1 week in Argentina (Iguazú & Buenos Aires): Itinerary, assessment, budget, guide, advice (2/2)
To read the first part of the guide about Patagonia, click here
Ahhh Argentina! This country so vast and whose must-see are so far away from each other that we had to visit it in 3 times. After 15 days in Patagonia, we visited Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, before spending a few days in Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, and crossing the land border to Puerto Iguazú in Argentina
- Puerto Iguazú (3 days): after visiting the Brazilian Falls, we cross the border by local bus to Puerto Iguazú (Argentina) for 20$AR/person. See our guide on Iguazú Falls here. The visit of the Argentinian falls takes us a full day
- Fast passage in Uruguay: from Puerto Iguazú, we take a night bus to Concordia (Argentina) for 1060$AR. Then, we cross the border by bus to spend 12 days in Uruguay
- Buenos Aires (4 days) : We took the one hour boat from Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay) to Buenos Aires (950$UR). Taking the boat from Colonia is cheaper than leaving from Montevideo (and then the city of Colonia is charming). We only spent 4 days visiting Buenos Aires (the other 3 days we were out of it). Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro are the only two big cities I like in South America
- Departure to Rio de Janeiro
Uruguay is, for us, the best possible stopover between Iguazú and Buenos Aires. Between these two cities, there isn’t much must-see in Argentina. And going through Uruguay saves us a bit of money on transportation because buses in Uruguay are much cheaper than in Argentina
Exchange rate in March 2017: 10$AR = 0.59€. 10$AR = 0.65USD
- Bus Foz do Iguaçu – Puerto Iguazú: 20$AR/person, 40$AR if you lose patience like us
- Hotel : 2 nights
- 500$AR/night double room at Hotel Lilian
- otherwise it’s 180$AR/bed in dormitory at Hostel Park Iguazu, breakfast included
- Bus : 130$AR round trip per person
- Entrance to the park: 330$AR/person
- Lunch (bought in town and brought to the park): 145$AR for two
- Restaurants: from 130$AR/person. For a good piece of argentine meat (and I recommend you), count 300$AR/person +10% gratuity
- Buenos Aires: this city is more expensive than Patagonia, it’s crazy! You can’t eat well without spending a fortune..
- Accommodation: 27USD/night double room at Babel Plaza (after VAT reduction). I find that it is much cheaper to be in a hotel that agrees to take away the 19% VAT and accepts credit cards than in a hostel that charges us VAT and only accepts cash. I therefore highly recommend this hotel.
- Food: +10% tip (almost mandatory)
- Economical restaurant: 170$AR/menu
- Fast food: 60$AR/flat
- Restaurant too good (but too expensive)
- 250$AR a salad
- 350$AR to 500$AR a good steak (without accompaniment). Accompaniment between 100$AR and 150$AR (to be shared, it’s better)
- Bottle of water: 30$AR in small stores
- SIM card: 50$AR at Moviestar. I think that JB had to buy 100$AR of reload in total to have Internet for 7 days
- SUBE card: 25$AR/card (one card can be used for two). We had to load our card several times during our stay. 200$AR in total for two.
- Visit & show
- Museo Evita : 90$AR/person
- Tango show at the Tango Porteño (one of the most economical shows). Show only at 450$AR/person
- Discount (cab booked in advance) to the airport: 500$AR all inclusive
- Cab boat terminal -> city center: 200$AR. Uber wouldn’t have cost less.
I advise you to first read the “Practical Tips” section that I wrote for Patagonia. Many of these tips also apply to Buenos Aires. For Iguazú, I have written a complete guide here that I invite you to consult
Here are the specific tips for Buenos Aires
- Accommodation: as I said above, it is much cheaper to be in a hotel that accepts to exempt us from VAT & accepts credit cards than in a hostel that charges us VAT and only accepts cash. Indeed, withdrawing cash here costs me 4.8% (we can’t withdraw much (2000$AR max) and in addition we have to pay 96$AR in fees for each withdrawal). Babel Plaza is a very well located hotel, in a safe place, that I recommend you with my eyes closed (no VAT, payment by card).
- Credit cards are more often accepted in Buenos Aires than in Patagonia. All medium and high-end restaurants accept them without additional commission. Some restaurants even accept that you pay the tip (10% of the bill) by card.
- Cabs and Uber are expensive here, it is better to use public transport. Buy the SUBE card (25$AR) and reload it in a kiosk. When you get on the bus, announce your destination to the driver (so that he adjusts the fare accordingly). Then badge your SUBE.
- The metro is convenient but not as dense as the bus network.
- Google Maps lists all public transport fairly reliably, but with a few errors. Don’t hesitate to ask the locals, they will be able to direct you to another bus.
- Buenos Aires is a big city so take care of your business. Keep your bags on your lap and not on the floor in the bus because some thieves go under the seats with a knife to open the bag.
- People hate thieves so if you are dealing with thieves, shout loudly “LADRON”, someone may help you get your stuff back.
- Before going out in the evening, ask the receptionists if your destination is in a safe area. Within a few blocks, it could be day or night. If the place isn’t safe enough, it would be better to take a cab.
- Most tourists flee LA BOCA after 6pm. It’s a poor neighborhood, it’s probably not the best place to book a hotel.
- If you want to go to a soccer match like JB, don’t expect great soccer quality, what is interesting isn’t the match but the atmosphere.
- If you have some time, visit also Tigre (for its delta) and La Plata (for its cathedral and perfect city map) near Buenos Aires (one day trip possible)
What we liked
- Iguazú Falls on the Argentinean side – much more impressive than the Brazilian side
- Buenos Aires and its false air of Paris
- Gastronomy in Buenos Aires
What we liked less
- The Argentines we met in Uruguay – arrogant, haughty and disrespectful, they don’t behave the same way as when they are in Argentina
- The high cost of living in Argentina
- La Boca, too touristy