Ready for your next big adventure?
Imagine spending your days hiking through Patagonia and your nights dining on succulent grass-fed beef accompanied by top-shelf Malbec.
It doesn’t get much better than that. And it’s all here in Argentina.
But why settle for a hasty vacation?
A trip to Argentina doesn’t have to be a fleeting visit. Instead, pick up some work along the way and indulge yourself in an extended stay.
Sure, you’ll need to sort out a visa and learn the local lingo.
But it’ll all be worth it to savor the natural, cultural and culinary delights of this captivating South American nation.
Travel advice for Argentina
- Argentina is an enormous country, which makes transportation a challenge at times. But the national bus system is excellent, with quality modern coaches plying every imaginable route. Opt for cama (lie-flat) seats on longer journeys to ensure a comfortable ride. Plataforma 10 lets travelers view timetables and book online.
- Despite their expensive price tags, domestic flights are a godsend on longer trips. Aerolíneas Argentinas and LATAM are the primary carriers, while LADE and Andes Líneas Aéreas service Patagonia and the north, respectively.
- Most backpackers sleep in hostels to keep costs down, although local residenciales (guesthouses) can be a good value, as well.
- Spanish is essential for extended stays. Try FluentU free for 15 days to brush up on your language skills. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, TV shows and news programs—and turns them into Spanish learning experiences. Download files for offline use so you can keep watching videos while lounging on one of those long cross-country bus rides.
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Where to go in Argentina
I recommend working and traveling in Argentina for at least three months, if possible. It’s a big country, and there’s lots to see!
- Dubbed the Paris of the South, the buzzing capital of Buenos Aires is the country’s urban heart. Colonial architecture, a thriving cultural scene and countless historical monuments enchant even the most intrepid traveler.
- Marine life lovers should make a detour via the wildlife-rich Península Valdés. Here, sea lions, elephant seals, southern right whales, dolphins and penguins rub shoulders together in an incredible aquatic display.
- For a nature fix of craggy mountain peaks, creaking glaciers and turquoise lagoons, head south to the vast wilderness region of Patagonia.
- Straddling the border with Chile lies Argentina’s shimmering Lake District, a lushly forested land reminiscent of Europe.
- Oenophiles must visit Mendoza to explore the endless vineyards that sustain the country’s burgeoning wine industry.
- Head north to hang with gauchos (cowboys) in the charming city of Salta before exploring the stunning high-altitude deserts of Jujuy province.
- No trip to Argentina would be complete without the country’s most famed attraction: The gargantuan cataracts known as the Iguazú Falls.
Types of visas in Argentina
Argentina tourist visas
Most nationalities receive a 90-day tourist visa for free upon arrival. Citizens of certain countries will need to acquire one in advance.
Note that the widely loathed reciprocity fee was abandoned in 2017. Wahoo!
Tourists who wish to stay longer can apply for an extension for a whopping AR 2,700 ARS (73 USD). Given the high cost, most simply leave the country and come back for a fresh 90 days.
Although commonplace, border runs can only be undertaken a limited number of times before immigration decides to deny entry. That number is at their discretion.
Argentina work visas
Foreigners need a visa to work in Argentina. Numerous options are available, all of which require a significant amount of paperwork and 200-300 USD in fees.
- The working visa requires applicants to secure a valid employment contract with an Argentine company.
- The visa for expatriate staff applies to foreigners who transfer to Argentina with a multinational corporation.
- The student visa permits cultural exchanges, including volunteering. Although a visa is officially required to volunteer, the regulation is rarely enforced in practice.
Working holiday visas
Young citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Denmark, among other countries, are eligible to apply for a working holiday visa. This document allows them to work and travel in Argentina for up to 12 months.
Typically, applicants must be under age 30, although requirements vary from country to country. There’s a limited quota each year, so get in quickly!
9 Types of Jobs to Work and Travel in Argentina (And Where to Find Them)
Working in Argentina
Sky high inflation and stiff competition mean well-paying positions are difficult to come by for those without specialist skills and a solid command of the language.
The following jobs are popular with foreigners traveling the country, some of which require no previous experience.
Native English As a Second Language (ESL) teachers are always in high demand, particularly in Buenos Aires and other large cities such as Mendoza, Rosario and Córdoba. The start of the school year in March is the most active recruitment period.
A TEFL certificate and experience lead to better-paying positions, while novices are typically confined to less distinguished language institutions.
