Buenos Aires and Argentina

Argentina has many distinctive features which have become popular throughout the world by word of mouth of its visitors. The outgoing personality of its people, friendly, fun and outspoken, also its typical foods, like its traditional barbecue “ asado”,and its traditional drink called “ mate “, including its regional dishes and pastries with dulce de leche;  also its traditional  urban dance, the tango, partner dancing in a 2 to 4 rhythm which was  originated in Buenos Aires in the  XIX century  and soon spread to the rest of the world,  its folklore, with different forms of choreography adopted in every region, and its passion for soccer and other popular sports such as tennis, polo and rugby.

History of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires was founded twice, the first foundation was in 1536. Don Pedro de Mendoza, a Spanish colonizer established the first settlement and named it Ciudad del Espíritu Santo y Puerto Santa María del Buen Ayre.  The second and final foundation was in 1580. Juan de Garay named the site, Ciudad de Trinidad.

During the XIX century, the port became the arrival point of a large migratory wave promoted by the Argentine government to populate the country. Spaniards, Italians, Syrian-Lebanese, Polish and Russians gave Buenos Aires its distinctive cultural  eclectism.

Throughout the XX century, successive immigrations -domestic, from Latin American countries and Eastern countries- finally turned Buenos Aires into a cosmopolitan city, a melting pot of several cultures and religions.

Location

The Argentine Republic with a mainland area of 3.8 million km2 is located in the southern hemisphere of the American continent. It is bordered by Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile and by the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The country is divided into six touristic regions and 24 political provinces. Its population is almost 40 million inhabitants (2010 Census).

The city of Buenos Aires is the capital and the largest city of the Argentine Republic. Almost  3 million people live there. Taking also into account the population of the metropolitan area, the total population exceeds 10 million inhabitants, thus becoming one of most populated top ten urban centers in the world.

Geography and Climate

It is very common to describe Argentina by its astounding contrasts, which are the result of its rich and varied landscapes. From the Andes mountain ranges to the west, which extend from north to south of the country and borders with Chile, with its maximum peak the Aconcagua, 6.959 mts., up to the lowlands of the Pampas and the Atlantic coastland, the mountain ranges, the endless forests, deserts and fertile valleys and the biodiversity of the ecosystems which nurture the development of a rich fauna and flora. Many of these natural sites in the country have been protected turning them into areas or natural reserves, as well as national parks. Some of these landmark natural sites have been acknowledged as World Heritage by UNESCO.

In line with one of its main characteristics which is diversity, Argentina has a wide range of climatic variety. Temperate and humid in the Pampas lowlands, cold and humid in the western Patagonia, subtropical in the Mesopotamia and warm in the Northeast. The highest peaks in all latitudes are the ones experiencing the coldest weathers, with arid and mountainous  climate where the temperature range is another common characteristic.

The city of Buenos Aires extends  on a flat land.

Mean temperatures in November are: maximum 26°C and minimum 16°C.

Business Information

Currency:  the Argentine currency is the Argentine peso ($). There are $ 100, $ 50, $ 20, $ 10, $ 5 and $ 2 notes and $1 and $2 peso, 0.50 cents, 0.25 cents, 0.10 cents and 0.05 cents coins.

Form of payment:  Even though the United States dollar and the Euro are generally accepted at stores and shops, currency is exchanged at Banks or authorized bureau de change. American Express, Visa, Diners and Master Card are the credit cards which are mostly carried.

Tipping: For most of the services received (specially restaurants and food services) it is customary to  leave a tip of 10% of the amount paid, which is not always included in the ticket.  Also it is customary to tip doormen, porters and ushers.

VAT reimbursement: in case of purchasing national products for more than AR$ 70 (per invoice) at stores which are part of the “Global Refund" system you are entitled to VAT reimbursement ( value added tax), and the reimbursement is done at the International Ministro Pistarini Airport  (Ezeiza).

Working Hours:
- Banks: open from 10AM to 3 PM (some Banks are open until 4 PM). Money withdrawals and other transactions can be carried out at ATMs 24/7.
- Stores: open from Monday through Friday from 9AM to 8 PM at the main cities and Saturdays from 9AM to 1 PM, even though stores in the main avenues are open during the afternoon. Shopping malls are open from 10AM to 10PM, including weekends and holidays
- Offices: Working hours  9AM to 6PM.

Tourist Information

Language: the official language of Argentina is Spanish.

Electricity: electrical current in Argentina is 220 volts, 50 cycles of alternate current. Sockets have 2 round pins or 2 flat grounded pins.

Time Zone: GMT-3 and currently it does not change during the summertime. In some provinces the time zone changes during the wintertime.

Sanitation: the water provided by public utilities is drinkable. Public hospitals (which are open for tourists ) are open 24/7 for emergencies free of charge. 107, is the emergency ambulance system which is free of charge and toll free 24/7.

Tourist Information Centers: They provide maps, guides, brochures in several languages and all the necessary information to enjoy your trip.

For more information visit:

Ciudad de Buenos Aires
Guía de Turismo de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires  
República Argentina
Turismo en Argentina

Requirements to enter the country

Foreign tourists from neighbouring countries just need their identity card to enter the country. Travelers from other countries need a valid Passport with or without visa, as necessary in every case. It is advisable to contact the closest Embassy or Consulate to be informed about the legislation in force for every country. Travelers from non-neighbouring countries are tax exempted on any new ítem with a value not exceeding U$S 300 and additional U$S 300 if purchased at the “free shops" which have been opened in the country. Maximum stay in the country for travelers is 90 days. There is no need for any vaccination certificate to enter the country, except for cholera and yellow fevers for travelers coming from countries in which those diseases are endemic.

Travelling all around Argentina

In order to travel all around Argentina the best way is by plane given the long distances to cover and the vast extension of the country, also the airplane may also be combined with land travel. Domestic flights can be carried out in different airlines, such as: Aerolíneas Argentinas / Austral, Andes Líneas Aéreas, LAN Argentina and Sol Líneas Aéreas. Domestic flights and flights to Uruguay depart from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, which is located at the north of the city, close to the Río de la Plata.

In order to go by land, many buses leave the bus terminal in Retiro every day, with connections from Buenos Aires to the different cities of the country. Also some distances may be travelled by train.

Transfers from and to Ezeiza International Airport

The International Airport Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini is 35 kilometers away from the city center. Some transportation options are:

- Tienda León Minibus. This company operates from and to Ezeiza. This transfer may be bookedupon arrival or also through its webpage to ensure a seat and confirm schedule. In general they depart every hour and take passengers to the city center and also to the Jorge Newbery Airport from where domestic flights depart.

- Taxis or chauffeur -driven cars. They can also be booked at the desks companies have at the airport.

- For more information visit: Aeropuertos Argentina 2000