How to Get There
FLIGHTS TO ARGENTINA
From Europe, all Major European cities have direct flights. From London, British Airways flys direct. From Ireland we recommend taking a Airfrance flight from Dublin to Paris and connection to Buenos Aires. From Amsterdam, KLM flys direct. From Madrid, Iberia flys direct.
From the USA, American Airlines flys daily to Buenos Aires. From Cananda, Air Canada.
Flying from Australia, both LAN and Aerolinos Argentinos fly to Buenos Aires.
Online booking sites such as Expedia.com or lastminute.com offer the best price for flights.
We separate the cost of internal flights as they are subject to change depending on date and availability. All internal Flights can be booked by us on your behalf. As specialists in the field, we have access to the most competitive fares at time of booking. Once a deposit is paid on an internal airfare, it guarantees that a booking is being held for you,it does not guarantee the fare. The fare can only be guaranteed when the flight has been paid in full and a ticket has been issued.
From the scorching subtropical summers of the Northern provinces, to the freezing, gale-force winter winds of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina has wildly varied climates.Argentina’s seasons are reversed from the northern hemispheres. Spring is from September to November, summer is December to February, autumn is March to May and winter from June to August. Mendoza, Córdoba and the Lake District are all spectacular in fall: the leaves put on an epic display, temperatures are comfortable and the crowds are thin. Summer is the best time to hit Patagonia, when the weather’s milder and more services are available. Northern Argentina can be very hot in summer and is best visited in spring or autumn or winter.
The legal currency in Argentina is the “Argentine Peso” . We recommend that you bring US$ cash with you into the country and that you change it on the “informal´´ (blue) market into Pesos where you will get a better rate than if you were to use a credit card or take money out of an ATM (which will give you pesos at the lower ofical rate). Note, you cannot get US$ from ATMs in Argentina.
Although in many places you can pay with American Dollars (and, more rarely, in Euros), you will find that the exchange rate might not be the most convenient for you, unless you ask for the “informal” exchange rate that local people use if they want to buy dollars (because of currency restrictions and controls imposed by the government). Purchasing something at a store and paying with dollars in excess of the purchase amount might be a reasonably safe way of getting change in pesos at a realistic exchange rate. As of April 2014, the “informal” rate is about 28% higher than the official exchange rate, close to 10.30 pesos per dollar. Try to get some pesos as soon as you get to Argentina. Buses do not accept foreign currency. Taxis and shops might accept U.S. dollars, and they should give you a realistic exchange rate, but that can involve some negotiating.
Due to problems with inflation and the fact that the locals find it very difficult to obtain $US dollars there is a flourishing black market for $US dollar bills. The $100 dollar bill is the most popular. In many places you will find shops and restaurants that will offer you a better exchange rate if you pay in US dollars.
In Buenos Aires take a stroll down Florida and you will hear the calls of “cambio, cambio” from numerous people offering to change money. The money is not exchanged on the street but in an office inside one of the buildings. The whole process is more open than people might realize and there is even a page on Twitter that gives the approximate rate for the day.
Buenos Aires is generally a safe city (the second safest in Latin America) but there are a few things that you should keep in mind. 30% of the population in Argentina lives below the poverty line. Since the economy collapsed in Argentina in 2001 street crime has increased. Like any Capital city, tourists can be a natural target if you do not use your common sense.
The best advice is to ensure that you do not wear any expensive jewelry at any time. Do not walk around with your passports or large amounts of cash or a huge camera hanging from your neck. Do not keep all of your ID, VISA cards, debit cards etc in one place. Your hotel will have a safe – take complete advantage of it. If you use your common sense as you would do at home, you will be fine.
Again, like any Capital city, there are certain neighbourhoods to avoid at night. We will advise you on arrival of these areas.
Spanish (or castellano as they call it here) is the first language. A sizeable portion of people speak english and if you meet them they are only too happy to impress you with it. Tourist areas will have english speaker and hotels menus and hotel information will be available in english. Ideally you should try and pick up the bascis of Spanish before you come here. That way you will have a richer cultural experience whilst you are here.
All European, New Zealand & South African passport holders can enter Argentina without a Visa for up to 90 days. You can extend your stay if pay US$100 to the National Migration office. If you hold a US, Canadian or Australian passport you do not require a VISA but you must pay a US$100 reciprocity fee to enter the country. This can be paid online or when you arrive at passport control.
All Airport taxes are included in the cost your airticket.
