Contemplation in front of the Perito Moreno glacier

Argentina Travel Guide

Practical information

03:17:19
Language(s)
Spanish
Currency
Argentine Peso
Time zone
GMT -3

About the country

Argentina

Argentina is a country covering a whopping 2,780,400km² set within the continent of South America. This incredible landmass homes 46 million people and a monstrously biodiverse ecosystem. The sheer size of the country means that although it has a large population, Argentina has a relatively low density of people per square kilometre. It’s capital city, Buenos Aires, lies in the Pampas region on the north-eastern coast of the country and is a reflection of it’s wider surroundings with vibrant colours and music-filled streets.
Argentina has 35 national parks boasting the tallest mountain in the southern hemisphere, magnificent glaciers, jungles abundant with plants and wild marine habitats. It is a goldmine of natural phenomenon.  With 15 continental, 2 marine and one Antarctic zone represented in it's landmass, it's no wonder it has one of the most varied ecosystems in the world. 

Famed for it’s passionate music and dance, rich flavoured food and football team, Argentina has a powerful culture in which to immerse yourself.

It has a tumultuous past, from the first European settlers beginning to colonize in the early 1500s to gaining independence from Spain which was finally declared on 9 July 1816. Argentina's fiery culture continued to experience lots of civil unrest and on 2 April 1982, they attempted to overthrow the British ownership of the Falkland Islands. The unfavourable outcome of which resulted in large protests against their military government, resulting in it's downfall and the eventual democratisation of the country. 

Argentina is now much more stable, however, the result of years of civil fluctuation has caused it's currency to hold a very poor rate.


What it lacks in currency value though, it more than makes up for in richness of culture. Argentina's famous Tango and Flamenco dancing, reflecting it's Spanish heritage, entrances travellers worldwide with passionate routines and exotic outfits.

This is also reflected in the full bodied, sumptuous foods and wines that can be consumed, a traditional one of which, is Mate. The Mate culture in Argentina dates back to pre-colonisation, when indigenous Guarani people thought the yerba mate plant was a gift from the gods. Mate then became a traditional ritual of friendship and kinship with people drinking it to celebrate these attributes. It is now the traditional drink of the Argentinians with an estimated consumption of 100 litres per person per year!

Time Zone

The time zone in Argentina is GMT -3

Languages

Spanish

Spanish is the official language in Argentina. There are still a few peoples who speak their own Amerindian language, among the most important being Guarani and Quechua. Also not to be forgotten is Lunfardo, a slang that originated in the neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires in the 19th century, some of whose words have become part of the popular language. Lunfardo is also the language of tango.

Useful Phrases

  • Hola – Hello
  • Buenos días – Good morning
  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches – Good evening
  • Adiós – Goodbye
  • Hasta luego – See you later
  • Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow
  • Buenas noches – Good night
  • Qué tal? – How are you?
  • Estoy estupendo – I am great.
  • Estoy mal – I feel unwell.
  • Estoy un poco cansado – I am a little tired.
  • Estoy exhausto – I am exhausted.
  • Estoy enfermo – I am sick.
  • Cuál es su nombre? – What is your name?
  • Mi nombre es… – My name is…

Local currency & change

Argentine Peso

In Argentina the currency is the Argentine Peso (ARS)

 

For the latest exchange rates please visit www.xe.com

 

We do not recommend the use of traveller’s cheques as they are often impractical.  Bank cards are widely used for most things but it is best to use Visa as Mastercard is not commonly accepted.  Your guide will show you the best places to change currency at the best rate.  The official exchange rate offered by banks and ATMs is not good as these are controlled by the government and reflect the poor rate of the Argentinian peso. You will therefore find that it is best to take Euros or Dollars with you and exchange locally with "arbolitos" or use specific banks that offer 'Blue Dollar' exchange.

