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
Early morning departure; in contrast to the arid Patagonia we access the fertile valley of Chubut River, our way up to Florentino Ameghino dam. It is located in the middle of a narrow canyon of red rock formations. Its geographical conditions enable the practice of sports like rafting, boating, sailing excursions, trekking, climbing, rappelling, mountain bike, photo tours and survival. As a result of the dam we found an artificial lake with an area of about 50 km, with some areas of beaches and places for fishing. This tour is complemented with a visit to Dolavon village and Chubut River Valley farms area.
Departing from Puerto Madryn southwards, and skirting the coast, we will pass different beaches. The first of them is Kaiser Beach, which ends in a big dune where sandboard is practised. After touring other beaches we will reach Paraná Beach where the top of sunken Folias Ship will be appreciated. It is ideal for snorkelling or diving. After 20 km we will arrive at Punta Loma where we will watch an elephant seal colony from a watchtower.
Departure from Puerto Madryn; after traveling 70 km through Patagonian steppe, we reach the southern end of the mouth of the Golfo Nuevo where Punta Ninfas lighthouse is located, a valuable reference for navigators entering this area. On the beaches that surround Punta Ninfas we can see breeding groups of elephants and seals. We then continue to El Pedral, an authentic Patagonian estancia built at the beginning of the 20th century. The materials and furniture were brought from Europe by boat and landed on the coasts of the estancia itself. Then we went to the Magellan penguin colony located on El Pedral seashore, a short distance from the house. A guided tour between their nests allows us to better know these curious animals. In summer we recommend a cap and sunglasses, as well as to carry a bottle of water. At noon, we have lunch in the estancia: grilled lamb with a variety of salads, dessert and coffee (includes drinks and wine). In the afternoon you can enjoy the pool and the pétanque court, as well as take walks around the property or have a tea/coffee before returning back our hotel.
We leave from Puerto Madryn city at sunset, to enjoy a tour of dunes and seaside areas, entering different terrains; we first enter the seacoast to travel a medium difficulty 4x4 road, where a lot of adrenaline accompanies the interpretation of the terrain, flora and fauna. We continue until reaching the highest area of Cerro Avanzado, where passengers enjoy a complete snack with drinks of their choice (wine, beer, soda, etc.). A magical moment at sunset in front of the sea, greeting the sun...
The proposal is a recreational ride, low demand and medium duration. Departure in the morning (if the weather permits) from the offices, where the passengers will be given a previous talk about safety and navigation rules, and current local laws. We then depart to the coast and from there to the historical site Punta Cuevas. In this tour you can have a beautiful view of the city from the sea; during the navigation, explanations of the history, geography and natural resources of the area are provided. Although the sighting and approaching of fauna is not guaranteed, at certain times of the year it is possible to observe sea lions, penguins, whales (Southern Franca species) and a variety of birds. Upon arrival at Punta Cuevas, we will make a technical stop to disembark and to hydrate. After a break of half an hour, we will undertake the return to the place of departure.
The Protected Natural Area of Punta Tombo hosts every year –between September and April- the largest continental colony in the world of Magellanic Penguins. By the Atlantic Ocean shores, surrounded by farms dedicated to wool production, it is the place penguins choose for their reproduction. In front of the sea, half million penguins protect their nests from depredators, look for food (little fish, anchovies and squids) for their offspring, fill the air with their squawks and paint the landscape in black and white. The best time to observe them is in the morning and at sunset, when it is not so hot and penguins increase their activities. To reach Punta Tombo, it is necessary to drive about 110 miles towards the south from Puerto Madryn. The access route is mostly paved, but there are about 12 miles of gravel at the end of the road. At the entrance, the Centro Tombo provides various rooms where it is possible to learn more about the area's wildlife. Departure from hotel in the morning; we will get into the reserve to walk near the nests. A big group of penguins on the beach can be observed from a cliff. In the afternoon we return and stop in Trelew City ("Lewis town" in welsh language, Lewis Jones was one of the pioneers who came to these distant lands in the late nineteenth century). MEF E. Feruglio Paleontology Museum and visit (optional). Then continue to Gaiman Colony where the exquisite Welsh tea can be tasted (optional). Arrival in Puerto Madryn late in the afternoon.
