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Argentina travel guide

About Argentina

Spirited Argentina, with its clamouring capital, vast pampas, rolling wine regions and snowy peaks, is a land bursting with adventure. It’s a place where the clichés hold true: football is essentially a religion, the beef is phenomenal and there’s little point even thinking about starting a proper night out before midnight. Its natural wonders range from Andean plateaux and Patagonian glaciers to subtropical waterfalls and wildlife-rich wetlands. There’s an awful lot to love.

Buenos Aires might sit at the very edge of the country, gazing out across the Rio de la Plata, but it’s very much Argentina’s centrepiece. The city of Evita and Maradona, its tango halls, parillas (grill restaurants) and feisty porteños (BA residents) provide a gutsy introduction to the country. In the high-end neighbourhoods of Recoleta and Palermo you’ll find designer boutiques and trendy eateries, while historic San Telmo offers antique stalls, old-world cafés and an abundance of live music.

In the north, scorched mountains and otherworldly rock formations characterise the Salta region, where Spanish and Gaucho traditions combine and Argentina’s famous white wines flourish. Further west, in the Mendoza region, the grapes are red and the foothills of the Andes offer skiing, while down south, in Patagonia, you’ll find an astonishing spread of expansive lakes, jagged peaks and mile upon empty mile of open space.

Elsewhere, try walking in the glistening Lake District, whale-watching off the coast at Puerto Madryn, meeting baby penguins in Punta Tombo or exploring the Jesuit chapels and farmhouses of Córdoba. Another of the country’s majestic natural beauties is the mighty Iguazu Falls, bordering Argentina and Brazil. 

Despite living through a dark military dictatorship and a spectacularly devastating economic crisis, Argentineans still have a vivacious and infectious lust for life. And from its subtropical top to its icy tip, it remains a mesmerising country.

Key facts

Area:

2,780,400 sq km (1,073,518 sq miles).

Population:

44,022,394 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

15.6 per sq km.

Capital:

Buenos Aires.

Government:

Federal republic.

Head of state:

President Javier Milei since 2023.

Head of government:

President Javier Milei since 2023.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
  • information for women, LGBT and disabled travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Argentina set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact Argentina’s embassy or consulate in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

Countries may restrict travel or bring in rules at short notice. Check with your travel company or airline for changes.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Visit TravelHealthPro (from the UK Health Security Agency) for general COVID-19 advice for travellers.

Travel to Argentina

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for passengers entering Argentina.

Passport validity requirements

If you are visiting Argentina, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. If you are a resident in Argentina, your passport must be valid for entry.

Visa requirements

You don’t need a visa to enter or travel through Argentina as a tourist for up to 3 months, unless you’re travelling on an emergency travel document.

You can get proof of your last entry or exit from Argentina from the Argentine Migration Office website. If you wish to extend your stay for another 90-day period, get advice from the Argentine Migration Office before your current stay ends.

If you’re travelling to Argentina for any purpose other than tourism, contact the Consulate of the Argentine Republic in London.

Applying for a visa

To apply contact your nearest Consulate of the Argentine Republic.

Travelling with children

Children aged 17 and under who are resident in Argentina need written permission (‘Autorización de viaje’) from the non-accompanying parents to leave the country.

Non-resident children aged 17 and under who have remained in Argentina for 1 year or more are treated in line with resident children and also need permission. You can get permission from a notary public in Argentina or the Argentine Migration Office.

You can get full information on the different types of permission and requirements for children leaving Argentina from the Argentine Migration Office or from your nearest Consulate of the Argentine Republic.

Vaccination requirements (other than COVID-19)

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and vaccination certificates you may need on TravelHealthPro’s Argentina guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of Argentina. Read the Argentinian government website for more information (in Spanish). You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Taking money into or out of Argentina

You can only enter or leave Argentina with less than 10,000 US dollars or the equivalent in other currencies. Read the Federal Administration of Public Income website for more information (in Spanish).

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Argentina

Terrorist attacks in Argentina cannot be ruled out.

Political situation

Political demonstrations and picketing are more common in Argentina than in the UK. Some demonstrations attract large numbers of people, and they can occasionally turn violent.

You should:

  • avoid all protests, demonstrations and marches
  • exercise normal caution at any large gathering
  • be aware of your surroundings
  • follow the advice of local authorities

There have also been occasional Falklands-related protests including outside the British Embassy and British-affiliated businesses in Argentina.

Demonstrations

Groups of demonstrators (‘piqueteros’) sometimes block major roads during times of social unrest. This can include blocking the major routes into and out of Buenos Aires City. This can cause significant delays.

When planning to travel:

  • monitor the local news
  • do not attempt to cross blockades
  • follow the advice of the local authorities

Crime

Protecting your belongings

Thieves normally work in teams of 2 or more and tend to target small bags and pockets. You should:

  • always keep a close eye on your personal possessions
  • not carry all your valuables in one place
  • avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing jewellery
  • keep a photocopy or scanned copy of your passport somewhere safe
  • avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night

You might be asked for a photo ID when paying with a credit card so carry one with you but keep it secured. A money belt under your clothes is the safest option.

Theft

Thieves and pickpockets operate on public transport, bus and train terminals.

Thieves posing as hotel guests snatch bags while tourists are checking into hotels or hostels. Handbags can be cut open in crowded places and mobile phones have been snatched while being used on the street. Thieves on motorbikes can snatch bags from pedestrians.

Thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars, are common.

