General information

Argentina in brief

  • Capital: Buenos Aires
  • Language: Spanish
  • Population: 40,117,096 (2010 National Census)
  • Currency: Argentine peso
  • Dialling code: +54

Geographical location

The Argentine Republic is situated in the southern hemisphere of the American continent. It borders Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile and is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Geography and climate

Argentina is often described as a country of striking contrasts owing to its rich and diverse geography. From the Andes mountain range in the west, which runs the length of the country's border with Chile and rises to 6,959 metres at its highest point, Aconcagua, to the pampa plains and the Atlantic coastline, Argentina is a land of mountains, forests, jungles, deserts and fertile valleys. The biodiversity of the country's ecosystems accounts for the wealth of its flora and fauna. Many of Argentina's natural sites have been protected and given special area, reserve or national park status. Some of the country's most important natural landmarks, such as the Perito Moreno glacier and the Iguazú falls, have been classified as UNESCO world heritage sites.

Argentina's geographical diversity is matched by its extremely varied climate: mild and humid in the pampa lowlands, cold and wet in western Patagonia, subtropical in Mesopotamia, and warm in the northwest. The coldest weather conditions are found at the highest elevations, regardless of latitude, where the climate is dry and the land mountainous. It is common for the temperature to vary considerably in such areas.

Language

The o—cial language of the Argentine Republic is Spanish.

Time zone

GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) -3 hours.

Religion

Argentina is a multicultural country that has formed a plural and multi-religious identity thanks to
successive waves of immigration.

While the majority of the population is Catholic, the country's religious fabric is woven from Christian
communities of various denominations, the largest Jewish community in Latin America, a growing Muslim
community, Buddhists, followers of traditional African religions, and Hare Krishna, amongst others.

Offi‘cial source: Secretariat for Worship

Currency, commercial establishments and banks

The Argentine Republic's o—cial currency is the Argentine peso.

In large cities, shops are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, although shops on the main thoroughfares stay open all afternoon. Outside of the cities, shops generally close for lunch from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Shopping malls are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., including at weekends and on some public holidays. It is usual to leave a 10% tip for services received (mainly in restaurants), which is not always included on the final bill. It is also usual to tip doormen, porters and theatre ushers.

While US dollars and euros are generally accepted by shops and businesses, foreign currencies can be exchanged for Argentine pesos at authorized establishments only. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, VISA, Diners Club, and MasterCard. Travellers cheques are widely accepted in Buenos Aires, but not always in towns outside the capital.

Banks are open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 24-hour automated teller machines (ATMs) can be used for cash withdrawals and other transactions. O—ce hours are normally 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break (12 a.m.-1 p.m. or 1 p.m.-2 p.m.).

Offi‘cial source: www.argentina.travel

 

The city

The capital of the Argentine Republic is famous for the wide range of cultural and recreational activities that are o“ered by its various neighbourhoods 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The city boasts the Teatro Colón and small experimental theatres (especially those located in the Avenida Corrientes), old bookshops and new cultural centres, more than 100 museums and art galleries, huge craft fairs and modern shopping malls, historic cafés, tango and milonga venues, nightclubs and bars playing international music, all types of restaurants, casinos, and passionate football matches - all have their place in this great metropolis.

The city's neighbourhoods can be explored on foot, from the most historic such as San Telmo, La Boca, Congreso or Abasto, to the most elegant like Recoleta or Belgrano, via the most modern like Puerto Madero or Palermo, the home of avant-garde design. You can take a thematic tour, following in the footsteps of emblematic figures from the world of tango or Argentine culture, such as Gardel, Evita or Borges. For those who enjoy being out on the water, another option is to take a trip down the Río de la Plata, while for those wanting to take things easy, the city's streets are made for wandering, armed with nothing but curiosity to discover the countless attractions that this big city has to o“er.

