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ARGENTINA TRAVEL TIPS

A collection of important information that can make your trip more enjoyable.

Here you will find the most important informations about Argentina
» ARGENTINA GENERAL INFORMATION » ARGENTINA SOCIAL PROFILE » ARGENTINA TIPPING
» ARGENTINA ENTRY REQUIREMENTS » ARGENTINA BUSINESS PROFILE » ARGENTINA PEOPLE
» GETTING AROUND ARGENTINA » ARGENTINA SAFETY IN ARGENTINA » ARGENTINA CLOTHING & ATTIRE
» ARGENTINA DUTY FREE » ARGENTINA MEDICAL FACILITIES » ARGENTINA SPORTS
» ARGENTINA COMMUNICATIONS » ARGENTINA SHOPPING » ARGENTINA CLIMATE & REGION
» ARGENTINA TOURIST INFORMATION » ARGENTINA CURRENCY » ARGENTINA TIME ZONE


ARGENTINA ECONOMY

You hear plenty of talk about gauchos and the tango when you mention Argentina, but for many travelers it's the country's natural wonders that are the primary attraction. They range from the northern deserts to the southern Andean cordillera and from Iguazú Falls to the magnificent desolation of Patagonia. On top of this there's the capital Buenos Aires - a fabulous city either renowned for its sophistication or derided for its derivative neo-European culture, depending on which way you choose to look at such things. In fact, the overwhelming feature of Argentina's largely immigrant population is the degree to which the cultural traits of Europe have remained intact during their transposition to the so-called New World. If you want to travel Argentina take a moment to brush up on the travel tips that will help you be more prepared for travel anywhere in Argentina.

ARGENTINA GENERAL INFORMATION

Area: 2,780,400 sq km (1,073,518 sq miles).

Population: 37,486,938 (official estimate 2001).

Population Density: 13.0 per sq km (2001).

Capital: Buenos Aires. Population: 2,776,138 (official estimate 2001).

Government: Federal and Democratic Republic. Gained independence from Spain in 1816. Head of State and Government: President Néstor Carlos Kirchner since 2003.

Language: Spanish is the official language. English is widely spoken with some French and German.

Buenos Aires Argentina - Monumento

Religion: More than 90 per cent Roman Catholic, 2 per cent Protestant with small Muslim and Jewish communities.

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Lamp fittings are of the screw-type. Plug fittings in older buildings are of the two-pin round type, but some new buildings use the three-pin flat type.

GEOGRAPHY: Argentina is situated in South America, east of the Andes, and is bordered by Chile to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil to the north and northeast. There are four main geographical areas: the Andes, the North and Mesopotamia, the Pampas and Patagonia. The climate and geography of Argentina vary considerably, ranging from the great heat of the Chaco (El Chaco), through the pleasant climate of the central Pampas to the sub-Antarctic cold of the Patagonian Sea. Mount Aconcagua soars almost 7000m (23,000ft) and waterfalls at Iguazú stretch around a massive semi-circle, thundering 70m (230ft) to the bed of the Paraná River. In the southwest is a small ’Switzerland’ with a string of beautiful icy lakes framed by mountains.

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ARGENTINA ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

A passport is all that's required of most visitors -although Australians and New Zealanders do need visas. Renewable tourist visas are issued at airports and borders, and are good for 90 days. Click here for Visa Informations

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GETTING AROUND ARGENTINA

Five major Argentine airlines attempt to make this big country appear smaller. In some cases, flying can be cheaper than covering the same distance by bus. Domestic flights carry a departure tax of around 6.00 (including 21% IVA).

Long-distance buses are fast and comfortable; some even provide on-board meal services. However, fares are expensive and fluctuate wildly. Private operators have assumed control of the formerly state-owned railways, but have shown little interest in providing passenger service except on commuter lines in and around Buenos Aires. The provinces of Río Negro, Chubut, Tucumán and La Pampa continue to provide much-reduced passenger service.

