|Government||Federal presidential republic|
|Currency||Argentine peso (ARS)|
|Area||total: 2,766,890 sq km |
land: 2,736,690 sq km
water: 30,200 sq km
|Population||37,812,817 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French|
|Religion||Roman Catholic 92%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%|
|Time Zone||UTC -3|
Argentina (official name Argentine Republic) is a large, elongated country in the southern part of South America, neighbouring countries being Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay to the north, Uruguay to the north east and Chile to the west. In the east Argentina has a long South Atlantic Ocean coastline.
The National Presidential Office and the National Census Agency uses several regions to perform statics tasks; according to this, the most visited are:
- The Andean Northwest
- The Chaco
- The Cuyo
- The Mesopotamia
- The Pampa
- The Patagonia
- Province of Tierra del Fuego
- Province of Tucum�n
Note: The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) are claimed by Argentina but administered by the United Kingdom.
The Argentine most important cities are:
- Buenos Aires (also called Capital Federal but which correct name is Ciudad Aut�noma de Buenos Aires).
- La Plata
There are also a lot of medium-sized harbor towns, like
- Bah�a Blanca
- Comodoro Rivadavia
- Concepci�n del Uruguay
- Mar del Plata
- R�o Gallegos
- Santa F�.
More information is available at the Buenos Aires official tourism website. (http://www.bue.gov.ar/home/index.php?&lang=en)
According to the National Tourism Agency, the favourite places outside the important cities are:
- The awesome Iguaz� Falls, right in the north-east corner of the country.
- The Andean Lake, around the city of Bariloche.
- The beautiful Mar del Plata, world-wide called The Pearl of the Atlantic.
- El Calafate, the main destination when visiting the Glaciers National Park.
- The Perito Moreno Glacier, really a must when visiting Argentina.
Argentina is the second-largest country in South America, and the seventh-largest in the world. It is also the highest and the lowest of the continent; at 6.960m Cerro Aconcagua is the South America's tallest mountain, while Salinas Chicas, at 40m below sea level, is the lowest point.
At the southern tip of Argentina there are several routes between the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Oceans including the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and the Drake Passage as an alternative sailing around Cape Horn in the open ocean between South America and Antarctica.
- Climate: Mostly temperate, arid in southeast, subantarctic in southwest. Don't forget that seasons are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere.
- Terrain: Rich plains of the Pampas in northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in south, rugged Andes along western border.
- History: Following independence from Spain in 1816, Argentina experienced periods of internal political conflict between conservatives and liberals. In the first decade of the 20th century, Argentina became the richest nation in Latin America, its wealth symbolized by the opulence of its capital city. European immigrants flowed into Argentina; by 1914 nearly 6 million people had come to the country. After World War II, a long period of Peronist rule in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983 after the abortive attempt to wrest the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) from United Kingdom sovereignity - numerous elections since then have underscored Argentina's progress in democratic consolidation.
- Language: The official language is Spanish. However, the regional dialect, Rioplatense Spanish, is subtly different from Castillian or other forms of Spanish; most notably, "tu" is replaced by "vos", and "ll" is pronounced as "j" or "zh". English, Italian, German and French can be understood and to some extent spoken by fractions of the population.
The Buenos Aires for around US$2. Buildings use a mix of European and Australian plug fittings. However the live and neutral pins in the Australian fittings are reversed so as to prevent cheap imports into Australia. Therefore an Australian adapter may be incompatible. Many sockets have no earth pin. Laptop adapters should have little problem with this for short term use.
Officially 220V 50Hz. Argentina's outlets are their own standard, the IRAM-2073, which are physically identical to the Australian AS-3112 standard (two blades in a V-shape, with or without a third blade for ground). Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack adapters for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Argentina. These adapters are usually referred to by the Australian designation rather than the Argentine, particularly for transformers and other devices with no polarity requirement.
European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" outlets and the non-grounded, but compatible, European CEE-7/16 "Europlug" outlets may still be found in some older buildings. U.S. and Canadian travelers may want to pack adapters for these outlets as well.
If you plan on visiting Buenos Aires you will fly into the Ezeiza International Airport (EZE); if you're traveling to another location in Argentina you may have to travel from Ezeiza to the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP). One problem is that these airports are located on opposite sides of the city, making transportation from one to the other difficult. You should be able to ride a motorcoach or hire a service taxi from one of the booths after you clear customs. A trip between the airports should cost in the vicinity of 25-50 pesos; cab drivers will expect you to pay for tolls. (prices 27/10/05)
- Ezeiza International Airport (EZE): (011) 5480-6111
If visiting another city there are a number of airports located throught the country. Many find it far easier to travel to a neighboring country and then take a short distance hop to the smaller airport.
Passengers leaving Ezeiza Airport must pay a "Departure tax" of US$ 18 (US$ 8 to Uruguay and domestic flights) after check-in, on top of any boarding taxes already paid. Argentine pesos or US dollars are accepted.
There are no international services to Argentina.
International coaches run from all the neighbouring countries.
- Retiro Bus Terminal: (011) 4310-0700
Buenos Aires with Montevideo and Colonia in Uruguay.
Travelling by train is an option for alternative tourism in Argentina, one way to see the best of the country. One of the major operators is hitchhiking club Autostop Argentina (http://www.autostopargentina.com.ar/) began in Argentina in 2002, inspired by clubs in France, Italy and the United States. As a result, hitchhiking has become more acceptable among the younger generation, and raising a thumb at a highway is a symbol most people understand.
