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What to Book in Advance Before Visiting Argentina

In the 7 weeks I spent in Argentina during the high season, I had a few occasions of not realizing I had to book a tour or my accommodation in advance. I spent too many nights staying in low-quality hostels and lost a few days in El Calafate waiting for a place on a tour to open up. I thought, why not make a quick list of all the things you should book in advance to make the most of your time in the beautiful country of Argentina?

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Perito Moreno Glacier Trekking, El Calafate – Perito Moreno Glacier is the size of Buenos Aires and is one of Patagonia’s must-visit attractions. If you want to enjoy the glacier from the viewing platforms, you can buy your ticket when you arrive at the national park. If you want the unique experience of walking on the glacier, you’ll need to book well in advance.

For the mini-trekking (1.5-hour walk) it’s best to book a month in advance. For Big Ice (7.5-hour walk), you may need to book more than 6 weeks in advance. Hielo y Aventura is the only tour operator and they do a good job, even though the prices are high. 

Walk with Penguins, Ushuaia – Spending an hour on an island inhabited by 3,000 penguins was one of the highlights of South America for me. They limit the number of visitors, so you’ll want to book a couple of weeks in advance. Piratour is the only operator for this tour. 

Iguazú Falls Full Moon Walk, Puerto Iguazú – This only happens 5 nights a month and when the skies are clear, the illumination of the falls is incredible. You’ll want to book 3-4 weeks in advance. You can buy the tickets to visit the falls during the day on arrival at the national park. 

Wineries in Mendoza – Not all wineries require reservations, and there are 1,500 of them. So, if you’re flexible, you don’t need to book your visits too far in advance. If you have specific wineries in mind, you may want to make a reservation a week in advance during high season to ensure a place at your desired time. 

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In the bigger cities of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Mendoza, you’ll have no problem finding quality accommodation a few days in advance. In the popular destinations of Jujuy, Bariloche, and El Chalten, you’ll want to book a couple of weeks in advance during high season or you’ll be scrambling. I only booked 10 days in advance for Bariloche and had to stay in 3 different hostels in 4 nights which was far from ideal. To a lesser extent, accommodation in Salta can go quickly as well.

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Fogón Asado, Buenos Aires – An interactive dining experience with a 6-course menu and bottomless wine. All the guests sit at a bar around the kitchen and it’s limited to 20 people per night. I’d make a reservation for this fantastic experience at least a week out. 

Don Julio, Buenos Aires – Famous for its steak and wine, this parrilla is one of the world’s 50 best restaurants. It’s best to make a reservation a few weeks in advance. Although, you can take your chances and hope to get a table without a reservation. 

Alto El Fuego Parrilla, Bariloche – The steaks here are said to be spectacular, but the line scared me off. Bariloche gets very crowded with tourists, so you’ll be waiting 90 minutes for a table without a reservation.

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