Essential Argentina Travel Tips

There are a few things you must know before heading to Argentina. As with any trip, the better prepared you are, the more you’ll get out of the experience! 

1- Visas and Passport


Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from the date of your return flight home. Depending on your citizenship, you may not need a visa if your stay as a tourist is 90 days or shorter. Make sure to check the requirements here, check with your local Argentine Consulate or Embassy.  The payment of a reciprocity fee for the Canadian, USA and Australian citizens has been suspended so you don’t need to pay any fee.


2- Money

Argentina national Notes come in denominations of two, five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pesos.


Argentina’s national currency is the Argentine peso. Although the US dollar and the Euro are generally accepted in stores and shops, foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and authorized agencies. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, VISA, Diners, and MasterCard.


We usually recommend arriving with at least a small amount of cash, and always having cash on hand when visiting rural areas.


How much cash do you need? There’s no correct answer to this — you will know your spending habits and tastes better than anyone, though be prepared to be tempted by all the fabulous shopping and dining opportunities! A lunch/dinner in a good restaurant with a good wine can be around USD 25-USD 50 in Buenos Aires and Patagonia. Expect the north of the country to be much cheaper than Buenos Aires.  


3- Vat refunds on accommodation

International visitors receive a direct and automatic reimbursement of the 21% value-added tax (VAT) charged on accommodation in Argentina. VAT on hotel stays and other accommodation will automatically be refunded for international visitors who pay with a foreign credit card or via bank transfer from a foreign bank. The elimination of VAT on accommodation charges, combined with a favorable exchange rate, make visiting Argentina more affordable.


4- Tax-free shopping

Foreign tourists are eligible to reclaim tax (VAT) on purchases of domestically-manufactured goods with a value over ARS $70 when made at participating outlets. The Global Blue website has useful information on the tax reclaim process here. AFIP, the Argentine tax authority, also has information in Spanish here.


5- Traveling Around Argentina

Due to the large size of the country, flying is the most convenient way of traveling long distances all over the country. Flying can be combined with land transportation. There are a number of airlines offering domestic flights, including Aerolíneas Argentinas, Austral, Andes Líneas Aéreas, LADE and LATAM Argentina. Domestic flights and flights to Uruguay depart from Jorge Newbery Airport, located to the north of the City of Buenos Aires As far as traveling by land goes, dozens of buses leave daily from Retiro Bus Station, located in downtown Buenos Aires, to most of the country’s main cities. Long-distance buses are equipped with onboard toilets, air conditioning, and a bar.


6- Prepaid telephone cards and sim cards

Prepaid telephone cards are available from many tobacconists and newsagents (‘kioscos’), or call-shops/cyber cafes (‘locutorios’). Locutorios can be found all over the city, and offer telephone booths and internet access. Local sim cards/chips for your mobile phone can be bought from mobile phone stores and from many kiosks. The leading telephone networks in Buenos Aires are Personal, Movistar and Claro.


7 – Internet 

Hotels, cafes and restaurants have free wifi in Argentina. In Buenos Aires you can download an app and have access to free wi-fi un many points of the city.

Buenos Aires has over 250 free wifi hotspots in the city, including on the subway and Metrobus transport networks. The BA WiFi app allows users to locate hotspots from their smartphones. You can download the BA WiFi application here. Many bars, cafes and restaurants have free wifi for clients. In the rest of the country, internet is often available in hotels, but not always available during your excursions.


8 – Opening hours

The time zone in Argentina is UTC/GMT-3 and there are no time changes during the year. Activity in Argentina starts early in the morning and continues until very late at night.


Shops: Most shops open 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and at least 9am – 1pm on Saturdays, but many stores on the main avenues and in the main commercial areas also open all Saturday afternoon. Shopping malls usually open until 10pm, including on Sundays and public holidays.


Banks open 10am – 3pm, Monday – Friday. Some branches in the central downtown area may open until 4pm. Cash withdrawals can be made from ATMs/cash machines 24 hours a day.


Times: Locals fit their meals around work and other commitments and times may vary, but in general breakfast is between 7am and 10pm, lunch between 12.30pm and 3pm and dinner between 8pm and 11pm. 


9 – Electricity

Electric current in Argentina is AC 220-380 volts. Electric plug configurations used have 2 or 3 flat pins with the top two pins diagonally angled.