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ARGENTINA DUTY FREE

The following goods may be imported into Argentina without incurring customs duty:

(a) Travellers over 18 years of age coming from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay or Uruguay, or residents returning to Argentina after less than one year’s stay in these countries, may import the following goods to a value of US$100:
200 cigarettes and 25 cigars; 1l of alcohol; 2kg of foodstuffs.
(b) Travellers over 18 years of age coming from countries other than those listed above, or residents returning to Argentina after less than one year’s stay in countries other than those above, may import the following goods to a value of US$300:
400 cigarettes and 50 cigars; 2l of alcohol; 5kg of foodstuffs.

Prohibited items: Animals and birds from Africa or Asia (except Japan) without prior authorisation, parrots and fresh foodstuffs, particularly meat, dairy products and fruit. Explosives, inflammable items, narcotics and pornographic material are also forbidden.
Note: All gold must be declared. It is wise to arrange customs clearance for expensive consumer items (cameras, computers, etc) to forestall any problems.

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ARGENTINA COMMUNICATIONS

Telephone: IDD is available (but not generally in use). Country code: 54. Outgoing international code: 00. The system is often overburdened and international calls are expensive. Local calls can be made from public call-boxes, which are located in shops and restaurants and are identifiable by a blue sign outside. Public phones take 1 peso or 50 and 25 centavos coins or cards. Reduced tariffs apply from 2200-0800.

Mobile telephone: GSM 850/1900 networks operated by CTI Compania de Telefonis del Interior (website: www.cti.com.ar). GSM 1900 networks operated by CTI PCS and Telecom Personal Telefonica Comunicacines Personales (website: www.unifon.com.ar). Roaming can be arranged.

Fax: Most large hotels have facilities.

Internet: ISPs include Ciudad Internet Prima (website: www.ciudad.com.ar). Public access is available in Internet cafes in main towns.

Telegram: A cable service to other Latin American countries exists, run by All America Cables Limited.

Post: The main post office in Buenos Aires is located in Sarmiento 189 and is open Mon-Fri 0900-1930. Airmail to Europe takes between five and 10 days. Surface mail to Europe takes on average 20 to 25 days but can take as long as 50 days, so it is advisable to send everything airmail. Internal postal services are subject to delay. Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-2000, Sat 0800-1400.

Press: The Buenos Aires Herald is the leading English-language newspaper in Latin America. Argentina’s principal dailies include Clarín, Crónica, El Cronista, La Nación, Página 12, Diario Popular and La Prensa.

Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

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ARGENTINA TOURIST INFORMATION

Secretariat of Tourism, Tourist Information Centers: Av. Santa Fe 883, (C1059ABC) Buenos Aires, Tel. 4312-2232 or 0800-555-0016; Ezeiza International Airport and Jorge Newbery Airport; info@turismo.gov.ar.
Buenos Aires Information Centers in Pte. Quintana Avenue and J.M. Ortiz Street, Florida Street and Diagonal Norte, Retiro Bus Station, Dock 4 in Puerto Madero, Retiro Bus Station, Defensa 1250 (San Telmo), Abasto Shopping, and Parada Liniers; turismo@buenosaires.gov.ar.

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ARGENTINA SOCIAL PROFILE

Food & Drink:
North American, Continental and Middle Eastern cuisine is generally available, whilst local food is largely a mixture of Basque, Spanish and Italian. Beef is of a particularly high quality and meat-eaters should not miss out on the chance to dine at a parrillada, or grill room, where a large variety of barbecue-style dishes can be sampled. Popular local dishes include empanadas (minced meat and other ingredients covered with puff pastry) and locro (pork and maize stew). In general, restaurants are good value. They are classified by a fork sign with three forks implying a good evening out. Hotel residents are usually asked to sign a charge slip.
Argentine wines are very good and inexpensive. Local distilleries produce their own brands of most well-known spirits. Whiskies and gins are excellent, as are classic and local wines. Caribbean and South American rum adds flavour to cocktails. There are no licensing laws.

Nightlife: Buenos Aires’ nightlife is vibrant. There are many theatres and concert halls showcasing foreign artists. Nightclubs featuring jazz and tango are plentiful. Tango lessons and dancing can be enjoyed at lively milongas (tango parties), throughout Buenos Aires. There are also many intimate boîtes (clubs) and stage shows. There are casinos throughout Argentina.

