Visa & Health
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. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/argentina/entry-requirements
Addresses of consulates
- Ambassade d’Argentine en France
6, rue Cimarosa
Tél. : 01.44.05.27.00
- Ambassade de France en Argentine
C1010ABC Buenos aires
Tél. : 54 11 4515 7030
- Embassy of Argentina
65 Brook Street
W1K 4AH London
Tél. : +44 020 7318 1300
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.
Budget and money
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
+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
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
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.
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.
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
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.