We spent 74 days in Argentina, Chile & Uruguay and 54 in Argentina alone: since major points of interests are in nearby places in Chile or Uruguay, travelling in Argentina most certainly means crossing the borders into these countries. In Argentina, we visited most of the classical tourist destinations: Buenos Aires, Misiones, Iguazu, the Andean Northwest, Mendoza, Peninsula Valdez, the Lake District, Southern Patagonia with El Calafate & El Chalten, and Tierra del Fuego. Add to this Chiloe, the cruise between Puerto Montt and Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine & Punta Arenas in Chile and Colonia & Montevideo in Uruguay, and we can say we almost visited it all!
The highlights of this trip were definitely:
- The breathtaking glaciers in Patagonia: Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and trekking Perito Moreno
- Whale watching in Peninsula Valdez and the nearby penguin colony in Punta Tombo
- Iguazu Falls
- Trekking in Torres del Paine (of course, this is Chile, but it can also be accessed from nearby Argentina)
- Driving through the wild and colourful Quebradas in the Andean Northwest around Cafayate & Cachi
- Sampling outstanding wines in the region of Mendoza. Of course, sampling wines can be done anywhere in Argentina at a very attractive price!
- Partying at the Carnival in Gualeguaychu: tourists are only discovering this small town three hours north of Buenos Aires! Where else could you still jump the barrier and run out to hug the dancers?
- Watching one of the most beautiful sunsets in Colonia, Uruguay, one hour away from Buenos Aires by boat and then walking through the most romantic historic centre of this small colonial city before enjoying a great dinner.
When thinking back of Argentina, the following aspect will always stay in our mind:
- People in all of Argentina are some of the nicest we have ever met, always ready to help, very communicative, very warm and very friendly. This attitude finds its way in the various ways of greeting, especially saying good bye, it always includes “pase bien” or “suerte”.
- Argentina is a huge country and differences are immense between the different regions: the hot, tropical region around Misiones, the traditional Andean Northwest, flat & windswept Patagonia and the sophisticated capital city Buenos Aires.
- The specific Spanish spoken in Argentina … However, we grew very fond of it and tried our best.
- No business ever seems to have change to even the smallest bill.
- You can only withdraw a very limited amount of money from ATM with a Visa or a MasterCard but a “normal” amount with a Maestro / Cirrus Card. Check this before going to Argentina and eventually take cash!
Of course, few things we should have done differently:
- Carefully chose the season when visiting a region … The Andean Northwest should be avoided in the rainy season, since road conditions can deteriorate within minutes; Misiones is definitely too in the summer…
- Take care of distances: Argentina is huge! Flying is often a good alternative but is really expensive, whereas buses, some have seats that turn into real beds, are very comfortable but trips are very long!
Argentina is an amazing country with so much to do! It really helps to speak Spanish because then the contact to the lovely people of this country is even more rewarding. We spent a lot of time in this country and it was surely not too much. We also were extremely lucky because prices are still not back to the level they had before the crisis in 2001 and the devaluation. But they climb very fast. Argentina is definitely no longer a budget destination, and it will not become cheaper in the future. Especially the south is a lot more expensive then the north of the country.