You should:

  • keep your valuables out of sight or close to you
  • avoid hanging bags on the back of your chair
  • avoid using ATMs at night
  • be aware of your surroundings when withdrawing money

Street crime and scams

Be alert to street crime, especially thieves (often women) using distraction techniques. A common form of distraction theft reported in Buenos Aires is the ‘mustard scam’. Thieves will rob tourists while an accomplice pretends to help remove mustard that has been accidentally sprayed on them. If this happens to you, politely but firmly refuse assistance and walk away.

In Buenos Aires, be particularly cautious in:

  • Palermo
  • San Telmo
  • La Boca
  • Retiro
  • Florida Street
  • 9 de Julio
  • Avenida de Mayo
  • Rivadavia Avenues near the obelisk
  • the Retiro Bus terminal

In Mendoza, be particularly cautious downtown.

Violent crime

Violent and armed robberies can happen in the streets immediately outside the Caminito tourist area in La Boca. Stay in the designated tourist area where there are high-visibility police patrols. If robbed, hand over your cash and valuables without resistance.

Kidnappings and ‘express kidnappings’ occasionally occur in Argentina. Victims are held and forced to empty their bank accounts in different ATMs after which they are normally quickly released.

For English-language assistance, safety tips issued by the City of Buenos Aires, or to file a police report online, visit the Buenos Aires Police website (only accessible in Argentina). You can also contact the Tourist Police, who are available 24 hours:

Telephone: +54 911 5050 9260/3293 (from a mobile)

Telephone: 155 5050 9260/3293 (from a local landline)

Drink and food spiking

Drinks and other foods can be spiked and could put you at risk of robbery or assault. Do not leave food or drinks unattended in bars and restaurants and do not accept them from strangers.

Be aware of the risk of bringing people you don’t know well into your accommodation. It doesn’t happen often, but there have been reports of foreign tourists being robbed or assaulted after inviting new acquaintances, met online or in person, into their accommodation. Be alert to the possible use of ‘date rape’ and other drugs. Alcohol and drugs can reduce your vigilance, making you less in control.

Laws and cultural differences

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Don’t become involved with illegal drugs of any kind. Possessing even very small quantities can lead to a lengthy prison sentence.

LGBT travellers

Argentine society is open and diverse. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is rare. Same-sex marriage is legal. Read our advice for LGBT travellers before you travel.

The government of Argentina has stated that it intends to pursue legal action against oil and gas companies engaged in hydrocarbon exploration in the Falkland Islands. If you’re travelling to Argentina and think you may be affected by this type of legal action, seek independent legal advice.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

If you take part in extreme or adventure sports (including paragliding, climbing, off-road driving and hot air ballooning), make sure:

  • adequate safety precautions are in place
  • you only use reputable operators and insist on training
  • your travel insurance covers all the activities you want to undertake and includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation

You will have to pay for most helicopter rescues, including in Mount Aconcagua.

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Argentina. More information about altitude sickness is available from TravelHealthPro (from the UK’s National Travel Health Network and Centre).

Transport risks

Road travel

You will need an International Driving Permit to drive in Argentina.

Respect for speed limits and traffic signals varies and drivers can make unexpected manoeuvres. Crime against car users, particularly when stationary at traffic lights, is a problem.  Always keep car windows closed and doors locked in major cities.

Take care when driving in the province of Misiones, close to the borders with Paraguay and Brazil; the area is used to smuggle goods. Seek local advice from customs officials if you intend to drive in this area.

Taxis

Book taxis in advance if possible. If you hail a taxi in the street, only use a ‘radio taxi’. These have a clearly visible logo on the car doors.

See the City of Buenos Aires’ government site for a downloadable list of registered taxi companies with their contact details.

Air travel

Flights from Argentina can be unreliable and susceptible to delays and cancellations. Check the status of your flight with your airline or travel company before travelling to the airport.

Sea travel

There have been cases of disruption by activist groups and unions against British-flagged shipping, and shipping involved in hydrocarbons or fishing activity in the Falkland Islands. If you’re responsible for a vessel, contact your agent or the local authorities before travelling. Most cruise ships and visiting tourists should not be affected.

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Flooding

Many northern provinces experience occasional flooding. This can disrupt transport and delivery of food. Flash floods can occur during heavy rains, in provinces including Buenos Aires. Monitor local media and follow instructions given by the local authorities.

Volcanic eruptions

The Copahue Volcano on the Argentina-Chile border erupts occasionally, and residents are evacuated. If you’re travelling to this area, monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 107 or 911 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:

Health risks

Health risks in Argentina include:

  • yellow fever
  • Zika virus
  • dengue

See the ‘Other risks’ section of the TravelHealthPro Argentina guide for more details.

Medication

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

TravelHealthPro explains best practice when travelling with medicines.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities

Medical facilities are good but can be expensive. Public hospitals tend to be crowded.

You can view a list of English-speaking doctors in in Argentina.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also guidance on travelling with mental health conditions on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services

Ambulance: 107

Fire: 100

Police: 911 or 101

Find out about call charges

Tourist Police

The Tourist Police can give help in English in certain areas. They are available 24 hours.

Buenos Aires Tourist Police

For contact details and more information, see the Buenos Aires Tourism website.

Mendoza Tourist Police

For contact details and more information, see the Mendoza tourism website.

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO provides guidance on how to help yourself stay safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Find more support for British nationals abroad.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy Buenos Aires.

You can also contact FCDO online.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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