Country guides South & Central America
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.
Spanish is the official language of Argentina but English is generally understood in the tourist areas.
The unit of currency is the Argentinean Peso (ARS). Currency can be exchanged at banks and cambios (bureaux de change) but it is easier to use ATMs, available in most towns, which reflect the current exchange rate. Major credit and debit cards are generally accepted, and US Dollars can be used in many tourist establishments.
A 10 percent tip is expected at restaurants in Argentina. Porters expect some small change per bag.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Passport & Visa
Valid passports are required for travel to Argentina. Visas are not generally required for stays of less than three months, with the possibility of an extension of stay. Visas are valid for several entries within the period of validity stated in the visa. It is recommended that all visitors have sufficient funds, as well as onward or return tickets and documents required for next destination. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US nationals require a passport for travel to Argentina, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
UK nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days for British Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens and British Overseas Citizens; and 30 days for British Nationals (Overseas).
Canadians require a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
Australians require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
South African nationals must hold a valid passport, but no visa is required for a maximum stay of up to 90 days.
Irish nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
New Zealand nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
National Secretariat of Tourism, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4316 1600 or www.turismo.gov.arEmergencies: 101 (police), 107 (medical emergencies), 100 (fire)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Embassy of Argentina, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 238 6400.
Embassy of Argentina, London, United Kingdom: +44 207 318 1300.
Embassy of Argentina, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 2351.
Embassy of Argentina, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6273 9111.
Embassy of Argentina, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 430 3524/7.
Embassy of Argentina, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 269 1546.
Embassy of Argentina, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 472 8330.
Embassies / consulates in Argentina
United States Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 5777 4533.
British Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4808 2200.
Canadian Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4808 1000.
Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4779 3500.
Embassy of South Africa, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4317 2900.
Embassy of Ireland, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 5787 0801.
New Zealand Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 11 5070 0700.