If you love European-style cities, Andean culture, outdoor adventures, arid deserts, and magnificent waterfalls, Argentina should be your next travel bucket list destination. It is a vast country within South America and has so much to offer with its several terrains.
However, it isn’t normally considered a budget destination, but there are many ways you can take advantage of so you can get the most of every penny you pay.
The best time to visit Argentina relies on the weather and the economy. It also depends on what you want to do and see.
The Best Time to Visit
Because it is located in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed – meaning summer is December to February, and winter falls from June to August.
Buenos and the north are year-round destinations, whereas it is best to visit Patagonia in the summer season (November or March)
The economy is another factor. Argentina’s economy is typically stable, but in 2019, it had an inflation rate of 53%. The peso currency fluctuated over the dollar rapidly. Before you plan your trip, it is a must to look at the exchange rate first.
Argentina is massive, and its highlights are throughout the country. Rail travel is limited to a few destinations in Buenos Aires’ border, so traveling by long-distance buses is your best budget bet.
Buses can take you anywhere. However, it’s good to be prepared for the distances. For example, Buenos Aires to Mendoza can take about 18 hours. Flying is also a great way to get around if you are limited on time.
Getting Around Buenos Aires
Surprisingly, Buenos Aires has an efficient and affordable public transportation system. It is seriously cheap that a subway ride only costs 20 cents.
Moreover, a SUBE card is needed to use public transportation. Using this will no longer pay for public transit with coins or notes. You can buy your card in any metro station or kiosk and charge it on the subway stations’ machines.
A subway system is the best way to get around central Buenos Aires, which has six lines and takes you to almost all the city’s most popular areas.
Uber is another option in Buenos Aires, although it is technically illegal. You can use the app the same way you would at home; just be cautious that drivers will ask you to sit in the front with them. Some drivers may have issues with taking you to the airport because of the potential risk of fines and threats.
Where to Stay
If you are a solo traveller, hostels are the cheapest place to stay in Argentina. There are also many cheap double rooms available in Buenos Aires. However, these are often with shared bathrooms.
If you want budget travel to Patagonia, camping is the best activity to do. Camping in Argentina is cheap and sometimes free. There are many campsites around the hiking spot regions of El Chalten and Bariloche. Here are some of the best budget places to stay:
Art Factory San Telmo: Located in the heart of San Telmo, this lively, hip hostel has very affordable private rooms and gives a hostel vibe without having to stay in a dorm.
Malevo Murana Hostel: This colourful hostel has a lovely patio and communal area located in cool Palermo. Dorms and privates are available. There are also provided large baskets where you can keep all your stuff in one place.
Hostel Tiera Gaucha: Located in the center of town, this wooden cottage with an alpine-Esque theme is the perfect place to stay when on a budget. The double rooms are affordable and have a classic video game machine you can use during rainy days.
Things to Do
Explore Buenos Aires’ Culture
Buenos Aires is jam-packed with European-style architecture, parks, museums, cafes, and restaurants. There is so much to do here, from visiting Casa Rosada – the government seat in BA – to visiting the Colon Theatre, Corrientes Avenue, and Obelisk.
A tango show is a must in Buenos Aires.
The dance originated here, and the best way to see is to go straight to the La Boca neighbourhood or a local tango hall. You should also visit other places are the Puerto Madeo, San Telmo Market, the Palermo Soho neighbourhood, El Ateneo Bookstore, and the Recoleta Cemetery.
Marvel at the Iguazu Falls
The tropical Iguazu Falls are one of the seven natural wonders of the World. They are 80 meters high and 700 meters long. It is difficult to imagine the size and the magic of this spectacular place until it’s visited.
While the country is great for close up views of the Iguazu falls, crossing the border into Brazil to see more sweeping panoramic views is highly recommended.
Desert Moonscapes in Salta
Argentina’s northwest is full of arid mountains, desert plains, and Andean culture. Here, you can discover Argentina’s salt flats, uncover the pillars of Andean culture, and sample delicious Torrontes wine at Cafayate vineyards
Sample the Wine in Mendoza
Argentina is known for its world-class wine and at the heart of it is Mendoza. Located on the West side of the country, it is blessed with cool mountain air and sunny days, making it the perfect place for grape growing.
Take Advantage of the Free Things
Free Museums in Buenos Aires
On some days, museums in Buenos Aires are free or have discounted entrance fees. If you are on a tight budget, take note of the days when planning a visit.
On Wednesdays, The MALBA/Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires offers half-price entry, and The Museo de Arte Moderno is free.
Guided tours of the Casa Rosada are free on weekends.
Explore the Neighborhoods
Buenos Aires is loaded with distinct and bustling neighbourhoods like San Telmo, Palermo, and La Boca, full of culture and local life. The best way to know them is to walk around and take it all in for free.
If you love the outdoors, hiking is a cheap and perfect activity for you; trails in areas like El Chalten and Bariloche are free.
Empanadas, steak, and pizzas are all must-tries in Argentina. The good news is that you don’t need to break your bank to do so. Here are some of the cheap eats in the country.
El Sanjuanino: For budget but hearty dishes, go straight here where you can try milanesas, empanadas, steak, and other local dishes. This restaurant is located in both Palermo and Recoleta in Buenos Aires.
La Mezzetta, Buenos Aires: This place is a must for some of the best and most authentic local pizza. They sell pizza by the slice, making it easy to order and try a bunch of flavors. Fugazzeta – a local style of onion dough, with cheese stuffed in the middle – is a must-try.
Belek: After a long day of trekking in Bariloche, heading straight to this brewpub for the perfect sundowner. They specialize in local, craft beer and burgers, which are definitely good.
El Vegetariano de Bibi: If you are in Mendoza and want to break from all meat and wine, this budget and the healthy vegetarian place is the way to go. This place offers buffet in a wide range of salads, stews, and local dishes made vegetarian.