The fashion and art scenes are booming. The city�s signature European-South American style overflows with unique art pieces, art deco furniture, and antiques. Creative and independent, local fashion designers -who are becoming a source of inspiration for the U.S. and European high-end markets- compose their collections based on lots of leather, wools, woven fabrics, and delicate laces with a gaucho twist. The dollar and the euro are very strong in Argentina, so this has indeed become a shopping paradise.
Leather products can be found in most commercial areas; jackets, boots and shoes are easily available. However, Argentina has a relatively mild climate, so truly cold-weather gear is harder to find. Long coats or heavy gloves may not be in stock; similarly, jeans and other basics, are thinly constructed compared to those in cooler countries. Electronics will not be a bargain, as they are imported from elsewhere; music, books, and movies will be discounted by the weak peso, though.
Note that most freestanding shops are open 10 am - 8 pm weekdays, and some of them also saturdays (depends on the area of the city that they are set), as people stay out late; enclosed malls, however, set their own hours, and are also opened on the weekends.
Definitely check out Argentine asado (sometimes also called parrillada) or barbecue. There is no way around it - foodwise Argentina is virtually synonymous with beef. The beef is some of the best in the world; lomo (tenderloin) is excellent. Having a parrillada dinner is one of the best ways to experience it, preferably with a bottle of wine from Mendoza. In some popular areas, parrilladas are available from small buffets, or sidewalk carts and barbecue trailers. Skewers and steak sandwiches can then be purchased to go.
Given that a large portion of Argentines are of Italian and Spanish descent, Italian and Spanish 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; more than one traveller has found what they thought was cheap pasta only to find that they were not getting any sauce. You will see the pastas for one price and then the sauces for an additional charge.
Cafes, bakeries, and ice-cream shops (helader�as) are very popular. Inexpensive and high-quality snacks can thus be had in most commercial areas; and many have outdoor seating areas. Empanadas (turnovers) containing meats, cheeses, or many other fillings can be bought from restaurants or lunch counters.
Japanese cuisine, such as Sushi, has become popular in Buenos Aires since 1990's.
Most restaurants, including hotel breakfast areas, maintain smoking and no-smoking areas. It is a good idea to check if your table is not on the edge of these areas.
Try mate, a non-alcoholic natural beverage which is made like tea but tastes very different (bitter, in most cases). Mate can be served cold (usually known as "terer�") or hot, in the regional drink known as cimarr�n.
Beer is served in bottles or cans in restaurants and is an easily drinkable lager. Wine is available in single-serving bottles from many restaurants; there are pretty good selections of local wines and ciders. Most restaurants serve a broad range of liquors, and often have fresh-squeezed juices. The drinking age is 18.
A wide range of accommodation possibilities are available in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country; from homey bed and breakfasts, to trendy boutique hotels in the city, to luxurious palaces and modern five-star hotels. Have in mind that usually the rooms are not as large as in hotels around the world (except from five-stars international hotels). There are also many beautiful lake-side lodges in Patagonia, and fabulous regional farms (estancias) outside the cities. More information can be found it Buenos Aires is quite safe, there is plenty of activity and foot traffic into the night. Nice areas have a very thorough police presence, perhaps one officer per block, plus store security and auxiliary patrols. Public security in all major cities like Buenos Aires, C�rdoba and Rosario is handled by the Federal Police, the Urban Guard, and the National Gendarmerie or the Naval Prefecture (especially in the Puerto Madero area of Buenos Aires). Avoid neighborhoods sketchy by comparison, and popular demonstrations as they can grow violent.
There are rogue taxis operating. If you must take a taxi instead of the abundant public transportation, have your hotel or business call for a radio taxi. If you must hail one on the street, look for one with the lighted gear on the roof. Try to have small bills ready, as you may receive counterfeits if you pay in large denominations.
It is recommended carry some ID with you, but not your original passport. A copy of it (easily provided by your own hotel) might be enough.
- Ambulance (Inmediate Health Emergency Service, SAME): 107
- Firemen (National Firemen Corps): 100
- Police (Argentine Federal Police): 101
- Tourist Police: (011) 4346-5748 / 0800-999-5000
Visiting Argentina doesn't raise any major health worries and you don't need special vaccinations, so you are unlikely to encounter any serious problems. Different climate conditions might take your body by surprise, so be aware of the weather before you arrive. A bout of travellers' diarrhoea is the most you're likely to have to worry about as your body adjusts to local micro-organisms in the food. It's 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 � and though 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.
The 2001 peso crisis has left many Argentines bitter towards some authorities and institutions. While many shops will appreciate your hard currencies, try to blend in elsewhere.
Traffic is nowhere near some Asian or European cities, but driving is still competitive. Do not jaywalk if you do not feel comfortable, and always keep your eyes about you when crossing the street.
Dogs are popular in Buenos Aires, but not dog curbing - watch your step.
Swearing is very common in most parts of Argentina, and not seen as rude or insulting, so don't be offended if someone calls you a "boludo". Even thought it's a swear word, to Argentines is means "pal", or "mate".
- Directory Listing (The White Pages): 110
- International Operator: 000
- National Operator: 19
- Collect National Calls: 19 from regular phones, *19 from public phones
Other useful phone numbers include:
- Official Time: 113
- Consumer Defense: (011) 5382-6216/17
Note: All 2 and 3-digit numbers are free, except the official time service (113). All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers.