66 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Argentina

What_You_Need_to_Know_About_Argentina

Whether you plan to explore the Andes Mountains or Buenos Aires, these 68 need-to-know things will help put your mind at ease before traveling to Argentina!


Before You Go

  • Argentina’s population is 43.85 million.   
  • Spanish is the primary language, but most people also speak English in the metro areas.
  • The currencies are the Argentine peso and the Argentine austral.
  • Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world, encompassing 1,068,296 square miles.
  • Argentines like to kiss. They almost always greet each other with a kiss on the check, even among men.
  • Since Argentina is located in the Southern Hemisphere, the climate is completely opposite from the Northern Hemisphere. When it’s summer in the United States, it’s winter in Argentina.  
  • Waving is considered rude in Argentina.
  • The climate is mostly temperate – arid in the southeast and sub-antarctic in the southwest.

 

Money

  • If you thought you were going to be bargain shopping while in this South American country think again. Due to their unstable economy, prices are not low. The Argentine economy is unstable and you’ll be disappointed if you’re under the impression that this South American country is cheap.
  • Inflation has been around 40% the past few years.
  • It’s important to not carry large bills and to examine the bills that you are spending and receiving.
  • Bills are usually wrinkled and thin, almost like Monopoly money, so handle them with care!
  • Most Argentine stores will not accept credit cards.
  • Make sure you know where a few ATMs are in your area because they have a withdrawal limit and oftentimes run out of money.
  • If you plan on riding the bus, make sure you take coins.

 

Transportation

  • The world’s widest avenue is the “9th of July” in Argentina. It has 14 lanes, plus 4 lanes of parallel streets.
  • The Argentine subway is cost effective, easy and only crowded during peak hours (9AM and 7PM).
  • Taxis are inexpensive in Argentina, but if you speak English you’ll most likely be taken on a longer, more scenic route.
  • The bus system is very easy to navigate, but is typically only used by the locals.
  • If you plan to rent a car, book ahead of time to guarantee availability and be careful! Car accidents are incredibly common in Argentina.  
  • There are no public school buses in Argentina, and students must buy their own books & uniforms.
  • It’s common knowledge that buses speed up when they see pedestrians in the crosswalk, so be careful!

 

Culture

  • Buenos Aires offers a buzzing nightlife, a wealth of independent theatres, tango shows, world class restaurants, and a thriving music & arts scene.
  • Argentines don’t usually start work until 10 AM, eat dinner between 9 & 10 PM, and hit the bars at 12 or 1 AM.  
  • Arrive 30-45 minutes later than invited for a dinner party, arriving on time is not the norm.
  • Argentines are some of the warmest and most open people you will meet.
  • Argentina was the first country in Latin or South America to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010.
  • Argentina’s workforce is 40% female, and women also hold over 30% of Argentina’s congressional seats.
  • Adults and children both travel home after lunch each day to take a siesta.
  • Argentina has the world’s second highest rate of anorexia, after Japan, and 1 out of every 8 patients being treated is male.
  • In Argentina, political parties have their own brands of beer.
  • Argentine children are required to attend school from ages 5 to 14. The school year begins in March and ends in November.
  • 37% of the Argentine population are of Italian descent (about 12.8 million people).
  • Argentine Spanish is referred to as lunfardo, which is a type of slang that emerged in Buenos Aires around 1900. It’s more similar to Italian than Mexican Spanish.
  • Internet cafes are quite common so you’ll be able to go online to post pictures of your trip!

 

Attire

  • Argentine attire is very fashionable and trendy, with vibrant artisan inspiration.
  • Overall, Argentines dress more formally. Men tend to wear slacks or jeans rather than shorts, and women wear skirts rather than shorts or pants.
  • If you plan to explore the fancy restaurants and nightclubs, you will want to pack a formal outfit.
  • Dancing shoes are a must if you plan to visit Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango.
  • In general, the more rural or provincial the area is, the more conservative the dress will be.
  • Make sure you pack sunscreen! It is very expensive in Argentina and may not be available in rural areas.
  • Shorts and beach shoes anywhere besides the beach is inappropriate.
  • If you are traveling farther south, you will want to pack thick sweaters and a warm coat.
  • If you are traveling anywhere outside of Buenos Aires, you will want to pack sturdy hiking boots for all the walking that you will do!

 

Food

  • Breakfast in Argentina tends to be small and is more focused on coffee or tea than it is on food.
  • Lunch is the largest meal of the day from about noon to 2 or 3 PM.
  • Generally, lunch consists of soup, meats, rice, potatoes, pasta, vegetables, dessert and coffee or tea.
  • Side dishes are ordered separately and doggie bags aren’t really a thing so only order what you’ll eat.
  • Argentines love blood sausage and mollejas (sweetbreads).
  • Be prepared to chow down on empanadas, bread, pasta, sandwiches, toast, croissants and more!
  • Argentina is the world’s fifth largest producer of wine.
  • Eating and snacking outside in public is considered bad manners.
  • Argentina is the third biggest producer of beef in the world. It produces around 2.8 to 3.5 million tons a year.
  • Which makes beef a staple item in the Argentine diet.
  • Don’t be angry if you get charged a cubierto fee – this is a sit down restaurant fee.  
  • Water is questionable based on your location, so always drink bottled water/drinks and don’t ask for ice or refills.
  • Cheese is also a big part of the Argentine diet.
  • Argentines do not rush when eating so slow down and enjoy the company of those you are dining with.
  • Wait staff in Argentina earn a normal, if low, hourly wage so a 10% tip is appropriate.
  • If a restaurant is half empty at dinnertime (10 PM), the food may be sub-par.

 

Other Facts

  • Pope Francis is a native of Argentina and is the first non-European chosen to serve in as Pope.
  • Argentina was the first country to use fingerprinting in order to determine if a person was guilty of a crime.
  • Be discrete with cameras and electronics, Argentina is a hot spot for pickpockets.
  • To stay safe, travel in groups and stay in lighted areas after hours.
  • Do not participate in political conversations and stay far, far away from demonstrations.
  • You will need to pack an adapter plug or converter because voltage in Argentina is different than other countries.

 

Are you now inspired to travel to Argentina? Call Elite Travel at 815-232-7777 to book your trip today!
By: Rebecca Clausen

Sources: Fact Retriever, Factslides, Studentuniverse, Wander Argentina, USA Today

 

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