Special Events: For a full list of special events, contact the National Tourist Board. The following is a selection of special events occurring in Argentina in 2005:
Feb 28-Mar 5 Buenos Aires Tango Festival. Mar Luis Palau Mendoza Festival. Mar 3-6 Feriagro Argentina. Mar 21-26 Holy Week, Salta. Apr 13-May 9 Buenos Aires Book Fair. Jul 7 International Video-Dance Festival, Buenos Aires. Jul 15-18 FIA World Rally Championship, Cordoba. Aug 16-24 Snow Festival. Oct 7-19 International Guitar Festival, Buenos Aires. Nov 6 Buenos Aires Pride. Nov 15-Dec 14 Polo Argentine Open (polo competition).

Social Conventions: The most common form of greeting between friends is kissing cheeks. When invited to somebody’s house it is quite common to take a homemade dish or dessert. Dinner is usually served between 2100-2200. Avoid casual discussion of the Falklands/Malvinas war. Dress is not usually formal, though clothes should be conservative away from the beach. Formal wear is worn for official functions and dinners, particularly in exclusive restaurants. Smoking is prohibited on public transport, in cinemas and theatres.

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ARGENTINA BUSINESS PROFILE

Economy: Argentina is rich in natural resources and also has a large and profitable agricultural sector; the country is one of the world’s major exporters of wheat and also produces maize, oilseeds, sorghum, soya beans and sugar. Beef is no longer the dominant trading commodity that it once was but animal products are still a valuable export earner. Agricultural goods aside, Argentina exports textiles and some metal and chemical products. These, along with oil refining and vehicle production, are also the main components of Argentina’s manufacturing industry. Hydroelectricity and coal meet the bulk of the country’s energy requirements. Brazil is the largest of Argentina’s South American trading partners. There are also important trading relationships with the USA, which is the main source of manufactured products, and the countries of the former Soviet Union, which buy large quantities of grain. Elsewhere, trade with Japan and the EU – especially Germany and The Netherlands – has grown rapidly in recent years.
For all the potential of the Argentinian economy, it has been historically blighted by two major problems – high inflation and a massive foreign debt. The Menem government of the mid-1990s made a reasonable attempt to tackle these, using the orthodox market measures of dismantling the public sector, free competition, asset sales, and swingeing cuts in public spending. In addition, the value of Argentinian Peso was fixed to that of the US dollar. The immediate results were reductions in the national debt and the inflation rate – as well as considerable hardship for the poorer sections of the population. However, the policy of Peso-Dollar parity had unintended side effects which led to a sharp fall in exports and in government tax revenues, as well as a large increase in government debt. With external debt topping US$130 billion in 2001, Argentina was on the point of defaulting on its overseas debts, potentially leading to a complete economic meltdown. At the end of the year, the government was forced to introduce draconian currency control measures – a substantial devaluation, along with a block on normal access to bank accounts – as it struggled to bring the situation under control. Since then, the Duhalde government, which took office at the end of 2001, has effectively stabilised the economy, which is now undergoing something of a resurgence. In mid-2004, growth was 9 per cent. In March 2005, President Kirchner declares restructuring of the country's debt to be a success.

Business: Business cards are usually given and businesspeople expect to deal with someone of equal status. Punctuality is expected by visitors. Literature is in Spanish, although many Argentinian businesspeople speak English as a second language. Office hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1200 and 1400-1900.

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ARGENTINA SAFETY IN ARGENTINA

Argentina is an extremely interesting country to travel and explore. But it is located in South America, not the safest region in the world. Buenos Aires is a very safe city and local police keep it that way by actively patrolling all tourist areas. Violent crime is extremely rare and smaller towns in Argentina are even safer than Buenos Aires, with crime worth mentioning being unheard of.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember there a number of thieves who spend their time in tourist areas on the lookout for easy prey. Always protect your valuables and keep your passport and tickets in a safe at your hotel.

Emergency Guide: In case you do get into any sort of trouble, anything from loss of passport, to theft, to a medical emergency, please consult our Emergency Guide.

