Argentina Tips

 

Dear Argentina visitor,

On behalf of the staff of EcoAmerica Tours, we wish you a most pleasant experience exploring this exciting and diverse destination. Argentina’s cultural and culinary traditions, natural beauty and diversity, as well as its business opportunities attract a considerable amount of visitors each year. Buenos Aires, other large cities, as well as some rural destinations, have well-developed tourist facilities and services, including many four-and five-star hotels. The quality of tourist facilities in smaller towns outside the capital varies.

So please, before starting your trip, take a few minutes to review the following tips and information; it might be useful!


Entry / Exit Requirements

It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Argentine authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Argentina or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.

A valid and in good conditions passport is required to enter Argentina.

Even though U.S. and Canada citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days, there is a reciprocity fee that has to be paid on-line in advance through the Provincia Pagos Website; visitors from other countries please check with your nearest consulate.

More information for US Citizens is available through Travel.State.Gov, a service from the US Department of State.

More information for Canadian Citizens is available through Travel.gc.CA, a service from the Government of Canada.

Visitors who arrive in Argentina with expired or damaged passports may be refused entry and returned to their country of origin at their own expense.

Visitors from the U.S. and Canada wishing to enter Brazil or Paraguay from Argentina are required to obtain a visa in advance from the appropriate Embassy or consulate nearest to the traveler’s place of residence. Visitors from other countries please check with your nearest consulate. Travelers transiting between Brazil or Paraguay and Argentina should always make sure to present their passports to Argentine immigration officials to have their entry and exit from Argentina recorded.


Safety and Security

Pedestrians and drivers should exercise caution, as drivers frequently ignore traffic laws and vehicles often travel at excessive speeds. The rate and toll of traffic accidents has been a topic of much local media attention.

Demonstrations are common in metropolitan Buenos Aires and occur in other major cities as well. Protesters on occasion block streets, highways, and major intersections, causing traffic jams and delaying travel. While demonstrations are usually nonviolent, some individuals break from larger groups and sometimes seek confrontation with the police and vandalize private property. Visitors should take common-sense precautions and avoid gatherings or any other event where crowds have congregated to protest. Information about the location of possible demonstrations is available from a variety of sources, including the local media.

Domestic flight schedules can be unreliable. Occasional work stoppages, over-scheduling of flights and other technical problems can result in flight delays, cancellations, or missed connections. Consult local media or the airline company for information about possible strikes or slow-downs before planning travel within Argentina.

Public transportation is generally reliable and safe. The preferred option for travel within Buenos Aires and other major cities is by radio taxi or “remise” (private car with driver). The best way to obtain safe taxis and remises is to call for one or go to an established stand, rather than hailing one on the street. Hotels, restaurants, and other businesses can order remises or radio taxis, or provide phone numbers for such services, upon request. Passengers on buses, trains, and the subway should be alert for pickpockets and should be aware that these forms of transport are sometimes interrupted by strikes or work stoppages.

Argentina’s mountains, forests, deserts, and glaciers make it a popular destination for outdoor and adventure sports enthusiasts. Despite the best efforts of local authorities, assisting visitors lost or injured in such remote areas can be difficult. Travelers visiting isolated and wilderness areas should learn about local hazards and weather conditions and always inform park or police authorities of their itineraries. Argentina boasts the highest peak outside of the Himalayas, Mount Aconcagua. Its guidebook billing as affordable and requiring no climbing skills attracts hundreds of visitors every year; however, inexperienced mountaineers should bear in mind that Aconcagua’s 22,840-foot altitude, bitter cold, and savage storms make it, in fact, one of the world’s most difficult climbs.


 Crime

In general, Argentina is a safe country. Nevertheless, street crime in the larger cities, especially greater Buenos Aires and Mendoza, is a problem for residents and visitors alike. As in any big city, visitors to Buenos Aires and popular tourist destinations should be alert to muggers, pickpockets, scam artists, and purse-snatchers on the street, in hotel lobbies, at bus and train stations, and in cruise ship ports. In certain areas, visitors should limit their visit to the designated tourist areas during daylight hours.

Your passport is a valuable document and should be guarded. Passports and other valuables should be locked in a hotel safe, and a photocopy of your passport should be carried for identification purposes.

The Argentine Federal Police have established a special Tourist Police Unit to receive complaints and investigate crimes against tourists. The unit, located at Corrientes 436 in Buenos Aires, responds to calls around the clock at 4346-5748 or toll-free 0800-999-5000 from anywhere in the country. In case of emergency, you also can dial 911 for police assistance.


Accessibility

While in Argentina, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States and Canada. It is important to note that a specific law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, while the federal government has protective laws, many provinces have not adopted the laws and have no mechanisms to ensure enforcement.


Stay healthy

Visiting Argentina does not raise any major health worries. Certain vaccinations may be necessary for visitors, depending on where in Argentina you plan to visit. Yellow Fever vaccinations are recommended for those visiting the Northern forests. Different climate conditions might take your body by surprise, so be aware of the weather before you arrive. A bout of travelers’ diarrhea is the most you are likely to have to worry about as your body adjusts to local microorganisms in the food. It is also best to ease yourself gently into the local diet: sudden quantities of red meat, red wine, strong coffee and sweet pastries can be very unsettling for a stomach used to gentler repasts. Although tap water in Argentina is safe to drink, if sometimes heavily chlorinated, you may prefer to err on the side of caution in rural areas in the north of the country.


