Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a federal republic located in south-eastern South America. Covering most of the Southern Cone, it is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Chile to the west and the waters of the Drake Passage to the south.
With a mainland area of 2,780,400km2/1.073.500sqmi, Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world and claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
Time zone: The time zone is UTC/GMT -3 hours.
International calling code: +54
Currency: In Argentina the local currency is the Argentine Peso (ARS). The Argentine Peso is not easily found outside Argentina therefore it is better to bring €uro which can be changed easily (be careful not to bring bills that are in some way damaged) or use your credit card to withdraw cash. Attention: there are some difficulties with the USD in Argentina therefore better to withdraw Argentine Peso directly in an ATM.
Security: The crime rate in Buenos Aires is significantly higher than in the rest of the country. In recent years, since the economic crisis, a sharp increase in the crime rate has been recorded, with increasing brutality. Tourists are recommended to be very cautious handling valuables. Pick pocketing is common, particularly on public transport (to and from the airport), bus stations, in crowded places, shopping streets and within stores. Poorer areas should be avoided at all times and the slums (villas) are of course absolute no-go areas! At night it is advisable to take a taxi instead of getting around on foot.
Shopping: Especially popular with foreigners are the unique Argentine leather products, which are much cheaper than in Europe. Accessories as well as traditional “mate” cups, ponchos, traditional musical instruments but also jewellery is popular. Souvenirs are often significantly cheaper is small local markets than in souvenir shops in the town centres.
Gastronomy: Typical of the Argentine food culture is beef!! - cooked traditionally as Asado or BBQ’ed on a wood or charcoal grill. Furthermore, the Locro, a cornstew with many ingredients, and the empanadas.
Climate: The generally temperate climate ranges from subtropical in the north to sub polar in the far south. The north is characterized by very hot, humid summers with mild drier winters, and is subject to periodic droughts. Central Argentina has hot summers with thunderstorms (western Argentina produces some of the world's largest hail), and cool winters. The southern regions have warm summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall, especially in mountainous zones. Higher elevations at all latitudes experience cooler conditions. The hottest and coldest temperature extremes recorded in South America have occurred in Argentina. Major wind currents include the cool Pampero Winds blowing on the flat plains of Patagonia and the Pampas; following the cold front, warm currents blow from the north in middle and late winter, creating mild conditions. The Zonda, a hot dry wind, affects west-central Argentina. Squeezed of all moisture during the 6,000 m (19,685 ft) descent from the Andes, Zonda winds can blow for hours with gusts up to 120 km/h (75 mph), fuelling wildfires and causing damage; when the Zonda blows (June–November), snowstorms and blizzard (viento blanco) conditions usually affect higher elevations. The Sudestada ("southeasterlies") could be considered similar to the Nor'easter, though snowfall is rare but not unprecedented. Both are associated with a deep winter low pressure system. The Sudestada usually moderates cold temperatures but brings very heavy rains, rough seas and coastal flooding. It is most common in late autumn and winter along the central coast and in the Río de la Plata estuary. The southern regions, particularly the far south, experience long periods of daylight from November to February (up to nineteen hours) and extended nights from May to August.
Last but not least...: The unforeseen happens – and nowhere more than in South America - your flight might be late or the bus brakes down! Remember that life works at a different pace here, and people do not have the same sense of timekeeping as at home - people do not expect you to be on time! Try to accept this as part of the charm of travelling in a relaxed country. We always include extra time to allow for these things, sometimes too much and sometimes not enough; in both cases we try to ensure that you have a great trip.