Buenos Aires Safety:
The Buenos Aires barrio of La Boca has seen a number of thefts of valuables just a few blocks away from the famous street Caminito. Take special care when you are in this area.

Taxi Travel: Taxis are found all over Buenos Aires. Taxis in Buenos Aires are all clearly marked and have a meter. In general, it is completely safe to travel by taxi in Buenos Aires, but rumors of happenings have been known to circulate. If you are at all concerned, go to the nearest hotel and take the taxi from there. Also, you can always call a taxi service from your restaurant or a public facility. The taxis ordered in such a manner are extremely safe.

Female Travelers: Argentina is a fairly safe country for women to travel in. Besides a few quick come-ons by the local men (that are meant to be ignored), women feel at ease exploring Buenos Aires and any other area of Argentina. It is recommended for women not to wear flashy or expensive-looking jewelry and to not walk around over- or under-dressed.

Senior-Citizen Travelers: Older people are very much revered and respected by Argentine culture and there is no reason for senior-citizens not to travel to Argentina.

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ARGENTINA MEDICAL FACILITIES

Medical care in Buenos Aires is generally good but varies in quality outside the capital. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the US can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

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ARGENTINA SHOPPING

VAT return: At the airport you may obtain a VAT reimbursement corresponding to any purchases made within the country for an amount over $70 (per invoice) and in shops operating with the “Global Refund” system.

Payment methods: Although US Dollars and Euros are generally taken everywhere, foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks and authorized bureaus. American Express, VISA, Diners and Master Card are widely accepted. There may be difficulties in changing traveler's check outside Buenos Aires.

Opening hours:Banks and Exchange Bureaus: Mondays to Fridays from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
Business Offices: generally from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. and from 2.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Stores: in the big cities from 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., although in the outskirts and the provinces they generally close at midday. Saturdays, from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. Cafés, cake shops and pizzerias: open most of the time except between 2.00 and 6.00 a.m.
Restaurants: lunch is served as from 12.30 p.m. and dinner as from 8.30 hours. Fast-food menus are served in many restaurants at all times.

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ARGENTINA CURRENCY

The Argentine Peso is the official currency. Bills come in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. One pesos equals one hundred cents.

2 pesos are blue (Bartolomé Mitre 1821-1906), 5 pesos are green (José de San Martín 1778-1850), 10 pesos are brown (Manuel Belgrano 1770-1820), 20 pesos are red (Juan Manuel de Rosas 1793-1877), 50 pesos are grey (Domingo Faustino Sarmiento 1811-1888) and 100 pesos are violet (Julio Argentino Roca 1843-1914).

Coins are 1 peso and then there are coins from 50,25,5 and 1 cents.

1 peso coins are golden and silver plated; 50 cents coins are golden; 25,10 and 5 cents coins may be either golden or silver plated. Finally copper 1 cent coins are rarely used.

Banking hours are from Monday to tuesday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

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ARGENTINA TIPPING

Tips are theoretically outlawed but some hotels or restaurants will add 25 per cent service charge, plus a 21 per cent tax charge. In these cases, a minimal tip is still expected. Otherwise, 10 per cent on top of the bill will suffice. The same applies in bars. Taxi drivers tend to expect tips from visitors.

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ARGENTINA PEOPLE

Argentina, unlike most Latin American nations, has a population that is principally of European descent, especially of Italian and Spanish origin. The mestizo portion of Argentina's population is very small, except in the northwest, because there has been little mixture between European and indigenous peoples. The native population, which has steadily declined since the coming of the Europeans, who decimated its ranks and its culture, is still strong only in parts of the Gran Chaco and the Andean highlands. Italian, Spanish (including Basque), French, German, British, Swiss, and East European immigrants came to Argentina during the 1880s; other large in-migrations of Europeans occurred in the 1930s and following World War II. There has also been some in-migration of Chileans, Bolivians, and Paraguayans.

The gaucho, or Argentine cowboy, the nomadic herder of the Pampas—depicted in Martín Fierro, the great Argentine folk epic by José Hernández—is still a legendary national symbol. Many gauchos were people of mixed Spanish and black descent who had crossed the border from Brazil to escape slavery. By the 1990s, however, Argentina had a predominantly urban population with about four fifths of its people living in cities and towns; more than a third of the total population lives in and around Buenos Aires.

