From the mountains to the beaches, the frozen tundra to the tropical rain forest, and from the big city to it’s natural parks, Argentina has appealing destinations for the most discerning tourist!
North American travelers will feel right at home because they do not have to change money in most places (U.S. dollars accepted everywhere), while those living in the eastern part of the United States and Canada do not experience jet lag from any significant time-zone change. And, any time you need information, just look for this easy-to-spot symbol:
The name Argentina comes from the Latin term argentum, which means silver. The origin of this name goes back to the first voyages made by the Spanish conquerors to the Río de la Plata. The survivors of its shipwrecked expedition, mounted by Juan Díaz de Solís, met native peoples who gave them silver objects as gifts. They also told Solis' expedition team the news about the legendary Sierra del Plata, a mountain rich in silver. The myth eventually reached Spain around 1524, and from that date, the Spaniards and the Portuguese returned in search of the silver treasures, naming the river Río de la Plata (River of Silver). Two years later, the Spanish used the name Argentina in their maps and navigation charts. The National Constitution officially adopted the name in 1853 as "República Argentina" to designate the government and the country's territory.
Argentina is located in South America, and thus, in the southern hemisphere. Argentina covers a vast area of almost 3.8 million square kilometers, 2.8 on the continent itself— of which approximately 54% are plains (grasslands and savannahs), 23% plateaus, and 23% mountains— with the remainder in the Antarctic. It is 3,800 km long and is located between latitudes 22° and 55°. Argentina borders the countries of Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Chile, and faces the Atlantic Ocean in the east .
Argentina's main geographical characteristic is the enormous contrast between the immense eastern plains and the impressive Andes mountain range in the west. This is the frontier with Chile and boasts the highest peak in the Western hemisphere: Aconcagua Mountain, 6,959 meters high.
From Jujuy in the north to Tierra del Fuego to the south, the Andes range presents marvelous contrasts: the Northwest plateaus, the lake region, the forests, and glaciers in Patagonia.
The Northern provinces of Salta, Chaco, and Formosa, cover a vast, flat, forested area linked to the Bermejo, Salado and Pilcomayo rivers. Between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers, Mesopotamia (the provinces of Entre Ríos, Corrientes and Misiones) is formed by low hills, where pools and marshlands are evidence of the ancient courses of these great rivers. In some places within the subtropical rain forest, there are fissures, which provide spectacular phenomena such as Iguazú Falls.
The Pampas, in the center of Argentina, is the largest and most well known area of the plains. Agricultural and livestock activities are performed in this area, which includes the province of Buenos Aires, the northeast of La Pampa, and the southern portion of Córdoba and of Santa Fe. Further to the south, the plains give way to small hills in Tandil and de la Ventana, and to the west, the Córdoba hills.
Also in the South lies the mystic region of Patagonia. From the Andes to the sea appear the sterile and stony plateaus of Patagonia, swept by the wind during most of the year. The Atlantic coast, lined with high cliffs, forms massive indentations like the Peninsula Valdés, with its spectacular and unique colonies of marine fauna.
There are a plethora of options in traveling to Argentina: Aerolineas Argentinas from New York and Miami; American Airlines from New York, Miami and Dallas; United Airlines from Chicago and Washington; Delta from Atlanta; Air Canada from Toronto; Lan Chile from Santiago; and Lan Peru from Lima have almost all daily flights to Argentina arriving at Ezeiza International Airport Ministro Pistarini, which is 25 miles from Buenos Aires. You can reach the city by freeway in approximately 45 minutes.
Please note that when leaving the country, a USD $18 airport tax must be paid in cash with local currency or U.S. dollars, or with Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
During the summer (January through March) there are several cruises docking in Buenos Aires, including Costa, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America Cruises, among others coming from North America and Europe.
Note that in the southern hemisphere, seasons are the opposite of those in the north. In general, summer is the best time to visit Patagonia and the Southern Andes because of the mild temperatures and long days. Wintertime is recommended for traveling to the North and Northwest as rains are less frequent, and tropical temperatures drop a few degrees. Fall and spring are marvelous in Buenos Aires, Cuyo and the pre-mountain range areas of La Rioja and Catamarca, and also a good time of the year for nature lovers to visit Patagonia, because of the marine wildlife approaching the shores of Argentina.
Due to the country’s vast expanse, planes are the best for traveling long distances within a few hours. First-class land transportation is also available and inexpensive; however trips may take up to 30 hours to get to your final destination. If buying “Airpass Visit Argentina” in your own country, you’ll obtain discounted prices for flights within Argentina. However, recent rules determined by Aerolineas Argentinas have changed the pass terms and conditions, making it available only to those flying to Argentina with Aerolineas Argentinas. Local airline companies are Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral, LAN and TAM. Airlines.
Domestic flights and flights to Uruguay depart from local airport Jorge Newbery, located on the northern corner of the city next to Rio de la Plata, just minutes from the city center. Most local airports in Argentina collect taxes upon check-in. Airport taxes range from $3 to $5 USD or local currency, payable in cash.
Within Buenos Aires city, also known as Capital Federal, there are five subway lines that meet at the center of the city, the heart of tourist attractions and hotels. Subway is the fastest means of transportation. Buenos Aires people prefer it because it connects main avenues, the railway stations and bus terminals. Subway lines operate Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. A token is good for a one-way trip from point to point, with or without connections. You can have as many connections as you wish with the same fare. Once you exit and come in you need a new token.
