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Three Hours South is the Bay

Date: April 17, 2024 | By: Ashish Sanghrajka | Category: Travel Blog

Ibera Wetlands to Bahia Bustamante


Have you ever traveled to a destination where it seems like… the tourism cycle is set on a rinse-and-repeat setting? While you think of a few of those destinations try not to bash your head against a brick wall. For us, I would tell you that Argentina was on that list for a while, a magical place that just couldn’t get out of its own way, because it was so married to the same areas. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that Argentina has so much more to offer.  Today, the news is paralleled with economic updates which seem to come as frequently as tourism updates which is a good thing as Argentina’s economy and their reliance on tourism is complicated, not as straightforward as what you may see in Colombia, or Egypt for example.


Well, let’s unpack this. First, anyone familiar with Argentina knows there is much more to it than tango and waterfalls, and the accompanying video showcases some of those lesser-known areas in the north and along the western coast. A common misconception is that the cost of tourism is pegged to the Argentinian peso, which has been quite volatile since it was intentionally devalued by the current administration. My background is in finance and economics and the merits and faults of currency adjustments is a debate I love having; however, I won’t bore all of you here. What is important to know is that many services in the tourism industry are tied to other currencies including the USD, so a devalued peso actually makes things more expensive for any tourism-related service. My favorite article on this topic was a recent piece written by Bloomberg titled, “Argentina Inflation Near 300% Wipes Out Tourists’ Deep Discounts.” Some of you knew about the shortage in USD in Argentina around this time last year. Much has changed since then and now,  anyone wanting a deeper dive is very much welcome to contact me as it’s a great topic to discuss. The broad stroke however is that Argentina, once considered inexpensive, has, like everywhere else, seen costs rise dramatically and this isn’t a unique anomaly, this was decades in the making. The pandemic simply accelerated this movement.


Beyond these headlines, some exciting trends are developing in Argentina on the tourism front. First, the length of stay has increased in the last 5 years by 14%. This is the first sign that travelers are willing to spend more days exploring beyond the known spots. For us, this is such a great validation, as going remote and pushing away from the norm has been the Big Five way for decades. What we now call #bigfivin “thanks to Angela Pierson.


Secondly, adventure tourism has risen the fastest since the pandemic, which we love seeing, and this, married with a return to cultural immersion, has caused daily spending to increase by 20% in just the last 2 years. In fact, spending habits for travelers focused on adventure and authentic remote experiences in Argentina surpassed pre-pandemic levels for Big Five guests right after the borders fully opened. This was the trend that started for us at the end of 2018 and continues today.


OK, I know, enough stats. Argentina has challenges ahead of it, from repaying IMF loans to curbing inflation. The following quote from the most recent study on Argentina’s tourism economy by German research firm Ströer sums up our thoughts pretty well.

“Argentina’s tourism industry is recovering from economic instability, with a focus on promoting its diverse landscapes and cultural heritage.”

Big Five has kept the lights on and looks forward to welcoming you in.

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