Medical Insurance

Travel insurance is a great way to protect your travel investment. By choosing to offer travel insurance, your travel agent is providing you a financial safety net for most unforeseen travel inconveniences. Allianz Travel Insurance plans have been created to suit most any traveler’s coverage needs. For your peace of mind, we strongly suggest you to purchase travel insurance. For more information, please visit: Allianz Global Assistance or contact us for a personalized quote.


Clothing

Argentina possesses a varied climate, from the hot and humid northern part of the country to the much drier and colder southern end. Seasons are also opposite of what they are in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are visiting during the Argentine spring or fall, long sleeves and light jackets are a prudent choice. Consider bringing some cooler clothing as well. During the Argentine summer, most areas of the country are hot and humid, so cooler clothing is the norm. Anyone visiting the Andean region should bring along warm clothing and jackets for that leg of the trip, regardless of the time of year. Argentines tend to dress more formally than what you may be accustomed to; men tend to wear slacks or jeans rather than shorts, and women tend to wear skirts rather than pants or shorts. In general, the more rural or provincial the area is, the more conservative the dress will be.


Weather

Buenos Aires and the Pampas are temperate; cold in the winter, hot and humid in the summer.

The deserts of Cuyo, which can reach temperatures of 50°C, are extremely hot and dry in the summer and moderately cold and dry in the winter. Spring and fall often exhibit rapid temperature reversals; several days of extremely hot weather may be followed by several days of cold weather, then back to extremely hot.

The Andes are cool in the summer and very cold in the winter, varying according to altitude.

Patagonia is cool in the summer and cold in the winter. Extreme temperature shifts within a single day are even more common here; pack a variety of clothes and dress in layers.

Do not forget that seasons are reversed from those of the Northern Hemisphere.


Currency

The currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso. It is best to exchange money at your hotel or at any bank. We strongly recommend against exchanging your money with a street vendor. It is a good idea to have with you some small denomination bills (for tips and small shopping along the roads). US-Dollars are welcome almost everywhere; however, should you prefer to exchange your currency for Argentinean Pesos, we recommend you to avoid the kiosks and/or booths at the International Airport since they usually charge a lot for the service. Exchanging currency at the hotels or at any bank will be always safer and less expensive.

Keep in mind that most major credit cards are widely accepted.

For your convenience, below you will find a currency converter. Please keep in mind that this is an external third-party tool and it is provided for illustrative purposes only.

Electricity

Argentine electricity is officially 220V, 50Hz. Adapters and transformers for North American equipment are readily available.


Food

Argentinean breakfast is somewhat light compared to what travelers from English-speaking countries are accustomed to. Typically, it consists of a hot drink (coffee, tea, milk) with some toasts, medialunas (croissants) or bread.

Lunch is a big meal in Argentina, typically taken in the early afternoon. Lunch is so big because dinner is not until late, between 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM or even later; dinner typically consists of appetizers, a main course, and desserts. Most restaurants do not serve food until then except for pastries or small ham-and-cheese toasted sandwiches (tostados), for afternoon tea between 6 and 8 PM. Tea is the one meal that is rarely skipped.

By the way, North Americans should beware that Argentineans use the term “entree” to refer to appetizers. This is common outside of North America but can surprise some Canadians and most Americans. Only in North America (outside of the province of Quebec) is the “entree” a “main dish”. In Argentina, the main dish is a “plato principal”.

Beef is a prominent component of the Argentine diet and Argentine beef is world-famous for good reason. Argentina and Uruguay are the top 2 countries in meat per capita consumption in the world. Definitely check out Argentine barbecue: asado, sometimes also called parrillada, because it is made on a parrilla, or grill. There is no way around it – food wise Argentina is virtually synonymous with beef.

Given that a large portion of Argentines are of Italian, Spanish and French descent, such fare is very widespread and of high quality; pizzerias and specialized restaurants are very common. Take note that a convention observed in Argentina is to treat the pasta and sauce as separate items; you will see the pastas for one price and then the sauces for an additional charge.


Smoking

Smoking is now prohibited in most Buenos Aires’ restaurants and all of Mendoza’s restaurants. In some cities, it is forbidden in all public buildings (cafes, shops, banks, bus stations, etc), so it is better to ask before smoking anywhere.


Greeting

Cheek kissing is very common in Argentina, especially in bigger cities, among and between women and men. People make contact with right cheeks, and make a light “kiss sound” but not touch the cheek with their lips (only once, two kisses -right and then left- is very rare). When two women, or opposite sexes first meet, it is not uncommon to kiss. Two men will first shake hands if they do not know each other, but will probably kiss when departing, especially if they have spoken for a while. Male friends cheek kiss every time when greeting, it is like a sign of trust. Trying to shake hands when offered a kiss will be considered odd, but never rude especially if you are an obvious foreigner. Remember when visiting another country its always interesting to try new customs.

All the aforementioned applies elsewhere in Latin America and in the Iberian Peninsula.


Conversation

Argentines are very engaging people who may ask very personal questions within minutes after first meeting someone. They will expect you to do the same. Failing to do so would signify lack of interest in the other person.


 Punctuality and Perception of Time

Argentineans generally take a relaxed attitude towards time. This can be unsettling to visitors from North America and non-Latin parts of Europe where punctuality is highly valued. You should expect that your Argentine contacts would be at least 10 to 15 minutes late for any appointment. This is considered normal in Argentina and does not signify any lack of respect for the relationship. Of course, this does not apply to business meetings.


Important Notice

Since the information provided above has been collected from several sources and even though we attempt to keep it updated, it tends to change, and we cannot guarantee its accuracy.