Taxis in Buenos Aires are also a very good option. Over 32,000 taxis run on Buenos Aires streets. The exact fare is displayed on a meter that starts at AR $1.28 and adds AR $0.16 for every 200 meters (two blocks approximately).
The bus service is a fast, economical and highly used means of transportation. Generally, it is chosen to travel within the city and the metropolitan area. You usually should wait no more than 15 minutes to pick up a bus. You may travel around 40 minutes at the most. Service is rendered 24 hours a day, and more than 100 lines travel around the city and throughout the metropolitan area.
The VAT tax is 21% in Argentina and is included in the final tour price. In some cases you can request reimbursement prior to exiting the country, and only for goods, not services. When shopping in Argentina, look for the Global Refund logo in most stores and request a Reimbursement Form from the store. They should complete the form and attach the receipt. At the airport, you must submit all the forms you accrued throughout your trip at the Global Refund counter. You may obtain a VAT reimbursement in cash or credit to your credit card, corresponding to any purchases made within the country for an amount over AR $70 (per transaction) and in shops operating with the Global Refund system.
Although U.S. Dollars and Euros are generally accepted everywhere, foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks and authorized exchange bureaus. American Express, VISA, Diners Club and MasterCard are widely accepted. There may be difficulties in changing traveler's checks outside Buenos Aires. The best exchange rate is the one negotiated by your own bank with the Argentinean bank; therefore, cash withdrawn from your savings or checking account would save you in fees and commissions. ATMs are available almost everywhere in Argentina with Spanish and English instructions and the usage fee is normally USD $1.
Banks and Exchange Bureaus are open Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Business Office hours are generally from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Most stores in the big cities are open from 9:00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., although in the outskirts and provinces other than Buenos Aires, they generally close for siesta from 12 noon to 5 p.m. On Saturdays, they open from 9:00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Cafés, cake shops and pizzerias are open most of the time except between 2:00 and 6:00 a.m.
Most restaurants serve lunch from 12:30 p.m. and dinner from 8:30 p.m. Light-fare menus are served in many restaurants and diners at all times. Most American fast food chains are available in Buenos Aires.
The city has several shopping circuits, each offering different items: antiques in San Telmo, books on Corrientes Avenue, leather items in the neighborhood of Retiro, souvenirs in La Boca. For the avant-garde in objects, clothes and decorative elements we recommend Palermo SOHO. There are also shopping malls opened daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and reachable by subway: Galerias Pacifico, Patio Bullrich, Alto Palermo, Paseo Alcorta and Plaza Abasto are within the city’ borders, while Unicenter Shopping, is about 45 minutes by cab.
“The Outlets” are shops with reduced prices for seasonal clothes from various name brands, and are primarily on Córdoba Avenue, from Scalabrini Ortiz to Godoy Cruz, about 20 minutes from downtown by cab or bus.
Av. Santa Fe 883; Phone: 4312-2232 or toll free 0800-555-0016;
Ezeiza International Airport and Jorge Newbery Airport.
Florida and Av. Roque Sáenz Peña
Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Bus Terminal: Av. Antártida Argentina and Calle 10 - Shop 83 - Bridge 3.
Monday through Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Av. Alicia Moreau de Justo 200 - Pier 4 – Crane 8.
Monday through Friday from 12 noon to 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Av. Corrientes and Agüero; Phone: 4959-3507
Monday through Sunday and holidays, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Teatro De la Rivera, Pedro de Mendoza 1821
Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
J.M. Ortz and Av. Quintana
Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Defensa 1250; Phone: 4313-0187
Monday through Friday from 12 noon 6 p.m.,
Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Centro Cultural General San Martin. Sarmiento 1551
Phone: 4373-2823, Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Open daily from 2 to 10 p.m.
Information about “milongas”, tango shows, private tango lessons and group lessons. Information available on tango record stores, records companies, bookshops, tango clothing outlets, Argentinean tango artists’ biographies and photographs.
Av. Corrientes 436; Phone: 4346-5748 or 4328-2135 or toll free 0800-999-5000
This law enforcement office was created to protect tourists’ interests and safety. They conduct street patrol in most tourist neighborhoods and the officers speak at least two languages, which include Japanese, English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Ukrainian, offering tourists a quick response in the event of theft, common law crime or any other eventuality like loosing identity cards, flight tickets or passports.
Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1835 (Museo de Bellas Artes de La Boca
"Don Benito Quinquela Martn"); Phone: 4302-7816, Fax: 4302-7816
Esmeralda 340 - Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
SAME - Phone: 107 or 4923-1051/58
January 1st - New Year’s
March/April* - Easter / Good Friday
April 2** - Veterans’ Day and tribute to the fallen in the Malvinas War
May 1st - Labor Day
May 25 - Anniversary of the First Independent Argentinean Government
June 20*** - Flag Day
July 9 - Independence Day
August 17*** - Anniversary of the death of General José de San Martn
October 12** - Columbus Day
December 8 - Immaculate Conception Day
December 25 - Christmas Day
* Floating Holiday
** If the date falls on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the holiday will be effective on the preceding Monday; if it falls on Thursday or Friday, the holiday will be effective the following Monday.
*** Holiday effective the third Monday of the month.