Argentina Holiday Planning Guide
Home to the highest and lowest points in South America, diverse Argentina enthralls visitors with its contrasting landscapes and rich cultural heritage. A tour of Argentina reveals a sprawling land of fiercely proud and hardworking gauchos, the legendary cowboys of South America's pampas. A vacation in Argentina also leads you to giant urban centers, filled with modern tourist attractions that include fine restaurants, award-winning museums, and renowned public parks, gardens, and zoos. Away from big cities, Argentina sightseeing combines visits to mighty waterfalls situated inside World Heritage-listed national parks in the north of the country, with excursions to icy glaciers in the south.
Places to Visit in Argentina
Regions of ArgentinaPatagonia
: Patagonia's vast and sweeping landscape is home to steppes and deserts, towering mountain peaks, rivers, and icy glaciers, making it a dream come true for nature lovers looking for adventurous tours of Argentina. Central Argentina
: Sprawled across the flat and fertile pampas plains, Central Argentina contains some of the country's largest cities and reveals an enticing blend of historic sights, hearty food, and colorful heritage.Litoral
: The birthplace of the yerba mate, this area boasts rushing rivers, verdant rainforests, and diverse wildlife, offering plenty of things to do in Argentina for the curious traveler.Capital Federal District
: You can take advantage of the cosmopolitan atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and booming cultural scene in this part of the country, an ideal base for wider explorations during your Argentina holiday.Cuyo
: The land of wine and snow-capped mountains, Cuyo provides tourists with boundless hiking, skiing, wine-sampling, and sightseeing opportunities.
Cities in ArgentinaMendoza
: At the heart of the wine country, Mendoza's leafy boulevards, vivacious nightlife, and innovative culinary scene make it a prime destination for many holidays in Argentina. Buenos Aires
: A blend of South American and European heritage, Argentina's dynamic capital city will keep you occupied with its historic sights, trendy restaurants, and endless shopping opportunities by day, while its booming clubs and bars let you dance the night away.San Carlos de Bariloche
: Overlooked by the snow-capped Andes, the picturesque lakeside town of San Carlos de Bariloche enchants tourists with its postcard-like views and offers a plethora of recreational activities for every time of the year.Ushuaia
: The gateway to exploring stormy Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia boasts the title of the world's southernmost city, offering a comfortable base for nature-based activities.Rosario
: An attractive waterfront promenade and plenty of cultural sights make the cosmopolitan city of Rosario a pleasant stopover on any Argentina itinerary.
Popular Argentina Tourist AttractionsPuerto Madero
: Stylish and sophisticated, the waterfront district of Puerto Madero was transformed from a decaying, industrial port area into the home of high-rise glass buildings, casinos, fine dining joints, and fashionable boutiques.Recoleta Cemetery
: Wandering the leafy, labyrinthine paths of this cemetery in Buenos Aires lets you view thousands of grandiose mausoleums, detailed sculptures, and gravestones that adorn the final resting places of former presidents, notable artists, and other famous Argentines. Garganta del Diablo
: One of the largest waterfalls that make up the famous Iguazu Falls, "Devil's Throat" remains a popular destination on tours of Argentina, enchanting visitors with its lush natural setting and the sheer force of its plunging water.
Iguazu Falls: Perennially topping lists of the best places to visit in Argentina, Iguazu Falls and its hundreds of powerful cascades leave a lasting impression on every visitor, waterfall enthusiast or not.El Ateneo Grand Splendid
: Set in the lavish interior of a former theater building, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a popular bookstore renowned for its design incorporating balconies and bright red curtains--the selection of Spanish- and English-language books will keep you browsing for hours .Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires
: MALBA, as this attraction is commonly called, boasts an enviable, constantly growing collection of works by Latin American artists from the 20th and 21st centuries--it also often hosts temporary exhibits and cultural events.San Telmo
: The historic San Telmo neighborhood of Argentina's capital city remains known as a vibrant bohemian quarter, renowned for its colonial architecture, colorful street markets, and exuberant nightlife.Perito Moreno Glacier
: Easily accessible and one of the top tourist attractions in Argentina, this imposing ice formation mesmerizes visitors with its dramatic scenery.Palermo Soho
: This district draws tourists in with its charming cobblestone streets and trendy cafes and restaurants, as well as its booming fashion design and nightlife scenes.Bosques de Palermo
: A tranquil garden dotted with rose bushes, Paseo del Rosedal, part of a series of green spaces known as Palermo Woods, provides a picturesque place for a picnic or romantic walk.
Planning an Argentina Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Argentina with Kids
In a vast and diverse country with plenty of activities to offer, you'll easily fashion an Argentina itinerary for your family vacation. Whether you're touring the stunning glaciers and national parks of Patagonia
, horseback riding in Central Argentina
, or exploring the jungles and waterfalls of Litoral
, there's plenty of scenic destinations in Argentina to delight any child. Take advantage of the picturesque beaches in Mar del Plata
and its surroundings, or opt for a skiing vacation in San Carlos de Bariloche
. Buenos Aires
also boasts a plethora of kid-friendly Argentina attractions, from zoos and aquariums, to amusement parks and interesting museums.