Departure from Puerto Madryn, heading south to an estancia where we will prepare the kayaks and equipment. There our specialized guide will give us a talk about security. At 10 o'clock we departure for the “lobería”, and an hour later we will have interaction with these marine mammals from the kayaks. After lunch (box-lunch type) we will approach by land to the seals colony, taking care not to disturb them in their natural habitat. At 2.30 PM we return to the starting area to prepare the equipment for our return to Puerto Madryn, where we will arrive at approximately 5 PM.
This tour is a new attraction for visitors; it is an experience that can only be done in 3 locations around the World, and Puerto Madryn is one of them! The site chosen for Snorkeling with Seals is Punta Loma, nature reserve located 15 km approx from Puerto Madryn city and only 25 minutes by boat. All passengers will receive training Snorkeling including previous practice, done in FOLIAS shipwreck. Once completed and learned the skills we will approach the protected area of Punta Loma to enjoy this exciting activity. Existing regulations allow us to spend an hour in the area with a maximum of 18 people + the Instructor.
The underwater experience is developed in a natural reef at a depth not exceeding 10 meters. In the diving zone you'll receive instruction on equipment operation and basic knowledge about this activity, such as the signs, compensation and swimming in the water. Once the equipment is placed, one-on-one you begin the adaptation always guided by the Instructor who will accompany you throughout the experience. Once adapted we begin the descent and made a dive of approx. 20/25 min. scouring the seabed (Max. depth 9 meters) and discovering the flora and fauna of the area. At the end the diver offers a snorkeling gear to continue enjoying the activity before returning to the shore. Once back you receive a diploma certifying the immersion.
Early in the morning we depart to Valdés Peninsula. At the entrance the fee to the World Heritage Area is paid; then arrival at the Ameghino Isthmus where we stop at the Interpretation Center. We continue to Puerto Pirámides where (between June and December) we can embark for a close encounter with the ballena franca Whale (optional). After that we visit Punta Pirámides lobería (seals settlement). Then we leave to Caleta Valdés where we will have time to have lunch (optional) and we will see an elephant seals settlement. We will pass by a penguin rookery in formation, where (between September and April) we will have the opportunity to see some specimens of the "Magellan" type from the top of a cliff. During the tour we can observe Patagonia typical fauna (maras, choiques, guanacos, and piches) and different birds. In case we fail to sail in the morning for bad weather, we will go to Pirámides Port for whales sighting. Late in the afternoon we arrive in our accommodation.
We visit a few Welsh settlement located in Rio Chubut Valley. Trelew was named after Lewis Jones, who was a pioneer in the Welsh settlement that started in 1865. Gaiman is a small village with less than 10,000 inhabitants who work mainly in farming activities. Gaiman's main attraction stands on both its high number of typical Welsh buildings and the historic and cultural events that take place in the village every year. Dolavon is also a small village, founded in 1915 and is known as the 'village of the waterwheels'. We also visit Rawson, the capital of the province of Chubut, and enjoy a traditional Welsh tea at Hosteria TyGyn.
Puerto Madryn is one of the best places in the world for whale watching. The morphology of Patagonia offers calm and protected waters, where this giant mammals has chosen to get birth to their calves and for mating (as other species also do), turning this World Heritage in a huge nursery. Puerto Piramides becomes the undisputed place to watch the curious and friendly behavior of these animals aboard special boats. This village is located on Valdes Peninsula and it is the only location where whale watching boat trips are available. The boat ride has duration of 1.5 hour; visitors used to take a full day tour to Valdes Peninsula (departing from Puerto Madryn) and add a stop at Puerto Piramides for this optional boat trip. Lunch is optional.
The excursion runs aboard the Yellow Submarine. Unlike other boats this allows you to observe whales submerged in their own world: underwater and with a completely different perspective. The experience is the same as if you were diving with them! While they remain close to the ship it is possible to observe them through the 40 windows of the underwater cabin. On board, passengers can move freely and also opt for the deck of the ship to observe from the surface as in a traditional whale watching. Departures are subject to visibility in the water.