As in other occasions, I wasn’t planning on traveling this summer but my friends, with whom I went to Indonesia, China, India, etc., organized this trip and mentioned to me. I checked my miles and the flight Houston – Buenos Aires would only cost me 85$ with my miles, so it would have been a crime not going to Argentina.
The only difference for the three of us (Naty, Andres and myself) compared to the previous trips we did together, is that they have now a 2 years old son (Martin). It wasn’t their first trip with him, they even took him to Japan when he was 4 months old, but winter (August in Argentina) and a very tight schedule was a challenge that Martin overcome successfully.
Ubers, Taxis and Remises
Ubers in Argentina, at least in 2019, were illegal so although you can use the app as in any other country, they can get in trouble in police catch them. For this reason, they usually ask if you can seat in the front with them. Also, because of the currency control, they expect you to pay in cash, which is very confusing for foreigners because it kills one of the advantages of using Uber.
Let me see if I can explain why they want cash instead of credit card…Ubers charge the drivers a percentage or a fee in each trip, because Argentinians can’t change freely Argentinians pesos to dollars in the market and because Uber is not legal, people there just pay in cash to the drivers, but since they still use the app, the drivers accumulate a debt with Uber. So, when a foreigner comes and uses her credit card, the drivers don’t get any money for the trip because they will only be paying the debt to Uber, which they don’t care about. Having said that, most of the Ubers didn’t have a problem on taking us, but you must tell them in advance that you won’t be paying in cash.
Besides Ubers and regular taxis that you can find on the streets (especially in Buenos Aires), there are the “Remises” (or Remis, in singular). Remises, in general, lack a color or a sign that identifies them, although they must display a special plate, and cannot be approached on public roads; they are requested by calling an agency. In theory, remises are considered a higher quality service than taxis. However, in a context of economic crisis and lack of control, numerous car owners began to offer their services as remises informally. These offer lower rates but do not always meet vehicle safety standards and do not pay taxes. So, in summary, it’s sort of an Uber service but without the app.
We withdraw cash in several occasions because there are a lot of places where you can’t use credit cards, like tours, tickets and taxis. In 15 days, we needed around 500 € in Argentinians pesos in cash for the three of us (+ toddler). In some of the cities wasn’t not easy to withdraw cash from ATM, thus we had to exchange at the airports and so it was good that we had some dollars and euros in cash with us (both currencies are fine).
In case you are going to Argentina, I’ll mention prices and if I paid in cash or credit card so you would have an idea how much cash you will be needing.
Day 1 & 2: Buenos Aires (Baires)
Day 3: Baires – Calafate & Day 4: Calafate
Day 5: Day trip to Torres del Paine from Calafate
Day 6: Calafate – Ushuaia & Day 7: Ushuaia
Day 8: Ushuaia – Iguazu & Day 9: Iguazu (Argentinian side)
Day 10: Iguazu (Brazilian side) – Baires
Day 11: Day trip to Puerto Madryn from Buenos Aires
Day 12: Baires – Mendoza, Day 13: Mendoza & Day 14: Mendoza – Baires – Houston
What would I change about my trip?
- I would love to go in summer to be able to go to Antarctica, although I can’t complain about the winter, temperatures were actually nice (lucky us)
- Days where a little tight because we added Puerto Madryn last minute. I think a couple of days more in Mendoza would have been great to do at least one hike. So maybe instead of 14 days, I’d change it to 16 or 17 days, to sleep one night in Puerto Madryn and have extra days in Mendoza
- Maybe, if you don’t have a lot of time, I would exclude Ushuaia. Even though it has its charm, I think its fame is more about being at the “end of the world” than anything else
- I would remove my trip to Torres del Paine (Chile). The tour was great, but I spend too many hours in the car. Instead, I’d visit El Chalten or I’d do the hiking over the Perito Moreno
Challenges with a Toddler
I first have to say that Martin is an easy-going kid, he is super sweet, and he behaves very good. He is also used to travelling, he is only one and half years old and he has been in more than 8 countries and 3 continents. Besides all of these, of course there are always some extra challenges when you are travelling with a kid, the logistic changes at least a little bit. So, the main challenges were:
- The stairs in Iguazu, especially on the Brazil side. He was either tired or wanted to stop every now and then to look at something. We left him explorer, but sometimes we had to carry him
- The good side is that you have priority EVERYWHERE in Argentina if you are travelling with a toddler. That means flights, taxi queues, airport security, etc.
- All the airports we flew from and all the airplanes had the heat very strong, so we all sweat a lot and maybe it was even harder for Martin to understand
- Food wasn’t a problem in general, but mainly because Naty brought 3 or 4 little Tupperwares where we put fruits, scramble eggs, bread, etc., from the breakfast (included in all the hotels we stayed) for Martin to have snacks during the day. She also brought different Organic Purees ready to go
- A bottle of dish soap was also helpful during this trip to clean those tupperwares and his bottles
- None of the Ubers, Remis or Taxis requested a car seat for Martin. We know it’s not safe, but we were careful while in the cars because travelling internationally with a car seat can be a nightmare
|National Flights||948 €|
|Others (shopping, tips, etc.)||424 €|
|Cash Expenses||162 €|
|International Flight||85 €|
|Rented Car||14 €|
All the prices are reflecting just my share. Consider that the total amount we paid in taxi/Uber is about three times of what I am putting here because we divide the total by three.
We stayed in hotel’s rooms for three, which makes hotels a little bit cheaper.
In “other” category, the tips weren’t that much. The big chunk was spent in the handbags I bought.
With the cash we paid taxis, a sim card that we bought (800 ARS = 15 € total), some restaurants, port fees, tips, tours, etc.