps · Hundreds of hotel and restaurant recommendations, with Fodor's Choice designating our top picks· Multiple itineraries to explore the top attractions and what’s off the beaten path· In-depth breakout features on tango, Iguazu Falls, and wine· Side Trips into Uruguay with Montevideo, Colonia del Sacramento, Punta del Este· Coverage of Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, The Northwest, Mendoza and the Wine Regions, The Lake District, and PatagoniaPlanning to focus on Buenos Aires? Check out Fodor's travel guide to Buenos Aires.

Argentina: The Great Estancias

Cesar Aira

Argentina's magnificent estancias--country estates and working ranches--are guardians of the nation's cultural heritage, from its Spanish-colonial beginnings to the romantic legacy of the gaucho, to the contributions of early-twentieth-century naturalists and entrepreneurs who explored the rugged south. With their historical main residences, picturesque grounds, and beautiful collections of artwork and heirlooms, these estates preserve the genteel traditions cultivated by generations of landowning families. Adventurous settlers and Jesuits established the first estancias in the seventeenth century on vast, remote tracts of land ceded by the Spanish crown. Overcoming a harsh climate, solitude, and sporadic clashes with Indians, these missionaries and European immigrants began to raise cattle, sheep, and grain. By the turn of the century, many of their descendants headed important cattle-ranching and agricultural empires and were counted among an international elite of tastemakers, politicians, philanthropists, and art patrons.In this volume are twenty-two rarely glimpsed estancias, portrayed in rich color photographs with accompanying text that narrates the unique history of each estate and family. The distinctive main houses reflect a wide variety of architectural styles that include criollo (creole) mansions, English castles, Palladian villas, French châteaux, and Spanish palaces. The estates are surrounded by breathtaking terrain ranging form the snow-capped Andes bordering Chile to the golden plains of the pampa in the province of Buenos Aires, and south to the crystal waters of subantarctic Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.Nearly all these estancias are owned today by descendants of the founding families, and most are published here for the first time. Complementing the photographs are eighteenth and nineteenth-century drawings, portraits, and paintings of life on the estancias, as well as photographs of celebrated guests over the years, including Edward, Prince of Wales (later Duke of Windsor) and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The introduction discusses the early history of the estancias and their pivotal role in Argentine culture, and includes colorful excerpts from the journals of explorers and writers.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Distraction thefts commonly occur in popular tourist areas and in public areas such as bus and train stations, the subway system, airports, restaurants, hotel lobbies and Wi-Fi hotspots. Pickpockets and bag snatchers often work in pairs and employ a variety of ruses. A common scam involves spraying a substance on victims and then robbing them while pretending to help clean the stain, or distracting the victim by asking questions while another person perpetrates the theft.

Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes. Do not show signs of affluence and do not carry large amounts of money. Remain aware of your surroundings when using automated banking machines (ABMs) and avoid using them at night. Avoid walking alone after dark, especially in the downtown areas of major cities.

Though not common, armed robberies and home break-ins may occur. While most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if they are confronted. In this event, you should hand over your cash and valuables without resistance.

If you are planning to attend a soccer game, ensure that the stadium is located in a safe area and monitor news reports to determine if violence is expected to occur during or following the game.

In Buenos Aires, be cautious in all tourist areas, particularly in La Boca, San Telmo, Congreso and Retiro. In La Boca, remain on main tourist streets, and avoid the area after dark.

In Mendoza, crime has increased considerably, with some incidents involving violence. Be cautious and alert at all times, and avoid walking in unpopulated areas at night.

When travelling to Iguazú Falls, exercise caution when crossing the tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay where criminal activities are known to occur. Avoid crossing these borders in local taxis or buses after dark.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations, roadblocks and strikes may occur throughout the country at any time, which may result in transportation disruptions. Monitor local news reports for information on the area you are planning to visit. Avoid demonstrations and never attempt to cross blockades, even if they appear unattended.

Public transportation

Watch out for pickpockets when using public transportation, particularly the subway system. You should use a "remise" (private car with driver) for travel to and from Buenos Aires' Ezeiza International Airport. The best way to obtain a remise is to call for one or go to an established remise stand at the airport or hotel. Call radio-taxis instead of hailing taxis on the street, particularly in Buenos Aires. If hailing a taxi, ensure that it is marked "radio-taxi" and that the company's name and telephone number are clearly visible. Do not share taxis with strangers. Carry small bills to pay for taxi fares.

Road travel

Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers should exercise extreme caution in Argentina, as it has one of the highest traffic accident rates in the world. Many drivers ignore traffic lights and speed limits.

Be particularly vigilant when stopped at traffic lights. Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times.

Air travel

Domestic flights are frequently delayed or rescheduled as a result of work stoppages and technical problems at the airports.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Trekking:

If you intend to trek:

a) never trek alone;
b) always hire an experienced guide and ensure that the trekking company is reputable;
c) buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
d) ensure that you are in top physical condition;
e) advise a family member or friend of your itinerary;
f) know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
g) register with the Embassy of Canada in Argentina; and
h) obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out.

Prior to ascending Mount Aconcagua, contact the Subsecretaria de Turismo de San Martín at the following address: San Martín 1143, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina (country and area codes: 54-261/ tel.: 420-2800, 420-2458 or 420-2357/ fax: 420-2243). Stay on marked paths and respect the mandatory itinerary provided by the park.

Emergency services

Dial 101 to reach the 24-hour police help line, which offers service in English.

A multilingual service (tel.: 0800-999-5000, email: turista@policiafederal.gov.ar) provides assistance for tourists and allows them to report security incidents. The Comisaría del Turista is located on Corrientes 346, Buenos Aires.

In Mendoza, report security incidents to the Policía Turística at San Martín 1143, tel.: (0261) 413-2135, email: policiaturistica@mendoza.gov.ar.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination may be recommended depending on your itinerary.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness)West Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are good in Buenos Aires but limited elsewhere. Facilities will often expect immediate cash payment for services. Certain medications may not be available.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Money

The currency is the Argentine peso (ARS). The Government of Argentina has imposed restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency in Argentina. As a result, many businesses catering to tourists now accept U.S. dollars as a way to access foreign currency. Currency exchange restrictions are subject to daily changes. Monitor local news for update on these restrictions.
 
Foreign credit and debit cards are accepted in main cities. When using credit cards, ensure that your card remains in view. You may be required to produce photo identification, such as a driver’s licence or a photocopy of your passport, when paying with a credit card. Cash withdrawals from foreign bank accounts at ABMs are subject to low limits per withdrawal and per day. Substantial service charges may also apply when using non-Argentine bank cards. Check with your bank before leaving Canada.

Climate

Seismic and volcanic activity

The Andes region, particularly the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan, is located in an active seismic zone. Debris from erupting volcanoes may clog rivers and cause them to overflow, which could in turn cause flash floods and landslides. Ash clouds may also cause disruptions to domestic and international flights. Monitor local media for current information and follow the advice of local authorities.

Flooding

Many of the northern provinces of Argentina suffer from seasonal flooding, which can lead to disruptions in transportation and in the delivery of food and other necessities. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

Heavy rains may cause occasional flash floods in the province of Buenos Aires, including in the capital, resulting in major transportation disruptions and requiring evacuation from affected areas.