Argentina is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes and vibrant culture. From the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires to the natural wonders of Patagonia, there are many reasons to visit. However, the timing of your visit can greatly impact your experience. Here is an overview of the worst times to visit Argentina and tips to avoid the crowds and inconveniences.
High Season (December to February)
The summer months of December, January and February are considered high season in Argentina. This is when:
Tourist Hotspots are Crowded
Popular destinations like Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Bariloche, and Patagonia get very crowded with foreign and domestic tourists. Attractions have long lines, hotels are booked up, and prices are inflated.
Prices are Highest
Flights, hotels and tours often double in price during the peak summer months. Last-minute travel can be very expensive.
The Weather is Hot and Humid
December to February are the warmest months in Argentina. Temperatures frequently reach 100°F (38°C) and higher. It can be miserably hot in places like Buenos Aires.
Sightseeing Can Be Uncomfortable
Outdoor activities like hiking and wine tasting are less enjoyable in the heat and humidity of summer. Many choose to spend time indoors in the air conditioning.
To avoid the crowds and heat, it’s best to avoid Argentina in the peak of summer.
School Holidays (July)
July is winter break for schools in Argentina. This means:
Families Flock to Holiday Destinations
Popular family vacation spots like Villa Carlos Paz, Mar del Plata and Bariloche get extremely crowded and noisy in July. Attractions catered to kids are packed.
Prices Rise at Ski Resorts
Places like Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes see high demand from domestic tourists during the July school break. Hotel rates and ski passes are much more expensive.
Shorter Opening Hours
Some businesses in major cities operate on limited hours or close entirely in July due to decreased local demand. This can impact shopping, dining and other activities.
Those not traveling with kids should avoid July to bypass the crowded family vibe.
Easter Week (March/April)
Easter week, or Semana Santa, is the peak autumn travel time for locals. Issues include:
Transportation is Crowded
Buses, trains and flights around the country are jam packed with Argentine families traveling for the Easter holiday. Tickets sell out far in advance.
Religious Sites are Extremely Busy
Popular pilgrimage sites like Lujan attract enormous crowds who come to celebrate religious traditions. Expect massive lines and packed hotels.
Holiday Surge Pricing
As one of the biggest travel weeks of the year, accommodation, tours and transportation often raise prices substantially during Easter week.
Many Businesses Close
The majority of stores, restaurants and businesses will be closed Good Friday through Easter Sunday, especially in smaller towns.
For a more relaxed experience, avoid Easter week if possible. Travel the week before or after to take advantage of lower prices and smaller crowds.
How to Avoid the Worst Times
Here are some tips to avoid the peak crowds and prices in Argentina:
- Travel during the fall shoulder season of March-May or spring shoulder season of September-November. The weather is milder and there are fewer tourists.
- Plan your trip to avoid major holiday periods like Christmas, New Years, Easter week and winter break in July.
- For skiing, go before or after the July school vacations when resorts are less crowded.
- Consider a winter visit to Buenos Aires in June-August. You’ll enjoy pleasant weather, festivals, and lower hotel rates.
- Book accommodations and transportation well in advance to lock in lower prices during peak seasons.
- Visit major attractions like Perito Moreno early in the morning to avoid long lines.
- Consider less visited destinations like Uruguay, El Calafate, or Salta to escape the biggest crowds.
To avoid the major crowds and higher prices, it’s best to avoid visiting Argentina during the peak summer months, school holidays in July, and Easter week. With smart planning using shoulder seasons and lesser-known destinations, you can still have an amazing Argentine vacation while avoiding the hassles of peak tourist season.