Argentina

2017-04

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Overview

As the second largest country by land mass in South America, Argentina has a lot to offer the traveler, especially the over-lander. From the isolation and dramatic scenery of Patagonia to the south, the baron flatness of the pampas, the bluest blue lakes of the NeuquĂ©n, and the stunning red earthy landscapes of the Andean North-West. Mix that with different cultures all across the lands and you’ll never be short of a smile whilst the high winds shoot across your helmet as you motorcycle up and down this vast country.

Language

Spanish. However the accent is very different from the more neutral Spanish speaking of say Bolivia, Mexico and Colombia. As someone that is studying Spanish, the accent is more difficult to understand in Argentina. Pronunciation differs between regions in Argentina. Though the good news is that if you can understand the Spanish here you will be fine every else in South America 🙂

English speakers are common in the bigger cities and tourist places like El Chalten and El Calafate.

All things Money

Argentina Peso. Inflation is in full swing and prices are rises constantly. For a tourist Argentina is in the league of costs with Chile and Uruguay. It is not uncommon to enter supermarkets to find bare shelves. Also be perpared to line up at ATMs (Cash points) for hours as the locals drain the ATMs of all cash. This is common before the weekend for example.

I recommend avoiding ATMs in Argentina and bringing USD dollars. They can easily be changed at any Hotel or casino for rates better than the current exchange rate. ATM fees are very high in Argentina. Most banks charge 98 pesos as a fee to get any amount of cash out and the ATM will most likely be out of cash anyway.

Cards (mostly VISA) are excepted at fuel stations.

If heading to remote places of Argentina, try and have some spare reserves of Pesos. Some towns around Patagonia for example have limited ATMs.

Petrol (Gas)

Petrol stations are easy to come by, except for Patagonia where planning ahead is required if on a moto. The general rule is if you see a petrol station, regardless of tank levels, fill up. If your motos range is less that 250km, you should carry a small 3-5 L plastic spare container of fuel.

Also in Patagonia, the wind can really reduce your tank range (if you are hitting the wind head on). Plan accordingly. An awesome App for wind planning is Windty

As of 03/2017 gasoline was 22 Argenine Pesos (ARS)

Internet connectivity

Internet speeds in Argentina compared to Europe are very slow. Even on WiFi. Like most South America countries, I’d recommend getting a local SIM card. However, it can only be used to basic chats and facebook etc. Don’t expect to be streaming music and watching YouTube. Prepaid data allowances are bundle in 50MB (yes, 50MB in 2017). I’d recommend using Claro as they have the best reception outside cities.

Safety

Argentina is a relatively safe. Big cities have areas that should be avoided. Any seasoned traveler will have a sense of these areas and should avoid flashing expensive items around. Theft/Pick Pocketing is common in Buenos Aires.

Remote towns are very safe. As for Motobike security, I always try and park the Moto off the street. All places are very accommodating for this. Some will even park the moto in the house 🙂

for Moto Travellers

Argentina does not have many mid to large size Motos. Imports are heavily taxed, so you will see alot of small chinese motos.

This is the same for bike servicing and repairs. Many mechanics will look at your large moto like it is a space ship. Parts / Oil are also horrendously expensive. expect to pay 4 times the price compared to USA / Europe. If you needs tyres or parts, you would be best off buying in neighboring Chile.

If the item you want to buy is not from Argentina, it will be expensive!. this goes for everything from tech to parts.

Best roads for Motorbike riding

Must See Sites

Regions

Buenos Aires

Cordoba and Surrounding Areas

Mendoza

Patagonia (Argentina)

Seven Lakes (San Martin de Los Andes to Bariloche)

Andes North-West (San Juan to Quebrada de Humahuaca)

Useful apps

Weather

Windy 

Windy (also known as Windyty or Windytv) is intuitive, fast, efficient and the most accurate weather forecast app trusted by professional pilots, surfers, boaters, fishermen, kiters, storm chasers and weather geeks. 

General

iOverlander 

iOverlander is a database of places for overlanders and travelers. It includes camping, hotels, restaurants, mechanics, water, propane filling and may other categories. Details are listed for each place, including amenities, photos, date last visited and GPS coordinates. In addition to finding places, you can add new places, record your trip, and share places with friends or other travelers. All of these features will work offline, except you will not be able to view the map.

Offline Survival Manual (Android only)

A great app that works offline with important survival tips.

Accommodation

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a community of travelers that host other travelers at no cost. It is based on experiences and references. ie. it is a give and take community of travelers. It is important to gain references by hosting people, meeting fellow couchsurfers and providing honest references. After all, this is application that allows anyone to join. This, like all applications like this, means people can join with the wrong intentions. References and verification of members allows you to be confident when being hosted.  Couchsurfing in south america is very popular. If you have good references you will find it easy to be hosted in the major cities. The hangout feature is also popular in the larger cities. this is great way to meet fellow travelers and hosts.

HostelWorld.com

Hostelworld allows you to search and book hostels around the world. Unlike Europe not all hostels in the Americas use Hostelworld. So it is important to use other apps like Google Maps and wikitravel to find hostels in your current area. This reason for this is hostelworld charges a fee for booking. So if possible try and book directly with the hostel.

AirBnb

AirBnb allows people to rent out their room/entire place to people for a fee. For me it is a last resort when looking for accommodation. I have found in the Americas that you can mostly book a hotel etc via booking.com cheaper than most listings on Airbnb.

Booking.com

Booking.com has a vast listing of all accommodation options from hotels and hostels. they also have alot of last minute deals that are usually much cheaper than airbnb. 

Maps & Navigation

As of 2017, there is not a single application that meet all the needs of an over-lander. Which is…. Offline use, navigation, and POIs. I find myself using a few application at the same time. these are listed below.

Maps.ME

Maps.ME is the best application for offline use and for its POIs catalog. It it useful for searching for POIs like sights etc. Its navigation is poor. I only use the navigation when there is not many options for route, between towns for example. 

OsmAnd

OsnAnd is vastly better than maps.me for navigation. It has move features for routes and excellent dashboard options like altitude etc. It also uses OpenStreetMaps, but i find the POIs better in Maps.ME.

Google Maps

Everyone knows about google maps. it is very good for navigation if you have internet access. Your route can be downloaded offline before you set off but this is not that helpful. POIs are better in Maps.ME.

 

My GPS Tracking 

This was my path across Argentina. KML file download