Argentina: Here's the Beef

Link to "Argentina:Cafes and Tango" another resource on the culture and customs of Argentina.
Argentina: Cafes and Tango


Except for a small tropical area in northern Argentina, the country lies in the temperate zone, characterized by cool, dry weather in the south, and warmer, humid air in the center.

Geography :

The Andes- runs the length of Argentina, from the Bolivian borderin the north to the South Atlantic.

The Chaco and the Mesopotamia-arid western area known as the Argentine Chaco.In the Mesopotamiathe climate is mild and rainfall is heavy in the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes.

The Pampas-are Argentina's agricultural heartland; this region covers the provinces of Buenos Aires and La Pampa as well as southern chunks of Santa Feand Córdoba. This region can be subdivided into the Humid Pampas, along the littoral, and the Arid Pampas ofthe western interior and the south.

Patagonia and the Lake District- Patagonia, of which the Lake district is a subregion, is the region southof the Río Colorado. It's separated from Chilean Patagonia by the Andes. In the extreme southern reaches of Patagonia,enough snow and ice accumulate to form glaciers. East of the Andean foothills, the cool andarid Patagonian steppes support huge flocks of sheep.

Tierra del Fuego-the world's southernmost permanently inhabited territory


North Americans who are not vegetarians will find Argentine food relatively bland and easy on the stomach. Salad greens and other fresh vegetables aresafe to eat in virtually every part of the country.


In Buenos Aires, the water is perfectly safe to drink. But if you are traveling to more remote regions of Argentina, it's best to stick with bottled water for drinking.


Travelers entering Argentina can bring personal effects without paying duty. Travelers returning to the U.S. are allowed to bring $400 worth of goods, per person. Duty tax is a flat 10% on the first $1,000 worth of goods over $400. Anything over is subject to an item-by-item basis.

Reciprocity Fee:

Starting in 2013 all U.S. citizens travelling to Argentina are required to pay a receiprocity fee before entering the country. The fee must be paid on online before travelling to Argentina and it is good for ten years. The site can be accessed at


Tourists will get an automatic visa upon entering the country that is good for a three months stay. Students staying longer will have to apply for a student visa through the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo.


The present unit is the peso ($). Paper money comes in denominations of two, five, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pesos. One equals 100 centavos; coins come in denominations of one (rare), five, 10, 25, and 50 centavos, and one peso. Currently,the exchange rate is 6 pesos for every dollar. Exchange agencies are available in the center of Mendoza. You can access pesos also by using ATMs (cajeros automaticos) which are omnipresent.

Email and Internet Access:

There are many internet cafés across the country; expect rates to be about US$1 per hour. Thus, access is reasonably priced and connections are reliably good. THere are also many free hotspots around the city especially in cafes and the shopping malls.


Argentina's country code is 54. One way to make a local call is to find a locutorio (small telephone office), which has private cabins where you make your calls and then pay all at once at the register. There's a locutorio practically on everyother block; they cost about the same as street phones, but are much quieterand you won't run out of coins. Mostly you will be using your local cell phone. When making domestic long-distance calls in Argentina, place a 0 before the area code.For communicasting with home, your best options are skype where there is wifi, texting or emailing. You can also buy international calling cards that you can use from your home phone that will let you direct dial the United Staes. For international calls, add 00 before the country code. Our country code is 1. Direct dialing to North America and Europe is available from most phones.International, as well as domestic, calls are expensive in Argentina,especially from hotels (rates fall between 10 pm and 8am).

Health Insurance:

Baylor requires all students to have health insurance through AHP. This will be covered in orientation. Baylor also requires all students travelling abroad to have International Student ID cards which come with some additional protections. It's a good idea to get travel insurance tocover theft, loss, and medical problems.International student travel policies handled by student travel organizations are usually good values.

Business Hours:

Traditionally, business hours in Argentina commence by 8am and break at midday for three or even fourhours, during which people return home for lunch and a brief siesta. After the siesta, shops reopen until 8 pm or 9 pm. This schedule is still common in the provinces, but government offices and many businesses in Buenos Aires have adopted a more conventional 8am to 5pm schedule in the interest of ‘greater efficiency'.


