Republic of Argentina
- Official Name: Republic of Argentina.
- Capital: Buenos Aires.
- Official language: Spanish.
- Surface: 2.780.400 Km².
- Population: 44.560.000 (Est.)
- Religion: Catholics 90%.
- Density: 16 habitants/Km² (in Santa Cruz, Patagonia) there is 1.1 habitant / Km².
- Money: Argentina Peso ($), divided into 100 cents.
- Passport: Valid for a minimum of 6 months.
- Visa: not needed (it is permitted to stay for 90 days).
- Vaccination for travellers: Not necessary.
- Migration information: www.mininterior.gov.ar.
- Official hour: GMT – 3.
- Electricity: 220V / 50Hz.
- Telephone code: 54.
- Cellular telephone code: 54 + 9 + cell phone number without 15.
- Internet code: .ar.
- Weather: Argentina has a great variety of weather: mild and humid on the Pampas, cold and wet plains in the extreme west of Patagonia, subtropical in the northern part of Mesopotamia and warm in the Northwest. From November to March, the average temperature in 23 degrees Celsius and from June to September it is 12 degrees Celsius.
The name “Argentina”
It comes from the latin name “argentum”, which means silver. The origin of this name goes back to the voyages of the early Spanish conquerors in Río de la Plata. The shipwrecked expedition of Juan Díaz de Solís, found indigenous people in the region who gave them silver objects. The news reached Spain around 1524 of the legendary Sierra del Plata, a mountain rich in the precious metal and from then on, the Portuguese named the river of Solís, Río de la Plata.
La flor nacional de la República Argentina es el ceibo. The national flower of the Argentina Republic is named the Ceibo. It is a tree native to America, especially in Argentina (coastal area), Uruguay, Brazil, and Paraguay. It grows on the banks of the Paraná and Río de la Plata, but it can also be found in areas close to rivers, lakes, and wetlands. It belongs to the legume family. It is not a very tall tree, it’s deciduous and it has bright green foliage. Its flowers are large and red and the trunk is twisted. Its roots are solid and it’s firm in the ground counteracting the erosion that is caused by water. Its wood is yellowish white and very soft, it’s used to make some lightweight items. Its flowers are used to dye fabrics.
The national stone of Argentina is the rhodochrosite that has an attractive structure and a pink colour that has become one of the most striking stones in the world. Its name comes from two Greek words: pink and colour; and it is a volcanic stone found in the Sierras Capillitas (Province of Catamarca) at more than 3,000 metres above sea level. Manganese Carbonate determines the intense pink or purple stone, and given its composition, it is used industrially for magnesium carbonate in the steel industry. In addition it is used as a semi-precious stone, decorative stone and glass, sliced stalactites or for collections.
Its total legal area is 3,745,247 Km², of which 2,780,400 km² correspond to the American continent and 964 847 Km² to the Antarctic continent. Argentina is the world’s seventh largest country and the fourth largest in the Americas (after Canada, the U.S. and Brazil). The total length of the borders is 9,376 km, touching five neighbouring countries: Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay. The longest border is with Chile (5,150 km) along the entire length of the Andes.
In the north it borders with Bolivia and Paraguay, and East-West, the confluence of the Rivers Grande (San Juan Province) and Mojinere (Jujuy province). In the south the border lies with Chile and the Atlantic Ocean, the southernmost tip is Cape San Pío, located on the Isla Grande (Tierra del Fuego). The eastern border is with Brazil, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean. The easternmost point is located northeast of the town of Bernardo de Irigoyen (Misiones). To the west it borders with Chile. The most western point is located between Cerro Agassis and Cerro Bolados in Los Glaciares National Park (Santa Cruz).
Argentina’s population is estimated at 44.560.000 people. Of these, 50% is concentrated in the province of Buenos Aires and the Federal Capital. The vast majority of the population (97%) are white, due to significant immigration at the beginning of the twentieth century (mainly from Spain and Italy) and more recently from neighbouring countries and Asia.
The official language of Argentina is Castilian (Spanish). English is used by most people involved in tourism.
