Region: South America & Central America
Roman Catholicism is the official state religion of Argentina. However, as with most other Latin American countries, Protestantism is making inroads into traditional Catholicism. Even within Catholicism, beliefs tend to blend with more ancient and traditional systems. Spiritualism, and veneration of the dead, bear a remarkable significance in Argentina; national heroes are celebrated not on their birthdays, but on the day they died.
The official language is Spanish
Area (sq. km):
2,766,890 square meters
Temperate climatic conditions prevail throughout most of Argentina, except for a small tropical area in the north-east and the subtropical Chaco in the north. In the vicinity of Buenos Aires the average annual temperature is a mild 16.1° C. The January and July averages for this area are, respectively, 23° C and 10° C. In San Miguel de Tucumán the average January temperature is 26° C and the average July temperature is 13° C. Considerably higher temperatures prevail near the tropic of Capricorn in the north, where extremes as high as 45° C are occasionally recorded. Climatic conditions are generally cold in the higher Andes, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego. In the western section of Patagonia winter temperatures average about 0° C. In most coastal areas, however, the ocean exerts a moderating influence on temperatures. Precipitation in Argentina is marked by wide regional variations. More than 152 cm falls annually in the extreme north, but conditions gradually become semi-arid to the south and west. In the vicinity of Buenos Aires annual rainfall is about 950 mm. In the vicinity of San Miguel de Tucumán annual rainfall is about 970 mm.
Autumn and spring (March to May and September to November) are the best time to visit Buenos Aires and the northern part of the country although it can be visited all year round. Mendoza, Cordoba and the Lake District are all spectacular in Autumn. Patagonia should be visited in the warmest months from November through to early April.
There are two airports in Buenos Aires. Most domestic flights depart from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery which is close to the city. Ezeiza International airport is located at Ezeiza, 35km southwest of Buenos Aires. There is a taxi stand at the airport (journey time: 45 minutes). A number of bus services operate to Ezeiza, Buenos Aires and the surrounds. Bus no.394 runs to Monte Grande railway station and Camino de Cintura. Bus no.502 runs to Ezeiza City. Bus no.51 runs to Constitución via Monte Grande. Bus no.86 operates between the airport and central Buenos Aires, Plaza de Mayo. Manuel Tienda León provides a shuttle service from the airport.
The international dialling code for Argentina is +54. Telephone calls, especially international ones, can be expensive when made from a hotel. We suggest you check the price first. If you have a mobile phone it should be a relatively simple procedure to arrange ‘global roaming’ with your service provider; however, charges are generally very high so be sure to check this option thoroughly. You should also check with your service provider to see if your mobile phone is compatible with the networks used in Latin America. Most countries in the region operate on the 1900 Mhz system. Phone calls made from public telephone offices are generally your cheapest option or purchase a phone card.
If you are bringing along any plug-in appliances you should take an international adapter with you. Round two-pin plugs are the most common types in the region. Voltage is 220V/50 cycles.
Argentina is best known for its beef. You can get it in all sorts of cuts. Try bife de chorizo (thick sirloin), bife de lomo (tender-loin), vacio (flank cut), bife de costilla (t-bone steak) or tire de asado (rib roast). If you go to an asado (barbeque), make sure you ask for chimichurri, a tasty, but spicy marinade of parsley, garlic, olive oil and spices. For vegetarians, you are best to stick to pastas that are offered in Buenos Aries, the Italian influence is strong here, outside Buenos Aires, it will be harder to find interesting vegetarian options.
Argentina has a modern transport infrastructure. Regular flights connect most major centres around the country and a sophisticated bus system services all country regions. Buses are modern and comfortable however, be warned, the distances in Argentina are immense. There is a limited rail network operating in the north and there are several daily ferry services that link Buenos Aires with Uruguay.
Argentina is a great place to purchase leather goods and clothing. There are many shops along Av Florida in Buenos Aires where you can purchase all kinds of leather goods, such as shoes, jackets, handbags, wallets and belts.
Australians, Americans, British, Canadians and New Zealanders, do not currently require a visa for Argentina. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent. Please note that when entering Argentine Territory, the following citizens must pay a "reciprocity fee": Australians USD100, Canadians USD75 and Americans USD160. From 20 December 2010, the fee will be valid for multiple re-entries within a period of one year as of the date of first entry. Previously the fee was only collected at Ezeiza International Airport and at Aeroparque Jorge Newbury Airport on arrival but this will now be done entirely ONLINE, effective October 31, 2012 (for arrivals to Aeroparque Jorge Newbury airport) and December 28, 2012 (for arrivals to Ezeiza airport). This fee also needs to be paid online if you are crossing the border into Argentina by land. This price is subject to change and the price on the below website will have the up to date costs.
How to pay the reciprocity fee online:
• Visit www.migraciones.gov.ar or www.provinciapagos.com.ar and register to start the process
• Fill out the form with the corresponding personal and credit card information
• Print the payment receipt
• Present the printed receipt at Immigration Control on arrival in Argentina. The receipt will be scanned by the Immigration officials, the information will be checked, and entry to the country will be registered
On Heroes and Tombs-E Sabato Kiss of the Spider Woman-M Puig Argentina: A City and a Nation-J Scobie Gaucho’s and the Vanishing Frontier-R Slatta Peron & the Enigma of Argentina-T Martinez