Travel

About Argentina & Buenos Aires

Argentina

Located in South America, and thus, in the southern hemisphere, Argentina has an area of almost 3.8 million square kilometers, 2.8 on the continent - approximately 54% are plains (grasslands and savannahs), 23%, plateaus, and the other 23%, mountains - and the remainder in the Antarctic. It is 3,800 Km. long and is located between latitude 22º and 55º. Its border with Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile has a perimeter of 9,376 Km, while the territory bordered by the Atlantic Ocean is 4,725 Km long. Argentina is a land of contrasts with several tourist attractions; kilometers of beaches, the Patagonia, Perito Moreno Glaciar, Iguazu falls, the wine, the meat, and other attractions.

Buenos Aires - Host city

Buenos Aires is a city with 11 million habitants that gathers the best of classical Europe and the most modern advantages of the end of the century. The city's museums, art galleries and theaters bear witness to its reputation as one of the most important cities in the Americas for its cultural and artistic activities. Although it is a modern city with imposing turn-of-the-century European style buildings, it also has some well-preserved districts of typical colonial architecture. Buenos Aires has everything to turn your visit into an unforgettable experience. The well-known warmth of its people, its groovy tangos and the exciting Sunday football afternoons are marvellous.

Buenos Aires is also a safe city. Lastly, its cosmopolitan atmosphere, unique in South America, will probably surprise you.

Access by air and getting into the city

All airlines flying to Argentina arrive mainly at Ezeiza International Airport ("Ministro Pistarini”), which is 37 Km away from the City of Buenos Aires. You can reach the city by Teniente General Ricchieri freeway (Information: Tel. 4480-9538). Please note that when leaving the country, a US$ 18 tax must be paid. Company Manuel Tienda León (Av. Madero and San Martín, Tel. 4315-5115) and Transfer Express (Florida 1045, Tel. 4312-8883) offer a bus service from their offices in Buenos Aires to Ezeiza airport from 5.00 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. These services cost $ 14 and $ 11 (Argentine Pesos) respectively, and the trip takes approximately 40 minutes. There are also taxis and chauffeur-driven rented cars at a price between $ 35 and $ 38.

Documents and formalities

Valid passport with or without visa depending on your nationality. Inquire at the closest Embassy or Consulate. Visitors coming from countries not bordering Argentina are exempt from all taxes on traveling articles and new articles up to US$ 300 and an additional US$ 300, if purchased at duty free shops within the national territory. No vaccination certificate is required to enter the country.
Information about visas in the website www.mrecic.gov.ar/consulares.htm

Transportation within the city

The Buenos Aires public transportation system allows on easy traveling within the city. All official taxis in the city are black and yellow, and can be called by phone.

Currency - Banks - Exchange

The official Argentine currency is the Peso. There are bills of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pesos, and coins of 1 peso and 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents. Currency exchange is provided by banks and exchange agencies with restrictions. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 16.00 h. Travelers cheques are almost exclusively exchanged at hotels and banks.

ATM (Automatic Teller Machine)

ATMs are located all around the city. You can withdraw only pesos. They can also be used for cash advances on major credit cards such as MasterCard or VISA.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards are accepted. Check it prior to your trip.

Electrical Current

The electrical current in Argentina is 220 volts, 50 Cycles.

Climate

The country's territory offers a wide variety of climates: subtropical in the North, Sub-Antarctic in the southern Patagonia, and mild and humid in the Pampas. The average temperature in June in Buenos Aires is about 18º C (64.4º F), although the range may be wide.

Telephone

Pay phones work with cards that may be purchased in kiosks, telephone companies' offices, or with legal tender coins. There are also stores with pay phones (open 24 hours a day) where you can pay in cash and you can also use internet. Calling to Argentina from abroad, dial the country code (54) and then the area code of the place you want to call. For domestic calls, dial 0 before the area code. For international calls, dial 00, the country code and city code.

Time

Buenos Aires time zone is -3 hours ahead

The official language of the country is Spanish, but English is spoken in most hotels, restaurants and shops.

Shopping

Buenos Aires is famous for its chic boutiques. Alvear, Florida and Santa Fe, and shopping centers as Galerías Pacífico and Patio Bullrich that are near the hotel, gives the visitor a wealth of experiences.
The best buys in Argentina are leather goods, silver crafts, local semi-precious stones and souvenirs related to the Gaucho and the Pampas.
There is an excellent outdoor market in historic San Telmo Square open on weekends.

