A Guide to Accommodation and Getting Around Argentina

Should you fly, or go by bus? Stay in a hostel, or splurge on an estancia? Our insiders share their tips.

Photo © iStock/EAQ

Types of Accommodation

In bigger cities like Buenos AiresCordoba, and Mendoza, expect a mix of swanky hotels, apartments, budget hostels, and guesthouses. In rural areas and the Lake District, upscale lodging tends to be more boutique style, or you can stay at estancias (ranches turned B&B, also known as fincas).

For Budget Travelers

If you’re on a tighter budget, try websites like Airbnb (but beware of Airbnb scams). This is a good option if there’s a group of you, as you can rent an entire apartment for far less than a hotel – plus, you can cook for yourselves to save money on dining.

You’ll also find hostels with dorm beds starting at US $10 ($240 ARS) night, and double rooms starting around US $25 ($600 ARS) per night.

For Midrange Travelers

Apartments are still a good bet for mid-range travelers, but it’s sometimes nice to stay in a guesthouse rather than be secluded in an apartment with no other travelers around.

Have a look at posadas (small guest houses with just a few rooms). Many have shared bathrooms, but others have private showers and toilets. Breakfast is typically included, along with a kitchen for your use. Double rooms usually range from US $50-$75 ($1,200-$1,805 ARS) per night.

For a Bit of Luxury

If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, or just want to experience a different style of accommodation during your trip, consider a lodge, estancia, chalet, or boutique hotel.

Estancias are ranches or farms which offer rooms, food, and activities for guests. You’ll get to learn about life on the farm and can be as involved as you want. For two people, costs generally run around $200 ($4,815 ARS) per night.

Mountain lodges (often with stunning views, spas, and restaurants on site) or boutique hotels (often converted family houses, with each room decorated differently) start at around US $115 ($2,770 ARS) per night, and are worth splurging on.

Note: As of 2017, if you pay for your hotel with your foreign credit card, you no longer have to pay the 21% tax.

An estancia. Photo credit: Sean O'Reilly

Getting Around by Bus

Buses are probably the best way to get around Argentina, and there are numerous bus companies to choose from. You can either go online to book – Omnilineas is a good online booking platform – or show up at the bus station to pre-purchase your tickets there. You’ll have the choice of class between comon (regular seat), semi-cama (seat that reclines part way), coche cama (seat that reclines almost all the way flat), and ejecutivo (executive sleeper).

The price of the bus journey varies depending on the company and the route. Each bus company is different, and you’ll want to note what is included with the bus you choose: food, bathroom, refreshments (wine!), attendants, stops, etc. But to give an example, an overnight, 15-hour journey from Buenos Aires to Mendoza will cost around US $75 ($1,823 ARS). Overnight trips can be a great way to save money on the cost of a hotel.

Flights

Whether or not you choose to fly will depend on your budget (and your tolerance for long bus rides). A flight from Buenos Aires to Mendoza will cost around US $160 ($3,890 ARS) with LATAM and Aerolineas Airlines – with Aerolineas, you’ll have to tack on a further US $80 ($1,945 ARS) for your first checked bag. There’s also a new domestic budget airline called Fly Bondi which often has good deals.

Buses tend to cost 50% or less than flights – and if you consider that a bus ride counts as an overnight stay, and that you often need to take an expensive taxi out to the airport (and in), it often ends up being much more economical to take the bus.

Photo credit: iStock/Bee-individual

Rental Vehicles

Renting a car is a great way to see Argentina at your own pace. Pulling over for picnics, stopping for photos whenever you feel like it, and taking random, scenic side roads is what it’s all about.

The only downside is that renting a car will cost you about US $50 ($1,215 ARS) per day. Discounts are sometimes available if you rent for a week or more. Also, you’ll want to make sure that you do a loop, so that you can pick up and return the vehicle to the same place. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at a huge drop-off fee (typically US $0.60/$15 ARS per kilometer). For example, if you picked up in Mendoza and dropped off in Bariloche, that would cost you a hefty $720 ($15,500 ARS) drop-off fee!

Want to know more about Argentina? Listen to the World Nomads podcast. How drinking mate defines Argentinians, how to kiss properly when you greet someone, and meet Popi, the scientist who's saving penguins.

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