Some might call Argentina the 'Paris of South America.' Others may refer to it as a cultural hybrid that brings together a variety of people and backgrounds. However you choose to look at it, it's no secret that Argentina is a destination worth exploring. Today on GoAbroad, we bring you a guest post from Connor Davies of Aspirations Abroad, where he shares seven insider tips for making the most of your time in Argentina!
Argentina is one of the most exciting countries to visit in South America, and it often finds its way onto the itineraries of backpackers, travelers, and English teachers heading to the region.
If you are planning your trip to the land of Evita, Borges, and Maradona, here are a few insider tips to help you get even more out of your stay.
1. Don’t Forget Your iPod
It is very expensive to buy electronic goods in Argentina, so remember to take your iPod, smartphone, laptop, etc, with you. It is also not a great idea to have anything sent over from home. There is a hefty importation tax on many items, and the government’s protectionist policy means that it is becoming increasingly difficult to import just about anything—even book imports were being limited a few months ago.
2. Spend a Few Days Seeing the Less-Visited Sights
There are a few classic attractions to see upon arrival in Argentina (Caminito Street, La Casa Rosada, Plaza de Mayo, Retiro Cemetery, San Telmo market), and you will find all of these in the guidebooks.
However, try to see a few of the things that are often missed out. A boat ride on Tigre delta, a walk around the nature reserve, a visit to the mataderos gaucho market on a Sunday afternoon, a stroll around Palermo woods—these are some of the things that many of the tourists never get around to doing.
At the moment, the exchange rate is roughly $1USD to $4.5 ARS. However, although each month this tends to go up slightly so you get more pesos for your dollars, this does not match the rocketing inflation rate.
What does this mean? For every month that passes, your dollars are worth slightly less. For anyone who earns in dollars, like myself, this is a real blow.
Be prepared for this when you travel to Argentina. Even advice which is a few months old is almost certainly out of date by now, so make sure you find out the current exchange rate and, if you are staying for longer, the exchange-rate outlook.
4. Try a Steak (or Two)
The steaks are more expensive than they were a few years ago, that’s for sure, but they are still good value and absolutely delicious.
My favorite restaurant is nothing secret: La Cabrera. There is a reason this restaurant is in all of the guidebooks. It is, quite simply, the best steak I’ve eaten in Buenos Aires (I highly recommend the bife de chorizo).
Alternatively, if you are invited to a family asado do not pass it up. Just make sure you do not eat anything during the day—it is not uncommon to consume a week’s worth of meat at such events.
5. Stop Off in South American Explorers
South American Explorers is an organization operating in a number of countries on the continent, and there is a clubhouse in Buenos Aires. It is a great way to meet other travelers and expats, and they regularly organize days out, pub quizzes, and volunteer events.
6. Rent an Apartment
If you are traveling in a group then I would recommend renting an apartment as this can work out a lot cheaper than a hotel, and they are also normally equipped with cable television, free Wi-Fi, and sometimes even a cleaner.
Apartment rentals are quite casual and you will normally just need to hand over a deposit. You can book them when you arrive or months in advance, and there are a number of companies that can arrange these for you. You can also find some independent landlords on Craigslist.
Even if you just take a few lessons in your first week, it is a good idea to learn a bit of Spanish when you arrive. There are lots of private language schools here, but you do not have to arrange lessons at one of these. Instead, try finding a teacher on Craigslist and organize a casual Spanish class in a nearby café. These can often work out cheaper and teachers often double up as very knowledgable tour guides.
Have a Great Time in Argentina
Argentina is a fascinating country that I am pleased to call home. Like many countries in South America, it has its problems (inflation, insecurity, corruption), but it is also an exciting country where the people are warm and welcoming. Hopefully these tips will help you to get even more out of your time here whether you are staying for a few days or a few months.
What other tips would add to this list?
Connor Davies lives in Argentina and loves the fact that he can work over the internet from anywhere in the world. To find out more about how you can make a living whilst based overseas, you’ll find all you need to know—and a free ebook to get you started—at Aspirations Abroad.