- Jasmin Ludolf
❤️ The format of this blog is a list of all of the useful bits of information I collected while travelling. I hope you find them useful too.
None of the links on this page are monetised nor affiliate links, this blog finds its value from sharing useful information only.
Date of visit: October 2022
A note on money
This blog does not discuss money management or currency exchange in Argentina. However, if you have a local sim, it may be worth registering with Mercado Pago, a widely used QR code payment system.
We found it easy to use card payments throughout the country so the need for cash was minimal. I have included the card emoji (💳) where card was accepted and the cash emoji (💵) where it was cash-only.
Airports & Transfers
All airports have free wifi!
Food is generally poor and unhealthy in all airports. Often consists of terrible sandwiches, burgers, or chips. Your best bet will be to find the Hard Rock Cafe.
EZE: International airport in Buenos Aires known as Ezeiza, or Ministro Pistarini
This airport is badly signposted. The terminal marked as “all departures” is for international departures only. Domestic departures were from terminal C, but the check-in desks at C were for international only.
Only one cash point (ATM) at arrivals. The machine states a withdrawal limit of 15,000 pesos but in fact you will only be able to take out 12,000. There is a 900 charge per withdrawal. Surprisingly, this is one of the best withdrawal amount/charge ratios you will find.
💳 You will encounter transfer companies as you exit baggage claim and customs. All the services seem similar, we used Tienda Leon to transfer to the domestic airport Aeroparque (AEP). They offer this transfer every hour on the hour with an open ticket. The bus is located directly outside the exit, walk straight and you will see it on your left. The busses throughout the country are old and unkept, some have damp problems too. For the most part the drivers were safe.
Be cautious when finding a taxi, there is a lot of potential for scams with unofficial solicitations.
💵 A taxi booked with the hotel in Palermo to this airport cost 4,700 pesos.
💵 A taxi booked with the hotel in Florida to this airport cost 6,800 pesos. Uber was charging approximately 5,000 for the same route.
You can use your remaining cash at the duty free shops. We paid for our purchase using up our pesos and the rest was paid by card.
Terminal C is small. Beyond security in this terminal there is only one cafe with limited offerings and some vending machines.
AEP: Domestic airport in Buenos Aires, but also operates international flights within South America. Referred to as Aeroparque.
Only one cash point in the entire airport and it was out of money when we visited.
💵 The airport has a QR code you scan to pre-agree your taxi charge in pesos. It has an English language option that charges the same as the Spanish language option. It will be a challenge to find a taxi that accepts card payment so be sure to have cash available. A trip to Palermo 1,300 pesos (20 minute drive, short distance, high traffic). They also have QR codes for the local transfer companies.
There are public buses into the city from directly outside the airport, it may take a bit of exploring to find the bus stop you need.
💳 Tour companies at the airport have 2 sided booths, one facing baggage claim and one arrivals. Staff diligently swap between sides. We booked transfer through our hotel but it can easily be booked onsite. 1,200 per person one-way.
There is a free cash point at arrivals with a maximum withdrawal limit of 2,000 pesos.
There is a cash point at the departures entrance that allows you to take out 10,000 with a charge.
💳 Many hotels offer a pick-up shuttle here. We purchased a transfer on arrival with Four Tourist. They will tell you the number of the van (not the bay) to look for. This number is very small, we only spotted it when walking around the back of the van. The front of the van says “Bus a la ciudad” (translation: bus to the city). Departures from the airport are based on the flight schedule and how many clients they have, they will wait until they can fill a van. The drop off is directly to your hotel and costs 900 pesos per person.
💳 A taxi from the hotel to the airport was 3,100 with card payment, 2,100 with cash. We were able to request a cab that accepted card payments. We booked it the night before at the hotel and it was punctual.
Boarding: Aerolineas Argentinas boards in groups they call “zonas”. The locals are very good at queuing and respecting this order.
Baggage: We travelled with 30L and 40L Osprey backpacks and one tote bag and did not need to check this in for the standard Aerolineas Argentinas ticket.
Onboard: Aerolineas Argentinas offers one drink on board: coke, lemonade, water, or coffee. You’ll also get a pack of mixed nuts and an Alfajore cake. JetSmart has refreshments for sale, but nothing free.
We experienced a long boarding queue for one flight. Airline staff very diligently looked for every last passenger for flights that were closing. The management of the line itself was poor; it was split up by urgent vs non-urgent flights but the line eventually blended back together so non-urgent travellers actually got through faster since there were less of them.
One flight was cancelled after we had boarded. We were offered a drink and snacks and the inflight entertainment system was on so we could watch movies during the wait. No information was given after disembarking, so we visited the airline ticket desk. They knew our new flight would be at 3pm and advised to go to the check-in desk to exchange the ticket. Unfortunately, the check-in desk in that terminal did not get the same instructions and turned us away at first. Eventually, the check-in desk accepted this responsibility and gave us new boarding passes fairly quickly.
Check out this journey planner to get around the city!
Bathrooms are prevalent and free.
Sites & Attractions:
💳 Recoleta Cemetery is NOT free for tourists. Locals get free access but tourists have to pay 1,400 pesos at the door. Pick up a map when buying your ticket.
💵 Tigre is a part of Buenos Aires by the river delta and features many colonial buildings and boat tours through the various estuaries. You can get there from Retiro station. Follow the signs to the ticket office, visit window 10 if you are buying a return ticket without the local transport card ("Sube"). The journey takes about an hour and you will experience many vendors on the train selling all types of goods from dish cloths to chocolate.
