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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Entering Argentina - Travel Recommendations

Each time someone comes to visit, I put together this email filled with, in my opinion, helpful information that one may need when visiting Argentina.  My brilliant husband recommended that instead of writing up an email every time, I should make this a blog post - and with our next "wave" of visitors heading our way in the next few months, I thought I would do just that.  Ironically, our friends Allison and Scott beat me to this post-punch and added helpful hints for visitors on their blog, Married and Mobile, just this week.  Their post is funny and honest and includes all sorts of items that I hadn't even considered, you should definitely check it out.  As for me, here's my advice when visiting beautiful Argentina...

Before You Leave
  • Make 2 copies of your passport, just the page with your photo and information.
  • American citizens (along with many other countries, for a full list, click here) do not need a visa to enter Argentina.  You visit for up to 90 days at a time, for up to 180 days in a year (if you leave the country and return). 
  • Check with your credit cards to see if they charge overseas fees.  Also, the card(s) that you plan on using while here, be sure to let them know that you will be out of the country so that they don't flag you for fraud.  FYI - Capital One does not charge overseas transaction fees.  It's the only card we could find with this perk.
  • Argentina uses 220v, unlike the weak 110v of the US.  Check anything electric that you plan on bringing (curling irons, hairdryer, cell phone charger anything that plugs in) for the voltage capacity.  Generally it will say on the label, you're looking for 220v or 110v - 240v.  If the appliance doesn't say 220v on it, leave it at home.  You will also need a plug adapter, better to get one in the US versus once you arrive, Argentinean electronics are known for being problematic.  
  • Know the address of your destination.  This information is necessary to fill out your immigration form, and inexperienced world travelers like me didn't know that.  This held me up at least 40 minutes at the immigration counter my first time - and I was stressing. 
  • Your passport and 2 photocopies of the page with your picture and information.  
  • GOOD WALKING SHOES - there is a ton of walking in the city, wear shoes that won't kill your feet. 
  • Comfortable, lightweight clothes (assuming it's summer).
  • Leave all good jewelry at home, especially anything with a stone.  This includes wedding rings, you can wear a band, but nothing with a diamond.  Wearing any sort of "fancy" jewelry will only signal that you are not from around here, aka - please rob me.  Argentina is not (in my opinion) dangerous, but take precautions beyond what you would take in the US.  
Helpful Tips
  • Many stores/people here will only work in cash - you can withdraw money at an ATM or bring US dollars to convert.  The current exchange rate is 3.90 pesos to the dollar.  
  • I feel comfortable carrying a purse here, but many people choose not to.  If you want to bring a purse, bring something small that you can carry close the whole time.  I generally sit with my purse on my lap when I eat, none of this "hang it on your chair" nonsense.  Also, a purse that closes is a good idea, the "satchel" that only has a small tie or buckle at the top is perfect for pick-pocketers.
The Airport
  • There is a reciprocity fee for Americans, Canadians and Australians entering Argentina.  Currently, the fee is $140 per person (it is good for 10 years).  This fee is only collected if you arrive through Ezeiza Airport (the big international airport) although be careful, rumor has it that Jorge Newberry (the regional airport here) will be closing for a few months beginning October 15.  This means that all previous Newberry flights will now come through Ezeiza.   When you land in Bs As, they will direct you to customs when you leave the plane.  There will be 2 lines, one for residents and one for tourists/travelers - if you need to pay the fee, go to the the tourist line.  Note: Resident Visa holders to NOT need to pay this fee. 
  • After you clear immigration, bring your luggage through customs.  They offer free carts at the luggage claim.  After you have your luggage, they make you put it through an Xray machine before you proceed out of the airport. 
That is it for now.  When I think of more, I'll update this list.  We hope to see you soon!


  1. Hi Dawn - We're adding to our recommended "to bring" list and included the following:

    The outlets here are either 2 circular prongs (like continental Europe) or 2 straight prongs like in the USA but rotated 45 degrees.

    Bring some cash in USD (say $200-$250, preferably in $20 bills). Chances are you'll be able to pay for tours in dollars. Note that when you're bringing USD, they have to be free of any marks (i.e. no rips, tears, pen/ink marks, etc).

    -Allison & Scott

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing this info!!
    I think this is can be very usefull for my daughter who is plannig to go to a university in argentina so she can improve her spanish and also to have an experience living in another country. I'll miss her a lot, but well, as a mother I'm proud of her, and I'm happy is she's happy, right?
    So I wanted to thank yo for this post, and also if youhave any recommendations or suggestions, well, that woulb be great, too.