Buenos Aires Travel Information
Electrical current in Argentina is 220 volts, 50Hz. Most hotels and offices use the three-pin flat type plug, however most older buildings use the two-pin round type plug.
Spanish is the official language of Argentina but English is understood in the tourist areas.
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 since the outbreak of yellow fever in neighbouring Brazil and Paraguay in January/February 2008, it is recommended that all visitors to regions bordering these countries, 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 well 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 medicines for the trip.
A 10% tip is expected at restaurants in Argentina. Porters expect some small change per bag.
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 keep abreast with 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.
Argentineans are warm and unreserved people.
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. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The area code for Buenos Aires is (0)11. Calls are usually made from public call centres, but there are also public telephones that take coins or phone cards, although one usually pays more than the unit value of the card. Mobile phones are increasingly popular; the area code must always be used when phoning a mobile in Argentina. Internet cafes are widely available in Buenos Aires and other popular tourist destinations. Many hotels also offer Internet access.
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: 2 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, inflammable items, narcotics and pornographic material. Firearms and ammunition for sporting purposes are allowed if accompanied by a license/certificate.
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