Budget Argentina Nelson Lewis

Argentina has a reputation for being expensive, thanks to dangerous levels of inflation caused by economic depression and mismanagement.  In a country that was once such a bargain, doing Argentina on a budget now seems a lot more difficult.  Yet while it’s expensive, and certainly not as cheap as any of its neighbors, you can still save in Argentina.  Beyond universal money-saving tips, here are some tips for saving money, based off an article I read on the travel blog “Nomadic Matt”:

Hitchhike: Although it’s not too common in northern Argentina, locals and tourists alike will hitchhike in Patagonia, since buses in that part of the country are as infrequent as they are expensive.  Although hitchhiking has some negative connotations in the US, it’s simply more convenient and highly recommended.

Find the cheap food: If you’re looking to eat cheap, street food and hole-in-the-wall spots are going to be your best bet.  It might not be the healthiest food out there, but it’s still pretty tasty.  Empanadas go for around 8-15 Pesos (less than $1 USD), choripán (sausage on bread) for 25 and pizza and burgers lunch specials for around 40.

Eat out at fancy meals: At 100-130 pesos ($6-8 USD), a sandwich and drink for lunch isn’t cheap.  Yet you can eat expensive steaks, wine and sides for 500 pesos ($30).  So in a strange paradox, you get more value on the higher end.  For everything else, go for the cheap eats or make your own sandwiches.

Buy your wine: 40 peso-bottles of wine in the supermarket is a great deal.  Grab a bottle and drink it.  It’s also a good idea to stick to wine, which is cheaper than liquor and beer.

Rent a bike: You can rent bikes from hostels and rental shops for 150 pesos a day in most major cities.  These are especially useful when you’re in wine country and want to get from winery to winery.

Camp: If you’re in the southern part of Argentina, lodging gets more expensive.  Hostels are often 250 pesos a night, compared to 90 in Buenos Aires.  So if you’ve got the equipment, look for camping opportunities where you can.

Try out Airbnb: If you don’t want to use hostels, there are tons of Airbnb opportunities throughout the country starting at 500 pesos a night.

Explore the outdoors: Hiking is free, and there are plenty of national parks across the country where you can take advantage of that.

Don’t fly domestically: A tax on foreigners makes airfare in Argentina extremely expensive for foreigners; often as high as $200 USD!  Unless you’re in a rush, take the bus.

Dance: If you’re in Buenos Aires on a Sunday, you can find free tango events in San Telmo at 8pm.  On Monday is the music and dance event La Bomba de Tiempo, a great experience that’s worth all of the 90 pesos ($6 USD) you pay for it.