Passports: anyone entering Argentina should have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry, and ideally past the date the passport holder leaves the country.
Visas: nationals of Canada, most Western European countries, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to visit Argentina. Upon arrival, most visitors get a 90-day stamp in their passport. Canadians must pay a ‘reciprocity fee’ before arriving. Ideally it will be reminded when buying the airplane ticket: this fee is equal to what Argentines are charged for visas to visit those countries. The fee is paid online and with a credit card.
Customs Regulations: electronic items (laptops, cameras and mobile phones) can be brought into the country duty free, provided they are not intended for resale. If you have a lot of equipment, it is recommended to take an item list with the serial numbers and preferably the purchase receipts.
Electricity: Argentina’s electric current operates on 220V; 50Hz; plugs are C/I type. Adapters are readily available from almost any ferretería (hardware store). Most electronic equipment (such as cameras, telephones and computers) are dual/multi-voltage, but some equipment may require a voltage converter or you might short out your device.
Internet Access: Wi-Fi is available at most hotels, cafes, restaurants and airports, and it’s generally good and free. In remote spots like El Chaltén and other parts of Patagonia Wi-Fi service may be usually poor.
Mobile Phones: it’s best to bring your own unlocked tri- or quad-band GSM cell phone to Argentina, then buy an inexpensive SIM chip (you’ll get a local number) and credits (or carga virtual) as needed. All SIM Cards now must be registered to users before they can be activated. In theory, a foreigner can activate a SIM card with identification. Both SIM chips and credits can be bought at many kiosks or “locutorios”.
Money: ATMs are widely available and credit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants. ATMs can also be used for cash advances on major credit cards (not all foreign cards work in ATMs). They’re the best way to get money, and nearly all have instructions in English. Limits on withdrawal can be very low, though the withdrawal fee can be relatively high. Banelco ATMs tend to allow larger withdrawals. In some spots in Patagonia (El Calafate and El Chaltén, e.g.) and most touristic destinations they quickly run out of cash in high season.
Cash: the Argentine unit of currency is the peso (AR$). Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pesos. One peso equals 100 “centavos”; coins come in denominations of 25 and 50 centavos, as well as 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesos. Currently, US dollars are accepted by many companies dedicated to tourism, but it is always recommended to carry some pesos.
Credit Cards: many (but not all!) tourist services, larger stores, hotels and restaurants – especially in the bigger cities – take credit cards. The most widely accepted are Visa and MasterCard, though American Express and a few others are valid in some establishments. Important: many places will give a small discount if you pay in cash rather than use a credit card.
Money Changers: US dollars are by far the preferred foreign currency, although Chilean and Uruguayan pesos can be readily exchanged at the borders. Cash dollars and Euros can be changed at banks and “casas de cambios” (exchange houses) in larger cities, but other currencies can be difficult to change outside Buenos Aires. Passport is needed to change money; we strongly suggest avoiding any sort of street-tout money changer.
Tipping: restaurants and cafes: it’s customary to tip about 10% of the bill. Spa: 15% of the bill. Hotel staff, delivery people, hotel and bus porters and taxi drivers: give a few bills.
Banks 10 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday.
Bars 7 pm / 9 pm to 4 am / 6 am nightly.
Cafes 6 am to midnight or much later; open daily.
Clubs 1 am / 2 am to 6 am / 8 am Friday and Saturday.
Office business hours 9 am to 6 pm.
Restaurants Noon to 3:30 pm and 8 pm to midnight or 1am (later on weekends).
Shops 9 am / 10 am to 8 pm / 9 pm Monday to Saturday.
Mention Argentina, and people think about solitary gauchos or maybe tango dancers. It is country blessed with abundant natural resources and a highly educated population. The country boasts a wide variety of cultural attractions, but for many travelers, its natural wonders are the primary draw. From the northern deserts down to the southern Andean Cordillera, from the Iguazú Falls to the magnificent desolation of Patagonia, Argentina's geography is varied and stunning. For cosmopolitan types, there's the elegant capital, Buenos Aires. This fabulous city is renowned for its sophistication, although travelers expecting a more 'South American' experience are sometimes disappointed with its European touch.
It's a large country - the eighth largest in the world, and the second largest on the South American continent. It borders Chile to the west (separated by the Andean Cordilleras range) and Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia to the north and east (separated by rivers). It also shares the offshore island territory of Tierra del Fuego with Chile, and continues claiming the possession of the Malvinas Islands (Falkland Islands) and the Antarctic territory, where Argentina has installed several scientific bases, including the most famous: Marambio.
Argentina's topography is affected by both latitude and altitude, and is accordingly varied. The country can be divided into four major physiographic provinces: the Andes to the west (with arid basins, grape-filled foothills, glacial mountains and the Lake District), the fertile lowland north (with subtropical rainforests), the central Pampas (a flat mixture of humid and dry expanses) and Patagonia (a combination of pastoral steppes and glacial regions).
Population: 46 million (2022 CENSUS)
Capital city: Buenos Aires
People: 85% European descent, 15% mestizo, native and other minorities
Language: American Spanish, plus 17 native languages
Religion: 93% Roman Catholic, 2.5% protestant, 2% Jewish, 1.5% Ukrainian catholic, 1% Armenian orthodox
Just at the entrance of Esquel, in a predominantly rural environment, Los Álamos farm is located, a traditional horseback excursions organizer through Valle Chico area and the foothills of the Nahuel Pan hill. Designed for the whole family, these horseback ridings vary duration, from simple and low-demand rides of around an hour to full day that require riders more time and willingness. On special occasions there are also night excursions under the light of the full moon. The herd is made up of horses that are characterized by their docility and that are used to traveling this type of geography, so it is not necessary to have previous experience, you just need to wear comfortable shoes and a good coat.