In accordance with its “live and let live´´culture Argentina ranges from being gay friendly to very gay friendly. Argentina was one of the first countries to permit same sex marriage. Homophobic behaviour is frowned upon and is a criminal offence that the police take very seriously.
As a society, Argentina possesses a nice balance of formal politeness and casual tolerance. Politeness goes along way here and is very much recommended when meeting Argentines for the first time. If you have a sense of humor, you can show it once the ice has been broken. Once you get to know them, you will realize Argentines like to have a laugh and do not take themselves too seriously.
When greeting Argentines or taking your leave, it is normal to kiss on the cheek everyone present, even among men, who may emphasis their masculinity by slapping each other on the back. Shaking hands is for more formal or business occasions.
In terms of appearance, Argentines invest a lot of time into looking their best, even the men. Showering here twice a day is a must and poor hygiene is frowned upon. During the day the weather will often dictate what you wear. Shorts are fine during the day. In the evening, Argentines like to dress up. For men the category “smart casual´´ (a contradiction in itself) is most common and the safest bet. For women, it is essential to be make a bit more of an effort to catch the eyes of the men.
We recommend that you take out travel insurance during your travels in Argentina. In terms of vaccinations, we recommend that you contact the Medical Advisory Service to Travelllers Abroad (www.MASTA.org) to ascertain if and what vaccinations and immunizations you will require. (This will be influenced by what part of Argentina and which neighbouring countries you may be visiting).
You have to watch out for sunburn in Argentina especially at high altitude. Make sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and headware.
We recommend that you drink only bottled water especially if you have a sensative stomach. Tap water is safe to brush your teeth in.
Although Argentina is less prone to wild festivals than other South American countries, there are several fiestas which – depending on your interests – might be worth planning your trip around. Aside from the festivals listed here, nearly every town in Argentina has its own fiesta.
Festival National del Folklore (late Jan)
Near the city of Cordoba, in the Central Sierras, the town of Cosquin hosts the National Festival of Folk Music during the last week of January. It’s the country’s largest and best known folklórico (folk music) festival.
Buenos Aires Tango (late Feb-early Mar)
During the last week of February and first week of March, Buenos Aires celebrates its native dance with masterful performances shown at different venues all over the city. For details, see www .festivaldetango.com.ar.
Carnaval (late Feb-early Mar)
Though the pre-Lenten festival is not as rockin’ in Argentina as it is in Brazil, the celebration is rowdy in the northeast, especially in the cities of Gualeguaychu and Corrientes. In the northwest (particularly the Quebrada de Humahuaca), there’s more emphasis on traditional music and dancing, making it a particularly good place to be. Dates vary around the end of February and beginning of March.
Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (late Feb-early Mar)
Mendoza’s National Wine Harvest Festival kicks off with parades, folkloric events and a royal coronation – all in honor of Mendoza’s intoxicating beverage. The festival takes place in Mendoza city, the de facto capital of Argentina’s wine country. For more information, see www .vendimia.mendoza.gov.ar in Spanish.
Día de Virgen de Luján (8 May)
Thousands of devout believers make a 65km pilgrimage to the pampas town of Luján in honor of the Virgin Mary; other large pilgrimages to Luján take place in early October and on December 8, but May’s is the largest.
Festival & Mundial de Tango
Buenos Aires’ best tango dancers perform at venues throughout the city during the Tango Festival in the second half of August. It’s a much more local event than the internationally attended Mundial de Tango (World Tango Festival) the following week.
Festival Nacional de la Cerveza (early Oct)
Join the swillers and oompah bands at the National Beer Festival, Villa General Belgrano’s Oktoberfest in the Central Sierras. For details, see http:// elsitiodelavilla.com/oktoberfest.
Eisteddfod (late Oct)
This lively Welsh festival, featuring plentiful grub and choral singing, takes place in the wee Patagonian towns of Trelew and Trevelin. It’s a great one for inducing those wait-am- I-really-in-South-America? moments.
Día de la Tradición (Nov 10)
The Day of Traditional Culture festival kicks off with a salute to the gaucho and is especially significant in San Antonio de Areco, the most classically gaucho of towns. It’s also important – and decidedly less touristy – in the mountain town of San José de Jáchal, in San Juan.
Marcha del Orgullo Gay (mid Nov)
Buenos Aires’ Gay Pride Parade (www.marchadelorgullo.org.ar) draws thousands of gay, lesbian, and transgendered citizens, as well as their supporters, who march (with the music up loud!) from Plaza de Mayo to the Congreso