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ARGENTINA: An essential journey

From the cafés of Buenos Aires, where impassioned tango dancers swirl through the night, to the grand peaks of the Andes towering magnificently over the central valleys, from the breathtaking wilderness of deepest Patagonia to the traditional fiestas and fun of the north, discovering Argentina offers an experience unmatched anywhere in the world.

Outdoors-types will come to hike, trek and fish amid the lakes, valleys and seashores, and stay for the starlit nights. Bons viveurs will come to explore the vineyards and fine wines, and stay for the music. Culture vultures will come to wander the labyrinthine streets of old Buenos Aires and the capital’s impressive museums, and fall for the culinary legacies of Spaniards, Italians and gauchos. Those who yearn for wilderness will come for the expanses of Patagonia, and stay for Iguazú Falls. Argentina is not one country, but many – an essential journey.

BUENOS AIRES

Argentina’s Capital City and Tango World Capital

Be swept away by the romance of the tango, Argentina’s legendary dance, along the streets and mansions of the capital’s traditional neighborhoods, full of art galleries, antiquarians and designer boutiques. Be dazzled by the food, amazed by the wine, impressed by the hotels and bowled over by the service, here in the dynamic and invigorating heart of this great country. There’s something for everyone: sights, museums, art, parks, shopping, music, literature, poetry… And of course, the people.

BARILOCHE

Gateway for the Andean Crossing to Chile

Located in Argentine Patagonia in the Province of Santa Cruz, El Calafate is the springboard to one of Argentina’s most unforgettable sites: The Glaciers National Park. You can take a boat to see Perito Moreno Glacier where house-size icebergs calve into the frigid lake; the more adventurous can even trek on glacial ice formed eons ago high in the Andes. Nearby, visit stately estancias, or traditional ranch homes.

EL CALAFATE

Home to Glaciar Perito Moreno

Hemmed by the majesty of the Andes Mountains, Bariloche makes a great base for exploring Nahuel Huapi National Park and is the gateway for the Andean Crossing to Chile. The city itself is cozy, scenic, clean and safe, packed with good hotels and restaurants. It also happens to produce the best chocolate in Latin America. In the summer, the lakes sparkle in the bright sunshine, while in the winter skiers flock to nearby El Catedral Mountain and ski resort.

USHUAIA

The Southernmost City in the World

The City at the End of the World: the southernmost city of all. Located on the rocky shores of the icy Beagle Channel, near Tierra del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia is not only the starting point for trips to Antarctica but a destination in its own right. The city is breathtakingly scenic and popular for winter and outdoor sports, such as skiing, trekking and exploring the massive Martial Glacier.

PUERTO MADRYN

Scuba Diving Capital

Founded 150 years ago by Welsh immigrants, Puerto Madryn is a small and charming city, home base for those wishing to explore the natural splendor of the Valdes Peninsula. One of Argentina’s World Heritage Sites, the Valdes Peninsula is extremely rich in wildlife, particularly mammals such as seals, whales, guanacos, maras (a species of giant rodent), and also harbors important penguin colonies.

MENDOZA

Wine Lovers Paradise

One of Argentina’s most charming towns, Mendoza lies at the foot of the mighty Aconcagua Volcano, the highest peak in not only Latin America, but also both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. The great mountaineering is not the only reason to visit scenic Mendoza: it’s Argentina’s wine capital, home to the finest wineries in the country.

CORDOBA

Argentina’s Second Largest City & UNESCO World Heritage Site

Argentina’s second-largest city, Córdoba enjoys a thriving cultural and arts scene, with a number of fine museums. Among the most notable is the Ferreyra Palace, a Fine Arts Museum dedicated to Eva Perón. At the city’s heart extends the “Jesuit Block,” an architectural and historical treasure listed as a World Heritage Site, which contains the University of Córdoba.

IGUAZU FALLS

One of the Planet’s Most Awe-inspiring Sights

The mightiest and most impressive waterfall in Latin America, Iguazu is, simply put, one of the most awe-inspiring displays of nature that you can experience. As a bonus, it’s situated in a national park which is home to many unusual and beautiful species of plants and animals. Iguazu is a must-see for anyone coming to Argentina.

SALTA

Colonial and Sophisticated

This mid-sized provincial capital has maintained its charming atmosphere and features several of Argentina’s best historical museums, including the display of three amazingly-preserved mommies. Surrounding the city one finds imposing geological formations like the Humahuaca Canyon and colorful mountains. Salta exemplifies Andean tradition and culture.

