The Ins and Outs of Camping in Argentina

2 Comments Print

Frost in Tierra del Fuego, Photo by Meike Schuring

Frost in Tierra del Fuego, All photos by Meike Schuring

Camping is the best way to explore the natural wonderland that is Argentina.  You can follow Che´s footsteps along Ruta 40, uncover the secrets of Patagonia, enjoy the Pampas, and even get lost in one of the many villages that speckle the roadside. However, before you pitch your tent in Argentinean soil, there are many things to consider and ways to prepare.

The Essentials

The first thing you need is a good tent.  Although Argentina is a relatively cheap country, camping gear is more expensive than it is in the United States, so buy before you get here. Ever had to pee in the dark? Most campgrounds don´t have electricity at night, so a head flashlight is a really useful way to both see and to have your hands free.  Also, never leave home without a wine bottle opener. How else will you sample the assortment of Argentine Malbecs? A Swiss Army knife can come in handy in the woods or just for spreading dulce de leche on your bread. A deck of cards and a book are necessities for enjoying some stormy nights. You’ll be surprised how many of your fellow campers know the same card games as you do!A Lazy Guanaco, Photo by Meike Schuring
The Wildlife

Don’t be scared when wild dogs and rabbits wake you up in the middle of the night. They live there too.   If you’re lucky, you might spot some beautiful guanaco´s or clever foxes wandering around the campgrounds.  You might even see a flock of flightless rhea in front of your tent early in the morning. With all those wild animals running around, it is a good idea to do your dishes as soon as possible. Otherwise you will find your pots and pans all scattered around the picnic table the next day.

The Food and Drink

Argentines love eating, especially beef. The average intake per person per year is around 70 kg! They mostly do this during the Sunday-family asado (barbecue), where they make an art of grilling meat. There are also asados at every campground in Argentina, where you can practice being the asador yourself. As a starter you can eat one of the excellent empanadas, sold at most campgrounds for approximately $2 pesos, followed by meat of your own choice (my advice: cuadril:A Campground Asado, Photo by Meike Schuring2 pieces $7 pesos, half a chicken: $5 pesos and chorizo sausages: $5 pesos in La Anonima supermarket). All of this should of course be accompanied by one or more bottles of good Argentinean wine. A nice, cheap bottle will cost you $6 to $8 pesos.  And that’s more than a camping feast! If you are not sure how to make your own asado properly, you can always peek at your neighbors. Say hi, maybe you’ll be invited to join theirs.

The Weather

Always check if there is a refugio (shelter) at your campground, especially in the southern part of Argentina. In Argentina it can rain, and then I mean really rain.  If there is no refugio, always store enough bread, cheese, chorizo and wine to enjoy a rainy evening in your tent. When there is a refugio, you and all the other campers can cook there when the weather is bad. Usually this is a great opportunity for a party!Unpredictable Weather, Photo by Meike Schuring

Also, bring duct tape. You never know when the Patagonian winds will attempt to demolish your tent. When the weather’s good, you should always wear sunscreen. Although it may not seem necessary, the sun can be ruthless to your skin.

The Places

When you have prepared yourself properly, there is no better way to experience the real Argentina than with your own tent. Most campgrounds are surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. Some great spots are Camping Lago Roca in Parque National los Glaciares and Camping Hain in Tolhuin, Tierra del Fuego. Both are located beside gorgeous lakes and have all the facilities you could need. If you are camping in cities, the campgrounds are usually located just outside of the center. This means that you have all the activities of a town, but you can still enjoy some peace and quiet.  A little walk will do everybody good after a hearty meal at the local parrilla (steakhouse).picnic-lago-roca

Moreover, camping is much cheaper than sleeping in hostels. Where a double room in a hostel will cost you at least $60 pesos, a sitio on a campground will cost you approximately $30 pesos for two people. Most camping grounds in Argentina are excellent. All sitios have their own picnic table, garbage bin, asado, lights and electricity. The bathrooms usually have hot water and separate places to do your laundry and your dishes. The better campgrounds also have refugios, a minimarket, a bar and a restaurant. There are also free campgrounds in Argentina, generally in National Parks.  You can even spend the night for free at a YPF gas station when you are in need.

The People

At campgrounds you meet the best local people. Argentines are known as amicable and engaging. They and the camping staff are the best possible guides because they know the country. Many campgrounds rent mountain bikes and/or fishing equipment and they can arrange activities like horseback riding and glacier hikes. This is usually a lot cheaper than booking a tour in town.The Landscape at Lago Roca,  Photo by Meike Schuring

Camping is a delightful way to enjoy Argentina. You will feel free, enjoy nature, save money, meet local people, eat delicious meals and drink superb wines.


[…] Argentina and Uruguay. Now we’re going to pass on what we’ve learned about the… The Ins and Outs of Camping in Argentina[Argentina’s Travel Guide] Frost in Tierra del Fuego, All photos by Meike Schuring Camping is the […]

Eduardo Arce on October 27, 09

Campsite Dorms & Bungalows Osa Mayor
Villa La Angostura -Neuquén-
Heart of the 7 lakes corridor
230 Osa Mayor St.
Ph.:54 1 2944-494304

As I have visited your page; this is to invite you to visit ours. We are located in Villa La Angostura, Neuquén, Argentina (80 km. from Bariloche city).Besides camping, we also give accomodations in bedrooms, (dorms) and bungalows (rooms with complete services, kitchen, private bathroom, and excellent views to Los Andes mountain range). We are standing in the middle of Nahuel Huapi National Park, and close to Arrayanes National Park in Argentina, one of the most visited world´s attractions, receiving tourism from the whole world.
LOCATION: 800 Mts from downtown, 85 KM. from Bariloche city (The biggest city of Patagonia), 110 Km from San Martín de los Andes, 160 Km. from Osorno (Chile), 3 Km. from the international ski center, cerro Bayo.
I always think that common cooperation may benefit tourism in general and our own business in particular. You can count on me.
Thank you
Eduardo Arce

What Do You Think?