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Argentina Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT -3

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.

Language

Spanish is the official language of Argentina but English is generally understood in the tourist areas.

Travel Health

There are no major health risks in Argentina, except potential mosquito-borne viruses in the northern regions of the country. But the risks are still fairly minimal and common safety precautions should provide enough protection. 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.

Tipping

A 10 percent tip is expected at restaurants in Argentina. Porters expect some small change per bag.

Safety Information

There is no specific threat to foreigners and travellers should not be discouraged from travelling throughout the country. But be aware of 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. With its origins in the working-class neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires, tango lives on today as a cultural pillar of Argentinean society. Likewise, football in the country is almost like a religion and is a hugely significant part of its cultural identity.

Business

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.

Communications

The international access code for Argentina is +54. Mobile roaming charges can be expensive, prepaid local SIM cards are available for purchase on arrival and are a good alternative. Free wifi is offered at most restaurants, cafes and hotels in tourist centred areas of the country.

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.

Become our Argentina Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Argentina travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Argentina or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.