Argentina in a nutshell

Daily budget: USD27 – 111 Argentinian Pesos
Actual daily expenditure: USD34

Cities visited:

  • El Calafate
  • El Bolson
  • Villa de Angostura
  • Bariloche
  • ECO Yoga Park, near General Rodrigues
  • Buenos Aires
  • Mendoza
  • Maipu
  • Cafayate
  • Salta
  • Puerto Iguazu

Most expensive city: Bariloche, Villa de Angostura (South)

Cheapest city: Salta, Cafayate (North)

Favourite cities: Villa de Angostura, Bariloche and Buenos Aires (the other cities are interesting more for the touristic attractions around rather than for the cities themselves)

What to do in Argentina

  •      Admire the spectacular Iguazu Falls – Puerto Iguazu
  •      Go for a road trip North of Salta
  •      Visit the MAAM museum, with its 3 inka mummy children – Salta
  •      Visit the Quebrada de Cafayate Canyon – between Cafayate and Salta
  •      Taste some great quality wine – Cafayate and/or Mendoza
  •      Go for an Andes adventure and see the highest mountain in South America (Acongagua) – Mendoza
  •      Watch and dance some original Tango – Buenos Aires
  •      Visit La Boca – BA
  •      Visit the Evita Museum and the National Museum – BA
  •      Spend a few weeks in the Eco Yoga Park – 1 hour away from BA
  •      Relax in Bariloche, or ski if it’s winter –  Bariloche
  •      Go hiking, mountain biking or horse riding in hundreds of years old forests – Villa de Angostura
  •      Visit Perito Moreno, Argentina’s beautiful blue glacier – El Calafate

Most challenging thing: doing all the things we wanted in less than 7 weeks:) Also finding vegetarian food that’s not pizza or empanada :D.

 

ACCOMMODATION

Most expensive accommodation: 50 Pesos person/night in El Bolson, without breakfast and internet

Cheapest accommodation: 25 Pesos person/night in El Calafate, without breakfast but with internet

We haven’t Couch Surfed in Argentina but stayed with Daniella and Selis in Buenos Aires for 5 days.

The breakfast in Argentina is pretty much the same as everywhere else: bread with butter, jam and dulce de leche (a type of caramel very traditional in South America), coffe or tea. In some places (especially the ones part of Hostel International) we got cereal, eggs and fresh orange juice as well. Not bad at all;).

Favorite Accomodation

  • Bariloche – Marcopolo Inn, part of Hostel International
  • Villa de Angostura – a caban right at the entrance in the forest
  • Mendoza – Mendoza Backpackers, part of Hostel International
  • BA 🙂

 

FOOD

If you are vegetarian it will be difficult to find dishes without meat – after all, this is the country of steak! If you eat fish it’s a bit better. Our usual meals were vegetarian pizzas and cheese empanadas (a type of pastry). We of course did our best to prepare our usual avocado and cheese sandwiches or pasta with vegetables (the usual backpacker meal :-)), but we still ended up eating pizza a few times a week.

The Argentinian cuisine is famous for its steak, pasta (incredible Italian influence), wine and ice-cream. We’ve tried them all repeatedly (well, except for the steak).

Favourite Food: wine (oh, that’s not food , hmmm… then…submarino. Oh, that’s not food either? Then… some of the pizza and empanadas we ate were really delicious:).

What we didn’t realy like: some of the vegetarian food that came with some surprise bones in it

Steak:  Argentina is famous for it’s “all you can eat” dinner büffes found in the local restaurants called Parillas (“Grill” in Spanish). They’re supposed to be delicious and they’re not very cheap as compared to the a la carte prices, around 50 Pesos in the South and a bit cheaper in the North. Most of the dishes involve some sort of meat though, so we only went to these büffes once.

Pasta. We were very happy to know that Argentinians eat a lot of pasta, but as it later turned out, most of the pasta dishes contain one or the other type of meat. We once ordered vegetarian lasagna, which was really delicious, but which contained a surprise layer of ham.

As we later learned, carne (Spanish for meat) only refers to red meat, so chicken, ham, fish etc are not considered meat. Until we figured this out we had funny conversations such as: “Do you have empanadas without meat?” “Sure, with cheese and ham”. “Ok, do you have any without ham?” “Of course, with chicken!”. It felt like China reloaded, where the definition of meat was the same.

Pizza. We’ve probably never eaten so much pizza in our first 26/27 years of life as we have here in 2 months. Truth is it wasn’t very hard, at least at the beginning, as it was really delicious most of the times. Our favorite was the Roquefort one in Puerto Iguazu, just opposite the bus terminal. “All you can eat” pizza buffes are extremely common and they’re usually around 30 Pesos. We’ve been to these on a few occasions but soon realised it wasn’t worth it much for us because we could seldom eat more than half a pizza anyway (ok, that’s true for Iunia and Boca, as Silviu had no problem devouring kgs of pizza in one sitting:p), and buying a la carte was around 20-25 Pesos. If you’re a big pizza eater though you will surely enjoy these places! 🙂

Empanadas: The delicious pastry you find in most South American countries is commonplace in Argentina as well. If you’r a vegetarian make sure you order one “Sin carne, sin jamon, sin pollo”. “No meat, no ham, no chicken”.

Humitas: a corn dish that we found mostly in the North of Argentina and it was a good alternative to pizza and empanadas. It’s made differently depending on the area you’re in and it’s not very big, most times sold as a starter. It wasn’t our favorite dish and it’s also not very cheap, but it’s worth a try.

Churros: Again a very common Latin American sweet. You can find it either in cafes or on the street. Sometimes you can find it filled with cheese, but most of the times it’ll be sweet: sugar, dulce de leche or chocolate filling… yummy

Submarino. A glass of warm milk with a piece of special chocolate in it. Best deal: 3 Churros and a submarino for 10 Peso in El Bolson. In other places it can cost up to 12 Pesos or more, and this without the 3 churros included.

Mate. The South American tea speciality.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Before going to Argentina we had heard so much about how exceptional the buses there were, that they served food and alcohol on board and they’re really comfortable too. We didn’t know what to expect as we were already pretty satisfield with the Chilean buses, and upon getting there we found most of the companies offered in fact the same sort of quality and services as the ones in Chile. Then, one day we had the fortune to travel with Cruz del Sur/Norte. It instantly became our favorite and we then found out the wine and champagne stories were true: the dinner menu comes with a glass (or two hehe) of wine/beer and … champagne! 🙂

There are different “classes” on the bus: semi-cama, cama, cama executive, VIP etc (“cama” is “bed” in Spanish). If you travel with the cama executive or whichever other VIP option you’ll probably get this fanciness any company you travel with. You do have to pay a premium for this upgrade though :).

The best thing in the country (in our opinion, of course): Perito Moreno glaciar in the South, horse riding and mountain biking around Villa de Angostura, Evita Museum in Buenos Aires, Quebrada de Cafayate, High Andes trip to see the Aconcagua, MAAM museum in Salta, road trip in the North of Argentina, the Iguazu Falls, tango in the capital, wine and mate with the locals. Oh, and champagne in the overnight bus

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