 

Arbolitos

 

These are local men and women shouting, "Cambio! Dolares! Euros!" or sometimes addressing you in a more personal manner, "Cambio, amigo? (Exchange, my friend?)". They will be situated every few hundred metres on the streets of the big cities of Mendoza or Buenos Aires. Although they may appear an insecure method of exchange, in fact these locals can offer some of the best rates around as they work in 'Blue Dollar'.

 

Blue Dollar

 

'Blue dollar' is the name given to the black market exchange for U.S. Dollars (USD) in Argentina, however it is widely used and can make a huge difference to how much you spend in Argentina. When a local trader asks, "cash or card?" they may as well be saying, "$1 or $2?" and here's why.

Over the past decade, the currency has experienced several peaks in inflation causing Argentinian pesos (ARS) to lose significant value sitting in the bank. When it does, the demand for US dollars increases because they are considered a stable currency.  This means that locals prefer to buy and save in foreign currency, so for travellers, paying cash-in-hand with USD gives a much better exchange rate than paying on card. Argentina's inflation grew nearly 95% in 2022,  meaning that the rate of the Argentinian peso dropped drastically and the amount of 'Blue Dollar' exchange grew in response to this. It is therefore worth having USD in cash to exchange for pesos from the "arbolitos". Or, if this feels a little too risky, and you would prefer not to enter the country with a wad of cash, Western Union allows foreigners to access the blue dollar. You can set up an account on your mobile phone, transfer money to your own name and collect it within minutes. These banks can also be found in all the major cities.

USD
ARS

Electricity

In Argentina and Chile mains electricity is 220v 50Hz. There are two plug types. 3 flat prongs or two round prongs (Standard European style). We recommend you purchase an adapter in Buenos Aires on arrival as they are very cheap and easy to find.

Andean Weather

Aconcagua

 

Due to the immense size of Aconcagua it has it's own micro-climate. Strong, warm winds come in from the Pacific and cause huge wind and snow storms which occur frequently throughout the entire year, not just in winter. Because of its micro climate, electric storms also occasionally frequent Aconcagua. These storms only occur during the summer months when there are particularly high humidity levels and are particularly dangerous for trekkers in the exposed areas of the upper mountain. 

There is also a very impressive climactic event that happens occasionally over the summit of Aconcagua. When extremely strong winds blow in from the Pacific, they push all the water vapour up the mountainsides so quickly that it doesn't have time to cool until it is sitting high above the summit. Here it condenses and forms and a mushroom cloud. If this occurs, you can guarantee there is dangerously strong winds and cold conditions high up and any summit pushes will be cancelled. 

 

The most common time to climb Aconcagua are in the summer months from December to February. Aside from the occasional storm these months tend to be dry and relatively warm in the lower regions of the mountain. Base camp will generally sit anywhere between 10º C to 20º C and shorts and t-shirts can often be worn up to this point. As we start to get closer to the summit the temperature will drop significantly and you are much more likely to be in temperatures of 0 to -20 degrees. Windchill is also a big factor the higher up the mountain you go with temperatures dropping by 10 degrees or more purely due to the wind.

 

For up to date weather forecasting for Aconcagua please follow either of these links:

 

 

Patagonia

 

The weather in Patagonia is notoriously changeable and it is not uncommon for trekkers to experience four seasons in one day. The region is also well known for its ferocious winds that can reach up to 120 miles an hour in the most extreme cases!

The most common time to visit Patagonia is during the summer months of December to February. At this time, you can expect daytime temperatures between 6 °C and 20 °C. Night time temperatures could go as low as 0°C. The wind can be quite strong during the summer and there is always the possibility of rain. However, when it is not raining the skies are generally clear providing great views. The landscape is green, in the height of its growing season and there is plenty of wildlife about.

 

In Spring time (September to November), it is cooler with average temperatures between 3°C and 17°C. Night times may still drop below zero and there is the possibility of strong winds and rain. The advantage of visiting in spring is that there are far fewer people on the trails and the refuges and campsites will be much quieter.

