Argentina Budget Guide: Is Argentina Expensive?

This is a post I have put off writing for all 8 years that I’ve been running this blog.

Money in Argentina is tricky and inflation is beyond high.

The country suffered a whopping 95% inflation in 2022 alone and since Milei won the presidency it has skyrocketed to new highs in 2024.

With that in mind, you can be guaranteed that any blog posts you’re reading that quote prices in pesos are out of date, even if it was written only a few months ago.

If it was written a few years ago, forget about it.

Those numbers are useless.

So, writing an article about prices in Argentina was not something I wanted to tackle.

But I know creating a travel budget is important, so here it is.

I am finally going to suck it up and write my version of an Argentina budget travel guide (with prices in dollar equivalent to keep it relevant!).

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Is Argentina Expensive?

With all that inflation, you’d be forgiven for being confused.

Is Argentina expensive or is Argentina cheap?

The answer is, it depends.

The economy here is notoriously volatile and depending on what currency measures are in place, it can be a great budget destination or an expensive splurge.

Through 2023 it was very, very affordable here for those coming with dollars in their pocket.

With the President Milei in office things are changing and quickly. He immediately followed through on his promises to devalue the peso and inflation has been through the roof in 2024.

And this goes for in dollars as well, things are expensive in dollars now making Argentina a less budget friendly destination than recent years.

That said, even with recent inflation Argentina still very affordable for travelers compared to neighboring Uruguay and Chile.

So, don’t write her off quite yet.

If you want to learn more about money exchange here, read my guide to money in Argentina (to avoid being repetitive I’ll leave anything about the blue dollar, pesos vs. dollars, etc for that post.)

A bodegon menu from January 2023 with the exchange rate being around 350 pesos to

Argentina Travel Budget: What are the prices in Argentina?

Alright, let’s get down to it.

What are the prices in Argentina, what kind of numbers are we working with?

Here are a few examples on what you’ll spend eating here.

All prices are to be taken as a “mas o menos” since a coffee and pastry at your regular neighborhood café will vary from the fancy hipster café in Palermo.

The exchange to dollars is also a “mas o menos” math since the rate fluctuates so regularly.

Basically… take this whole thing as a loose guide.

  • Café con leche: $2,000 pesos ($2 USD)
  • Medialuna (pastry) in a café: $1,000 ($1 USD)
  • Empanadas: $1,500 +/- each ($1.50 USD)
  • Steak Dinner: $20 USD per person (what I spent in Feb 2024 on provoleta, a large steak split with a friend, a side, a vermouth and two glasses of wine)
  • Hostel Dorms: $25 USD a bed
  • Hostel Private rooms: $40-50 USD a room
  • Airbnbs: $50 USD and up a night, will be more for more than one bedroom
  • Taxi: $3,000-$5,000 pesos ($3-5 USD) average ride
  • Public Transportation (Subway, bus, train): $500 pesos average or 50 cents US
A two story bus drrives down a highway in Argentina's Northwest
Bus or plane, there are budget options for getting around Argentina

Argentina on a budget: Cost Cutting Tips

Want to travel Argentina on a budget?

Here are some tips to save some pesos.

  • TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION | The subway system is very easy to manage. The bus can be more intimidating but if you conquer it, all of Buenos Aires will be at your fingertips for pennies. The bus is also easy in Bariloche connecting all the major sites. It’s doable in Mendoza, as well. Read more: All about public transportation in Buenos Aires
  • EAT IN OR GET TAKEAWAY | Like NYC, everyone in Buenos Aires delivers. Order in empanadas (here are my favorite Buenos Aires empanadas), get wine at your local Chino minimarket (they have the best prices in town), or go to a pasta shop and get fresh pasta to cook in your Airbnb or hostel kitchen (search casa de pastas in your google map to find one near you). You can get fresh ravioli dinner for 2 for $5 US. Panaderias (bakeries) are your friend for cheap lunches (go for savory tartas, tortillas, and sandwiches).
  • AVOID SUMMER | From Christmas through February (January being the peak of the peak) is the busiest and the most expensive time to travel Argentina. Avoid it to save money, stick with the shoulder season (Fall and Spring). Read more: When to visit Argentina
  • CAMP | A lot of areas have free or very cheap campgrounds, for example along the 7 Lakes Route there are a number of campsites. We saw a beautiful campsite on the laguna in the Ibera Wetlands. Some Patagonia hostels (especially in El Chalten) allow you to pitch a tent outside.
  • BRING EVERYTHING YOU NEED | Imports in Argentina are hard to come by or expensive. Don’t plan on shopping here, bring all your camping and hiking equipment with you, for reference read my expat Argentina packing list (highlights pricier items more than my travelers Argentina packing list).
  • FLY BUDGET AIRLINES | Long distance bus travel used to be the cheapest, but these days budget airlines (FlyBondi and Jetsmart) rival and often beat the bus prices. Pack carry on only to avoid additional fees (think Ryan Air)
  • BUT DON’T DISCARD THE BUS | Bus travel is still very affordable, and in some places, easiest. Want to travel in Jujuy without a rental car? Take the bus. Check the following sites for routes and prices: Plataforma 10, Central de Pasajes, Busbud