Country Name: Republic of Argentina

Area: 2.800.000 Square Km. (1.085 Square Miles, aprox.)

Population: 44.152,381 million

Capital City: Buenos Aires

Argentina Country Code: (54) Buenos Aires (11)

Language: Spanish is the official language in Argentina and predominates throughout the country. English is widely spoken in major hotels and the main tourist centers and facilities throughout the country. Other languages frequently spoken are Italian, French and German.

Religion: The Roman Catholic religion predominates, followed by Protestants. There is a large Jewish community and also a significant Muslim population.

Currency: The official currency is the Argentine Peso (Peso Argentino)

Time Zones: All of Argentina: GMT – 3 (No Daylight Saving Time in 2012).

USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION

Passports and Documentation: A valid passport is necessary for travelling as tourists to Argentina. Passport’s validity must extend to six months after the visit. Nationals of the United States, Canada and most European and Latin American countries do NOT need visas for tourism activities in Argentina. For other nationalities, please ask us or contact the nearest Argentine Embassy or Consulate.

Iguassu Falls U.S. CITIZEN ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Located between Brazil and Argentina, there are two spellings of the name, two airports and two views!

If you are visiting the falls en route between Argentina and Brazil, you will easily have a chance to visit both sides. Border crossing between these countries is fairly relaxed – authorities assume most people are on a day trip across the border however please note that US passport holders require a visa to visit the Brazilian side of the falls which is NOT issued at the border. (Allow 3 weeks to obtain)

Electricity: 220 volts AC; 50 Hz. Plug fittings in older buildings are of the two-pin round type, but some new buildings use the three-pin flat type.

Water: Urban water supplies are usually potable. However, tap water is not recommendable for drinking. Thus, the best option is to drink bottled water, available most everywhere. Alternatively, boiling the water should be a good measure.

Transportation: Argentina is easily accessible by its main International Airport of Ezeiza, located near the country’s capital city of Buenos Aires. Mendoza handles some international flights from neighboring countries. There is a wide network of domestic flights, serving several national airports throughout the vast extension of the Argentine territory, including the Patagonian Region. International cruise ships seasonally dock at Buenos Aires’ sea port. An ample network of good quality roads provides the facilities for land travel in all of Argentina and bus travel through the country has reached high levels of quality and reliability. There are some road links between Argentina and the bordering countries. Buenos Aires, the capital city, as well as the popular resort city of Mar del Plata and the cities of Mendoza, Cordoba and a few others, boast a wide system of taxis and public bus services. Buenos Aires is the only city in Argentina with an Underground mass-transportation system, locally called the “Subte”. Buses, coaches and car rental facilities are available for travel between cities and to the main tourist attractions in the country. River ferry connections are also available for transportation between Argentina and Uruguay. Train services also connect several Argentine cities.

Communications: Telephone communications for local, national and international calls are available at public cabins and booths, (locally called “locutorios”), as well as in hotels (some surcharges may apply) and other tourist venues. Prepaid phone cards are also available, it is recommended to make sure to use reliable and compatible carriers. Cell or mobile phones are also available and can be rented by tourists. Internet services are also widely offered at hotels (usually free for guests); Wi-Fi zones at most tourist venues and on cyber cafes.

Opening Hours: Business Offices: usually from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 to 7:00 pm, Mondays to Fridays. Banks and Exchange Bureaus: Mondays to Fridays, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Currency Exchange, Credit Cards & Banking Facilities: Foreign exchange transactions can be made at Banks and at licensed Exchange Houses or Bureaus. Most hotels, restaurants, shops and tourist venues accept US dollars and Euros. Visitors are not recommended to be tempted by street black marketers.

Credit and debit cards are accepted at most tourist locations, hotels and facilities. Do check with your credit or debit card companies for details about acceptability and possible restrictions. ATM machines are found in the main cities and tourist venues. Travelers Checks are not recommended for visitors to Argentina, as their use is complicated and limited.

Shopping and Souvenirs: Most stores in the big cities open from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays, most open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Some large shopping malls may have extended opening hours. In the outskirts of Buenos Aires and in the provinces, stores usually close at midday.

Argentina is a shopper’s heaven, especially for leather and wool garments; fine gemstones; furs, antiques and the traditional “gaucho” goods and souvenirs.

