I went backpacking in Argentina as part of a bigger backpacking trip through South America. In my post, Top Travel Circuits: South America, you’ll find breakdowns that include budgets, overall itineraries, and a packing list. This post focuses more on things to do and places to see in Argentina specifically.
Buenos Días Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, Argentina was my first stop on my backpacking trip through South America. I flew there from Trinidad as Skyscanner showed me this was much cheaper than going home after my university exchange before my trip. The first day in Buenos Aires was a little rocky. The cab ride was far more expensive than it should have been. I highly suggest determining a price first, ensuring that the meter is on, or arranging a ride or with your accommodation. Also, the hostel I stayed at was less than desirable.
The city, however, was beautiful and easy to get around. I had with me a “South America on a Shoestring” travel guide, my backpack full of clothes, some cash, and my phone. I loved traversing this city which felt like a little slice of Europe in South America. Even the people looked as though they came from Western Europe! This is due to their history of European immigration, particularly during war times.
Buenos Aires continued to be a little rocky when I got pickpocketed. I lost about $300 USD and my iPhone. Thankfully, I still had access to my cards, and I wasn’t travelling alone. But it was certainly a low spot. But hey, at least I didn’t get hurt.
Despite the rockiness, it was still an amazing city to explore. The architecture alone is breathtaking and you’ll find yourself gazing at fantastic street art. I would also suggest checking the Necropolis that is the Recoleta Cemetery. I realize visiting a graveyard doesn’t sound like a great time – but it is beautiful, with fascinating gravestones, and tombs, and sculptures alike.
Before Leaving Buenos Aires
- Get your dancing shoes on and try a tango lesson!
- Enjoy some Yerba Mate in the morning to get your caffeine boost for the day.
- Buy some high-quality leather goods at amazing prices.
- Eat some Asado bbq with locals.
Make sure you hit all the highlights. Consider doing a local tour to ensure you don’t miss anything.
Off to Mendoza
Travelling from Buenos Aires to Mendoza was one of the most amazing bus rides I’ve ever been on. My seats were lush, leather, and extremely comfortable. They could recline nearly all the way back, and I had a privacy curtain. Due to the bus ride being so long (13+ hours), I opted for the premium class. Most buses offer at least 3 classes of seats, and for a long bus ride, I’d suggest Cama Suite (1st class) or Cama Ejecutivo (2nd class) if your budget allows it. It often isn’t much more than the regular bus fare.
Getting a bus is surprisingly easy. You can book online or at the station, both of which was simple (and in English!). I received a decent meal (better than most airplanes) and wine service. The bus was dark and quite enough to sleep comfortably. While I could’ve stored by bag under the bus (as many did and they were all safe), I was only carrying my backpack and it was able to fit (still comfortably) at my feet. Mind you, I’m not particularly tall so a taller person might want to stow it elsewhere.
Arriving in Mendoza
The bus I took allowed me to arrive fairly early in the morning — which I would greatly suggest over arriving in the middle of the night. Mendoza was a clean and pretty city and clearly oriented towards tourists with many signs including English.
Mendoza is the wine capital of South America and (not surprisingly) turned out to be one of my favourite cities of the whole trip. This city features fantastic restaurants, with amazing food to pair with even better wine.
My highlight of the trip was the bike and wine tour. There are a few companies to choose from and your hostel or hotel can help you pick one nearby. I opted for the self-guided bike tour. The tour company provided the bike, a map, and off ya go! It was incredibly easy and lots of fun. I would highly suggest doing a self-guided tour as it lets you spend as much or as little time as you’d like in each winery. The views in the area are fantastic and the wine is even better. Also along the routes, you can find chocolate and olive oil shops/factories to check out and enjoy!
See More of Argentina:
While I wasn’t able to see these areas myself, they’re certainly on my bucket list for when I go back!
- Iguazu Falls
- El Chatén
Where is your favourite place in Argentina or where are you dying to go? Let me know in the comments below!