Argentina travel guide
Argentina is a country of immense beauty and proportions. Its geographic diversity spans the most breathtaking terrain from Antarctica, through the wild, glacier-filled mountains of Patagonia and massive open plains of La Pampas to the deserts and tropical jungles in the north.
The country can be enjoyed for its natural wonders alone, but no visit here could be called complete without a glimpse of its soul, the capital city. Elegant Buenos Aires is home to 40 percent of the population, and is a buzzing metropolis with a rich, passionate and tortured history that is integral to its character. It is Europe and South America contained in one geographical location, with elements of the unknown around each corner. It is familiar and strange at the same time, but at its very core, wonderfully welcoming.
Along the avenues of the fashionable districts, sophisticated diners observe passers-by while they sip strong coffee or enjoy smooth cervezas. The constant smell of meat grilling from every corner and sidewalk reveals the Argentine passion for asado. Neither glamour nor passion is in short supply in this cosmopolitan hub where Porteños are equally versed in football, politics and fashion.
There are disparities between the rich and poor, with many people living in near-slum conditions in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Since 1992, the economy has teetered near collapse due to corruption and government mismanagement, prompting regular and sometimes violent demonstrations. However, it is business-as-usual as far as tourism is concerned; in fact, the resultant devaluation of the peso has made the country much more affordable for travellers.
The unit of currency is the Argentinean Peso (ARS). Currency can be exchanged at banks and cambios (bureaux de change) but it is easier to use ATMs, available in most towns, which reflect the current exchange rate. Major credit and debit cards are generally accepted, and US Dollars can be used in many tourist establishments.
Language : Spanish is the official language of Argentina but English is generally understood in the tourist areas.
Electricity : Electrical current in Argentina is 220 volts, 50Hz. Most hotels and offices use the three-pin flat plug, however most older buildings use the two-pin round plug.
Entry Requirements :
US nationals require a passport for travel to Argentina, but no tourist or business visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
UK nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days for British Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens and British Overseas Citizens; and 30 days for British Nationals (Overseas).
Canadians require a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days. However, Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee in advance online. The receipt from this online payment must be produced upon arrival. The fee is liable to change at any time.
Australians require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
South African nationals must hold a valid passport, but no visa is required for a maximum stay of up to 90 days.
Irish nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
New Zealand nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
Passport/Visa Note :
Valid passports are required for travel to Argentina. Visas are not generally required for stays of less than three months. Visas are valid for several entries within the period of validity stated in the visa. It is recommended that all visitors have sufficient funds, as well as onward or return tickets and documents required for next destination. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Travel Health :
There is a low risk of yellow fever, cholera and malaria in some northern provinces, so it is wise to seek your doctor's advice when travelling to these areas. However, it is recommended that all visitors to regions bordering Brazil and Paraguay, including Iguazu Falls, be inoculated against yellow fever. Outbreaks of dengue fever are on the increase, and visitors are advised to avoid getting mosquito bites as there is no effective treatment for it.
A hepatitis A vaccination is recommended before travel to Argentina as wel
l as a typhoid vaccination for those who might eat or drink outside major restaurants and hotels. Water is safe to drink in major towns and cities. Medical facilities are good in the major cities. Treatment is expensive, however, and medical insurance is advised. Asthma, sinus and bronchial ailments can be aggravated by pollution in Buenos Aires. Those with specific conditions should bring a sufficient quantity of medical supplies and medication for the trip.
A 10 percent tip is expected at restaurants in Argentina. Porters expect some small change per bag.
Safety Information :
Although the political and economic crisis is over, there are still periodic outbreaks of social unrest and demonstrations. Visitors are advised to avoid such public gatherings and to keep abreast of news to know whether any political disturbances are expected. However, there is no specific threat to foreigners and travellers should not be discouraged from travelling throughout the country. Be alert for bag-snatchers, pickpockets and con men, particularly in crowded areas in Buenos Aires, on public transport and in popular tourist haunts, such as San Telmo.
Local Customs :
Argentineans are warm and unreserved people. Both men and women greet each other by kissing on the cheek, and will often touch each other when speaking and maintain little physical distance between speakers.
Business people dress well in Argentina and visitors are expected to wear a smart suit. Handshaking is normal. Argentineans are great conversationalists and are interested and knowledgeable about world events, politics and sporting. Meetings usually begin with small talk. Use titles when addressing people: Señor (Mr), Señora (Mrs) and Señorita (Miss) followed by their surname.
