Getting to Argentina

WHEN TO TRAVEL

Remember that in the southern hemisphere seasons are the opposite to those in the northern hemisphe... WHEN TO TRAVEL

Remember that in the southern hemisphere seasons are the opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. In general, the summer is the best time to visit Patagonia and the Southern Andes because of the mild temperatures and long days. Wintertime is recommended for travelling to the North and Northwest as rains are less frequent and tropical temperatures drop a few degrees. Autumn and spring are marvelous in Buenos Aires, Cuyo and the pre-mountain range areas of La Rioja and Catamarca.

SHOPPING

VAT return

You may obtain a VAT reimbursement to any purchases of local products made for an amount over $70 (per invoice) in shops operating with the _Global Refund_ system, as follows:

Jorge Newbery Airport (in Buenos Aires), at Telecom telephone booths.

Ministro Pistarini International Airport - Ezeiza, Terminal A, 1st Floor.

Ministro Pistarini International Airport - Ezeiza, Terminal B, Ground Floor.

Jorge Newbery Airport (in Buenos Aires), at Telecom telephone booths.

Ing. Ambrosio Taravella International Airport (in C__rdoba), at Telecom telephone booths.

Ing. Francisco J. Gabrielli International Airport (in Mendoza), at Telecom telephone booths.

Bariloche International Airport, at Telecom telephone booths.

Tancredo Neves International Bridge (in Puerto Iguaz__), at Telecom telephone booths.

Buenos Aires Port, Northern Dock, Buqueb__s Terminal, information desk.

Buenos Aires Port, New Port, Quinquela Mart__n Cruising Terminal, from October to April.

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: generally from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. and from 2.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m.

Stores: in the big cities from 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., although in the outskirts and the provinces they generally close at midday. Saturdays, from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.

Caf__s, 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.

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 travelling 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.

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Telephone

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Pay phones work with cards that may be purchased in kiosks and 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.

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.

Note that tariffs are reduced from 10.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m.

Maps

Maps may be purchased at the offices of the Autom__vil Club Argentino (Av. del Libertador 1850, Tel. 4808-4000, Buenos Aires, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Tourist information

Ministry of Tourism, Tourist Information Centers: Av. Santa Fe 883, C1059ABC Buenos Aires, Tel. 4312-2232 / 0800-555-0016; Ezeiza International Airport and Jorge Newbery Airport; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Buenos Aires Information Centres: Av. Pte. Quintana 596 (Recoleta), Retiro Bus Station (Local 83), Florida 100. Av. Alicia Moreau de Justo 200 (Dock 4, Puerto Madero); This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Security Prevention and Tourist Assistance:

Comisar__a del Turista: Av. Corrientes 436, C1043AAR Buenos Aires, Tel. 4346-5748 / __4328-2135 / 0800-999-5000, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Defensor__a del Turista: Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1835 (Museo de Bellas Artes de La Boca "Don Benito Quinquela Mart__n"), C1169AAC Buenos Aires, Tel. 4302-7816, Fax: 4302-7816, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Defensa 1250 (San Telmo), C1143AAB Buenos Aires, Tel. 4046-9682 / 4338-4900, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

INTERESTIN FACTS

The name Argentina

It 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 R__o de la Plata. The survivors of the shipwrecked expedition mounted by Juan D__az de Sol__s found indigenous people in the region who gave them silver objects as presents. The news about the legendary Sierra del Plata - a mountain rich in silver - reached Spain around 1524. As from this date, the Portuguese named the river of Sol__s, R__o de la Plata (River of Silver). Two years later the Spanish used the same name. The National Constitution adopted in 1853 included the name _Rep__blica Argentina_ (Argentine Republic) among the official names to designate the government and the country_s territory.

Location, area and frontiers

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 22__ and 55__. 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.

Geography

Argentina_s main characteristic is the enormous contrast between the immense eastern plains and the impressive Andes mountain range to the west. This is the frontier with Chile and boasts the highest peak in the Western hemisphere: the 6,959 m high Aconcagua.

From Jujuy to Tierra del Fuego, the Andes present marvelous contrasts: the Northwest plateaus, the lake region, the forests and glaciers in the Patagonia.

To the north, Chaco is a forested area linked to rivers Bermejo, Salado and Pilcomayo.

Between the Paran__ and Uruguay rivers, the Argentine Mesopotamia (provinces of Entre R__os, Corrientes and Misiones) is formed by low hills, where pools and marshlands evidence the ancient courses of these great rivers. In some places within the subtropical rain forest, there are fissures which provide such spectacular phenomena as the Iguaz__ Falls.

The Pampas, in the center of Argentina, is the largest and best-known area of plains. Agricultural and livestock activities are performed in this area, which includes the province of Buenos Aires, the northeast of La Pampa, the south of C__rdoba and south of Santa Fe. To the south, the plains give way to small hills in Tandil and de la Ventana, and to the west, to the C__rdoba hills.

Towards the south, from the Andes to the sea, there 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 Vald__s, with its spectacular and unique colonies of sea animals.

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 plains. Media temperature from November to March is 23__ C, and 12__ C from June to September.

Population

Argentina's current population is more than 40 million inhabitants, almost half of which live in the city and the province of Buenos Aires. Population density calculated on a national basis is 14 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Language

Spanish is the official language of the Argentine Republic. In Buenos Aires, some _lunfardo_ expressions -city slang - are used.

Religion

There is complete religious freedom in Argentina, although Roman Catholicism prevails. Other religions practiced in the country are Protestant, Jewish, Moslem, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and others.

Currency

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 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents.

Constitution and Government

Argentina consists of 23 provinces plus a federal district, the City Buenos Aires. The Argentine Constitution establishes a Republic under a representative and federal system, and three separate branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial.

The executive branch is exercised by the President and Vice-president of the Nation, elected for a 4-year term, and who may be reelected for a single additional term. The legislative branch is bicameral: the Senate (composed of three senators from each province and from the City of Buenos Aires) and the House of Representatives (composed of representatives elected directly and in proportion to each district_s population). The judicial branch _is vested in the Supreme Court and lower courts of justice_.

Each province has adopted its own Constitution in accordance with the National Constitution, to rule its administration.

The current National Constitution dates from 1853. Nevertheless, it was amended in 1860, 1898, 1957 and 1994. The last amendment made in August 1994, allows the President_s reelection for an additional term.

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