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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going To Argentina

Who wouldn’t like to go to a melting pot of experiences and cultures called Argentina?

Argentina is not only about Buenos Aires, Malbec wine, and passionate tango. This Latin American country hides a lot of secrets.

If you want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly for Argentina, check out this list below. It will help you to plan your first trip better and have a great time:

buenos aires
Buenos Aires

Argentinian Spanish

As you might know, Spanish is an official language in Argentina. There is a chance you will not be able to understand the locals (even after years of learning Spanish at school).

The thing is that their language was mostly influenced by Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. You will hear completely different nouns and verbs, and a twist of Italian singsong intonation.

Also, Argentinians speak way faster than Spanish, which also lowers your chances to communicate with them effectively. 

Another interesting fact is that Argentinians (just like Italians) speak with their hands. So, if you want to have a chat with the locals in Spanish, at the very beginning, ask them to slow down. 

Never enough time

At first, you may think that two weeks of your vacation it’s enough to see the best places in Argentina. The truth is that there are hundreds of things to do in and outside of Buenos Aires. So, if you want to get a real taste of life, make sure to have at least a month. 

Once you explore the streets of Buenos Aires, go to Mar del Plata (the country’s top beach resort city), Cordoba, Puerto Madryn, Bariloche, Ushuaia, Mendoza, El Calafate, and Los Glaciares (this list goes on and on).

perito moreno argentina
Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate

If you like being active, consider climbing Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of Asia. According to experts at kandooadventures.com, the normal route doesn’t require technical climbing experience. It takes up to 18 days to climb Aconcagua.

Be aware of protests

Argentinians are famous for their temper and love for spontaneous protests. 

That’s why you should be ready – a protest can happen anytime since it’s a normal way of solving problems in Argentina. Be careful since these mass protests might get pretty violent. 


You might not feel comfortable traveling in Argentina in case you are a vegan or vegetarian. It’s a country where you can find beef at every step. Tourists have already noticed that the food section is quite limited.

argentinian steak
Argentinian Steak

There are some pluses, as well — for instance, the world-famous Malbec. Locals recommend drinking their wines really slowly to avoid getting wasted fast (unless it’s something you are planning to do).

Argentina time

Most probably, you will not be able to eat your dinner earlier than 10 pm. How and why? Well, most Argentinians start work at 10 am, so hitting the bar at midnight is perfectly normal for them. As you can understand, you will have to adapt and schedule your day a bit differently. 

Eating your breakfast at 1 pm – that’s what Argentina time is all about!

Watch out

A lot of travelers are unaware of the criminal situation in Argentina. Most restaurants and bars don’t accept credit cards, so tourists use ATMs (that give terrible rates) and carry cash all around the city.

You can easily get robbed on the street, that’s why you should have only the money you need while being outside. Also, leave eye-catching necklaces, earrings, and hefty watches at the hotel. 

You might also need to use your phone and laptop at home. Stealing the phone out of tourist’s hands is pretty popular in Buenos Aires and other big cities of Argentina. 

Another important rule: open the door only if you are expecting someone. Opening the door to strangers is considered madness in Argentina. As you can understand, locals don’t celebrate Halloween. 

If you travel alone, it’s better to take a taxi in the evening. You should keep the windows shut while in the cab. Otherwise, you might experience something called ‘moto-churros’ (when motorcyclists steal from the cars while driving).

Calculate costs

You may think that South America is cheap, but don’t think the same about Argentina. Reality will hit you hard eventually since costs rise in Argentina all the time (due to inflation). That’s why you should budget accordingly and avoid using ATMs.

To cut your costs, get a SUBE card for public transport (without it you are more likely to pay double the price) or rent a bike for approximately 700 ARS a day.

It is essential to mention that it’s cheaper to travel off-season. If you go to Argentina in September or November, you will be able to find cheaper accommodation. 

The bottom line

Argentina attracts thousands of tourists each year. Before going there, you should learn more about the costs, safety, and local traditions. It will help you avoid getting into trouble during your vacation. 

There is a chance you will not understand the Spanish language people speak in Argentina. So, consider asking ex-pats or locals (who speak your language) to show you around. 

There are a lot of great places to visit in Argentina, so make sure to spend at least one month there. Keep reading and pack your suitcase – your adventure is about to start!

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