10 – Health and security

Argentina is a safe, modern country with high police presence and good quality health provision. No vaccinations are required for entry into Argentina. Tap water is drinkable. Although Public hospitals are open 24 hours a day and attend patients free of charge, we always recommend getting a travel medical insurance for your trip.


In Buenos Aires, like in many large metropolis, visitors should always take precautions, particularly in tourist hot spots and crowded places.

Recommended list of equipment to help with your Trek Planning in Argentina Trek Ideas

  • Your Original Passport will be required for your trip, take a photocopy with you when you are out and about.
  • Insurance We strongly recommend you take out travel insurance and/or adventure insurance
  • A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a range of changes in temperature & climate
  • Rain wear (Jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho.
  • Strong footwear and waterproof trekking boots are recommended with a strong sole and good ankle support. Extra socks are a must (woolly trekking socks).
  • Sandals or plastic slip-on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breathe in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
  • Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf, and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
  • Head Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Camera, films, and batteries (batteries consume energy more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain, and cold
  • Sunblock
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – although no malaria risk has been reported
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. (Available on our treks but may you like your own supply also)
  • Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning. We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
  • Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, etc.
  • Small towel or sarong
  • Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs)
  • Cash – sufficient for your final meal in Aguas Calientes, tips, and souvenirs.
  • Walking poles.
  • Binoculars (if you have them)

Recommended Luggage Size for your trip

Every time you fly with us you can take a small bag or backpack (45-50L max size) in the cabin, regardless of the fare purchased. The maximum measurements of your personal item are 45 x 35 x 20 cm (height x length x width), including pockets, wheels, handles, etc. (17.8 x 13.8 x 7.9 in).


In addition, if you would like larger luggage we can upgrade the service to a Promo, Light, Plus, or Top fare, you can carry hand luggage that is stored in the upper compartment of the plane.


The maximum weight is 10 kg (22 lb) if you travel in the Economy cabin, and 16 kg (35 lb) if you travel in the Premium Economy or Premium Business cabin.


The maximum measurements of your additional item are 55 x 35 x 25 cm (height x length x width), including pockets, wheels, handle, etc. (22 x 13.8 x 10 in)


There is an additional charge for this of $20-$30 USD, per person, per flight (depending on the airline) 


During your trek, we advise you to store your excess luggage at your hotel in El Chalten or Mendoza – hotels, and hostels should provide you with luggage storage as a courtesy service as part of your stay with them. There is also a luggage storage service at the bus station.


• At your pre-trek briefing you will be briefed the evening before your departure. Depending on the logistics of the route, a porter will carry your sleeping bag if you require it and if you will be camping.


  • Most people carry their own day pack with up to 5kg of their things as part of their trek planning – a change of clothes and wet weather gear, etc. However, if you think that you will have a lot of luggage and you want a very light day pack (eg. just a camera, sunscreen, and water) then it’s advisable that you hire an extra porter.

Recommended Accommodation Options in Argentinian Patagonia.

