Replies: 7 - Last Post: Feb 25, 2013 2:29 PM Last Post By: marksoc
Feb 12, 2013 11:37 AM
Argentina hasslesI had a trip to Argentina planned later in the year, however due to suffering bit of illness and keen to avoid stress.
How much of a hassle is it to go around Argentina, with no Spanish, along the main sights - Buenos Aries, Mendoza, Salta and the falls using buses and planes - obviously i'm not expecting relatively easy Asia - but is it worth prosponing or is it pretty easy on the tourist trail?
Feb 12, 2013 12:54 PM
1A guard opens and closes the gates to let trains in and out, but nothing else. You have to have a ticket in your hand and pass a guard before gaining access to the platforms. You don't just walk into yards and start shooting! If you do, you'll be pounced upon very quickly. We complaint about rail security here, but it is nothing like South America.
Feb 12, 2013 1:17 PM
2Well that was weird. Not quite sure what's going on with #1's response...
I would rate Argentina as a stress-free destination. I spent 3 months there last year and did a circuit of the country - I encountered no serious problems or stressful situations whatsoever. I found Argentines to be very friendly and welcoming people (porteños are famously full of themselves, and it's true that the friendliness is toned down a little in BA). Bus transport is a doddle. Long distance services are comfortable, regular and efficient. I flew within Argentina once (with Aerolineas from BA to Ushuaia) and although the flight was delayed (a common occurrence in many parts of SA) I would hardly call it stressful. The key to stress-free travel is to go slowly, don't plan tight connections and give yourself time to enjoy a place. Rushing to get to the "next place" is the way to get yourself stressed out.
In terms of "hassle" I think Argentina is a doddle compared to many countries I've visited in SE Asia. Buses have proper timetables and information is easy to come by once you know where to look (e.g. www.plataforma10.com).
All this comfort and freedom from hassle comes at a price: Argentina is expensive, Patagonia especially so. As long as you go with a reasonably accurate idea of costs, you will be fine. I met many stressed out people in Argentina who had 2 year-old guidebooks and weren't aware of Argentina's runaway inflation problem. Prices leap upwards constantly.
For a (supposed to be humorous) idea of the pleasures and pains of travelling in Argentina, I wrote the following entries in my travelblog. The problem regarding shortage of coins is a genuine hassle in Buenos Aires, but nothing to get your knickers in a twist over!
Enjoy your trip - and get well soon.
Feb 12, 2013 1:24 PM
Feb 12, 2013 2:41 PM
4would have to agree with polyglot25, i found argentina to be a very easy place to travel, it was my first destination on my first solo RTW trip. the bus system is excellent and most good hostels will have a travel help desk where tickets can be bought and any travel questions answered. Be wary of Retiro bus station in BA...its a massive bus station which services the whole country and is generally very busy......there are many gangs here who target backpackers.....distracting people and steaking their bags....never leave a bag out of your sight. compared to other south american countries and travel in SE Asia in my view things run a lot smoother in Argentina.
Feb 13, 2013 11:54 AM
5Language barrier is definately more prevelent than in SEA. Don´t let that put you off though, 1000s travel the country with practically no Spanish. Try to learn at least the very basics.
So true that coins are a genuine hassle. It always bugged me that some buses only accept coins (exact change) while others only accept those prepaid cards. And you often don´t know which until you get on.
Feb 14, 2013 11:00 AM
6So perhaps the answer to your question lies as much in what you want to do and what you must see. One of the realities that is often lost on most people planning to visit Argentina is just how big it is. Distances are much greater than you expect looking at a map. If this is you sole trip of a lifetime there, still select well what you want to see and allow decompression time. Days and days of riding on busses does not qualify. That said, the busses are much better than SE Asia. Going anywhere during the peak season will increase the stress finding transportation, accommodation, and will involve much higher prices. But Argentina can be a very relaxing place. You don't mention the Lake District, but it is amazing in the spring (October/November) with excellent restaurants and accommodation at reasonable prices and vistas that are stunning with no crowds. Yet the heat and humidity in BA in December, January, and February can more resemble that of Bangkok in the hot season.
Feb 25, 2013 2:29 PM
7For the Buenos Aires city buses, you can buy a SUBE card (15 pesos, 2 USD at black market USD prices) and charge it to travel cheaply and without coins (each trip is half the price with the SUBE card in buses). The card is good for buses, trains and subway.
Edited by: marksoc
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