VAT return

At the airport you may obtain a VAT reimbursement corresponding to any purchases made within the country for an amount over $70 (per invoice) and in shops operating with the "Global Refund” system.
Payment methods Although US Dollars and Euros are generally taken everywhere, foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks and authorized bureaus. American Express, VISA, Diners and Master Card are widely accepted. There may be difficulties in changing traveler's check outside Buenos Aires.

Opening hours

  • Banks and Exchange Bureaus: Mondays to Fridays from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
  • Business Offices: from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. and from 2.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m.
  • Stores: from 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Saturdays, from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
  • Cafés, cake shops and pizzerias: open most of the time except between 2.00 and 6.00 a.m.
  • Restaurants: lunch is served as from 12.30 p.m. and dinner as from 8.30 hours.
  • Fast-food menus are served in many restaurants at all times.

Tips

10% of the amount of the check is usually left in cafeterias and restaurants. Doormen, porters, and ushers in cinemas and theatres are also generally tipped

About Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a singular, open and integrating destination that allows the visitor not only to view the city but also to live an exceptional urban adventure. Buenos Aires also retains relics of its colonial past and beautiful "Belle Époque” buildings amidst the rhythm of refinement. American amenities and native charm amazes all first time visitors. The never closed sidewalk "cafés”, the vivid vegetation, broad avenues, theaters and restaurants give this fascinating town its unique atmosphere.

Customs

Buenos Aires has always been an open-door city. Its inhabitants are called porteños, which makes reference to the fact that the city is a port. Porteños usually invite tourists for lunch or dinner at their homes and prepare typical food such as the famous Argentinean meat.

History

Buenos Aires was founded twice:

The first foundation was in 1536. Don Pedro de Mendoza, a Spanish colonizer, established the first settlement. He named it Ciudad Del Espíritu Santo y Puerto Santa María Del Buen Ayre. The second, and final, foundation was in 1580. Juan de Garay called the site Ciudad de Trinidad, finally was called Buenos Aires. In the 19th Century, the port was the arrival point for the great migratory wave promoted by the Argentine State to receive citizen all over the world. Spanish, Italian, Syrian-Lebanese, Polish, Chinese, Russian and other immigrants provided Buenos Aires with the cultural eclecticism that is so characteristic of the city. During the 20th century, successive immigrations - from the provinces, other Latin American countries and Eastern countries - completed the picture of Buenos Aires as a cosmopolitan city in which people with different cultures and religions live together.

Gastronomy

In Buenos Aires you can enjoy food from different regions. The city has specific areas where you can choose from a wide range of restaurants. Costanera Norte and Puerto Madero (barbecues) and Avenida de Mayo is the place to taste Spanish food. The most traditional pizzas can be found in Corrientes Street. Plaza Cortázar, Palermo Hollywood, Recoleta and Las Cañitas neighborhoods offer gourmet specialties.

Climate

The city has a temperate climate with average temperatures of 18º Celsius, making it perfect for sightseeing all year round. July is the coldest month, and although freezing temperatures are not common, it is advisable to wear a woolen coat, a jacket and a scarf. Temperatures in winter are quite moderate during the day, dropping considerably at night. Summertime brings wet heat. There is very hot weather during the day, with temperatures dropping slightly at night so light clothes are recommendable. The rainiest seasons are fall and spring (from March to June and from September to December). As it generally drizzles, only a raincoat and an umbrella are required. Mornings are generally fresh during the sunny autumn days and springtime, with temperatures rising gently towards midday and dropping at night.

Sanitary conditions

There is no need to get vaccinated before travelling to Buenos Aires as this is a hygienic city with running water. Public hospitals are open to tourists free of charge all day round. Health care professionals are renowned and of an excellent level. The emergency ambulance system (SAME) is also free of charge.

Means of Transport

There is a transport system with a wide array of alternatives in the city: five subway lines (subtes), more than a hundred bus lines (colectivos) and trains (trenes). Taxis and "remises” are a very common means of transport as they are quite safe and rather more convenient than in other cities. There are also many alternatives to get to Buenos Aires: airlines and ship lines from abroad and bus lines and trains from the interior part of the country.

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