 

In Autumn (March to May), it is starting to get really cold and there is the possibility of snow. On the other hand, there is very few people around and it is a fantastic time to see wildlife such as pumas! In winter, temperatures will rarely go above 5°C and night times will be well below freezing. The landscape looks incredible under a layer of snow and ice but the conditions are extreme to say the least.

 

For up to date weather forecasts from the  Patagonia regions please follow these links:

 

Safety and Security

Your safety and well-being is always the number one priority at Kandoo Adventures.


We operate all our travel destinations in accordance with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice, which publishes travel advisory notices for British nationals. We also closely follow the advice of ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents) which provides support to UK tour operators.  


In addition to this, our extensive, directly-managed operations in each of our destinations, provide us with detailed knowledge and up-to-date information, which enables us to make informed decisions and operate our trips safely.

We always recommend that you regularly check the FCDO's travel advice, in order to keep up to date about the country you are planning to visit.

If you are not a UK resident, we would recommend that you visit your government's travel advisory website for further information:



Alternatively, you may wish to visit our Travel Updates page or seek further information from the World Health Organisation.

Lost or delayed luggage

We recommend that you wear your walking boots to travel and pack as many essential items as possible in your carry-on luggage for your trekking tour around Patagonia. If your luggage is delayed we can then do our best to kit you out to start the trek on time. In the event that your luggage is delayed or lost, our procedure is as follows: 

  • Establish what items are missing and a contingency plan for each critical item
  • If it reaches 6pm on the evening before starting the trek and your luggage has not arrived we recommend buying and/or hiring items immediately as a precaution
  • We will take you to a shop where you can buy toiletry items, e.g. toothbrush. You will be able to find everything you need in Buenos Aires. 
We will do everything we can to help if your luggage is lost or delayed. Be sure to check your insurance policy coverage for lost luggage cover.
Peaceful lanscape in El Chalten National Park

Geography of the Andes

Aconcagua

 

On the northern side of Aconcagua lies the Valle de las Vacas or “Cows Valley” and to the south the Valle de los Horcones Inferior. Aconcagua sits slap bang in the middle in the Principal Cordillera of the Andes, just inside Argentina's border with Chile. The volcanic landscape from which it is formed is clear in the making of Aconcagua; a high massif with a North and South peak that lie a kilometre apart from one another, separated by the Cresto del Guanaco, a long, exposed ridgeline. 

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the world outside of Asia, sitting at a whopping 6961m! (though the exact height of it has been the subject of debate for many years). It sits among giants with another thirteen of its surrounding peaks standing over 500m.

Landslides are common in this area as the contrast between high summer temperatures and fluctuations of freezing weather in the winter cause deep glacial ravines and crumbling rock formations. The variations in the landscapes here are wide ranging; with vast scree slopes, hanging ice glaciers, large rock faces and fractured snow falls.


Patagonia

Patagonia is a sparsely populated region at the southern most tip of the Andes Mountain range, it covers parts of Argentina and Chile. Well known for its mountains, fjords, lakes and glaciers, it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and Atlantic Ocean to the east. To the south, various bodies of water connect the two oceans, the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel are the most well known. 
The South Patagonia Ice Field is approximately 350km long and covers an area of 12,363 square kilometres. It supports dozens of glaciers which flow either west into the Pacific or east into the Atlantic. With Kandoo Adventures you can visit two of the most impressive of these glaciers, the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina and Grey Glacier over the border in Chile which flows into Lago Grey in Torres del Paine National Park. There are two volcanoes buried under the ice field, Lautaro and Viedma. Due to their inaccessibility, buried below the ice, they are among the least researched volcanoes in the world.
Patagonia is home to a wide range of amazing wildlife including Mountain Lions, also known as Cougars or Puma. Other species to look out for are the Patagonian Grey Fox, Guanaco, Patagonian Armadillo and the iconic Andean Condor. There are 60 different mammal species in the region and nearly 400 different bird species.

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