Tipping: Tipping, even though customary, is a personal matter, related to your impressions of how you were served. To express your satisfaction, the following international guidelines, per person, can be followed:

US $ 10, per day, for guide

US $ 5, per day, for driver

In restaurants and bars it is customary to give between 10 to 15% of the total charge, if not already included in the bill. If included, servers still expect a cash tip, especially for good service provided.

SAFETY AND HEALTH

Security, Valuables: Just like anywhere in the world, normal precautions to be taken are not to venture alone or even in couples into solitary, marginal or poorly illuminated areas; not to accept offers, gifts or unrequested assistance from strangers and not to carry flashy objects such as jewelry, electronic gadgets and others that might tempt thieves. In wild or nature areas, the main hazard is getting lost if walking or hiking alone. The company of a certified and reliable guide, ranger or similar is recommended and, otherwise, to advice the nearest authorities or your lodging place what your exploration plans are. Your valuables are best kept at the hotels and lodgings’ safety boxes. A photocopy of your passport or other photo ID is useful to carry handy with you.

Health and Medical Facilities: Buenos Aires, the capital, and other major cities like Mendoza or Cordoba, do have international-level hospitals and medical facilities. The major hotels offer on-call medical assistance on the main cities and in the most developed tourist centers. Travelers are suggested to seek the advice of their physicians prior to traveling for dietary restrictions; possible need of vaccines, altitude precautions if going to the mountains, etc. The local tour operator should be informed in advance of dietary restrictions and medical conditions which might require special care.

CLIMATE AND CLOTHING

Climate and weather conditions vary widely according to seasonal factors; regional and ecological characteristics; altitude and other elements. Thus, it is recommended to look for specific advice regarding climate, weather and appropriate clothing, depending on the places you are planning to visit and the time of the year your trip is being planned for. Please ask us for details.

GASTRONOMY AND CUISINE

The flagship element of Argentine cuisine is meat. This is the country with the reputation for having the best steaks. Traditional “asados” and “parrilladas”, outdoor or indoor, are popular ways of getting into the Argentine’s culinary culture around beef. However, vegetarians should not be alarmed. Nowadays, there are gastronomic alternatives for all tastes and needs. Italian, French and Japanese cuisine are also taking a strong grip in the Argentine cuisine, while their Chefs are rapidly joining the ranks of top-brasses of innovative cuisine, including the avant-garde molecular cuisine and recipes. As cosmopolitan as Buenos Aires is, there are restaurants of all kinds, featuring national and international specialties. Practically every town in the country has at least one pizza place and Argentines have some traditional “Heladerìas” (ice-cream shops), which could rival those across the Atlantic. Among the local delicacies, all sorts of empanadas are popular around the country and the fillings range from grounded beef, ham, cheese, olives or other ingredients. And among the sweets, perhaps Argentina’s most famous are the “alfajores”, dulce de leche, sandwiched between two sweet biscuits.

The national drink of Argentina, also popular in Uruguay and Paraguay, is the “mate”, made of the dried mate herb leafs. This tea-like drink is drank on the mate gourds or “guampas” and sipped with a metal straw, known as “bombilla”. Argentina is also famous for its great quality wines which are, nowadays, exported and drank throughout the world.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

US, Canadian and Australian passport holders must prepay reciprocity fee.

The payment receipt is needed to be presented upon arrival in Argentina. The lack of such proof will generate the denial of entry and return to their departure city. “

The website link for the payment is www.migraciones.gov.ar.

RECOMMENDED READING:

  • Time Out Buenos Aires by Time Out
  • Buenos Aires, A Cultural History by Jason Wilson
  • Tango: the Dance, the Song, the Story by Simon Collier
  • Vino Argentino, An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina by Laura Catena
  • The Authentic Bars, Cafes and Restaurants of Buenos Aires by Gabriela Kogan
  • Argentina, A Traveler’s Literary Companion by Jill Gibian

TRIP PLANNER ARGENTINA

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Our specially-designed Argentina expeditions take adventurous guests from the charming cafés of Buenos Aires to the glaciers of the Argentine Patagonia, leaving them breathless before the magnificence of the Andes and awestruck in the mists of Iguazu, while of course enjoying some of the finest wines in the world.

Expert Travel to South America since 1974

Our Dallas based experienced staff serves the North American Travel Agents and travelers from all over the world.