Just two months after instituting a reciprocal visa fee for tourists to Argentina (meaning an extra $131 per person for Americans), the government of Argentina seems to be determined to rankle as many people as possible.

The latest is “the biggest inflation surge to start the year in two decades,” according to the Wall Street Journal, as Argentina Confronts Soaring Inflation. The worst part of this, for locals and tourists alike, is a 25% rise in beef prices. Chronic overspending is to blame, which has led to a big soap opera of the former head of the central bank being fired for not handing the government the bank’s foreign reserves to spend, his refusing to step down, then his being forced to step down when he was barred from his office. Kirchner’s yes-woman replacement is not sitting well with economists or the business leaders.

Bad government policies are mostly blamed for the beef inflation since price controls and export bans have led to a reduction in cattle, from 61 million in 2007 to 50 million today.

Good news for us is, the peso has dropped against the dollar to a nearly 4-to-1 ratio from around 3-to-1 in years past. So prices are rising, but so is the value of the dollar or euro for those coming in from elsewhere.

Your cruise stop in the Falkland Islands may cost extra though. Argentina is trying to force ships to get permission from Buenos Aires to pass through Argentine waters to get there. This move has gotten the support of Hugo Chavez, which tells you how well it’s going to play out with more sane leaders…

Keep an eye on international news if you’re planning a trip to Argentina. Hopefully an international recovery—or new elections—will right the ship before things get ugly.

[photo from Living in Patagonia blog]