About 90% of the population is at least nominally Roman Catholic. The Jewish population, while only accounting for about 2% of the people, is the largest in Latin America and the fifth largest in the world. Spanish is the country's official language, although Italian is spoken as well. Argentina has one of South America's lowest population growth rates (1.1%) and one of its highest literacy rates (96%). Education is required until students become 15.


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ARGENTINA CLOTHING & ATTIRE

Dress Etiquette

• Business attire is formal and conservative, yet stylish.
• Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits.
• Women should wear elegant business suits or dresses.
• Good quality accessories are important for both sexes.
• Dress well if you want to make a good impression.

Argentina is as varied as the United States when it comes to climate and landscape. However, when you visit Buenos Aires, you will soon realize it's nothing like the rest of the country. The standard attire is neat, fitted clothing, black leather coats, smart boots with heels, small jewelry. You will feel out of place wearing baggy jeans and flannel. Solid, sober colors and earthtones fit in better than bright flashy prints. The key is to be neat and sleek. Outside of Buenos Aires, stick to jeans, khakis, more casual (but conservative in color and cut) clothing, especially if traveling with women only. When traveling the countryside, wear comfortable clothing, layer when possible. Avoid the miniskirt/short shorts, although you will see it occasionally.

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ARGENTINA SPORTS

Even though several sports are practised, futball is the most outstanding one. In the city of Buenos Aires there are a large number of stadiums, some of them with a capacity of more than 40.000 people. Pato is the autoctonuos sport and Polo has reached international importance due to the quality of its players. Other important sports practised by a large number of people are: tennis, rugby, hockey, volleyball, basquetball, motorsports, golf, water sports and beach sports. The ski enthusiasts can choose from numerous winter centres to practise it.

Sporting fishing can be practised in the whole country, giving the major importance to the obtention of the huge Dorados and the varieties of Salmonidae . Due to its extension and diversity of climates Argentina offer the opportunity to practise any kinds of traditional and adventure sports such as motonautic, wind sailing, boating, kayak, rafting, scuba diving, trekking, mountain climbing, mountain bike, parashuting, hang gliding, ski, snowboard, small and big game hunting among others

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ARGENTINA CLIMATE & REGION

Argentina has exceptional natural beauties, for it comprises a diverse territory of mountains, plateaux and plains with all the climatic variations. There are several climatic and landscape regions

Region

1) NORTHWEST

It stands out for its tropical climate, its colourful mountains, the Puna high plateaux, the gorges, the valleys and the characteristic settlement patterns that make up the history of this land. 

2) GRAN CHACO

Primarily forestal area  with forests of subtropical climate, swampy lands and ponds.

3) MESOPOTAMIA

In the northern part the subtropical climate prevails whereas, in the south the climatic conditions are more temperate . It is rich in  flora and fauna.  Its territory consists of slopes, ponds and swampy lands cut through by important rivers .

4) CUYO

With its montaneous characteristics (The Aconcagua lies here), it has an arid temperate climate. However, man, through artificial irrigation, has turned it into an ideal land for the viticulture and viniculture.

5) CENTRAL SIERRAS 

The central sierras of Córdoba and San Luis offer a quite bening dry temperate climate. They posses numerous rivers and artificial water mirrors. 

6) HUMID PAMPA

The Pampa with its temperate climate posseses the most productive lands of the country (and one of the best ones of the world) for the agriculture and cattle breeding. Its plain landscape is just broken by Tandil and Ventania Sierras.
The East is characterised by the vast populated beaches of the Atlantic coast.

7) PATAGONIA

The largest region with the coldest climate (especially in the southern part). The west consists mainly of a montaneous landscape peppered with spectacular woods, lakes and glaciers. The centre offers sterile plateaux and the east  vast beaches with spectacular and unique colonies of marine animals for sightseeing. The southern extreme of this region makes up the southermost point of the world.

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ARGENTINA TIME ZONE

Argentina is in Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay.
Argentina Standard Time is GMT - 3 (GMT - 4 in summer).

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