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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 Alberto Fernández since 2019.

Head of government:

President Alberto Fernández since 2019.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus health information

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Argentina on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Argentina.

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

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.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Argentina

Movement between jurisdictions is permitted, provided you meet the requirements of the specific jurisdiction/province you plan to visit.

If you are aged 13 or over you may be required to prove you have received a complete course of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter certain venues and events. You can do this via the ‘Cuidar’ (Health Pass) app, or via a document from a national or state-level public health body if vaccinated abroad. Additional requirements can be imposed by each jurisdiction/province.

You should make sure you understand and comply with the measures in place in the province/jurisdiction you are in. You should check what measures apply in your location and any other location you might qualify to travel to or transit through on the Ministry of Health website (in Spanish). You could be subject to a financial penalty if you do not abide by local regulations.

Public spaces and services

The use of a face mask is recommended in all indoor settings, including public transport. Additional restrictions may vary between jurisdictions. Make sure to check what rules apply in your jurisdiction.

Healthcare in Argentina

For COVID-19 information, including symptoms, testing or what to do if you have tested positive, visit the Government of Argentina’s website or contact the Ministry of Health’s 27/4 advice line by dialling 120 from a local line or via WhatsApp on +54 9 11 2256-0566.

For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Argentina.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can find more information about cases in Argentina on the TravelHealthPro website.

Crime

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

Keep a close eye on your personal possessions at all times. Thieves normally work in teams of two or more and tend to target small bags and pockets. Don’t carry all your valuables in one place. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing jewellery. 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. Keep a photocopy or scanned copy of your passport somewhere safe. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night.

Thieves posing as hotel guests are known to snatch bags while tourists are checking into hotels or hostels. Keep your belongings close to you in restaurants and bars. Don’t hang bags on the back of your chair but keep them on your lap instead.

Thieves and pickpockets operate on public transport, bus and train terminals. Handbags can be cut open in crowded places. Mobile phones are snatched while being used on the street. Thieves on motorbikes are known to snatch bags from pedestrians. Thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars, are common. Keep your valuables out of sight. Avoid using ATMs at night and remain aware of your surroundings when withdrawing money.

In Buenos Aires, remain alert at all times but particularly in the areas of San Telmo, La Boca, Retiro, Florida Street, 9 de Julio, Avenida de Mayo and Rivadavia Avenues near the obelisk area. Distraction thefts at the Retiro Bus terminal are very common.

Robberies involving physical violence and the use of weapons are known to occur in the streets immediately outside of the Caminito tourist area in La Boca. Make sure to stay within the designated tourist area where there are high visibility police patrols. If being robbed, hand over your cash and valuables without resistance. For English assistance visit the Buenos Aires Police website. You can also visit the Tourist Police at Av Corrientes 436 or call +54 911 5050 9260/3293 if ringing from a mobile or 155 5050 9260/3293 from a local landline (available 24 hours).

On 14 December 2019 a British tourist was fatally shot and another seriously injured having been targeted by a gang on arrival at Ezeiza International Airport who followed them to their hotel in Puerto Madero.

In Mendoza, remain alert at all times, particularly at the bus terminal and at the General San Martín Park. Distraction thefts at the bus terminal are the second most common problem reported to the British Embassy. For English assistance contact the local Tourist Police at San Martin 1143 or on +54 (0)261 413 2135 (available 24 hours).

If possible, book taxis in advance. If you hail a taxi in the street, only use a ‘radio taxi’. These have a clearly visible company logo on the rear passenger doors. Some popular ride hailing apps are not regulated by the government of Argentina. The City of Buenos Aires’ government site holds a downloadable list of registered taxi companies with their contact details. For transport to and from airports, the [Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 site] lists the options available at each airport in the country (available in English).

Though not common, kidnappings and so called ‘express kidnappings’ occur in Argentina. Victims are held and forced to empty their bank accounts in different ATMs after which they are normally quickly released.

