From the exotic jungles surrounding Iguazu Falls to the incomparable glaciers of Patagonia, Argentina is truly a one of a kind country. With its vast territory spanning multiple climates and positioning it as the eighth largest country in the world, Argentina has something to offer every adventurous tourist. However, as is the case when visiting any worthwhile destination, traveling in Argentina can be expensive. Because of this, we have prepared a list of tips you can follow to save money while experiencing this magnificent country.
1) Traveling by Bus Rather than Plane
Because of the enormous territory within Argentina’s borders, you will more than likely have to travel some long distances on your visit. While flying between destinations may be more convenient, in regard to time, a great way to save money is by opting to travel by bus instead. Despite whatever impression you have gleaned from past experience, traveling by bus in Argentina will be different than in any other country you have visited. Because Argentina (and South America in general) lacks a train system as one will find in Europe, a highly developed bus system has resulted. With multiple daily departures, these luxurious buses know no boundary. Moreover, the multitude of competing bus companies has resulted in a highly enjoyable experience as the standard, including reclining seats and meal options, as well as an executive option also available, which offers fully reclining seats that become beds and higher quality menu options. Regardless of which option you choose, for just a fraction of the cost of a plane ticket, traveling by bus is a great way to save money on your trip to Argentina.
2) Lunch Specials in Buenos Aires
When visiting Buenos Aires, a great way to save money is to look for restaurants that offer lunch specials. These ‘el plato del dia’ promotions are common in the city and are usually available for around 30-50% of the normal price one would pay for an equivalent meal. Typically consisting of an entrée (steak, chicken, vegetarian option, etc), a side (salad, rice, etc), a drink and sometimes coffee or a dessert, these lunch specials often highlight one or more of the chef´s specialty dishes. Taking advantage of these promotions will leave you full and will only cost you half the price you would normally pay.
3) Included Lunches in Patagonia
If your visit to Argentina includes any time in the Patagonia region, your itinerary will more than likely take you on one or more day trips. Because you will be exploring remote areas during these day trips, lunch will often be included in your trip. If not for free, these lunches will be at a discounted rate. Taking advantage of any and all included meals, especially in high volume tourist areas, will definitely help you save money on your trip.
4) Reducing the Cost of Drinks/Nightlife in Buenos Aires
One of the things Buenos Aires is most known for is its nightlife. Whether you are in the market for a late night outing to some local dance clubs or would rather relax at a friendly bar and enjoy some delicious Argentine malbec, Buenos Aires has plenty of options to suit your interests. Though as every traveler knows, drinking can get pretty expensive in a large city like Buenos Aires. For this reason, your wallet will greatly benefit from the numerous happy hours that can be found throughout the city. Plentiful on weekdays during ‘after office’ hours, these happy hours usually offer either a 2 for 1 special or a 50% discount on selected drinks. Maybe you want to taste the local favorite fernet and coke or visit one of the local microbrews for an unconventional tasting beer. With these happy hours available in Buenos Aires, you can do it all and save money while enjoying your experience.
5) Paying in Cash When Eating Out
Everyone knows that when exploring a new culture, part of the experience includes tasting the food. While eating out is important, and certainly enjoyable, it can get expensive in Argentina, especially in the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires. One way to reduce this burden is to ask about discounts for paying in cash. Because restaurants are often short on cash, many times they will offer 10-15% discounts to customers paying in cash. Taking advantage of these discounts is a great way to save some extra money, while still experiencing the unique food of Argentine culture.
6) Closed Door Restaurants – ‘’Restaurantes a Puertas Cerradas’’
If you are interested in fine dining while on your trip to Argentina, you should consider checking out closed door restaurants that are popular within the city. While not cheap, by any means, for the high quality food you will receive, these prices will be much better than in traditional restaurants. These famous, secret restaurants, which are usually hosted at the chef´s home, offer a unique experience to participants. Allowing the opportunity to sample world class culinary creations while enjoying the intimate atmosphere of a dinner party, these restaurants are ideal for tourists looking to experience the city in an unconventional method. In addition, many travelers find these restaurants to be great places to meet other tourists. Dining side by side with other like-minded travelers, you will get to know everyone at the table while enjoying the high quality food together. These restaurants, although secret, are not impossible to find. To find out about their locations and to read which ones we recommend, check out this post from Say Hueque’s blog.
7) Buenos Aires Food Week
If you happen to be in Buenos Aires during the week of April 15-21, you will definitely want to check out the famous Buenos Aires Food week. Annually held, this event showcases 24 of the city’s best restaurants, offering lunch and dinner menus to eager travelers and locals alike. Consisting of an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert for around $20 for lunch and $30 for dinner, participating in Food Week allows you to try some of the best food you can find in Buenos Aires for a very reasonable price. To take advantage of this opportunity, we suggest that you either reserve a table at the participating restaurants through the Buenos Aires Food Week website or call one of the 24 restaurants to make a reservation. However, if you have not done so and would still like to participate in the event, you can simply show up at one of the restaurants and ask for a table. Food Week is a great way to save money, while enjoying the luxury of fine dining in Buenos Aires.
Having decided to visit Argentina, you will soon embark on a trip of a lifetime. The gorgeous national parks, the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires and the numerous other unique attractions of the country will provide you with more than enough to fill your itinerary. In order to take advantage of as many of these wonderful sites as possible, however, you will certainly want to save money when and where you can. With these 7 tips, you should be well-equipped to do so while making the most of your travels in the gorgeous country of Argentina.
If you’re interested in planning a trip to Argentina, check out Say Hueque’s website to explore our wide-ranging list of trips or contact us to let us help you design a personalized trip suited to your specific interests.
Written by Will Collier