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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Citi Prestige Card
Argentina has been considered a relatively inexpensive destination for visitors since 2001, when the South American country’s economy collapsed. Seventeen years later, it’s a better value than ever.
In May, the Argentine peso plunged to 24.99 per US dollar, making it “the worst [currency] in emerging markets,” according to Bloomberg.
While this potentially spells turbulent times ahead for Argentines, who already factor in 25% annual inflation to daily budgets, it’s a great time economically for Americans to take advantage of a strong dollar while supporting the local economy.
Of course, there are more than a few other reasons why now is a great time to visit Argentina. It’s almost winter in the southern hemisphere, meaning the temperatures are much more mild and tourist attractions are noticeably less crowded.
During a trip to Argentina, travelers can venture to the Mendoza wine region and sample a better class of vintage, or book a room at one of the most exciting new hotel openings of the year, near the iconic Iguazú Falls. Follow the path less traveled to the relatively unknown Jujuy province, or splash out in Buenos Aires on a tailor-made leather jacket, world-class artwork or an upscale dinner at one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Best of all? You can easily use your points and miles to get to Argentina, making it an even more affordable option for travelers.
Awasi Iguazú Just Opened
If you want to use all the money you saved to splurge on a serious luxury stay, check into Awasi Iguazú, a 20-minute drive from Iguazú Falls (often hailed as one of the natural wonders of the world). Opened in February 2018, this luxurious 14-room lodge crafts excursions designed to get you closer to subtropical wildlife such as jaguars and toucans at Iguzaú National Park. And until October 2018, the property is offering three all-inclusive nights for the price of two. Save even more by booking through the Citi concierge and paying with the Citi Prestige Card to utilize the 4th Night Free benefit.
The Country Is Hosting Its First Olympic Event
And it’s free. From October 6 to October 18, Argentina’s capital will host the Youth Olympic Games, the country’s first-ever Olympic event. It will be a great opportunity to cheer on exceptional young athletes in brand-new disciplines such as climbing, dancesport, karate and roller sports. According to the organizing committee, fans can register in July for a free stadium and park pass, though entry will be granted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
An added bonus? Buenos Aires will just be stepping into spring, when the jacaranda trees fill avenues with violet blooms.
It’s Easier Than Ever To Export Art
Argentina has long produced masterful artists such as Antonio Berni and Xul Solar, and emerging Argentine artists and international art collectors received fantastic news this year: a government measure is making it easier to export art. The timing is better than perfect, given that Latin America’s largest contemporary art fair, arteBA, takes place from May 24 to May 27.
Galleries can now complete a one-step application on behalf of their buyers which will be approved within 24 hours, avoiding the need for mountains of tenuous paperwork. Previously, the application process took a week to complete.
“Given that Argentine art is a developing market, despite there being a lot of Argentine artists with global standing, their prices haven’t reached international prices as yet,” Marcelo Dansey, from the Ministry of Culture’s visual arts department, told TPG. “You can pick up work by an emerging artist from $1,000; from a mid-range artist for between $5,000 and $10,000; or an Argentine master for $100,000.”
Buenos Aires has also been chosen as the first Art Basel City, solidifying its reputation as a global cultural hub and making it a must-visit for collectors and aesthetes.
Great Vintages Just Got Cheaper
Your glass is half full rather than half empty in Mendoza, and the resulting peso devaluation means you can sip great vintages at an even better price. Home to dozens of architecturally stunning hotels and wineries, we’ve even seen rates dip at such coveted properties as Casa de Uco Vineyards & Wine Resort.
Meanwhile, high-end wines such as SuperUco Genitori Mío 2012 and Teho Grand Cru Les Paquerettes Malbec 2013 now cost approximately $126 and $61 respectively, down from $155 and $75 in April. Throw in new budget airline Flybondi’s one-way tickets starting at 898 pesos (about $39), and Mendoza has suddenly become an affordable side trip.
Local Designers Can Use Your Support
Argentina has long been known for its top-quality leather, so why not contract personal shopper Sophie Lloyd at Shop Hop to open up her Buenos Aires address book and lead you to a custom-made leather jacket in calf, lamb or goatskin crafted in just 24 hours?
Travelers can also check out young design trio Facha. Watch as they create stitch-free leather rucksacks ($107 versus $93 in April compared to May) and clutches at their Villa Crespo workshop right in front of you.
You Can Dine at Famous Restaurants
With nine restaurants included on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2017, and one ranking as one of the World’s 50 Best, Buenos Aires is a serious hotspot for travelers seeking exceptional culinary experiences. (Celeb chef Francis Mallmann, of “Chef’s Table,” has four restaurants scattered around Argentina, including Patagonia Sur, which is run out of his home in La Boca, Buenos Aires.)
And you won’t max out your credit card experiencing the country’s distinguished fare, either. LatAm-style Sunday brunch at top restaurant iLatina is approximately $43 in May, down from $50 in April, while the 10-step paired tasting menu at Tegui — currently ranked 49th in the world — is $151, down from $175 in April.
The Jujuy Province Is Booming
All eyes are on this area of northwestern Argentina, on the border of Bolivia, so visit the province before everyone else. In Purmamarca, travelers will discover an emerging wine destination that’s home to one of the world’s highest vineyards, Viñas de Uquía, at more than 10,000 feet above sea level. (The region even received a Geographical Indication for wine in 2015.) Travelers can book a room at El Manantial del Silencio (during the low season, which began in May, rooms can be reserved for 2,470 pesos — approximately $101). One of the other key attractions is the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a vibrant 78-mile gorge dotted with indigenous villages dating back to the Inca Empire. Surrounded by the Andes, this relatively undiscovered area is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site (inscribed in 2003).
You Can Use Miles To Get There
If you’re visiting Buenos Aires from the US, you’ll likely fly into Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE). Even if you plan on visiting other regions of the country, consider making Buenos Aires your home base or starting point, and then catching regional flights to other destinations like Mendoza once you’re there.
The flag carrier of Argentina is Aerolineas Argentinas, and you can fly the airline nonstop to EZE from US destinations such as Miami (MIA) and New York (JFK). You can search for award availability on the website of one of Aerolineas’ fellow SkyTeam carriers, and can use Korean SkyPass, Delta SkyMiles or another SkyTeam currency to book your travel. A round-trip starts at 50,000 SkyPass miles, or 70,000 Delta SkyMiles in economy.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything in the way of premium-cabin awards on Aerolineas through Delta for the next several months, and connecting premium-cabin flights on Delta metal are going for at least 129,500 miles each way, so this isn’t a great option if you want to book a reasonable business or first-class award to Argentina. But Delta itself flies a nonstop from Atlanta (ATL) to Buenos Aires, and there are scattered dates with available space in August and the fall for 80,000 SkyMiles each way, along with one-stop itineraries with a connection to Aerolineas in Rio de Janeiro (GIG). So you might consider that as an option, instead.
You can also fly American Airlines to Buenos Aires from Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA) and New York (JFK or EWR), starting at 30,000 miles one-way in economy. Saver-level business award availability is solid from all three cities now through at least mid-July, so you could redeem AA miles (transfer from Starwood Preferred Guest or earn them with a card like the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard) to fly down in business for 57,500 miles one-way.
There Are Great Points Hotel Options
Once you’re in Buenos Aires, you have some great points hotel options. Those with Hyatt points (or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred over to Hyatt) can book a stay at the luxe Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt for 20,000 points per night, or a combination of 10,000 points and $125 per night.
Starwood loyalists have several options for award stays in Buenos Aires, including the Park Tower, a Luxury Collection Hotel for 12,000 points per night, and the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center for 10,000 points per night.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards