A visit to South America’s gaucho country will be a thrilling one. But, you might have a few questions to answer before you book that ticket to Argentina.
Do You Need a Visa for Argentina?
In short – the answer is no.
If you plan to travel to Argentina for less than 90 days, then you do not need to obtain a visa.
For travelers who’d like to travel in Argentina for more than 90 days, it’s very simple to extend your stay.
It’s a called a ‘border run.’ Simply head to the nearest border with Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, or Uruguay. Then, hop over the boundary line and come back in.
Argentina will stamp your passport again for 90 more days. Just be sure that your passport will not expire within the next 6 months.
Travelers with U.S. Passports can make as many border-runs as they like. There is no maximum limit on the number of days per year you can be in Argentina.
Is Visa-Free Argentina a Third World Country?
To be honest, categorizing a country as ‘Third World’ is a bit dated. This is a term that came out during the Cold War (1947 – 1991). It was a label used to categorize non-communist nations. The idea was based on political affiliations and economic status.
Today, the term has mostly been surpassed with the categories of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Developing Countries, or Developed Countries.
Even so, the development level shouldn’t have any influence on whether a place is worth visiting. And, it does not influence whether a visa is required, regardless of if you are visiting Argentina or elsewhere.
Many people are surprised to learn that South America does not have any countries on the LDC list. Nope, not a single one. All countries in South America fall into the category of Developing Countries (formerly considered Second World nations).
Therefore, Argentina is classified as a Developing Nation as well. It is one of the highest-rated Developing Nations in the world, and one of the strongest in Latin America. Some sources call Argentina the most developed nation in South America, while others credit Chile or Uruguay as first in line.
The main issues that keep Argentina from rising to the level of a Developed Nation are 1) High infant mortality rates and 2) Quality of life due to large population areas without access to clean water, healthy food, and appropriate medical care.
Is it Expensive or Cheap to Travel in Argentina?
Argentina is a very large country and travel distances are quite grand. In fact, Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world and the 4th largest country in the Americas. And, it’s the largest Spanish-speaking nation on the planet. So, if you plan to see a good chunk of Argentina, it’s going to take some time and money to do it.
To see the whole country would take far more than 90 days. Covering this huge nation will require a border run at some point, in order to avoid needing a longer-term Argentina Visa.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to see it all in one trip. Argentina is divided by 23 provinces and four major geographical regions (the Andes, the North, the Pampas, and Patagonia). One could easily hone in on just one area of interest. This would keep the travel costs at a manageable level.
In terms of money management, travelers should know that Argentina’s economy is notoriously unstable. The currency is the Argentine peso. Its value compared against the U.S. dollar is constantly fluctuating.
Due to the fluctuation, the affordability of travel varies from month to month. Or, even week to week. One month, Argentina might seem like it’s the cheapest country in South America. The next month, it may very well be the most expensive.
For this reason, a more spontaneous outlook for planning a trip to Argentina could be beneficial. Super cheap last minute flights to Argentina could be a signal that it’s an ideal time to travel.
However, if you buy a cheap flight booked too far in advance, it may backfire. You run the risk that you might arrive when the economy has flipped again.
This means your flight may have been dirt cheap when you bought it, but everything else might be shockingly expensive by the time you arrive.
What is Argentina Best Known For?
A trip to Argentina is most sought after for the rich cultural value found in local experiences.
It’s a very romantic and nostalgic society, brimming over with music, art, and the chivalry of yesteryear.
Argentina is the birthplace of tango, the home turf of the gauchos (Spanish cowboys), and the cutting board for the world’s best steak. The country also puts on a mean soccer game and serves an epic glass of wine!
As far as landscapes go, Argentina is most recognized for Iguassu Falls – the largest waterfall system in the world. Then, there is Aconcagua, the highest mountain in both the Western and Southern hemispheres at 22,841 feet. And, you can’t forget Patagonia. It’s the wild, sparsely-populated southernmost region of South America.
National Route 40 is also a popular attraction. It’s one of the longest roads in the world, stretching 3,227 miles from Jujuy to Ushuaia.
There are so many ways to explore the country, especially since you don’t need an Argentina Visa!
Major Cities in Argentina
In terms of tourism interest, there are three major cities that typically hold the most interest for travelers. They are Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Salta.
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and the most populous city in the country with 2.8 million residents. The fashionable historic city is loved for its European architecture, tango in the streets, open-air markets, incredible art museums, and world-class restaurants.
Mendoza is the Napa Valley of South America, home to some of the best wineries and vineyards in the world. With a rich expat history, it’s a fabulous place to see firsthand the intricate blend of European and Latin cultures.
Make sure to pause in Chacras de Coria, where historic vineyards hide in the ever-growing urban landscapes. Finca Adalgisa is a classic choice to relish the wine estate lifestyle.
Salta is a historic city located in mountainous Northern Argentina. The city is best known for its indigenous influence, Spanish Colonial architecture, artisan markets, and folkloric peñas (folk music dinner shows that date back to the 1500s).
Stay in the quiet and scenic, Tres Cerritos neighborhood (Salta’s version of Hollywood Hills) in the chic residence turned boutique hotel at Kkala Boutique Hotel.
There are so many places to see, it will be hard to find a reason not to reset your stay, without ever needing an Argentina Visa.
Lesser Visited Destinations in Argentina
If you’re the type who loves to cash in on a country’s hidden gems, there are a few key places to add to your Argentina bucket list. Especially since you don’t need to obtain an Argentina Visa.
Tafi del Valle is an agricultural community in the heart of Argentina’s Calchaquí Valleys, about 300 km south of Salta. Part of the Tucuman province. It’s the perfect place to spot the gaucho lifestyle in full action at the historic Estancia Las Carreras. Plus, there are other living odes to Argentina’s deep history like the Jesuit missions and Hitipholic monoliths created by the indigenous Tafi people.
Termas de Luro are natural hot springs in the Buenos Aires province, about 600 km south of Mar del Plata. Eight different thermal pools (indoor and outdoor) are within a 25-acre, budget-friendly resort. Beyond the hot springs, it includes a hotel, brewery, spa, and natural beaches. The healing water contains more than 20 natural minerals and a salt density 3.6 times that of the ocean.