Weather

The city of Buenos Aires is fairly mild all year round. With an average year-round temperature of 18° C (64° F), very hot or very cold days are rare, which means that any time of the year is good for a visit. The coldest month is July. Temperatures never reach freezing, but you will need a good coat or jacket and perhaps a scarf. While winter days are only moderately cold, the temperature drops considerably at night. Summers are hot and humid with warm mornings and temperatures that rise considerably at midday and into the afternoon. At night, it cools down a little, so light clothing is needed, but no coat.

The rainiest times of year are autumn and spring (from March to June and from September to December). This generally means some drizzle or showers, which won't put paid to any planned activities and can be fended o“ with a raincoat or an umbrella.

On sunny autumn and spring days, mornings are cool; the temperature becomes pleasant around midday and goes down at night.

In December, the temperature in Buenos Aires is between 18.4° C and 28° C.

Offi‘cial source: www.turismo.buenosaires.gov.ar

Health

Argentina and the city of Buenos Aires are safe from the health standpoint, so no particular vaccinations are required before entering the country.

The city's tap water is safe to drink.

Public hospitals (open to tourists) will treat emergencies 24 hours a day, free of charge.

The 24-hour emergency ambulance service (SAME) can be called free of charge on 107.

Pharmacies

Buenos Aires has an extensive network of pharmacies covering all of the city's neighbourhoods. Many of them are open at night (these are known as "on-duty" pharmacies). Lists of which pharmacies are "on duty" in a neighbourhood on any given night can be found online or attached to the pharmacy door.

Pharmacies sell di“erent types of medicines: over-the-counter medicines, those sold on prescription and those sold under filed prescription. To buy medicines on prescription (i.e. those used under medical supervision), it is necessary to consult a medical professional registered with a public hospital, a clinic or a private practice, so that they can write and sign the prescription. For medicines sold under filed prescription, a prescription is issued for each packet of medication bought. Psychotropic drugs are included in this last category.

Smokers and non-smokers

Several years ago, the city of Buenos Aires passed a law prohibiting smoking in enclosed public spaces, such as restaurants, bars, cafés, shopping malls, cinemas, theatres, public call o—ces (locutorios), hospitals, schools, administrative o—ces, public transport, and banks. There are, however, some exceptions: establishments with a surface area of more than 100 m¼ may set up separate smoking areas.

Smoking is also permitted in the various smokers' clubs and tobacconists that exist in the city.

Alcohol and drug consumption

It is illegal to drink alcohol if you are under 18 years of age. The consumption of alcohol is also banned in the street or in stadiums where sporting, cultural or artistic activities are taking place. Supermarkets and stores can only sell alcohol until 10 p.m. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs are permitted to sell alcohol until 5 a.m.

The sale, possession and consumption of drugs are punishable under Argentine law. The only exception is the possession of marijuana for personal use in private surroundings, which was authorized in 2009 following a ruling by the Argentine Supreme Court of Justice.

In Argentina, sex tourism and human tra—cking for sexual exploitation are punishable by law, and there are harsh penalties for anyone found to be engaging in these activities.

Anyone wishing to report a case of commercial sexual exploitation or the violation of children's and adolescents' rights can call 102 free of charge. This number belongs to the Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires.

Offi‘cial source: www.turismo.buenosaires.gov.ar

Security

While Buenos Aires is a safe city, it is always best to take certain precautions. Do not, for instance, leave bags or purses hanging on the backs of chairs in public places, or walk down poorly lit streets at night.

If you have any doubts, questions or complaints, the city has two public bodies that may be able to help:

Tourist Ombudsman (Defensoría del Turista)
Tel.: (54 11) 4302 7816
Email: turista@defensoria.org.ar

Tourist Police (Comisaria del Turista)
Tel.: (54 11) 4309-9700, Ext 6422
Email: serv.turista@gmail.com
Offi‘cial source: https://turismo.buenosaires.gov.ar

City hours

The day begins early in Buenos Aires and city life continues well into the night.

Shops

Shops are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, although shops on the main thoroughfares stay open all afternoon. Shopping malls are open until 10 p.m., including at weekends and on some public holidays.

Banks

Banks are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. 24-hour automated teller machines (ATMs) can be used for cash withdrawals and other transactions.

