|Population :||40 millions|
|Capital city:||Buenos Aires|
|People||85% European descent, 15% Mestizo, Indian and other minorities|
|Language||American Spanish, plus 17 indigenous languages|
|Religion||93% roman catholic, 2.5% protestant, 2% jewish, 1.5% ukranian catholic, 1% armenian orthodox|
Mention Argentina, and people think about solitary gauchos or maybe tango dancers. It is country blessed with abundant natural resources and a highly educated population. The country boasts a wide variety of cultural attractions, but for many travelers, its natural wonders are the primary draw. From the northern deserts down to the southern Andean Cordillera, from the Iguazú Falls to the magnificent desolation of Patagonia, Argentina's geography is varied and stunning. For cosmopolitan types, there's the elegant capital, Buenos Aires. This fabulous city is renowned for its sophistication, although travelers expecting a more 'South American' experience are sometimes disappointed with its European touch.
Argentina is one Latin American country where Europeans and North Americans can feel at ease and travel relatively inconspicuously. Argentina forms the eastern half of South America's long, tapering tail.
It's a large country - the eighth largest in the world, and the second largest on the South American continent. It borders Chile to the west (separated by the Andean Cordilleras range) and Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia to the north and east (separated by rivers). It also shares the offshore island territory of Tierra del Fuego with Chile, and continues claiming the possession of the Malvinas Islands.
Argentina's topography is affected by both latitude and altitude, and is accordingly varied. The country can be divided into four major physiographic provinces: the Andes to the west (with arid basins, grape-filled foothills, glacial mountains and the Lake District), the fertile lowland north (with subtropical rainforests), the central Pampas (a flat mixture of humid and dry expanses) and Patagonia (a combination of pastoral steppes and glacial regions).
There are 38 Protected Areas (28 National Parks, 1 Natural Reserve, 6 Natural Monuments and 3 Estric Natural Reserves) all over the country that preserve large areas of these varied environments and protect wildlife (much of it unique) such as the caiman (or yacaré), puma, guanaco (a lowland relative of the upper-Andean llama), rhea (similar to an ostrich), Andean condor, flamingo, various marine mammals and unusual seabirds such as Magellanic penguins. Thorn forests, virgin rainforests, flowering cacti, extensive forests of monkey-puzzle trees and southern beech are also protected.
Argentina's climate ranges from subtropical in the north to humid and steamy in the center, and cold in the temperate south. The Andes region has erratic rainfalls, the lowlands receive enough rainfall to support swampy forests and upland savanna. The winter dry season is pronounced, and the summer heat can be brutal. The flat pampas areas are also vulnerable to flooding; Patagonia is mild all year-round in the east and glacial in the south. For residents of the northern hemisphere, Argentina offers the inviting possibility of enjoying two summers in one same year, but the country's great variety and elongated geography can make a visit during any season worthwhile. Buenos Aires' urban attractions, for instance, transcend the seasons, but Patagonian destinations, such as the Moreno Glacier in Santa Cruz, are best to visit in the summer months (December to February). The Iguazú Falls in subtropical Misiones province are best in the southern hemisphere's winter or spring when heat and humidity are less oppressive. The winter months (mid-June to late September) also offer the opportunity to go skiing.
Center & Pampa
This region is almost entirely flat, interrupted only by Tandil (500 meters) and La Ventana (1200 meters) mountains. Its features make it very suitable for agricultural and livestock activities; its tourist potential is reflected first by the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina Federal Capital, and the country's industrial and commercial centre that offers an intense cultural activity. In its surroundings there are numerous towns with major tourist advantages such as San Isidro, Tigre, Escobar Lujan, San Antonio de Areco, Chascomús and Lobos. Other tourist cities -busy on summer period, from December to march, by Argentine travelers- are found by the Atlantic Ocean shore: Mar del Plata, Pinamar and Villa Gesell are among the most famous ones. In rural areas there are many establishments dedicated to the tourism -the famous ranches or "estancias" -enabling services to reach rural work and Pampa gaucho life enjoying fresh air, wide sky and tasting the famous "asado" and other typical food. Tandil and Sierra de la Ventana completes the offer of the region featuring mountain scenery and adventure tourism.
Buenos Aires, capital city of Argentina, with an approximate 200-km2-surface and over 3' million inhabitants, is among the largest cities in the World. This great metropolis stands out as the most elegant and European city in South America, combining antique buildings and modern constructions, exclusive shops, a unique nightlife and a wide range of cultural events all the year round. But Buenos Aires is not only that, it also offers interesting places where to enjoy yourself, such as La Boca, Palermo, Recoleta and Puerto Madero, among others. Tango can be felt in its traditional form as well as among the youngsters, who keep it olive by dancing its music in special places and listening to its lyrics sung by Carlos Gardel, the most popular tango singer. Magnificent shows with outstanding dancers and a live orchestra bring the tango passion to citizens of the world. Within a few kilometers from the city historic ranchos and small towns warmly welcome visitors with their charming and well-kept "gaucho" traditions.
There are no compulsory health requirements for entry into Argentina. You are advised to take Hepatitis A, Typhoid vaccine and Yellow Fever before entering. Avoid eating and drinking local products from street vendors and restaurants with suspect hygiene or refrigeration practices.
Argentina currency is Argentina Peso; 1 US Dollar = 13.15 Argentina Peso. Bank notes come in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100; coins are 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 Centavos, 1, 2 peso. It is advisable to take US Dollar travelers checks or currency as this is more readily exchanged than other currency. Credit cards are accepted at most major hotels, restaurants and shops. Banks are open from 07.30 to 12.30 (Summer time), 08.00 to 13.00 (Winter time), Monday to Friday and ATMs are easily found.
Argentina time is 3 hours slower than GMT.
The electric current in Argentina is 220-240 volt.
The official language in Argentina is Spanish and Italian.
Climate in Argentina is varies based on its area. Northern parts of the country are characterized by hot, humid, rainy summers and mild winter, the center of the country has hot summers with occasional tornadoes and thunderstorms, and the southern part of the country has a dry climate with warm summers and cold winters. Argentina has four seasons; Winter (June – August), Spring (September – November), Summer (December – February) and Autumn (March – May).
Argentina Food & Drink
Argentina cuisine is well known for their agricultural products. One of the popular cuisine is Asado (meat barbeque) and pasta. Many restaurant also serve a great variety of international cuisines.
The most popular drink in Argentina is Yerba Mate commonly called Mate. Mate is a traditional South American caffeine-rich drink which was created from dried Yerba Mate leaves
Wearing a short-sleeve shirt and short or long pants and sunscreen is recommended in summer (December – March) since it can be very hot in Argentina. Winter (June – August) are usually cold and sometimes rainy, fleece jackets, medium-weight coats, sweaters and long sleeve shirts is recommended since the temperature can be very cold at night.
The most common crimes are distraction theft, bag snatching and armed robberies. Thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire-cars are common. Take particular care in restaurants and internet cafes, on public transport and in the Buenos Aires tourist areas of San Telmo, La Boca and Retiro. Keep a close eye on your personal possessions at all times. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing jewelry. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night. Conmen have been known to rob tourists while an accomplice pretends to help remove ketchup or mustard that has been ‘accidentally’ sprayed on them. There have also been reports of thieves posing as hotel guests and snatching bags while tourists are checking into hotels or hostels. Another common tactic is slitting handbags in crowded places and snatching mobile phones while they are being used. Passport thefts are common especially in Buenos Aires and Mendoza. Leave your passport in a hotel safe or security box and keep a photocopy of the details page with you at all times.