El Chaltén

El Calafate


Mountaineering Gear
Crampons, Harness Set (Two Locking Carabiners, Rappel Device, Ascender (Jumar)), Mountaineering Axe, Climbing Helmet.
Sleeping bag
It can get quite cool at night at 5000 meters while being relatively warm in the lower valleys on approach to peaks and passes.  It’s a good idea to have a warm bag, be it synthetic or down. Down really is preferred in the long run, as very rarely is the risk of your bag getting soaked (down doesn’t work when wet) an issue.  Down also compresses smaller, and is lighter weight. -20 °c recommended.
Inflatable Sleeping Pad (optional extra)
Bringing an inflatable sleeping pad is a nice addition to our mattresses.  
Sleeping bag liner
A nice addition but not necessary.  Oil from your skin gets into the down of your bag over time, reducing its loft.  A liner prevents this and can add warmth to an older bag or one that is borderline not warm enough.
A pack in the 35–45-liter size for 6000–6500-meter mountaineering, leaning towards the larger size if you carry extra camera gear.  A well-fitting hip belt transfers the load from your shoulders to your hips, and this is appreciated for longer days. It shouldn’t cause any painful spots on your hip bones or shoulders.  
Double Boots
The best double boots aren’t cheap and are well worth the investment if you are a mountaineer or aspire to be.  If this is a one-off trip for you, you can hire them in Mendoza.
Trekking Shoes/ Lightweight trekking boots
You’ll need a pair of shoes/boots to wear around town, on the trail, and when you aren’t ascending up and down the mountain. Get a comfortable pair.  
You’ll need a pair of flip flops/sandals/thongs to change into around camp, and when you want to give your feet a break. Bring a pair. 
Good socks are as important as boots, and you’ll need three to four pairs. Bring one pair of heavier trekking socks and three pairs of lighter-weight trekking socks.
Down/synthetic jacket
You’ll appreciate the warmth of one at a higher altitude, and while on your climb.  Down or synthetic will suffice.
Rain jacket (Shell jacket)
A good rain jacket will be useful for windy days, the odd rain shower, or for an extra layer on chilly days (they do contain your body heat, so they are good over an insulating layer).  Do invest in a good one that has a waterproof rating.
Softshell pants/Rain pants
You’ll need a good pair of breathable windproof/weatherproof pants to put on for summit day, and for when it gets windy. 
Base layers
There are several weights in base layers, including silk-weight, lightweight, mid-weight, and expedition weight. For trekking, we like to have one lightweight bottom, two lightweight tops, one mid-weight top, and one expedition weight top.  It’s nice to have the lightweight top to change into when you get to camp, and the heavier top layers are great to thermo-regulate while on the trail.  
Fleece/down pants
Throwing these on (or fully changing into them) over your trekking pants in the mornings and evenings around camp makes things pleasant.  Fleece or down models work well.  This completes your layering system, with three tops (light-weight,mid-weight, expedition weight), and two bottoms (lightweight, fleece/ synthetic down pants).
Trekking shirt
We recommend a trekking shirt with a collar for the sun (it can be folded up), and that is of synthetic material.  Some trekkers wear a synthetic t-shirt, along with a buff or bandana (see below).
Trekking pants
An important part of your kit, you’ll wear these for most of your trip.  Invest in a good pair that is lightweight, breathable, and quick drying. Pants that have a built-in belt fit better under your pack hip belt and a climbing harness.
Bring 3 to 4 pairs, you’ll have the chance to do some clothes washing on the trip.
Warm hat/Beanie
Nice for the evenings and early mornings, and can be good for windy summits and passes.
Trekking poles
You either use trekking poles or you don’t.  If you don’t already have them and have trekked before, then you probably don’t need them.  Trekking poles can be good if you need extra support for your knees and/or ankles, but many choose to not use them. A trekking pole for summit day is useful to many.
Bring one pair with 100% UV protection and wraparound style (to protect your eyes from the sun’s reflection from snow).  Make sure they are dark enough to keep your eyes comfortable on the brightest day.  If you have an extra cheap pair, bring those as well in case you break or lose your first pair.
Gloves will be useful for windy/cold summits, especially if you tend to “run” cold.  Do bring a pair of liner gloves and windproof mid-weight gloves. Glove types and recommendations:
Liner gloves aren’t built to last, usually, you’ll get one trek or expedition out of them. 
A good pair with a leather palm is indispensable and what you will probably use the most in your three sets of gloves.
You need a pair of these.  A pair of ski gloves will work but best to get a pair that work well with your liner gloves. When it’s windy at 6000 meters it’s best to not expose bare hands to the elements.
Water Bottle / Hydration bladder
Most guides will recommend 3 liters of water a day, and we know that every “body” is unique, so we encourage you to bring what you need.  For water containers, we use Camelbaks, Nalgenes, and just plain old water bottles from the corner market.  The main point is that you drink each day, so do have a plan for how you will carry your water.  Many prefer to bring a water bottle and a thermos, in this way, they can have hot drinks or water throughout the day, or just fill their thermos with cool water for the hot days. It’s a good idea to bring mixed drink powder as well for your daily needs, as you will need extra bouts of salt and sugar in your hydration plan.  The more you drink, the better days you will have.  It’s better to drink a little every hour as opposed to drinking in the morning and evenings.  Your body absorbs fluid better with this practice.  The absolute best (and worst tasting) hydration powders are Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS).  Typically used for rehydrating after a bout of diarrhea, ORS is the ticket to maintaining the best hydration even on the longest trek and climb days. 