La Trochita or Old Patagonian Express is a historic tourist train -with small trail, from which comes its name and founded in 1945- that allows you to make a journey into the past. Starting from the Esquel railway station, we travel 18 km to the Nahuel Pan station, the place of residence of an important Mapuche Tehuelche community. There, while the train makes the maneuvers for the return, you can visit the Nahuel Pan Museum that preserves the heritage of the original peoples and the House of Crafts, where pieces of silver, wood and textiles are exhibited all made by the population rural area that make a direct sale on this site.
The first strategic point when travelling by the Los Alerces National Park is Villa Futalaufquen, located 50 km away from Esquel and bounded on the west by the majestic Andes Mountain Range. It occupies a total area of 263,000 hectares that place it fourth in size among the national parks of Argentina. Its proximity to the mountain range allows the development of a dense Andean Patagonian forest and in the area of higher rainfall a Valdivian forest grows where the Alerce or Lahuan stands out. This millennial tree is slow growing and its specimens can live between 3000 and 4000 years of age and measure more than 70 meters high. We also visit the Museum of Interpretation, Rock Paintings - 2.5 km from Villa Futalaufquen -, Hotel Futalaufquen and Puerto Limonao. We continue to the north to see the Irigoyen waterfall and then we skirt the Futalaufquen lake; we can see the Arrayanes River that starts in the Verde Lake, cross a bridge and walk approximately 1 hour between the Patagonian forest and the Valdivian jungle. Here we will have time to have lunch (not included) before going back to Esquel, passing through Trevelin.
Los Alerces National Park - created in 1937 - is one of the most important in the country for the incomparable beauty of its forests, offering different routes and services that allow visitors to experience it in different ways. Located 35 km from Trevelin and 50 km from Esquel, it has an area of 263,000 hectares. Its proximity to the mountain range allows the development of a dense Andean Patagonian forest, although a Valdivian jungle grows where the Alerce or "Lahuan" stands out: they grow very slowly and their specimens can live between 3,000 and 4,000 years of age and measure up to 60 meters high. Leleque Museum is located at the entrance Cholila town (means “beautiful valley”). 13 thousand years of Patagonian history are exhibited here: from the entrance of the original towns, the archaeological finds, their paintings and rock engravings. Those objects that passed from generation to generation represent the passage of time in a region with a strong cultural identity.
It is an ideal tour to navigate the waters that bathe the National Park, to contemplate the imposing mountainous cords that border them and to know the varied vegetation that adorns the landscape, among which the millennial Alerzal stands out. During the tour, you can enjoy some of the oldest trees on the planet, which have more than 2620 years and have surprising dimensions. Menéndez Lake is navigated until reaching Puerto Sagrario and starting the walk through an intangible zone where the great variety of vegetation is part of the attraction. Next to the Swan Lake and the rapids of the homonimous river, some “Young” -that are hundreds of years old-, larches begin to emerge until at the end of the path the imposing millennial alerzal arises. It stands out "the grandfather", one of the oldest of the forest that is about 2620 years old, 60 meters high and more than two meters in diameter. The full path is about 2 km and the path is considered medium difficulty. Currently, we walk through the new footbridges that facilitate the walk and provide new panoramic views. There are also spaces with interpretive signage and places of rest. To arrive to Puerto Chucao, from the parking lot located next to Route 71, a striking suspension bridge is crossed and, from there, you start with a short walk.
Departure to reach the full Patagonian steppe: 130 km northeast of Esquel and in the middle of the Chubut River valley - passing before by Gualjaina town- we arrive at Piedra Parada Nature Reserve, where an imposing volcanic stone stands 210 meters high. From there we begin a trekking entering the Cañadón de la Buitrera, flanked by 150-meter-high walls, which gradually decrease as we advance into the area. This place was the “caldera” of an ancient volcano, whose chimney solidified and gave rise to very peculiar geoforms. The ancient walls with traces of the incandescent material also treasure cave paintings that left the ancient populations of the area. Climbers from all over the world come to the Protected Natural Area.
Adventure and adrenaline come together in this active tourism experience, where the visitor is not only a spectator, but lives in direct contact with nature. The rafting excursions are carried out on the Corcovado River and can be adapted to the experience and available time of each visitor. It is a unique opportunity to carry out an adventure sport enjoying the contemplation of the canyons that cut the Cordillera de los Andes. Corcovado River presents Class II and III difficulty and is the ideal place for rafting without having previous experience, because in each raft or “gomón” there is a guide who gives instructions for navigation and knows the area widely. Likewise, each person has their own safety equipment that includes a life jacket and helmet; the rafts are usually accompanied by a safety kayak.
Located 25 km away from Esquel, Trevelin is a peaceful Andean town with a marked presence of Welsh culture. The story begins with the arrival of the first settlers in 1985 and settled in the valley to develop productive activities mainly the wheat with the installation of the mills, thus taking the name that today characterizes Trevelin "Village of the Mill". History is kept alive in museums and stories. The beautiful valley also gave rise to different undertakings such as vineyards, Trout farms or Tulip plantations. We will visit the Nant & Fall Waterfall, the Nant Fach Flour Mill Museum and Nant & Fall vineyards. The tour ends in Trevellin, enjoying a typical Wales tea.