Argentina’s seasons are the opposite to the those in the northern hemisphere.
Summer: December to March
Winter: June to September
Within the country, the climate varies considerably from region to region.
Wherever you go, bear in mind that all hotels and flights will book up way ahead in the summer months of January and February, at Easter, and in the winter holidays of July and August. Prices are also higher at these times.
Buenos Aires: Best in spring and autumn. Appallingly hot in summer, with temperatures reaching 45C and humidity of at least 80%. Mild in winter, with sunshine.
Patagonia and the far south, including Tierra del Fuego: Trekking is best from January to March. You can visit from spring to autumn, and April is often a glorious month, when the foliage turns scarlet and days are clear. Southern Patagonia pretty much shuts down in the winter, with the exception of the ski resort at Ushuaia. El Calafate and Ushuaia are way overbooked in January and the first half of February, so plan ahead.
Whale-watching at Península Valdés: Best from September to December, and often later. There is marine life for much of the year, but services close in winter.
The Northeast: The Iguazú Falls are tremendous all year round, but their force depends on recent rainfall, so April is usually best. However, climate change is making the seasonal differences unpredictable here.
The Lake District: Glorious from spring to autumn, and very busy in January and February. Trekking is best from January, as high paths may still have snow on them until then, and is generally fine until the end of March. Fewer crowds in March and April.
The Northwest: A great place to go all year round, and your best option in July and August, when the south is inhospitable. Days are warm and sunny in the Valles Calchaquiés and Quebrada de Humahuaca in winter. Rain falls from January to March, and roads can be impassable just afterwards. The cloudforest regions are best visited from April to November.
Mendoza: Landscapes are lovely all year round, but hiking around Aconcagua is possible only in summer. The road across the border to Chile is often blocked by snow in winter. Skiing at Las Leñas is possible from June to October. The wine harvest festival in Mendoza city in late February / March is good fun.
1 January New Year's Day
24 March Truth and Justice Day
2 April Veterans' Day
1 May Labour Day
25 May National Day
14 June National Flag Day (Belgrano Day)
9 July National Independence Day
16 August San Martín Day
11 October Columbus Day
8 December Immaculate Conception Day
25 December Christmas Day
Individual provinces also have their own holidays, though this usually means extra festivities, rather than extra closures. Check with the local tourist office if it’s likely to affect your plans.
Note: flight, boat, train and bus timetables change constantly, and airlines come and go, so please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning. Check with relevant companies, or a flight search engine like Skyscanner, first.
Argentina’s only international airport for Europe and the US is Ezeiza, 35km south of Buenos Aires. Internal flights normally land at Jorge Newbery airport (also known as Aeroparque), just 4km from the centre of Buenos Aires.
If you're planning to travel around Christmas and New Year, make reservations for flights well in advance. Over the summer, it’s best to book internal flights well in advance, to make sure your itinerary will work.
From the UK:
Flights from London to Buenos Aires take 14 hours, or around 16 hours via a European city. Flights are usually overnight.
British Airways offers the only direct service from the UK (London Heathrow) to Buenos Aires. The alternatives are indirect Iberia and Air Europa flights, both of which involve changing planes in Madrid (sometimes with a lengthy gap).
Air France, Alitalia, Iberia, Air Europa, Lufthansa, KLM and Aerolineas Argentinas all offer scheduled direct services between Europe and Buenos Aires.
From the US:
You can fly with American Airlines, Delta, LAN and United from Miami, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Newark and New York JFK.
Air Canada flies between Toronto and Argentina; if you're coming from elsewhere in Canada, you'll probably have to change planes in Toronto or the US.
From Australia and New Zealand:
Aerolineas Argentinas has direct flights from Sydney to Buenos Aires. If you're coming from New Zealand, the best option is normally via Santiago in Chile with LAN.