This booth offered the most affordable boat tour for 1,500 pesos. We did not have time to take it in the end so cannot confirm if cards are accepted. Other booths charged upwards of 3,000 pesos for the same tour. Do not buy this tour online as those prices were over 6,000. You will find a ticket booth for one operator at the Tigre station but there are several more by the port which is a short walk away. Departures are roughly once an hour depending on demand.
Walk to Puerto de Frutas for shopping and some food (nothing special).
💳 La Cabrera del Sur operates during lunch time and was very busy. Across the street is Cabrera del Norte and we happened across a 40%-discounted happy hour from 18:30-20:00. We were there at 18:00 and had to put our names down on a list to reserve a spot. It was very touristy but worth it.
San Telmo market is open until 21:00 and a great spot dinner if you like to eat between 18:00-20:00. We grabbed some stools by a choripan counter and had some beers too. Highly recommended!
💳 Santa Manjares restaurant for slightly cheaper but still good steak. Clientele was touristy. If drinking wine by the glass, I recommend selecting the premium option.
💵 Buses to the waterfall regularly depart from the bus terminal in the centre of town. We were able to purchase same-day tickets (Mid-October) with Rio Uruguay to the Argentinian side of the falls: 1,600 pesos for 2 return tickets. The company advised that the bus ran every 20 minutes but our experience would suggest it runs once every hour. Ask what bay your bus will be in and wait there for it to arrive. The bus also has a handful of pick up points through town.
The Argentine side of the waterfalls are referred to as Cataracas and the Brazil side is Foz. There are buses to both.
Ponchos are available to buy at the bus terminal for 500 pesos, there are also many street vendors on the way and one will most likely board the bus during a stop.
💳 Food is available at the park, most of the kiosks offer empanadas and cakes or cookies. Most restaurants can be found by the first train stop.
The park has a small train to take you to the far side of the falls known as Devil’s Mouth. You need to get a free timed ticket at the information desk before you reach the station.
Be prepared for busy paths in the park.
💳 We purchased our park tickets in advance online, it was a timed ticket, a remnant of the pandemic. I recommend doing this if you are travelling during peak season.
💳 Aqva - the best restaurant in all of Puerto Iguazú.
Online maps for El Chalten and El Calafate are not accurate, but the town is easy to navigate none the less.
The visitor centre is on the south side of the town. It is a nice spot to learn about the local nature, but they were not as informative on latest hiking conditions. They suggested we no longer needed crampons for our hike, but in fact we did, so we missed going to the peak.
💵 The most popular hike is the one to Laguna de los Tres to see Mount Fitz Roy. The best place to start is by El Pilar so you don't go back on yourself. There is a bus transfer at 8am from El Chalten that you can book from your hotel for 1,000 pesos per person. The walk is generally easy with the hardest part being the final ascent (see picture). You need to have all refreshments with you for this hike as there is nothing along the trail. You can refill your water bottle in the glacier streams, you will see a sign that says the water is drinkable.
Another nice hike that is much shorter is to the hike to the Cerro Torre lookout.
💳 La Oveja Negra - the best restaurant in El Chalten.
Transfer between El Chalten and El Calafate
💳 We bought tickets online because we got the impression these would sell out as there are only one to three buses a day depending on the season, There were a lot of people buying tickets at the station too. The seats are huge and make for a comfortable nap, but don't miss the view as you drive up to El Chalten! Tickets are 4,000 pesos per person one-way.
There are several companies that do the route and they all leave at the same time from the same terminals. They begin boarding roughly 30 minutes before departure. Cal Tur seemed to be the most popular, Chalten Travel was one we tried to book but had trouble with the website, we eventually used Marga Taqsa.
You may struggle if you are not a fan of dogs, they rule this town!
El Calafate is larger than El Chalten, and one part of town is up a hill. This part is where the bus terminal is, there are also a lot of hotels, and it has the best views for sunrise and sunset. The lower part of town has the high street with the majority of shops and restaurants.
We ate at La Tablita (to try to traditional Patagonian lamb - it's very dry!), Napoleon Pizzeria, and Patagonia pub while in town. They were all good but nothing to rave about.
💳 Tickets to visit the Perito Moreno glacier can be purchased at the bus terminal from several booths. Some booths also allow you to pay for the boat tour in advance, others do not. We did not, but the guide on our bus reserved for us. You will be picked up from your hotel. You will need to pay for entry into the Glacier park upon arrival.
There are two boat tours, one for the north side of the glacier and one for the south side. They are identical, the only difference is the water on the north side is more blue. There are some more “luxurious” boat tours that offer refreshments on board.
National obsessions include: Maté, Alfajores, Hard Rock Cafe, Messi/Maradona/The No. 10 national football jersey
Bonus: Colonia da Sacramento, Uruguay
💳 Boat tickets for Buenos Aires - Colonia can be purchased online in advance with either Colonia Express or Buquebus.
We selected a "Superferry express" option for the way back to Buenos Aires, the cost was more but it was in fact the exact same boat. The journey was a bit shorter but my assumption is that was due to the water currents.
Argentine pesos are accepted in Colonia but should not be used as retailers will try to scam you. Example: We had a small lunch where the charge was either 490 Uruguayan pesos (roughly £11) or 4,900 Argentine pesos (roughly £28).
💳 We were able to pay for our refreshments that day with card, although one place only accepted Visa.
Most places only open from 12pm noon in Colonia, so the morning would be spent wondering the streets or visiting the beach if it is a warm day.