If you are looking to travel to Argentina on vacation, there is a chance that you may be considering buying a pre-planned package that will optimize your time and resources for your stay. Whilst this is an understandable choice, especially for a very short trip, I would take a step back, do some research and ask yourself whether you really need Argentina vacation packages, or would it be better to go there independently. This article briefly looks at how and why you might choose either the package or independent route.
If you were travelling independently, you scenario on arriving in Argentina would be something like this. If you are arriving by plane, the chances are that you will arrive in Buenos Aires at the international airport. The first thing that you will notice is that all arriving passengers have to go through a relatively compact immigration area. If it’s warm and congested it can get quite stuffy here! Once you’re through immigration you need to decide how you’re going to get to the city itself, which is a fair distance away. The first choice is to take an individual taxi, but this can be expensive. If you do choose this option, be careful to book it through an agency rather than being approached by a taxi driver outside. With the latter option you may get badly ripped-off. One good option is to take a shared mini-bus through the Manuel Tienda Leon company.
Once in the city, you will obviously need somewhere to stay. The best option is to have this organized before you arrive in the city. This can be easily done these days by booking through the internet. You may even get a cheaper rate like this. If you do this, Manuel Tienda Leon can drop you off right at your hotel or backpacker’s hostel door. I am only quoting this company because I have had reliable experiences with them. So thus far, you have got to your accommodation pretty effortlessly.
If you are going to spend some time in Buenos Aires, there are several things that people normally like to do and most of these can be booked once you arrive, often through your accommodation. For example, many people like to see a genuine Argentine Tango show. This can often be combined with a sit down dinner at the venue, or you can even take your own personal Tango lesson!
Another thing to do, if you are sports minded, is to go to a local futbol (soccer) match. The Argentines are renowned for their passion during matches and the atmosphere can often be borderline crazy. For the uninitiated, you should always go in the more expensive seats, and again these can often be booked through your accommodation – certainly for the bigger teams such as River Plate or Boca Juniors. Often such booked deals will seem relatively expensive, but they usually include transport to the stadium and a lunch.
Speaking of lunch, if you like meat, then Argentina should be your favourite country in the world! The nation prides itself on its cuts of beef and massive steaks. ‘Parillas’ (meat restaurants) seem to be on every corner, so just try a different one every night and spend your days walking to burn off the excess! Or you could go the other way and try some of the delicious Italian influenced ice-creams that are also prevalent!
Other popular things to do in Buenos Aires, include shopping (especially for good value, genuine leather clothing or shoes), sightseeing (for example, the grave of Evita in the cemetery of Recoleta) and the nightlife (Buenos Aires never stops and don’t expect to return to sleep until 7am!).
As you can see from the above, in terms of travelling just to Buenos Aires, everything can be booked independently – either beforehand on the internet, or once you’ve arrived. The situation of needing to buy a pre-planned package is really only based on the scenario of wanting to go to several locations in Argentina, usually in a relatively short period of time. For example, you may want to go to the impressive Iguacu Falls on the Brazilian border, to the vineyards and bodegas of Mendoza near to the border with Chile, or to explore the wilderness of Patagonia in the far south. With all of these destinations, if you are more of a backpacker and have lots of time, you can experience the charms of the modern Argentine bus network and quite easily get there in your own time and leisure. You can even fly with Aerolineas Argentinas, although it may be a little bit pricey.
Should you not have such free time, you would therefore definitely want to consider some kind of package as Argentina has so many facets that you shouldn’t miss out on. If you are going to take this option, you could consider a more adventure-based company who may for example offer a two or three week overland experience starting and ending in Buenos Aires. Or maybe you would prefer a company that organizes all of your flights and accommodation but leaves everything else up to you. Only if you are going for say a week, would I really consider all-inclusive Argentina vacation packages. However, in this case you are probably going to be limited to staying in Buenos Aires and one other destination – probably Iguacu Falls.
Overall, Argentina is an amazing country, whether you are a city-slicker or a wannabe gaucho; or even if you simply want to help teach yourself Spanish. If the only way that you can manage a visit is via a vacation package, you should definitely take this option, but if you would prefer the independent route, with self-confidence you really should not have a problem.