Things to Do in Argentina with Kids
On a vacation in Argentina, you won't have trouble finding fun things to do and interesting, family-friendly attractions to visit. Head to Temaiken Biopark
to access a zoo, aquarium, museum, and a play area for toddlers--all designed to provide a glimpse into the country's diverse wildlife. Parque de la Costa
, one of the largest amusement parks on the continent, will provide your children with hours of entertainment with a big choice of rides, activities, and restaurants. For an active vacation with your young ones, consider visiting Iguazu Falls, boating on Nahuel Huapi Lake
, or exploring the dramatic landscapes of Los Glaciares National Park
Tips for a Family Vacation in Argentina
Argentines themselves often travel across the country with their families, so many hotels already offer child supervision facilities and designated play areas. To avoid disappointment, book your accommodations ahead of time and check if they provide a babysitting option. If you're considering a vacation in Argentina with the entire family, you may need access to more than one room in a hotel, so reserve in advance to maximize the chance of getting adjoining or connected rooms. An upside to taking a tour of Argentina with a larger family is that you can often form a private group for day trips and guided tours to various attractions. If you're having trouble planning your family holiday in Argentina, consult a travel agent who can help you get past any language barriers when communicating your needs to tour operators and hotel staff.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Argentina
Cuisine of Argentina
Argentina's national food is beef--whether barbecued, in the form of a delicious steak, or cooked in a stew, it has made its way into most signature dishes in the country. Central Argentina
boasts a varied cuisine, with plenty of Spanish and Italian influences due to an influx of European immigrants. The region of Cuyo
remains best known for its empanadas, while Patagonia
offers plenty of seafood options. On a trip to Argentina, don't forget to sample its staple dessert, dulce de leche, or the national drink, yerba mate, a caffeine-rich herbal infusion.
Shopping in Argentina
You'll encounter plenty of shopping opportunities on your trip to Argentina, as most destinations boast thriving marketplaces that sell handicrafts, local art, and traditional clothing. Head to Mendoza
for the best wines in the country, or browse the numerous chocolate shops of San Carlos de Bariloche
. Buenos Aires
offers a diverse retail scene--you can hunt for antiques at Feria De San Pedro Telmo
or vintage and designer clothing in Palermo Viejo
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Argentina
Interesting Facts About Argentina
Argentina's name comes from "argentum," Latin for silver
Argentina is home to the Andes, the world's second highest mountain range
Che Guevara was born in Argentina, as were football legends Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi
The tango, a popular dance, originated in Argentina
Things You Should NOT Do in Argentina
On a vacation in Argentina, you can avoid uncomfortable situations by steering clear of sensitive conversation topics like religion, politics, and the Falkland Islands. Argentines usually communicate in a direct and blunt manner, so don't be surprised if you get personal questions from strangers. Be prepared for the local sense of humor, which sometimes consists of light teasing and poking fun of another's appearance. Avoid making the "OK" and "thumbs-up" gestures with your hands, as this is sometimes considered obscene.
Holidays & Festivals in Argentina
Besides the standard Catholic holidays, Argentines celebrate their independence day on July 9 and commemorate the May Revolution on May 25. The country also observes a few other historic dates and public holidays. Depending on the time of the year of your Argentina trip, you might get a chance to experience the country's vibrant culture during one of these many festivals and celebrations. February is carnival time in Argentina and festivities are organized all over the country during this month. Visit Buenos Aires
for film, music, and art festivals, as well the gay pride celebration in November. Alternatively, head over to Cordoba
Useful Argentina Travel Tips
Common Greetings in Argentina
In Argentina, it's customary to greet acquaintances or people you've just met with a kiss on the cheek, or more precisely, to touch cheeks and make a kissing sound. Hugs and actual kisses are usually reserved for friends and family members, while handshakes are common in formal situations. If you're feeling unsure how to greet a local during your Argentina vacation, you can always follow the other person's lead.
Climate of Argentina
Due to the country's vast size, Argentina's climate varies wildly from region to region. Although most of the country can be categorized as temperate, mountainous areas generally experience cold, snowy winters, while the pampas and Buenos Aires
enjoy a milder variation of this weather. For your tour of Argentina, keep in mind that the northern parts of the country can be very hot and humid during the summer. Argentina's extreme south, a glacial region, exhibits a sub-polar climate with heavy rain.
Transportation in Argentina
The easiest way to get around during your Argentina trip is by taking advantage of the country's large-scale bus service, as the long-distance bus lines are affordable and provide transport to most Argentina tourist attractions. Additionally, several airlines offer domestic flights across the country, while railway transport, though limited, can be a convenient option for some destinations.
Tipping in Argentina
A 10 percent tip is regarded as standard when eating out in Argentina, especially in a fine-dining establishment. Tipping in a cafe or a bar is equally appreciated--use your discretion to decide how much, if anything, to leave behind. If you're staying in a hotel during your Argentina holiday, it's advisable to leave a small sum for the porter and the cleaning service. Taxi drivers generally don't tips, but tipping tour guides, spa masseuses, and ushers at a movie theater is customary.