Mealtimes

Mealtimes for city dwellers vary, depending on their daily activities. Breakfast is usually eaten between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., lunch between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and dinner between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Local, national and international calls

Phone numbers in the city of Buenos Aires have eight digits. No prefix is required for local calls unless the call is being made to a cellphone (prefix 15 followed by the eight digits). For calls to other parts of the country, you have to dial 0 followed by the area code and local number. To call abroad, dial 00 before the international telephone number. To call the city of Buenos Aires from abroad, dial the prefix +54 11 before the local landline number, or +54 9 11 if you are calling a cellphone.

Mobile voice and data connection

Telecommunication service coverage is excellent in the main areas of the city of Buenos Aires, the city's suburbs, the provincial capitals, and other major urban areas. It is, however, limited in more remote areas.

Local phone services are reliable. GSM, 3G and 4G mobile phone systems are in operation. Most modern cellphones can work in several settings and can use roaming services in di“erent networks.

Most of the GSM phones used in Argentina support the following protocols: 2G (EDGE, GSM/GPRS): 850 / 1900 MHz 3G (HSPA+, UMTS/WCDMA): 850 / 1900 MHz 4G (LTE): LTE 700(28) / LTE 1700(4) / LTE 2100(4)

If your cellphone is compatible with the system used in Argentina, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for use upon your arrival in the country. Prepaid SIM cards, with a local number and a set number of local service minutes, may be purchased from the retail stores of mobile network operators and other outlets displaying service providers' logos.

For 2G and 3G, your telephone must support two frequency bands, 850 and 1900. This is to ensure connectivity with any antenna in the country with which a connection is made.

For 4G, the telephone must support at least band 4 (LTE 1700-2100), as this is the most commonly used band in urban areas.

Mobile network operators

Argentina currently has three mobile network operators providing high-speed services (4G).

CLARO
Website: http://www.claro.com.ar
Tel.: 0800 122 1000

TELEFÓNICA MOVISTAR
Website: http://www.movistar.com.ar
Tel.: 0800 321 0611

TELECOM PERSONAL
Website: http://www.personal.com.ar
Tel.: 0800 444 0800

Internet and locutorios

Locutorios are establishments o“ering telephone services and Internet access. Calls are charged according to destination and duration, while Internet users are usually charged per 15-minute period.

Offi‘cial source: turismo.buenosaires.gov.ar

Taxis
Taxi fares are in Argentine pesos only

The meter starts at 23.20 Argentine pesos and goes up 2.32 pesos for every 200 metres travelled or minute of waiting time. One-way taxi rides to areas outside the city of Buenos Aires (where the same taxi is not required for the return trip) may be subject to a surcharge to cover the vehicle's return to the city.

A night-time rate applies between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with a 20% increase in the cost of the journey.

To report any irregularities, call 147 or the tourist helpline on 0800 999 2838, or contact taxis@buenosaires.gob.ar

City tour bus

The city o“ers two bus tour routes. This is a way of experiencing the city not only using your eyes, but with an audio guide that describes each place and surrounds you with its characteristic sounds.

With a 24- or 48-hour ticket, you can visit the historic districts of La Boca, San Telmo and Puerto Madero, as well as the neighbourhoods of Palermo and Belgrano.

Start in the city centre, a few metres away from the Plazo de Mayo. The tour will take you through unique neighbourhoods past emblematic buildings, historic sites and cultural establishments.

Every stop is the entrance to a new world, be it the colours of La Boca, the splendour of Avenida Alvear or the traditions of San Telmo. The city's diversity ensures there is something for every taste, and each tourist can choose which area they want to explore in greater depth.

The city tour bus runs every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including on public holidays. Just hop on at the stop you prefer and begin your journey. Tickets can be purchased at o—cial ticket booths, on the bus or online.

Website: www.buenosairesbus.com

Useful links containing information about restaurants, steakhouses, pizzerias and bars.
The Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires promotes the best of the city's gastronomic o“erings on its o—cial tourism website: turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/en