Having re-emerged from the health crisis as a free, more welcoming country, Argentina is exploding in popularity right now, drawing in a record number of visitors and comfortably leading recovery trends in South America.
But what is it about Argentina that has been captivating so many Americans lately?
Believe it or not, South America is one of the strictest continents in the world for travel right now, at least when it comes to entry restrictions. Only a handful of countries have lifted their border measures, while an overwhelming majority continues to adhere to an early-pandemic state of alert.
Argentina is, of course, not one of them, but its relaxed border policies are far from being the only reason why it is so trendy all of a sudden:
Pre-Pandemic Capacity Exceeded By 101%
According to a new report published by the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association, abbreviated to ALTA, Argentina has officially exceeded its pre-pandemic levels of passengers in January 2023, suggesting this year could be on track to become the country’s biggest since records began.
Effectively, it has reached 101% of growth in the first month compared to January 2019, placing Argentina at the forefront of the tourism scene in the wider Latin World: no other destination in the geopolitical group has kickstarted 2023 as successfully:
Although it is still likely to top an ‘overall passenger numbers’ chart somewhere, Mexico has only grown by 25% compared to 2019, perhaps slowed down by Cancun’s less potent rebound; meanwhile, Brazil is yet to return to its pre-pandemic traffic, having got as far as 93%, with no growth in January 2023.
The fact that Brazil has recently decided to re-impose visa requirements for Americans is also not playing out in its favor. In Chile’s case, where 88% of January traffic levels have been recovered, the slower growth can be attributed to a strict border regime and other harsh local anti-COVID measures.
In other words, Argentina is crushing it compared to its strongest competitors. But how did it outpace them so quickly?
One Of The Safest Countries For Tourists In South America
Not only is it relatively affordable to visit, with the excellent currency exchange rate, but Argentina also ranks as one of the safest countries in South America. It is one of only three countries in the continent where Americans are not advised to exercise ‘increased caution’ when visiting or even avoid visiting at all by the U.S. State Department.
Crime rates in parts of Argentina are surprisingly low — lower than some U.S. cities, for that matter — and urban safety levels are high, with cities like Buenos Aires, Rosario, La Plata, and Mendoza all deemed low-risk. In comparison, neighboring Brazil has one of the highest crime rates globally.
And then, it boasts an endless supply of cultural attractions. You could easily spend an entire month in Buenos Aires only and never exhaust your possibilities, from wandering the city’s colorful La Boca district to indulging in fine dining, watching a polo match in upscale Palermo, or simply marveling at the beautiful 18th and 19th-century Europe-inspired architecture.
Well-delineated by wide boulevards flanked by green patches, interspersed with Belle epoque, Art Deco, and Neo-Gothic buildings, Buenos Aires has deservedly earned the nickname ‘Paris of South America‘, and in this respect, it is easily the most beautiful capital Mercosur capital.
In other parts of the country, tourists will find glaciers and even Welsh-speaking minorities, particularly in the Patagonian South, as a result of a large influx of migrants from Wales. Alternatively, approaching the border with Brazil, where the Iguazu Falls are located, the landscape is dominated by vineyards, tropical forests, and hiking trails.
The diversity is immense, and it won’t be long until you’re enamored with Argentina yourself.
No COVID Entry Requirements
Lastly, Argentina has no entry requirements, as mentioned above. In order to visit from the U.S., you will not be expected to present a vaccination card upon boarding nor undergo any form of testing upon landing. Entry is a breeze, and the attitude towards COVID is much more relaxed than it was in 2020 or 2021.
Americans are generally allowed to stay in Argentina legally for up to 90 days as tourists, though there have been instances where they were granted a longer sejour.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com