Riders ready to get on their horses in Argentina
Central and South America

Riding holidays and trail riding in Argentina

Argentina is a country known for its strong equestrian traditions; it is both the land of the hardy gaucho and polo, the sport of kings. Horseback trails through Argentina give the opportunity to explore the wide open pampas lands in the shadow of the majestic Andes mountains, or you can choose to relax in comfortable estancias, riding out each day to work with cattle, find forgotten waterfalls or see ancient Indian cave paintings. You can even decide to learn how to play polo! From Salta in the north to Patagonia in the south - horse riding holidays in Argentina are always filled with spectacular experiences and give true insight into the country’s equestrian culture.
See all our trips
  • Estancia Los Potreros
    Estancia Los Potreros
  • Horse riding expedition from Chile to Argentina
    Crossing the Andes at Aconcagua
  • Gaucho an his criollo horse in Argentina
    Gaucho and Criollo horse
  • Gaucho and cattle in Argentina
    Working with cattle in Argentina
  • Centre based estancia riding holiday in Argentina
    Estancia Stay Los Potreros Argentina
  • Salta and gauchos in Argentina
    Gauchos in Salta

Visa & Health

Formalities

To enter Argentina, a valid passport and onward ticket is required by all British, Australian, Canadian and American nationals. Nationals not referred to are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Visas:
Citizens of the USA, Canada and Australia must pay a reciprocity fee prior to arrival in Argentina. The reciprocity fee must be paid online by credit card and you must print the receipt and take it with you to the airport. You cannot pay the fee at the airport. As of 2014 the fees are: USD 160 for US citizens; USD 100 for Australian citizens and USD 92 for Canadian citizens. Visit https://reciprocidad.provincianet.com.ar/ for more information.



Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade d’Argentine en France
    6, rue Cimarosa
    75116 Paris
    Tél. : 01.44.05.27.00
    Fax :
  • Ambassade de France en Argentine
    Cerrito 1399
    C1010ABC Buenos aires
    Tél. : 54 11 4515 7030
    Fax :
  • Embassy of Argentina
    65 Brook Street
    W1K 4AH London
    Tél. : +44 020 7318 1300
    Fax :

Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Argentina, however, it's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Argentina. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended as well as a hepatitis A vaccination.
A yellow fever vaccination is recommended when travelling to the central north and northeast of the country, including the area around the Iguazu Falls.
Malaria is almost absent, except in remote areas along the border with Bolivia and Paraguay. Occurences are rare and taking normal anti-mosquito precautions is usually sufficient, so buy mosquito repellent (preferably with 50% DEET), and sleep under a net. Also wear long sleeves and trousers wherever possible.
Argentina's public health system provides free services for emergencies and non-emergencies, regardless of your nationality or immigration status. The level of care does vary, however, particularly outside Buenos Aires.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plug fittings in older buildings are of the two-pin round type, but most new buildings use the V-shaped twin with earth pin. Travellers should bring a world travel adaptor.

Budget and money

Argentina's currency is the peso (ARS or AR$). Within Argentina the $ symbol is used to denote a peso. To avoid confusion, the symbol for the US dollar is often one of several variations including, US$, U$, U$S or U$A.
One peso is divided into 100 centavos. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos and of 1 peso. Notes come in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos.
Exchange rates vary depending on where you try to exchange your money. Rates at the airport are usually substantially worse than the rate in the city. Be careful where you exchange your money - there are what Argentineans call "arbolitos" which are people who exchange AR$ for US dollars or another foreign currency on the street, and they can take advantage if you don't speak Spanish or if you don't know the exchange rate. Also be aware that there are many fake notes going around. If you get one then you can change them for good notes at Banco National.