Business culture in Argentina can be bureaucratic and as with most South American countries negotiation and decision making can take a long time and is best done face to face. Make sure you see the right people, as only those in high positions are likely to be able to make a final decision. Business hours are 9am to 5pm in Buenos Aires, with an hour for lunch. Outside the capital, it is normal to take a siesta between 1pm and 4pm. Many business people are away on holiday during January and February.
The international access code for Argentina is +54. Mobile phones work on the GSM network, and therefore some USA and Canadian SIM cards will not work in Argentina. Mobile roaming charges can be very expensive, so a good option is to buy an Argentine SIM on arrival. Internet cafes are widely available and many hotels also offer internet access.
Duty Free :
Travellers to Argentina over the age of 18 years can bring in the following items to the value of US$300 without incurring customs duty: two litres of alcohol, 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars, and 5kg of food items. Restrictions apply to fresh foodstuffs such as meat and dairy products. Prohibited items include explosives, flammable items, narcotics and pornographic material. Firearms and ammunition for sporting purposes are allowed if accompanied by a license/certificate.
Ministro Pistarini International Airport
Location: The airport is situated about 18 miles (30km) to the southwest of Buenos Aires.
Time: GMT -3
Contacts: Tel: +54 (0)11 5480 6111.
Transfer between terminals: Terminals A and B are linked by a covered walkway. Terminal C is a ten-minute walk from the other terminals.
Getting to the city: Manuel Tienda Leon runs a shuttle-bus to Madero Terminal in the city centre, where smaller shuttle buses connect passengers to final destinations. Rides to the city centre take about 40 minutes to an hour. Public buses are cheaper but can take up to two hours to the city centre.
Metered taxis are available outside the terminal building. Reservations can be made from official booths just outside the customs area; unofficial taxis should be avoided.
Private cars, also called remis, are a reliable option with fixed pre-set prices. They are available for hire on the lower level of both terminals or by phone.
Car rental: Car rental companies have desks in Terminal A.
Airport Taxis: Metered taxis are available outside the terminal buildings of Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport. Taxis have reservation booths inside the airport and visitors should confirm the price before making the reservation. Avoid touts and unlicensed taxis.
Facilities: There are several shops, pharmacies, restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as duty-free shopping. Bureaux de change and ATMs are available as well as a 24-hour bank. There is a left-luggage facility and a tourist information desk in Terminal A. Other facilities include mobile phone hire, medical service, a VIP lounge and internet access. Facilities for the disabled are good.
Parking: Long and short-term parking is available in both a multi-level covered parking garage (adjacent to Terminal A) and an open-air lot.
Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio L.V. Taravella International Airport
Location: The airport is located about five and a half miles (9km) northwest of central Cordoba.
Time: GMT -3.
Contacts: Tel: +34 957 21 41 00.
Getting to the city: The A5 bus route runs from the airport to the city centre, otherwise passengers can take a minibus or taxi.
Car rental: Car rental agencies at the airport include Hertz and Avis.
Airport Taxis: Taxis are available at the airport. There is a taxi platform outside the terminal.
Facilities: Airport facilities include meeting rooms, information desks, restaurants, duty-free shopping, and a VIP lounge.
Parking: Parking is available.
Argentina's elongated geography ensures that the country has a diverse climate. The north is subtropical with rain throughout the year and is best visited between May and September when the heat and humidity is less oppressive. The south has a sub-arctic climate and is best visited in the summer (December to February). The central area is temperate, but can be hot and humid during summer and cool in winter.
National Secretariat of Tourism, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4316
1600 or www.turismo.gov.ar
United States Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 5777 4533.
British Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4808 2200.
Canadian Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4808 1000.
Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4779 3500.
Embassy of South Africa, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4317 2900.
Embassy of Ireland, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 5787 0801.
New Zealand Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 11 5070 0700.
Embassy of Argentina, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 238
Foreign Embassies in Argentina
Embassy of Argentina, London, United Kingdom: +44 207 318 1300.
Embassy of Argentina, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 2351.
Embassy of Argentina, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6273 9111.
Embassy of Argentina, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 430 3524/7.
Embassy of Argentina, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 269 1546.
Embassy of Argentina, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 472 8330.
Emergencies: 101 (general), 107 (ambulance)
Argentina Emergency Numbers
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