If you’re a victim of crime, you should inform the local police and get a police report from the nearest police station.

Extreme and adventure sports

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. Only use reputable operators and insist on training. Make sure your travel insurance covers all the activities you want to undertake and includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation. Mount Aconcagua and other locations will charge you for a helicopter rescue.

Political situation

Political demonstrations and picketing are more common in Argentina than in the UK. Some demonstrations attract large numbers of people and there have been cases of demonstrations turning violent.

You should exercise normal caution at any large gathering, and be aware of your surroundings. You should avoid all protests, demonstrations and marches and 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.

Local travel

Groups of demonstrators (piqueteros) sometimes block major roads into and out of Buenos Aires during times of social unrest. This can cause significant delays.

Air travel

The departure of flights from airports in 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.

The FCDO is unable to offer advice on the safety of individual airlines, but the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the Aviation Safety Network website.

Road travel

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

Driving and road safety standards vary. Respect for speed limits and traffic signals is patchy, and other road users can make unexpected manoeuvres. Crime against car users, particularly when stationary at traffic lights, is a problem. Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times 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 if you intend to drive in this area.

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 are in charge of a vessel, make contact with your agent or the local authorities before travelling. Most cruise ships and visiting tourists should not be affected.

Terrorist attacks in Argentina can’t be ruled out.

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 more about the global threat from terrorism.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

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

Argentine society is open and diverse. Same-sex marriage is legal; rights are protected by the constitution and by legislation tackling all kinds of discrimination. Argentina is a signatory to international and regional agreements protecting LGBT rights. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community 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, you should seek independent legal advice.

This page has information on travelling to Argentina.

This page 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 unsure how [Country’s] entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

All travellers

Argentina’s borders are open to all travellers, providing they comply with immigration requirements.

There are no longer any COVID-19 specific entry requirements regardless of your vaccination status.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

If you are visiting Argentina, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

If you are a resident in Argentina, your passport must be valid for entry. No additional period of validity beyond your arrival date is required.

Visas

You don’t need a visa to enter or travel through Argentina as a visitor, unless you’re travelling on an Emergency Travel Document. To apply for this visa you must contact the Consulate of the Argentine Republic closest to you.

On presentation of a valid British passport you will be granted permission to stay in the country for a period of up to 90 days at the discretion of the Immigration Officer. You can obtain 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, seek advice from the Argentine Migration Office before your current authorised stay runs out.

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

UK Emergency Travel Documents

Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Argentina. However, holders of an ETD must apply for the appropriate Argentine visa to enter the country. For entry into Argentina, your ETD should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Other health risks

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travel to some parts of the country. Check the TravelHealthPro website for more information.

UK health authorities have classified Argentina as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Dengue fever can occur throughout the year. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Asthma, sinus and bronchial problems can be aggravated by the polluted atmosphere in the major cities.

Local medical care

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 107 or 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Medical facilities are good, but can be expensive. Public hospitals tend to be crowded. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition and you regularly take prescribed medication, carry enough medication to cover the duration of your stay and a letter from your doctor describing the medical condition. You can find most medication in pharmacies in large cities, but medicine for complex treatment may be unavailable in smaller towns. You will need a prescription from a local doctor to get prescribed medication. All medication in pharmacies, whether prescribed or not, is stored behind the counter and must be requested.

Many northern provinces suffer from occasional flooding. This can lead to disruption to transport and delivery of food. Flash floods can occur during heavy rains in other areas, such as the province of Buenos Aires. Monitor local media and follow any instructions given by the local authorities.

The Copahue Volcano on the Argentina/Chile border erupts every so often, causing local residents to be evacuated. If you’re travelling to this area, monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

The currency of Argentina is the peso.

ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels and major shops and restaurants. Photo ID may be required. Travellers’ cheques aren’t always accepted.

The government of Argentina has imposed restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency in Argentina. You should monitor the media for updates on these restrictions as they’re subject to regular change.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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