Useful information to prepare your trip to Argentina
Practical information about Argentina
Our agency provides reliable assistance during your trip, 24/24h – for any information, call us +54 9 2944 64 16 87.
Most countries do not need a Visa to enter Argentina – just a valid passport. Confirm this information with your government’s website.
Upon arrival, the Migrations police will take your photo and fingerprints at the airport.
A 3-month visa is issued when you arrive at the airport – it can be extended for 3 more months by presenting yourself to a federal police station along with your passport – you will have to fill out a form and pay a fee.
You can also leave the country and re-enter to benefit from 3 more months in the country. The overall stay cannot exceed 6 months in one year.
If you purchased your plane ticket with a Visa or Mastercard credit card, you are covered by repatriation insurance valid during your stay. We recommend however to also subscribe complementary travel insurance – you may have to present a certificate upon arrival.
Currency and banks
The official currency in Argentina is the Argentinian Peso, symbolised by $ (or $AR), whereas the American dollars are symbolised by US$. Make sure to double check when you are here, as both currencies can be used by various companies. You might be able to pay some services directly in your original currency, at an intermediate exchange rate according to the one applied by the shop or company.
We recommend that you bring cash in your original currency (dollars, pounds or euros) to change them in one of the official currency exchange agency – ATM withdrawals are limited and costly, and many places will accept only cash.
You will find banknotes of 10, 20, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pesos, and coins of 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesos.
Follow the peso official exchange rate on the Banco de la Nacion website.
Customers are expected to tip 10% of the bill in bars and restaurants. In airports, bus stations and some hotels, it is also customary to tip luggage carriers. Unlike some countries in South America, it is not usual to bargain in Argentina.
Argentina is home to many gifted artisans and handcrafted souvenirs.
The ancestral rural gaucho culture is still very much alive in the many hand-crafted, good-quality leather products – at very reasonable prices, or in the typical real-horn knives, cherished by the locals to prepare their meat.
You will find the latest fashion trends in Santa Fe and Florida streets in Buenos Aires, or in the Recoleta and Palermo Viejo neighbourhoods where small designers are found next to bigger malls. Art lovers, fill your heart’s content with the numerous galleries around Recoleta. San Telmo offers a great option for antique shopping – the famous outdoor flea market takes place every weekend around the Dorrego square.
Jewellery is also a local specialty, with good quality silver works and 18-karat gold pieces to be found on the Libertad Avenue in Buenos Aires. The “rodocrosita” is the national semi-precious, pale pink stone.
Further south, Bariloche offers the country’s best chocolates, manufactured according to the best Swiss traditional techniques.
For typical Argentinian cultural souvenirs, you can also buy the mate “mug” (pronounce “matay”) and its bombilla (small filtering metallic straw) – they are decorative, ranging from the minimalist aluminium version to the leather silvered ones.
The North-west region around Salta and Purmamarca specializes in Andes handicrafts, such as the colourful traditional hand loomed fabrics or the alpaca and vicuña woollen pullovers – for an even more exotic experience, bring back the traditional Güemes Poncho.
Finally, any wine lover knows that bringing back a good Malbec might be worth it: some bodegas do not export their production, especially the small ones, and the varieties have developed and multiplied over the last few years – it is a must-do in Argentina, so why not share it later with your friends and family back home?
Duty Free – VAT refund
You can get a VAT refund (21%) for some of your purchases – called IVA in Argentina. After deducting some administrative fees, your refund will amount to approximately 15%. Certified shops must be registered and display the “Tax Free” label. Keep your purchase tickets, invoices and the check with the “Tax Free/Global Blue” logo to ask for a refund (in Argentinian pesos and in cash) at the international airport before your departure.
International airline companies authorize different luggage holds for Argentina-bound flights. We recommend that you check with your airline, and choose two medium-sized bags instead of a large rigid suitcase when it is possible – easier to fit in the cars and prone to less damage.
For domestic flights, be aware that Aerolineas Argentinas applies a maximum 15 kg luggage hold per luggage. If your luggage is a little overweight, show your international ticket permitting more weight and it should do the trick – Argentinians are usually very nice and understanding with international travellers.
Clothes and equipment
Once your trip is confirmed, we will send on request, an equipment list recommendation – this may vary greatly according to the regions you will visit.
We recommend that you take with you the following documents:
- Passport copies (to leave the original in a safe place)
- Insurance certificate copies
- International driving licence if you rent a car
- Cash, credit card
- A copy of the Terra Argentina personalized travel programme
- Our 24/24 assistance number, to be registered in your phone prior to your departure: +54 9 2944 64 61 87 from an international phone, or 02944 154 64 16 87 from a local number.
Phone, internet and electricity
Public phone booths are still quite common in many places. You will need coins or cards (tarjetas telefónicas) available in any kiosco to use them. You can also find some phone centres (locutorios) which have several phone boxes allowing you to call worldwide for unbeatable prices.
To call from abroad to Argentina, dial 00 54 followed by the local number.
Wifi connexions are available in most hotels, restaurants and coffee houses, and even the most remote village might have an internet café for a very cheap hourly rate.
Electrical current is 220 volts (50 Hz). Electric plugs are diverse: formerly respecting the European standards, there are now more Argentinian models – 3-conductor wall outlets. You can find adaptors in hotels, or buy some in a ferreteria (drugstore) or in the kioscos.
Languages and Media in Argentina
The official language is Spanish, but there are also about twenty native languages such as the Aymara and the Quechua spoken in North-Western Argentina, the Guarani in Misiones, the Mapuche and Tehuelche in Patagonia… Tango amateurs will also know the local slang called Lunfardo, mainly spoken in the capital, mixing up all the immigrants’ languages.
Print press is still popular and you will find many newspapers and magazine nationally produced. Some of the most famous daily newspapers are the Clarin, La Nacion and Pagina 12 – if you are looking for a quality travel magazine, we recommend Lugares – in Spanish only.
Argentinian television is made up of a few national channels and an extensive cable network. Telenovelas and reality shows are quite popular.
Radio (FM, AM and internet-based) offers a great variety and is still the only communication network available nowadays in some very remote areas – Spanish-speakers should try to listen to the rural programmes whenever possible, to hear Ricardo announce his cattle new-borns, the regional doctor changing his consultation hours, or Veronica trying to reach her grandsons in the fields.
Your safety is our priority and we will provide you with the best advice and logistics throughout your stay. Argentina is a safe destination overall, where you should just take some common-sense precautions mainly in big cities, touristic districts, pedestrian and shopping streets. We recommend avoiding wearing expensive items that could bring attention such as jewellery or expensive and big cameras.
Consult your government’s official guidelines prior to your departure.
Some activities such as rafting or hiking require following a set of safety rules – you will be helped by our specialized guides and provided with high quality equipment. You can read our safety commitment and emergency documents on the Terra Group website.
Natural Sites and National Parks preservation
The ecological balance of many of the sites you will visit is fragile and must be preserved. We invite you to be a respectful traveller, aware of your impact as visitor on the local natural surroundings. Each traveller is responsible for the respectful, waste-free, best behaviour that contributes to the protection of the local flora and fauna. You can learn more in our Responsible Traveller’s Philosophy.