Check Craigslist or online ESL jobs boards, such as Dave’s ESL Cafe, to find work. Research potential employers before committing to avoid disappointment.
Teaching private classes will yield a significantly higher hourly rate, although it takes time to build up a solid client base.
A growing contingent of digital nomads is discovering the charms of Argentina, despite its moderately high cost of living.
Workers such as I.T. professionals, writers, photographers and graphic designers find clients by either pitching directly or signing up with a platform such as Upwork or Freelancer.
It often takes a considerable amount of time to build up a sufficient portfolio and network to land gigs that pay enough for you to sustain yourself.
Hostel or bar work
Plenty of backpackers pick up work in hostels while on the road, often through websites such as Workaway. As a rule of thumb, expect to be remunerated in accommodation and food only.
Bar work can be arranged by approaching the managers of gringo (foreigner)-orientated watering holes. Pay tends to be low, but it’s a great way to make new friends.
Anyone from doctors and lawyers to engineers and architects could potentially land a well-paying gig in Argentina if they possess the adequate qualifications and experience. A strong command of Spanish is often required.
The website Jobs in Buenos Aires advertises English-speaking positions, while Bumeran and CompuTrabajo cater toward Spanish-speaking employees.
The tourism industry
Argentina’s ample natural splendor means English-speaking guides are a sought after commodity.
Much of the work is found in Patagonia over the summer months through recruitment websites such as Indeed. Obviously, a high level of expertise is expected to land a job as a hiking, whitewater rafting or horseback riding guide.
Ski resort workers
Give Whistler a miss and opt to work Argentina’s June to October ski season instead. Although perhaps not quite as prestigious, the Argentine ski fields do welcome a large contingent of adrenaline-addicted tourists each year. Conditions on the slopes are generally good but can be variable at times.
Landing a seasonal job is tough as most positions are snapped up by local staff. You’ll need to get in early, apply for stacks of jobs and have impeccable Spanish skills.
The Catedral Alta Patagonia resort just outside of Bariloche is your best bet due to its larger size and international clientele.
As an added bonus, the late night after-work scene is off the hook. Most revelers party from midnight until dawn, so you’ll need to schedule in a siesta (nap) or two each day to avoid overexerting yourself.
Volunteering in Argentina
Agencies such as Go Overseas and ELI Abroad offer neatly packaged volunteer programs. While these organizations provide you with plenty of support, they also charge hefty fees. Depending on your needs, it could be best to just contact the companies directly.
Many travelers fall in love with Argentina’s haciendas, or elegant country estates where gaucho (cowboy) culture is alive and well.
Opportunity abounds for gringos to work on local farms, most of which provide boarding and food in exchange for a five-day work week. Vineyard workers may have the added incentive of indulging in oodles of locally produced wine. Check WWOOF Argentina for available opportunities.
Alternatively, the northern eco-lodge and finca (farm) Aldea Luna is situated in a stunning nature reserve and receives rave reviews from former volunteers.
Fancy waking up each day to work among the stunning surroundings of southern Patagonia? Sure beats the nine-to-five office life.
Conservacion Patagonica (Conservation Patagonia) accepts all sorts of volunteers to help create and preserve a new national park. Typical activities include maintaining an organic garden, removing fencing and monitoring wildlife.
Community and social work
Ample opportunities are available for those who wish to assist Argentina’s disadvantaged underclass. The following require a conversational level of Spanish.
- Habitat Para la Humanidad (Habitat for Humanity) uses volunteers to help construct housing for disadvantaged families.
- Fundación Banco de Alimentos (Food Bank Foundation) is always looking for new people to aid with the logistics and distribution of their food bank in the suburbs of Buenos Aires.
- Club Unión de los Pibes (Kids’ Union Club) gets volunteers to give up their Saturdays to play sports or teach arts and crafts to inspire underprivileged children in Buenos Aires.
- Delicias de Alicia (Alicia’s Delights) provides nutritional courses and dietary information to poor communities.
- Fundación Sí (Yes Foundation) collects donations of food, money and clothing to distribute among the needy.
With a mix of European and Latin influences, a plethora of stunning scenery and some of the best steak and vino on Earth, Argentina is destined to delight.
So give into temptation and grant this country the attention it deserves with an extended working holiday.
Harry is a South American-based freelance writer who covers travel, the arts and culture, among many other things.
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