Tango is a musical style, distinctly urban, the most characteristic and internationally known of Argentina. It is also a dance from the Rio Plata area of the big cities like Buenos Aires and Montevideo. It is traditionally played by a sextet or an orchestra and the bandoneon is the main instrument. The choreography, designed from the embrace of the couple, is extremely sensual and complex. The words are based on a local slang called lunfardo (from Buenos Aires) and often express sadness, especially “in the things about love” felt by the men and women of the town, circumstances that connect it with the blues. Enrique Santos Discépolo, one of its greatest poets, defined tango as “a sad thought that is danced.”.
The Argentina national dish or food is undoubtedly the barbecue which is called asado. It is not just a dish but also a gastronomical act and a social event. The asado is the way of cooking meat, usually beef, it’s cooked horizontally on a “grill” – or vertically like a “cross” -. Either firewood or coal is used for the fire. The typical barbecue is composed with different parts – “cuts” – beef, offal, vegetables and provolone cheese. It is common to accompany the asado with tomato, lettuce, carrot and onion salads. When the meat is served it’s normal to add a local dressing called chimichurri; made of oil, oregano, red pepper, paprika, garlic, etc.
How to get to Argentina
All the airline companies that fly to Argentina arrive at the International Ministro Pistarini (Ezeiza) airport, located 35 km from the city of Buenos Aires. You can also arrive by the highway Ricchieri. The companies Manuel Tienda León and Transfer Express offer bus services every half hour. The journey lasts 40 minutes. There are also taxis that transfer from to Ezelza to the Centre.
When to travel
Remember that in the Southern hemisphere the seasons are opposite to those of the Northern hemisphere. In general, the summer, with warm temperatures and long days, it is the season most favourable for visiting Patagonia.
Check the validity of your passport as it is necessary to have a validity of at least 6 months. It is suggested to carry a photocopy of your passport, because in the case of loss or theft, it will facilitate the issuing of new documents. Valid passport with or without visa, as appropriate . Please contact your nearest embassy or consulate. Visitors from neighbouring countries are exempt from all taxes on travelling articles of a value not exceeding U$S 300 and an additional U$S 300 if purchased in a ” duty free shop ” within the national territory, they are exempt. No vaccination certificate is required to enter the country, except for cholera and yellow fever passengers coming from countries where these diseases are endemic.
Se considera equipaje toda maleta o bulto que vaya facturado en el avión. All luggage, suitcase or bag that goes in the aircraft is considered billed. Hand luggage containing travel documents, valuables and personal items should always be carried with you. At the exits of airports, hotels, etc, always keep an eye out and do not give to porters, waiters or drivers. In case of loss or damage, you should inform the Airline carrier or its representative at the airport, who will issue an official document needed for such loss. This document is the basis for filing any claim against the airline in accordance with international regulations.
- We suggest not carrying heavy materials.
- Choose a flexible, light coloured bag (black absorbs heat while light colours reflect).
- Protect your lens with a hard case.
- Bring one or more filter: Ultraviolet to remove the dominant blue in broad daylight and a polariser to eliminate annoying reflections.
- Memory cards: Sometimes it is not easy to get your usual type of memory card, we do suggest that before arriving to El Chaltén, you buy the amount that you feel is necessary and protect them from heat and light during the journey.
- For Customs: put your appliances and reels in a separate bag and not in your suitcase.
Although the dollar is generally accepted, the foreign exchange currency can be processed at banks and authorised bureaus. The credit cards that are most widely accepted are American Express, VISA, Diners and Master Card. There may be difficulties in changing traveler’s check outside Buenos Aires.
VAT: In Argentina is 21%
- Banks and exchange offices: Monday to Friday between 10.00 and 15.00 Hrs.
- Business Offices: generally from 09.00 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 19.00 Hrs.
- Shops and businesses in general: in cities, from 09.00 to 20.00 hours, although in small towns such as El Calafate shops usually close at noon. On Saturdays, the hours are from 09.00 to 13.00 Hrs.
- Cafes, bars and pizzerias 24 hours a day.
- Restaurants: Lunch is served from 12:30 Hrs and dinner from 20.30 Hrs.
It is customary to leave a 10% tip for the service in cafes and restaurants and to tip doormen, porters and ushers.
Argentina’s currency is the peso. There are $10, $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000 notes and coins of $1, $2, pesos.