~Urination bottle
It’s a good idea to bring a wide-mouth bottle for the inconvenient need to answer the call of nature at night.  A plastic peanut or pickle jar works great and is far less expensive than a Nalgene.  Do bring one, you’ll appreciate it.
Headlamp/torch and an extra set of batteries
Bring a good headlamp for your trek.  It should be bright enough to use on the trail if we have a day that is longer than usual, an early start for a pass or climb, or for reading in your tent.  Our dining tents are lit with solar power, so they’re a good place to save battery life on your headlamp.  You’ll want to bring your headlamp with you on the trail for a “just in case” situation.
It helps to have a towel along for drying your feet after washing them at the end of the day, for bathing next to the river on hot afternoon days at camp, and for washing your face in the morning to start the day.  We provide warm water for all these “activities”.
Bring sunblock lotion for your body, and a “face” type sunblock for your face and lips. It’s good to have a lip balm as well, Banana Boat and Coppertone make great ones.  You’re better off bringing this from home.  We prefer the “stick” varieties to the lotion types for your face.  They stay on longer and are more effective than lotions.  UV rays at high altitudes are two times as strong as those at sea level, the more sunblock you can bring the better.
Bring moisturizer for dry skin after several days in the mountains.  Even if you don’t normally use one, you will go on treks and climbs.  It’s dryer and harsher at high altitudes.
Sun hat
You want to have a good sun hat with you, preferably one that is light in color as it’s far cooler temperature-wise than a dark-colored one.  We use a sun hat with a bandana underneath to absorb sweat and to hang down and block the sun on your neck.
A bandana has one thousand different uses (if not more).  Bring one to cover your neck and ears in “sheik” style.  Also, it is great to get wet at river crossings and cool off your head. 
A buff is a neck gaiter that is made of very thin fabric.  We don’t go into the mountains anymore without one.  They protect your skin from sun and wind.  You can find them now in Leh, Manali, and Kathmandu.
First aid
We carry a full medicine / first aid kit.  Bring any personal medication that you need, and let your guide know so they can assist if there could be an emergency.
Water Purification
We purify our own water morning and evening for you.  If you think you’ll drink more water than you’d prefer to carry in a day, then bring water purification tablets to purify mid-day bottles filled in a stream.  You’ll be able to top off your water bottles at our water filter station in the mornings and evenings but will need to “fend for yourself” while we are on the trail if you need extra water.  Purification tablets are relatively inexpensive and lightweight to carry.
You’ll want to have a camera to document your trip. Bring enough memory cards and an extra battery for your camera.  You’ll be able to charge our camera several times during the trek on our solar unit.
An excellent addition to your mountaineering kit.  Keep the snow out, keep your legs warmer, and protect your pants (and lessen the chance of a crampon snag on your pants).
Bring snacks for in-between meals, and for longer climb days. You’ll appreciate having a snack even if you normally don’t snack between meals.  You will eat a lot more on the trip, put salt on food, and use more sugar in tea and coffee.  Your body burns a lot of fuel in the mountains, keeping warm, ascending and descending, carrying your pack.  If you normally don’t eat salt and sugar on your foods at home, we’ll encourage you to while on trek. You’ll acclimatize better when you are more hydrated. Do bring snack bars, and some drink powder for your water bottles and/or water bladder
What to be aware of when you’re planning to head into the Andes
Altitude sickness One discomfort often faced by travellers in Peru is altitude sickness, locally known as soroche. Typically occurring at elevations above 8,000 feet, altitude sickness is common at the country’s popular inland destinations including Machu Picchu, and can affect any traveler, regardless of physical fitness. Symptoms include headache, nausea, and lethargy, among others. It’s recommended to bring Diamox tablets with you in case you react strongly to changes in elevation—but know that if you do become ill, your guides, hotel staff, and other locals are extremely well-versed in knowing the signs and caring for travelers with altitude sickness. Taking extra time to acclimatize, getting lots of rest and water, and consuming coca tea and leaves should help. For treks or climbs above 4,000m we recommend you arrive at least 2 days prior to departure to acclimatise fully before any physical exertion. When planning to arrive in Cusco, it’s often a good idea to stay in the Sacred Valley which is 1,000m lower than Cusco and this helps greatly with the altitude acclimatisation if you’re not used to being at altitude. For other medical needs, we have our own on-call nurse who will be part of your high-altitude expeditions. It is highly recommended that you invest in travel insurance for emergency and evacuation coverage, especially if you are planning a more active adventure in remote areas.
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