Argentina Budget Accommodation: where to Stay

Here are some top hostels in Argentina for budget backpackers:

Here are some tips on how to look for places to stay in Argentina:

  • BOOKING.COM | Not original, I know, but it is the most common third party site for hotels here and you’ll find a LOT of options here, including hostels and even rental apartments/homes. To pay in pesos in person, set it to pay on arrival instead of paying in advance.
  • COUCHSURFING | Check out Couchsurfing for places to stay and meet ups
  • GOOGLE IT | Search for even more local options by searching for keywords like hospedaje, alojamiento, or cabañas + destination name, you might stumble upon a budget friendly spot. Keep in mind they might not speak English in some tiny complex, or ask you to message them on WhatsApp. It’s more work than booking, but if you’re determined and speak a bit of Spanish, it’s worth a try.
  • MERCADO LIBRE | This tip is for the locals, if you’re an expat here and can do a lot more leg work and speak Spanish, Mercado Libre (like eBay) has a lot of rental properties. You have do a lot of work contacting them for prices and then when you want to book they will always ask for at least 50% deposit by bank transfer (I usually do this by an ATM deposit). It’s not something I recommend for tourists from abroad but if you live here, give it a try.

And my final tip, don’t get too greedy.

Take into account how much work you really want to do. Do you want to spend days going back and forth on prices with multiple cabins, then find a way to do a bank transfer to them to reserve just to save $100 dollars?

If you’re coming on vacation, don’t put yourself through too much hassle that you end up ruining your trip or stressing out while planning. Remember, this is supposed to be fun.

For most people reading this, booking.com, Airbnb, or VRBO will be the best and easiest option.

They all have very competitive prices compared to comparable properties in the US or Europe, even if you can’t get the dollar blue rate.

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Argentina Travel Resources

  • TRAVEL INSURANCE | It is always a good idea to travel insured. It protects you in so many cases, like lost luggage and trip cancellations, medical emergencies and evacuations. It’s very affordable with the potential to save you thousands in the case of an emergency. I recommend SafetyWing.
  • PHONE PLAN | These days, traveling with data is essential. Especially in Argentina where everything is managed on Instagram and WhatsApp. I recommend this E-SIM card. It’s hassle-free and affordable, for more read how to get an Argentina sim card.
  • ACCOMMODATION IN ARGENTINA booking.com is the most common hotel site used in Argentina and it’s where you’ll find the most options.
  • RENTAL CARS | I love to travel Argentina via road trip, I’ve always used rentalcars.com, now they are operating under the umbrella of Booking.com’s car rental system.
  • BUS TICKETS | Check Busbud for long distance bus routes and tickets.
  • VPN | If you’ll be using a public WiFi connection and want to secure your data, I highly recommend using a VPN, I personally use and have had a good experience with ExpressVPN. I also use it to access Hulu and American Netflix from Argentina.
  • FLIGHTS | Always check Google Flights and Skyscanner for flights to and within Argentina. Aerolineas Argentina is the local airline with the most routes. FlyBondi and Jetsmart are two budget airlines with dirt-cheap prices (but expect to pay for every add-on like luggage).
  • BOOK A CONSULTATION | I offer one-on-one travel consultations to help you plan your trip to Argentina. Pick my brain to get a local’s insight. Click here for more information.

4 thoughts on “Argentina Budget Guide: Is Argentina Expensive?”

  1. hey there – I am in the process of planning my trip to Argentina and am finding it pretty crazy how expensive accommodation is priced at on nearly all hotel comparison websites, ANB, VRBO etc. Do you have any tips on how to pay the “true” price or the peso price? Even if I convert the price to pesos it just does a true conversion, so doesn’t achieve anything. Is there any option other than waiting until I arrive and trying to negotiate with places face to face in cash payments in pesos?

    Many thanks!
    Matt

  2. Hey Matt,
    I’ve found booking.com converts the price from pesos to USD using the “official rate” but when you go to pay in-person, you can pay in pesos and enjoy the “blue rate” if you exchange your dollars to pesos at a cambio or close to the blue rate if you pay by credit card. Effectively save roughly another 15% or so compared to the price you see in USD on booking.com. Hope this helps!

  3. Thank you for this incredibly detailed and insightful budget guide to Argentina! As someone who’s been dreaming of exploring this beautiful country on a budget, your article provides invaluable tips and recommendations that are both practical and inspiring. From budget-friendly accommodations to delicious local eats, I feel equipped and excited to plan my affordable adventure in Argentina. Keep up the fantastic work!

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