Ifyou plan to bring small appliances, pack a transformer and a European styleadapter, since electricity in Argentina runs on 220 volts. Note that most laptops operate on both 110and 220 volts.

Music and Dance:

Tango– probably the best known manifestation of Argentine popular culture; it isconstantly on the radio, tops the bill at nightclubs, and is often heard in the streets

Folk– makes its inspiration from the northwest Andean region

Jazz & Blues – Argentina's best known jazz musicianis saxophonist Gato Barbieri.

Rock & Pop – Rock musicians such as Charly Garcia and Fito Paez are nationalicons.

Society and Conduct:

Black and Asian travellers, will attract more attention compared to travelers with European ancestry, although this is less of an issue in Buenos Aires. Argentines as a whole are gregarious and are likely to invite you to participate in their daily activities. One of these activities is the asado,the famous Argentine barbecue.

Argentines are more physically demonstrative, always exchanging kisses on the cheek in greeting- even among men. If you are introduced by a friend to someone you've never met, you'll be expected to kiss them on the check

Dos'sand Don'ts:

Remember to preface any request with the appropriate salutation- buenos días(good morning) or more commonly buen dia,buenas tardes (good afternoon), or buenas noches (good evening); use the formal usted unless you are certain that informality is appropriate. Some sensitive subjects you many want to avoid in conversation with Argentines (at least until you get to know them better) are the Dirty War and Falklands (Las Islas Malvinas)

Governmentand Politics:

After the end of military dictatorship in 1983, Argentina returned to the Constitution of 1853, which established a federal system similar to that of the USA. In 1994 a constitutional convention amended the document to permit the president'sreelection while reducing the term to four years. The president and the Congreso Nacional arepopularly elected. In practice, thepresident is far more powerful than his U.S. counterpart and frequently governs by decree without consulting the Congreso. Administratively, the country consists of a federal district, plus 23 provinces, the territories ofthe South Atlantic islands and the Argentine Antarctic.


There are several youth hostels throughout Argentina. Most are excellent places to stay, where youcan meet and hang out with fellow travelers, both foreign and Argentine. All have common kitchens and living spaces,as well as shared baths. Most hostels don't insist on a youth hostel card, but they usually charge a couple of dollars more for nonmembers.


Asatej is Argentina's nonprofit student-travelagency and can serve you 9am to 6pm weekdays. Asatej is also affiliated with Hostelling International through the Red Argentina de Albergues Juveniles

Weights and Measures:

Like practically every country except the U.S., Argentina uses the metric system. Here are some useful conversions:

To convert:

°C to °F multiply by 1.8 and add 32

°F to °C subtract 32 and divide by 1.8

meters to feet multiply by 3.28 (1 m = 3.3 ft)

yards to meters multiply by .91

meters to yards multiply by 1.09

miles to kilometers multiply by 1.61 (1 mile = 1.6 km)

kilometersto miles .62 (1km = .62 mi)

liters to U.S. gallons multiply by .26(1liter = .26 gal, 1 gal = 3.8 liters)

Important Figures:

José de San Martín (1778-1850) – credited for breaking hold on Argentina in 1816; he is probably Argentina's greatest national hero.

Eva ‘Evita' Duarte (1919-52)– the second wife of JuanPerón; she used her influence to champion human social rights, to the horror ofthe established elite.

Juan Domingo Perón (1895-1974) – president of Argentina from 1946-1955; he setabout reforming the domestic economy by nationalizing the country and givinglaborers basic social benefits. However,his tactics included heavy-handed and fascist suppression of any opposition.

Che Guevara (1928-67) – the most legendary of all revolutionaries; he wasborn in la Serna in Rosario, Argentina. Che traveled to Mexico, where he met Fidel Castroand eventually helped him take Cuba in 1959

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) – a giant of literature; he is best know forthe complex worlds and sophisticated mind teasers that make up his shortstories.

Diego Maradona (1960- ) – the bad boy of Argentine soccer; he played forthe Boca Juniors soccer team. The international spotlight shone on him in 1986 when he punched a ball in England's net to score a goal. Drugs and scandals followed him after that.

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