I had a pretty short stay for a big and beautiful country like Argentina. I was at the Iguassu Falls (as you can see in my last article). I went to Buenos Aires and stayed some days in Mendoza before I left Argentina already to Chile. I know there are Patagonia and the north with Cordoba, Salta and other beautiful places to visit. At least I have an excuse to go back. If you plan to go to Argentina stay three months or longer. You won’t get bored.
Money system in Argentina
One of the reasons for my short stay was that I did not know about the currency restrictions and the blue marked when I left back home in January. Otherwise, I would have brought more Dollars or Euros with me to stay longer. When you stay in Argentina only with credit or debit cards it costs 30 to 40% more than changing cash on the “blue marked”. People ask you in every City center for “Cambio” (they know exactly where in every Hostel or Hotel). Make sure you change money during the daytime on weekdays so you can get a better rate. In addition, bring high bills. They love 100$-bills and they will give you a better rate for them than for 20$ or lower bills. In Buenos Aires, you can have endless of possibilities to change on Florida Street. If you are already in Buenos Aires and you run out of Dollars you can get Dollars in Uruguay from the ATM. Although, the ferries are quite expensive so bring a lot of Dollars with you on the way back. There are 4 ATMs in Colonia (closest harbor in Uruguay) where you can get 300$ each per day. That means you get 1200$ per Card if all of the ATMs are working (sometimes they run out of dollars because you won’t be the only one using it). Cards with only a chip won’t work at all so check if your magnetic stripe is working (some European banks lock the magnet for security reasons because it’s not used in most European countries anymore). Colonia is also nice to visit for one day. It has a lot of history because it was a strategic and important harbor.
Update: since 2016 there are no restrictions on buying foreign currencies anymore… so you can use ATM and credit card without losing a lot of money.
I reached Buenos Aires by taking a 19-hour bus ride. Probably it would have been worth it to take a plane… but as always I made a sudden decision to go to Buenos Aires directly from Iguassu. That’s usually not the best way to get a cheap plane ticket.
During the bus ride, I had nothing much to complain. They served pretty good Chicken for dinner and a nice breakfast too. However, lunch was only a snack with some cheap Alfajores. Overall the busses in Argentina are quite comfortable.
Buenos Aires appeared very European to me. At first, I stayed a few days in Palermo where I had my first really good Argentinean steak at the restaurant “Don Julio”.
Then I moved to the center for another few days but after discovering Recoleta I thought I should have stayed there. It seemed to be the most lively area and it feels more like South America than Europe. Certainly, I’ve visited the famous Cemetery which is impressive.
I had the feeling that the real spirit of the City is neither in the center nor in Palermo but in Recoleta and San Telmo where I went for some touristic Photo with a Tango dancer in the street. I tried to look very serious like a real macho tango dancer… obviously, I failed to do so.
For sure I did not miss out taking a walk at Puerto Madero the beautiful Harbor. The Calatrava Bridge should represent a dancing couple. But I never understood the fantasy of the Architects… so please leave a comment if you see the resemblance of a couple. Anyways it looks nice although I did not catch the best day concerning the weather.
A little further along the river, you will find La Boca. Famous for its football team (or soccer for the Americans), its colorful houses (in Caminito) and for its high crime rate. Fortunately, I didn’t experience anything bad but probably you should stay away there at night.
I didn’t go to an opera but I went for a guided tour to the “Teatro Colon”. The guide was absolutely brilliant. He had loads of stories and jokes to tell so I never felt bored during the 90 minutes tour. Although the price was pretty high for the tour it was still worth it.
Mendoza is also a beautiful place to stay. The city itself is very green and in addition, there is a huge park (Parque General San Martin) where you can walk for hours outside of the city. The Army of the Andes Monument on the Hill of Glory (Cerro de Gloria) has a beautiful view to the backcountry of the City.
Furthermore, there are plenty of possibilities for trips to the surroundings. There are many vineyards and olive oil producer to visit or you can go horse riding in the beautiful landscape at sunset.
Going for some trips to the high mountains close to the Chilean border is also possible.
Although it’s beautiful it’s not worth the money for the tour. If you are a group of 4 or 5 it would be cheaper to rent a car and do that by yourself.
In town, I went twice to the same restaurant because they cook awesome Argentinian food! The name of the restaurant is “La Lucia”. I had there the best steaks combined with wonderful side dishes and a delicious wine of Mendoza.
The service is also brilliant! They help you choose the wine and whatever you ask for like in a classy 5-Star Restaurant but the prices are not higher than in other restaurants.
I can’t wait to go back to Argentina :-). Please feel free to add some advice to the comment section or message me on firstname.lastname@example.org. For more and instant update of the photos, follow Blogodiary on Instagram.