Telephone and jetlag

To call Argentina, the following dial code is required:
+54 to dial in (00 54 from UK)

To call from Argentina, the following dial code is required:
00 code to dial out (00 44 for UK)

Standard Time +0400 GMT

Country information

Country ID

Official title: Argentina
Capital: Buenos Aires
Area: 2,780,400 sq km (1,073,518 sq miles)
Population: 43,4 million inhabitants (2016)
Population density: 15.6 per sq km
Language: Spanish is the official language of Argentina, which is called Castellano by Argentines. There are also sizeable German and Italian-speaking minorities, although most still revert to Spanish.
Religion: Argentina’s population is more than 90% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant with small Muslim and Jewish communities.
Government: Federal Republic
President: Mauricio Macri since 2015

Socio-economical data

Argentina is rich in natural resources and has a large and profitable agricultural sector. For all its potential, the economy has been historically blighted by high inflation and a massive foreign debt.
The Menem government of the mid-1990s made an attempt to tackle these through privatisation, free market economics and cuts in public spending. In addition, the value of the Peso was fixed to the US Dollar. The immediate results were reductions in the national debt and the inflation rate. However, the policy of Peso-Dollar parity eventually led to a sharp fall in exports and government tax revenues, as well as a large increase in government debt.
With external debt topping US$130 billion in 2001, Argentina was on the point of defaulting on its overseas debts, potentially leading to a complete economic meltdown. At the end of the year, the government was forced to devalue the Peso and freeze bank accounts.
The government has taken a number of steps to restructure its economy and in 2005 President Kirchner made the bold move of paying off the country's debt to the IMF. The country has battled back from the 2001 crisis, although it is currently experiencing significant inflation.

History

Human presence in the Argentine region of Patagonia can be traced back to as far as 13,000 BC through cave art found at Cueva de las Manos. By around 1000 BC, these nomadic groups had grown too large to survive on hunting alone and made early attempts at agriculture, predominantly focussed on maize and potatoes. From around 650 AD the culture of Tihuanaco from Bolivia started having an influence, evidenced by fine metal objects and ornately decorated ceramics found throughout the country's north-west. From around 850 AD small groups of settlers formed communities with individual dwellings and developed more sophisticated agricultural practices. Textiles were first woven around 1200 AD, examples of which can be seen in Salta's archaeological museum.
In 1480, the Inca Empire led by emperor Pachacutec, conquered northwestern Argentina.
European explorers arrived in 1516, and in 1580 Spain established a permanent colony on the site of Buenos Aires, before eventually creating the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. Many Spanish settlers arrived during this period. In 1810, after King Ferdinand VII had been overthrown by Napoleon, the citizens of Buenos Aires seized the opportunity to create the First Junta during a week that is known as the May Revolution. Immigration and investment from Europe helped modernize agricultural techniques. In one of the sadder points of Argentine history, the indigenous peoples of Patagonia were wiped out by the military during a campaign known as the "Conquest of the Desert".

Argentina achieved independence in 1816. Between the mid-19th century and 1946, Argentina swung from civilian to military rule, and from radical to conservative policies. A coup resulted in the rise of Lieutenant General Juan Domingo Perón as president in 1943.
After winning the election of 1946, Perón instigated a policy of extreme nationalism and social improvement. At his side throughout his rise to power was his second wife, former actress Eva Perón, until her death from cancer in 1952; she remains Argentina’s most iconic female figure.
President Perón was overthrown in 1955, but ensuing administrations failed to secure the full allegiance of either the people or the trade unions, and he was re-elected in 1973. On his death, a year later, Perón’s third wife Isabel took office, but she was deposed by a military coup in 1976.
The end of the Peronista period heralded perhaps the darkest period in Argentina’s history. Driven by an obsessive fear of 'Communism' and 'subversion', the new military regime instituted a reign of terror in which 'disappearances', torture and extra-judicial murder were commonplace. This awful time still feels very recent in today’s Buenos Aires, and the mothers of those who ‘disappeared’ during the Dirty War, can be seen silently marching around Plaza de Mayo every Thursday afternoon.
Argentina’s invasion of the Malvinas (Falkland Islands) in 1982, led to defeat at the hands of the British. While the topic is still a diplomatic sore point from time to time, relations between the two countries have somewhat improved.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner succeeded her husband, Néstor Carlos Kirchner, in 2007, becoming Argentina's first elected female president. She came to power promising more of the same centre-left populist policies that had served her husband so well. Soon, however, the US claimed to have found evidence of ‘suitcase scandals' - where illegal money from Venezuela was allegedly couriered in to aid her election.
In early 2008, Kirchner took a hard line with the country's farmers, imposing export tax hikes; the whole agricultural sector rebelled, blocking major roads, and consequently seeing food shortages in several parts of the country. Former Kirchner acolytes were then involved in violent actions against the protesters, bringing back horrific memories of former strong-arm governments. Cristina Kirchner’s popularity has plummeted, and in 2009 she lost her majority in Congress. In November 2012 she faced nationwide strikes spurred by general discontent with the economy. Despite having a majority Catholic population, in 2010 Argentina became the first country in South America to legalise same-sex marriage.

