FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ARGENTINA TRAVEL PLANNING & TRAVEL TIPS
The U.S. Embassy in Argentina is located at Av. Colombia 4300 (C1425GMN), Buenos Aires Telephone: (54-11) 5777-4533 Fax: (54-11) 577-4240
WHAT TRAVEL MONTHS DO YOU RECOMMEND?
Argentina's Climate: There are four main types of climate in Argentina: warm, moderate, arid, and cold. The very cold regions are in the south; the forested jungle regions are in the north; the Atlantic coastline is on the east; and the rugged, mountainous lake areas are in the west. Bordering five other countries, Argentina has important cultural and economic connections with all of South America. We prefer to go to Buenos Aires during the Argentinian fall (March through May) and spring (September through November) when temperatures are mild. If your travel plans include seeing Patagonia and the southern Andes, go in the summer when the days are longer and warmer. If your plans include visiting the Northwest, doing so from mid-October to early December is one recommendation. March to the end of April is a favorite time also because of the celebrated wine harvest.
January and February are sweltering. Often, temperatures range from the high 90s to more than 100 degrees F (35-40 C). However, if you choose to go in the winter, during the months of July to October, the weather can be chilly.
WHY SHOULD I TRAVEL TO ARGENTINA?
Argentina offers something for everyone, yet the country is seldom referred to as a travel destination. Our eighteen-day recommended travel time may be tailored to your budget, your interests, or perhaps the time of year. Please note that Piattelli is not a travel agency; it is a website that is an accumulation of our seventeen years of in-country travel experience. We would like to share our experiences with friends, family, and travelers like you who are seeking something special. I believe you will find that Argentina delivers on the high expectations you have set for your next adventure.
WHAT ARE THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS?
You need a valid passport that will not expire six months before your visit.
CASH OR CREDIT CARDS?
The official currency of Argentina is the peso. Credit cards and cash are widely accepted throughout the country. My advice is this: Bring two credit cards, just in case one gets compromised, and notify your bank or credit card companies of your travel dates. You should always bring some cash; just be aware of the current exchange rate and the places where you will receive the best exchange. Many times, you can negotiate better with dollars than with credit cards.
CELL PHONE SERVICE AND THE INTERNET
My advice regarding mobile service is to call your carrier before departure. Some providers will include free in-country roaming and calls from the U.S for as little as 0.20 cents per minute. Internet service is a non-issue in the larger metropolitan cities. As you travel into the country, you may experience intermittent delays or outages. It should not be a major problem but a minor irritation or slight inconvenience. As a warning, never leave your cell phone, iPod, or computer unattended.
THE CUISINES OF ARGENTINA
In this multicultural country, people have two things in common: they love their beef, Gaucho-style BarBQ, which is known as the Asado, and they like lots of Malbec to go with it. When dining out, if your entree includes red meat, ALWAYS order it well done. The exceptions are the top steakhouses in Buenos Aires, like La Cabrera, that offers only the finest quality beef. Street foods are forbidden, no matter how good they smell and look or how hungry you are.
IS DRIVING IN ARGENTINA RECOMMENDED?
If you wish to explore Argentina, going by taxi or hiring a driver is always your best option. There are exceptions, such as if you're driving to Cafayate, Bariloche, or Iguazu Falls. I might mention that car rental agencies will require a hefty damage deposit on top of the rental.
ARE THERE ANY CULTURAL CUSTOMS THAT I SHOULD RESPECT?
Argentinians are very friendly and engaging people; the women always expect a little kiss on the cheek as a greeting. For men, a good, hard handshake is just fine. Some also have relaxed attitudes towards time; for them, 10 to 15 minutes late is on time.
Even though your Spanish may not be perfect, and perhaps you are unsure of the proper verb, go for it! They will be honored by the fact that you tried. Speaking their language is showing respect and also a great ice-breaker.
IS ARGENTINA SAFE?
There are safety precautions you need to know: The most current global study today of all travelers rates safety as the number one concern. Piattelli Travel will list a series of precautions while visiting Argentina, beginning with your arrival. You will require transportation to your hotel after you arrive at Buenos Aires International Airport Ezeiza. Your choices will include taxi, prearranged pickup, shuttle, or private transportation that you can arrange right at the airport such as Manuel Tienda. My personal experience is to stay away from the airport taxis.
SELECTING A HOTEL
You get what you pay for, and always, it is about the location and what price you place on security and comfort. Twenty-four-hour desk services, valet, and twenty-four hour room service offer niceties but, more importantly, security. They serve as your after-hour security company and helpdesk in the event of an emergency. Five-star hotels go out of their way to ensure their guests have a relaxing and memorable stay. They also keep you safe and offer up recommendations for dining, Tango shows, points of interest, and daily news. Their service is invaluable and well worth the money spent.
LEAVE YOUR JEWELRY IN THE HOTEL
Why you brought it in the first place is the real question. Leave all items of value at home. Rolexes, diamond jewelry, expensive cameras, and iPods all attract attention. Cash and wallets require particular attention; travel pants for both men and women have in-pocket zipper security that presents a real challenge even for the most skilled pickpocketer.
USE TRANSPORTATION FROM YOUR HOTEL
The majority of taxi drivers are honest and hardworking people. There are, however, some real pros out there who engage in counterfeit bill swapping, running the meter a little fast, taking advantage of the currency confusion, and taking the long way to your destination. Asking the doorman how much should the fare be and how long should the trip take are good ideas. Be sure you ask these questions in front of your driver. Counterfeiting is a business, and the taxi drivers will swap your pesos for counterfeit currency. When paying the driver, don't pass it to him over the seat. Get out of the cab, and stand directly in front of him where you can watch him.
ALWAYS BE IN CONTROL
The Argentinian people are friendly and enjoyable to be around, but the problem is getting back safely to your hotel. Drink, but don't overdrink; always be aware of your surroundings, and have the proprietor of the restaurant or club call you a cab, especially if you have been drinking. Do not walk back to your hotel or leave the restaurant and attempt to flag down a cab.
DO YOU NEED HEALTH INSURANCE IN ARGENTINA?
We heartily recommend that you inquire as to your supplemental health coverage. Check your overseas medical insurance coverage two weeks before your departure. Phone or email your medical provider and ask if your policy coverage extends into Argentina and what coverages apply, such as emergency expenses, hotel visits, and medical evacuation. Your age will play into the pricing quote, but in most cases, you will find it to be very reasonable. Be aware that U.S. Medicare benefits do not transfer overseas. Most foreign countries, including Argentina, only accept cash for medical services. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor's prescription. A side note to this is to check what you are currently paying for your medications. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn the cost of brand name prescription drugs in Argentina is ten to thirty percent lower. Your trip to Argentina may be a once in a lifetime experience; therefore,
protect it and enjoy it.