From the Airport:
From Ezeiza international airport to Buenos Aires centre it’s 35km. You can take the frequent, efficient and safe bus service operated by Manuel Tienda Leon, or catch a remise taxi (purchase a pre-paid voucher at the desk in the arrivals hall).
The fastest and most effective way of getting around Argentina is by air, although there is also an efficient long-distance bus service (see below). There's a wide choice of flights with Aerolineas Argentinas, its subsidiary Austral and LAN, and airports serve every major city, including Bariloche, Córdoba, Salta, Mendoza, Iguazú, El Calafate and Ushuaia. Buenos Aires is the hub for most internal flights, although Aerolineas Argentinas and Austral jointly operate a useful circular route connecting most tourist destinations (Buenos Aires - Córdoba - Iguazú - Salta - Mendoza - Bariloche - Buenos Aires). There is also a direct route between El Calafate and Ushuaia, in summer only.
LAN offers 2 airpasses, one for LAN passengers and another for BA and Iberia passengers, which can be cheaper than buying individual tickets if you book 3 or more internal flights. Note that Aerolineas Argentinas and Austral tickets are more expensive for foreigners and there is no way of getting around this.
Argentina’s massive expanse is connected by an impressive system of long-distance buses which serve every city and major tourist area. They’re pretty comfortable, as long as you book the most expensive coche cama (bed) seats, which recline almost fully. Food and drink is often included, along with several movies, bathroom facilities and air conditioning.
The major companies are Andesmar and ViaBariloche. For journeys from Buenos Aires to the north, we recommend the overnight Flechabus and Crucero del Norte services, which travel to Mercedes/Corrientes and Puerto Iguazú; the latter also carries on to Brazil.
Once you’ve reached the region you want to explore, you may find hiring a car is useful - particularly in the Lake District, around Salta and Jujuy, and to get to estancias on Península Valdés. see our car rental recommendations. Be warned, though, that lots of roads in Patagonia, Salta and other remote areas are ripio (gravel), so take it very slowly and gently (you may want to consider paying more for a 4x4). There are, however, lots of local buses, and you may find this a more interesting way to travel and meet local people.
If you prefer not to self-drive, most of the hotels featured on i-escape can arrange private transfers and day trips.
Argentina’s train network, built by the British, has now fallen into ruin, with the exception of local trains around Buenos Aires, and a long-distance train from Viedma on the Atlantic coast to Bariloche, which also takes cars. There are picturesque steam train services for tourists: the 'Train to the Clouds' in Salta, and La Trochita (the Old Patagonian Express - wonderful) from Esquel. There’s also the Tren al Fin del Mundo ('Train to the End of the World') from Ushuaia, but this is an unashamedly kitsch experience.
Check visa requirements in advance. Passports are not required by citizens of neighbouring countries who hold identity cards issued by their own governments.
Visas are not necessary for citizens of the following countries, who are given a tourist card on entry and may stay for 3 months:
UK, most other western European countries, USA, Canada, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Barbados, Jamaica, Malaysia, Israel, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan.
Visas are necessary for visitors from all other countries. There are 3 forms of visa: a business ‘temporary’ visa (valid for a year), a tourist visa, and a transit visa. Tourist visas are usually valid for 3 months and are multiple entry.
Note that citizens of some countries, including the USA, Canada and Australia, must pay a 'reciprocity fee' online before they travel - see www.migraciones.gov.ar or www.provinciapagos.com.ar.
You should be up to date with typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitus A and B. A yellow fever vaccination is not needed for Argentina, but you might need it if travelling to other countries in South America.
If you are visiting Iguazú or the Esteros del Iberá, take insect repellent, and take advice about whether malaria is currently a danger.
Make sure you drink plenty of liquids and especially water. Use bottled water and make sure that the seal on the bottle has not been broken. Tap water is drinkable in Buenos Aires, but you might prefer to protect yourself on short trips by using bottled water.
Use sunblock to protect your skin, especially in the south, where the ozone layer is thin. Always wear a hat.