Geography

Argentina is situated in South America, separated from Chile to the west by the long spine of the Andes. Its landscape is extremely varied, with the top sub-tropical and sun-baked, and its sub-Antarctic bottom tip glistening with icy waters and glaciers. It has 3,100 miles (4,989km) of coastline. Its eastern border is the Atlantic Ocean, with Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil to the north and northeast.
Argentina can roughly be divided into four main geographical areas: the spectacular Andes mountain range, the dry North along with the more verdant Mesopotamia, the lush plains of the Pampas and the windswept wastes of Patagonia. Mount Aconcagua soars at almost 7,000m (23,000ft), and waterfalls at Iguazú stretch out in a massive semi-circle, thundering 70m (230ft) to the bed of the Paraná River.
Argentina’s lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in Santa Cruz Province, sitting 105m (344ft) below sea level. In the southwest is the Argentine Lake District with a string of beautiful glacial lakes framed by snow-covered mountains. At Argentina’s southernmost tip, and so the southernmost tip of the whole of South America, is Tierra del Fuego (Spanish for Land of Fire), a stunning archipelago split between Argentina and neighbouring Chile.

People, culture and traditions

The most common form of greeting between friends is kissing cheeks. It is customary for everyone to kiss cheeks on meeting and departing.

Dinner is usually eaten well into the evening - from around 21:00 onwards. While Argentina is famous for its wonderful wine, Argentines as a whole do not have the same propensity for drinking large amounts of alcohol as Europeans, and in bars and even nightclubs many will be drinking soft drinks and few will appear noticeably drunk.

Choosing the right riding holiday

Choosing the right riding holiday

There are many different riding holiday options in Argentina. The wide open spaces make it an ideal destination for trail rides, and the vastness of the country means that you can visit year round.

Argentina is a southern hemisphere destination and so their winter is our summer, and vice versa. This is important if you wish to visit the southern parts of the country, such as Patagonia, as the season is limited and horse riding is only possible during the summer months. This area is a mecca for skiing during the winter months, but all that snow closes the high passes to horses. During the summer months of October - April you can cross the Andes from Bariloche to the Chilean Lake District on a fantastic pack trip - the Andes Grand Traverse, or relax at the comfortable Estancia Huechahue, where you can ride as much as you wish across the pampas.

Further north, but still within the high mountain ranges of the Andes and therefore limited to their summer season, you can Cross to Chile at Aconcagua on a fantastic pack trip which reaches heights of 4,500m.

Further north again is the dry and desert-like Salta ride - this region is so far north that even the Andes can be ridden through in the winter months.

For a true year-round destination there is Estancia Los Potreros. Situated north of Buenos Aires, but south of the dry Salta region, they experience lovely summers and mild winters. Try your hand at Polo, watch the gaucho's at work or follow riding trails across the beautiful rolling hills.