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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 Neuquén, 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.
My GPS Tracking
|Argentina (as of 2017)||Rating||Why|
|Money||The Argentinan peso is in crisis (2017). Inflation is high and obtaining Pesos from ATMs is difficult. Cards are only accepted in Major cities. Bring USD from outside Argentina and exchange to Pesos at high end hotels and Casinos (at a better rate than xe.com)|
|Accomodation||Accommodation options are plenty in Argentina. Hotels, Hostels, Couch-surfing and wild camping (outside main cities of course). However, hostels and hostels are more expensive than neighboring countries in South America.|
|Food||The Argentinean famous 'Asado' (Grilled meat) was ok. the quality of the meat was not great as it is custom here to eat all parts, so expect alot of fat in the meat. The rest is very greasy pizza with waaay too much cheese and fried food.|
|Drinks||The Malbec wine bring up this score from thumbs down to average. Though it won;t be as cheap as you think. Another classic is Fernet and cola. (Actually italian). Not for me.. The highlight for the beers is Patagonia brand. Though again expensive|
|Nightlife (Is it Party time?)||Buenos Aires and Cordoba were the highlights. be sure to get you pesos out from the ATMs well before Friday afternoon or you'll be waiting inline for hours. See money section|
|Motorbike Parts (Availability, cost of Adv Bikes Parts)||Parts / Oil are horrendously expensive. Expect to pay 4 times the price compared to USA / Europe. If you need tyres or parts, your best bet is to buy parts etc in neighboring Chile.|
|Petrol (Accessibility, Cost and Quality)||The quality of gasoline is good, unfortunately it is expensive for south america standards. Also in Patagonia, the distances between stations might require you to carry a small can. (depending on your tank size)|
|Fun Factor on the Road (Did the road put a smile on my face)||Compared to say Chilean Patagonia the roads in Argentina and very straight and boring. be prepared for long rides with nothing around. In the north of Salta, the roads are much better for motos, but still not great in south america standards.|
|Internet (Wifi Access / Local SIM Usage)||Local SIM cards are cheap but prepaid bundles are stuck in 1992. 50mb bundles. Wifi is available in most places but it also very slow. Claro was the best for coverage|
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 everywhere 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 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 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.
Argentina is relatively ‘safe’, see my post on safety in the Americas. 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, some will even park the moto in the house 🙂
for Moto Travellers
Argentina does not have many mid to large size Motorcycles. Imports are heavily taxed, so you will see a lot of small Chinese motorcycles.
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 say USA / Europe. If you need tyres or parts, your best bet would to buy parts etc 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 bike parts.
Best roads for Motorbike riding
- Seven Lakes (San Martin de Los Andes to Bariloche)
- Salta to Quebrada de Humahuaca
- Los Libertadores Pass, Mendoza (Argentina) to Los Andes (Chile)
- Agua Negra Pass (Paso de Agua Negra), La Serena to Argentina via Elqui Valley