Abbi and Blake, your trip leaders, are experienced international travelers with a record of caring for the physical and mental well-being of teenagers.
Blake is a certified EMT and Wilderness First Responder and has traveled to every destination in the trip itinerary. Abbi has traveled extensively across the world, including countries significantly less developed than Argentina.
Learn more about the trip leaders here.
Argentina is one of the most prosperous and safe countries to visit in South America. In 2001/2 the country suffered a financial crisis from which made a dramatic recovery. Strikes and protests are not uncommon in the larger cities (Buenos Aires, Salta, Cordoba) and are virtually always peaceful.
The destinations on the trip itinerary are safe for young adults - Blake saw each destination himself in 2007 - and free of political strife. Argentina hosts hundreds of thousands of U.S., European, and other Western tourists each year. The destinations elected for the student-designed weeks will be safety-evaluated before approval.
We encourage concerned parents to research Argentina's safety online and in travel guides. This is not Mexico, Columbia, or Bolivia. Sending your teen abroad to Argentina is more like sending her to Italy.
The trip leaders will stay abreast of political or other developments in the country that affect tourists prior to departure.
Learn more at the State Department's Travel Advisory Website for Argentina.
Our destinations will always remain within 2 hours of city-based hospital facilities. The trip leaders carry a professional first aid kit on all excursions.
The public health system in Argentina provides emergency and non-emergency services free of charge to all, regardless of nationality or immigration status. The quality of non-emergency care in public hospitals is generally below U.S. standards. Medical care in private hospitals in Buenos Aires is generally good, but varies in quality outside the capital. If a student becomes ill or injured, we will take him or her to the closest and highest quality hospital.
(Please note that expenses at foreign hospitals are typically paid out-of-pocket at the time of treatment, and receipts are later reimbursed by your insurance company.)
More notes about health on our trip:
- Trip leaders will ensure that students with prescription medications stay on schedule. Leaders will hold on to extra/replacement medications and vital meds such as inhalers.
- Awareness and prevention is the best policy for avoiding injury and sickness. During orientation, students will be trained in the mechanics of disease transmission and basic first aid.
- Every destination we visit will have an emergency plan, including phone numbers and directions to the nearest hospitals. In the case of illness or injury, parents will be notified immediately via international cell phone.
- Every student is required to have health insurance that covers emergency care in Argentina. This allows us use the highest quality hospitals if the need arises.
- No exotic vaccines are required for travel in Argentina (Yellow Fever and Malaria vaccines are requred in the northeast region bordering Paraguay, which we do not visit), but you may require a few normal boosters. Learn more at the CDC Website.
The trip leaders will be accessible via Argentine-based cell phones for the duration of the trip, in case of parental emergency or a lost student.
Each student will carry daily a "safety pouch" with phone numbers, photocopies of passport and insurance, an international calling card and emergency cash. The safety pouch will provide an extra layer of security in the unlikely case of a group separation.
During the trip, students will be given various opportunities to venture into towns/cities in groups of 2 or more (not under the direct supervision of trip leaders). This will only happen in areas previously known to be safe and on the condition of reliable and responsible student behavior.
Drugs and alcohol
The use or possession of illegal drugs at any point during the trip is grounds for immediate dismissal without refund.
Alcohol use is not allowed for the duration of the trip. With parental consent, however, students may join their homestay families in dinner wine, as is traditional in Argentina.
No smoking will be allowed on the trip.
Argentina enjoys a Mediterranean climate in most of its regions. We will be visiting during the end of the Southern Hemisphere's spring season (Oct/Nov). The average temperature in Buenos Aires during these months is 58 - 74 degrees F, with 2.5" monthly rainfall. The average temperature in Bariloche is 36 - 64 degrees F, with 1" monthly rainfall.
Contrary to any South American rumors you've heard (likely leaking over from Peru and Bolivia), virtually all Argentina destinations have hot showers, flushing toilets, and electricity.
Argentines take pride in their asadas - large platters of grilled meat and vegetables - and $5-size-of-your-face steaks. But it's not all meat. Vegetarians can find plenty to eat in the country (as Blake did), and diverse ethnic and health-food options abound. Vegans will find less luck, but will likely improve their cooking skills.
Unsanitary restaurants pose a significantly less threat in Argentina as they do in Mexico or other parts of South America - comparable to eating out in the United States.
What to Pack
Upon enrolling in the trip, students will receive a full packing list. You will not need any specialized equipment or outdoors gear. You'll essentially pack as if you were traveling in the United States for 1 week. A simple backpacking backpack will easily hold everything you need.
Abbi and Blake pride themselves in lightweight packing abilities. We'll share our tips and tricks with you to ensure that you don't end up carrying that full-size English-Spanish dictionary or a Costco shampoo bottle on your back for 6 weeks.