Argentina: The Best and Worst

So it is finally time to wrap up my time in Argentina. Almost four months in this country, the longest I’ve been in any one place for quite a long time. It’s been fun but I am more than ready to move on!

But not before I recap the past few months…

Total Days in Argentina: 99

Amount Spent: (I’m only counting the first and last week to give a better view on travel versus LIVING in Argentina. So this is for 2 weeks, one in Buenos Aires and one traveling the country) $862

Amount Per Day: $61.50 a day. This seems pretty accurate to me. Argentina is NOT a value destination by any stretch, particularly in Buenos Aires.

Places Visited: Buenos Aires, Rosario, Cordoba, Mendoza

 Favorite Places: Rosario (where I should have lived) and Mendoza

Least Favorite Place: Cordoba. I was so uninspired I didn’t write a word.

Most Memorable Moments: Wine tasting in Mendoza, catching a major protest in downtown BA, hosting dinner parties in our lovely top floor apartment.

Biggest Misconception: That Argentina is a budget destination- prices are on par with Europe these days! In Buenos Aires we were hard pressed to get a (non self-catered meal) for less than $7 a person and even crappy dorm rooms in hostels are $15+.

Best Meal: Too many to choose! Many steak dinners at La Cabrera and the asian fare at closed door Cocina Sunae.

Worst Meal: Nothing was bad per se, but my goodness did I ever get tired of eating the same things over and over and over. Variety is not the spice of life in Argentina.

Most Annoying Thing: The crazy inflated price of groceries and the constant craving for fresh veggies.

Most Visited Attraction: I ended up at La Recoleta Cemetery three times! I know I said I love cemeteries but this was entirely unintential I swear.

Best Wildlife Shot: Look at those parrots from Temaikan zoo. They totally want to rip my face off.

Best Advice: Don’t just visit Buenos Aires, get out and explore the rest of the country! Also don’t come in Jan/Feb unless you like the sensation of being roasted alive.

Biggest Regret: Not making it to Patagonia. Sigh. Hopefully it will be in the budget next time….

Would I Come Back? Definitely, although I’ve had my fill for a little while at least.

47 thoughts on “Argentina: The Best and Worst”

  1. Hello. I am originally from Argentina Rosario, Santa Fe and I have to say I am very surprised people think there is no fresh veggies!!! Are you kidding me? I have a vegetable store in every corner. I love Argentina and never get tired of beef, empanadas, milanesas, pastas. facturas and much much more. Enjoy it. It is a great place to visit.

  2. The days of the “blue dollar” are gone. There is only one exchange rate now, the official one. However, at 15,5 pesos per dollar (october 2016), Argentina offers very good value for money.

  3. Yeah I feel like Argentina is a destination for people of the first world, unfortunately we found it much too expensive and the quality for what we were paying for was somewhat lacking. Unfortunately or fortunately it isn’t a long stay, we’re here for a five day trip to Mendoza from Chile, heading back on Saturday (not that Chile is the cheapest either). We found the average meal is about $8.36US to over $10.00US, we haven’t found a decent meal for less than +-$6.00US. I’m not sure if that’s normal in the US but from where I’m from (South Africa), you can get the same quality meal or better for about $4.00US. I walked passed a McDonald’s today and saw a price for the big mac meal being A$80 which is $9.20US, in South Africa the same meal would be about $4.11US. This might seem reasonable to people who can actually afford all this but unfortunately argentina is a country I will have to put off for many years. I won’t be able to afford it until I’m making an amazing salary and have everything in my life sorted, and after saying that I’m guessing I will have to remove half the world from my bucket list.

    1. It seems you didn’t learn about the Blue Dollar before your trip, because the AR$80 meal you mention would actually be US$6. Still, prepared food is relatively expensive in Argentina, but if travelers bypass banks to get the blue rate they save 40%.

      1. This is true now. The exchange rate was not quite as juicy mid-2012 when I wrote this. Nonetheless, coming from other countries in South America and not directly from the US meant we didn’t have a lot of dollars on us to exchange.

  4. We just got back from two months in Argentina. I feel you on the veggie cravings. I will say that the recent blue dollar rates have made the country a little more budget friendly, but far from a Peru, Bolivia, or Ecuador. You really just have to time it with the inflationary cycles to get good value (which is now!). And, yes, Patagonia is incredible and would be worth a trip back.

  5. William Slokem

    I was in Argentina in March 2010. Would love to go back! You talk pricey! Try living in Vancouver. I call it Monaco North America! I thought Argentina was quite reasonable.

    1. Currently “Consumer Prices Including Rent” in Vancouver are 18.31% higher than in Buenos Aires but the salaries are twice as much on average.. You’re talking 2010 prices, Argentina is an economic disaster with a real annual inflation rate of 30%+ (government likes to show it lower than it is).. may offer quite a lot of culture and all but is still a poor Latin American country with high crime rate that should have prices accordingly and shall do soon with another collapse. This is not USA or West Europe..

  6. I’ve been in Buenos Aires for almost a year now, the food cravings I have are unbelievable…I want some veg, some spice, less meat and more herbs & spices por favor!!

  7. Wonderful blog! Argentines are definitely not adventurous eaters, that is the bane of my life here!

    I have to offer a dissenting opinion on the prices though — it is still a budget destination if you are in the know.

    The thing is that some travelers don’t realize the huge difference between the informal exchange rate and the official exchange rate. If you get money from the ATM (getting the official exchange rate, of a little more than 5 pesos to the dollar) than yes, it is fairly expensive, BUT if you bring cash or wire yourself money (thereby getting what is called the ‘blue rate’) you get 40% more pesos for your foreign currency. It makes a huge difference!

    You also have to know where to look, because there are basically two economies here. For instance many end up paying $15 for a hostel bed, but here in San Telmo you can get a decent private room at the Victoria Hotel for less than $10.

    So the circa 2005 days of $2 steaks are gone, but if you are getting the black market or blue market rate for your currency you can still get a nice steak and wine dinner for under $10.

  8. Wow to see that it has changed! I was in Argentina in 2009 and it was cheap for me! A lot cheaper then and a few years later to hear this! I’m sad that its becoming more expensive. I absolutely loved Argentina! The food was really good, easy to get around, and so much to do! I went in February of that year and thought the weather was perfect! Well, besides Mendoza, because it was really hot at that time! I also can’t wait to get back to see Patagonia! I regretted not being able to go there then.

  9. Thank you for your report. I have been to sao paulo and it is super expensive as well as Buenos Aires. Stay away from Big Cities, most city folks are rude and obnoxios. When I went to the small towns and resorts, eating was dirt cheap. I do agree with you on lack of vegetables. Argentina as well as Brazil do not have vegetables. They do have a of fruits though. If you are a meat eater, then these countries are heaven. Stick with the small resort towns that locals go to. You will be treated like you are super star celebrity. Small town folks will always be small town folks. I intend to visit some fishing villages in Argentina and get to know the locals.

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