Argentina Basics

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The Basics

Time: GMT -3

Electricity: 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.

Money: 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.

Currency Exchange Rates

ARS1.00 = USD 0.02GBP 0.01CAD 0.02AUD 0.02ZAR 0.24EUR 0.02NZD 0.03
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Spanish is the official language of Argentina but English is generally understood in the tourist areas.

Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals require a passport for travel to Argentina, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: 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).

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians require a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australians require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African nationals must hold a valid passport, but no visa is required for a maximum stay of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.

Passport/Visa Note: 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.

Travel Health: There is a low risk of yellow fever, cholera and malaria in some northern provinces, so it is wise to seek your doctor's advice when travelling to these areas. However, it is recommended that all visitors to regions bordering Brazil and Paraguay, including Iguazu Falls, be inoculated against yellow fever. Outbreaks of dengue fever are on the increase, and visitors are advised to avoid getting mosquito bites as there is no effective treatment for it. A hepatitis A vaccination is recommended before travel to Argentina as well as a typhoid vaccination for those who might eat or drink outside major restaurants and hotels. Water is safe to drink in major towns and cities. 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.

Tipping: A 10 percent tip is expected at restaurants in Argentina. Porters expect some small change per bag.

Safety Information: Although the political and economic crisis is over, there are still periodic outbreaks of social unrest and demonstrations. Visitors are advised to avoid such public gatherings and to keep abreast of news to know whether any political disturbances are expected. However, there is no specific threat to foreigners and travellers should not be discouraged from travelling throughout the country. Be alert for 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.

Local Customs: 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.

Business: 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.

Communications: 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.

Duty Free: 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.