Number of days spent in country – 43
Cities/towns visited – Mendoza, Bariloche, El Bolson, Esquelle, El Calafate, El Chalten, Ushuaia, Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Salta, Humahuaca, Purmamarca, Cafayate, Angostaca.
Number of different lodgings – 12 hostels and a couchsurf
Flights – 1
Bus journeys – 26
Combi/collective/taxi rides – 9
Bike Rentals – 1
Days of rain – 4
Total US dollar amount spent – $5522.62
Average cost per day, per person – $64.00
Argentina is not as cheap as it used to be. Our ‘Local Travel’ category of the budget was by far the biggest chunk of spending here – long distance buses are triple the cost that they were in 2009, and flights are as expensive for foreigners on the domestic airlines.
Average lodging cost per night – $15.35 per person. Hostels were pricey in Argentina compared to other places in South America. We ended up in dorms often, though we went for a double room, even with a shared bath, in a few places. You could do cheaper, especially if you are willing to stay in the party factory dorms, or sacrifice location or cleanliness.
Most expensive lodging – Reina Madre Hostel in Buenos Aires – a private room with shared bathroom was $23.25 per person. The second most expensive was the Freestyle Hostel in Ushuaia which was $20.50 per person for a DORM.
Least expensive lodging – $9.30 per person for a dorm room in a little hostel in Angostaca. We got stuck there overnight while on a road trip through northern Argentina.
Average food/drink cost per day (per person) – $14.30 – We consumed an obscene amount of cheap empanadas, usually for lunch. We often cooked dinners in at the hostels because of the high cost of eating out. We did go out for dinners sometimes though, or ate at the hostel when they had an asado night.
Hostel Empedrado in Mendoza. They have private rooms as well as dorms, clean bathrooms, TWO kitchens with plenty of cookware, a small pool, hammocks, free glass of wine every night, free empanada making class, good wi-fi…and FREE LAUNDRY!!! It’s just an overall winner. It is a little bit outside of downtown, but not more than a 10 minute walk. You can book online, and if you’re headed there in the summer make sure to ask for a room with air-conditioning since some only have fans.
El Chalten – Yeah, the town. If you like mountains you will LOVE El Chalten. There are multiple day hikes that get you way out into the hills with some of the most spectacular mountain scenery we’ve encountered. Take your time and spend more than a hot second there, you won’t regret it.
Big Ice Tour in El Calafate – Even though we got ripped off by the travel agent who sold us our tour, this still goes down as one of our favorite activities. It really was worth it, especially if you’ve never been on a glacier. If the cost is too steep for you, look into a trek on the Viedma Glacier out of El Chalten.
Biking around the Circito Chico in Bariloche – We haven’t gotten around to posting about this ride, but it’s a 25 kilometer ride around beautiful meditteranean colored lakes just outside of Bariloche. You can rent a bike for the day and set out at your leisure. There are many places to stop along the way for picnicing, swimming, or just gawking at the scenery. The bike rental will only set you back about $18 and you can get there with public transportation. Your hostel should be able to reserve you a bike, otherwise any travel agent in town can also, just make sure they don’t charge a commission for it. You’ll get a map from the bike place, but don’t worry, it’s a loop and basically impossible to get lost.
We really loved almost everything in Argentina, and the one major exception was Hostel Pudu in Bariloche. We heard that it was fantastic, and perhaps it used to be, but now it’s just run down despite the bright and shiny website. One of the hostel owners spent more time getting high with the guests than doing other things…like cleaning the bathrooms, which were disgusting. There was a pretty high price tag for a dorm room, and I have to admit to sheer laziness or we would have moved after the first night.