Argentina was the first stop on our South American adventure, and to be honest, we were not really sure what to expect. The following five lessons were our stand out learnings from our month in Argentina.
Always Carry Your Passport
It was our first proper day in Argentina and we pulled our jet lagged selves out of bed to go in search of a supermarket. We slowly and painfully found all the items we needed only to be told after they were all scanned in that we needed a passport to be able to use our credit card. I had a photo of my passport on my phone, but that was apparently not good enough. We had to put everything aside and run home to retrieve the passport. This came up a few times, so we started ensuring to always have our passports with us.
Bring Pesos/ Cash With You
I changed some money before arriving in Argentina, so we were over a week into our month long holiday when I went to get more cash from the cash machine and got a very rude shock. Cash machines in Argentina charge scandalously high fees. I have been charged between $8 – 15$ just to use the ATM, and most ATM’s have a withdrawal limit of around $130. I was livid. So of course we tried to use our credit card as much as possible, but we did find the card machines to be unreliable. I always had 2 – 3 different cards with me as usually one would work, but often times I got stuck using cash.
Also, places which you would assume would take credit card, often do now. For example, we went for dinner at a very posh and expensive parilla restaurant. Only to find out that our $150 dinner would be cash only. Luckily we had enough on us at the time.
If you want to avoid the scarily high fees, I would recommend bringing as much cash with you as you are comfortable with carrying.
We brought a universal adapter with us but found that we hardly had to use it at all. Argentinian hotels are quite clever and most have outlets with universal plugs. So if you forget your adapter, you will probably be safe anyway.
Domestic Flights Are Expensive
I was shocked when I started booking some of our domestic Argentinian flights only to find that many were just as expensive, if not more expensive, than domestic flights in Australia. And here I thought Australia was crazy expensive! I found that by booking far in advance I was able to get moderately OK priced flights, but don’t be shocked if you get a massive fare increase if you leave it to the last minute.
There of course is always the option of taking ground transport, but the distances are huge, so if you don’t want to take very long bus rides, then book your flights in advance.
Don’t Order The Pizza
Argentina apparently consumes the most pizza per capita in the world (after the USA), and yet, the pizza sucks so hard. So. Hard.
We had to make a “no pizza in Argentina” rule because it was so bad. Soggy bases, weird toppings, waaayyy too much grease and cheese. It’s just not good. It’s not even good in a “man this dirty pizza is good” sort of way. It’s just bad.
Our first Argentinian pizza was ham and pineapple. The pineapple rings were garnished with maraschino cherries. Now candied cherries were the last thing I was expecting, so my brain told me they must be tomatoes when I saw the red spheres on my pizza. I bit into it without paying attention. Not tomatoes. Nope.
The second pizza we got was so greasy that the grease managed to soak through the cardboard pizza box, and then through my purse, and finally into my jeans during a short taxi ride. I didn’t eat it after that.
The third pizza was ham and rocket. Except there was very little ham, and enough rocket to make side salads for a dinner party of 12.
And so the no pizza rule was enacted, and we started to eat better.