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Argentina travel guide - Travel S helper


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Argentina, formally known as the Argentine Republic, is a federal republic located in South America’s southern half. The nation shares the majority of the Southern Cone with its neighbor Chile to the west, and is also bounded on the north by Bolivia and Paraguay, on the northeast by Brazil, on the east by Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean, and on the south by the Drake Passage. Argentina is the eighth-biggest nation in the world, the second largest in Latin America, and the largest Spanish-speaking country, with a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi). The country is split into twenty-three provinces (Spanish: provincias, singular provincia) and one autonomous city (ciudad autónoma), Buenos Aires, which has been designated by Congress as the country’s federal capital (Spanish: Capital Federal). Provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but operate under a federal framework.

Argentina claims sovereignty over a portion of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas in Spanish), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The oldest evidence of human presence in what is now Argentina goes all the way back to the Paleolithic era. The country’s origins date all the way back to the 16th century Spanish occupation of the area. Argentina came to prominence as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Ro de la Plata, a Spanish foreign viceroyalty established in 1776. The proclamation of independence and subsequent struggle for independence (1810–1818) were followed by a protracted civil war that lasted until 1861, ending in the country’s restructuring as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. Following then, the nation experienced relative peace and stability, while huge waves of European immigration reshaped the country’s cultural and demographic landscape. Argentina’s near-unprecedented rise to riches resulted in Argentina being the world’s sixth wealthiest developed country by the early twentieth century.

Argentina fell into political instability and repeated economic crises after 1930, but remained among the world’s fifteen wealthiest nations until the mid-20th century. Argentina maintains its traditional role as a medium power in international affairs and is a regional force in the Southern Cone and Latin America. Argentina is South America’s second biggest economy, Latin America’s third largest, and a member of the G-15 and G-20 major economies. Additionally, it founded the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, Mercosur, the Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and the Organization of Ibero-American States. It has Latin America’s highest Human Development Index, with a grade of “extremely high.” Argentina is categorized as a high-income economy due to its stability, market size, and expanding high-tech industry.


With an area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,518 sq mi), Argentina is located in southern South America and shares land borders with Chile across the Andes Mountains to the west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south, for a total length of 9,376 km (5,826 mi). The coastal border, which crosses the Río de la Plata and the South Atlantic Ocean, is 5,117 km (3,180 mi) long.

Argentina’s highest point is Aconcagua in the province of Mendoza (6,959 m above sea level), which is also the highest point in the southern and western hemispheres. The lowest point is the Laguna del Carbón in the province of San Julián Grande Depression Santa Cruz (-105 m below sea level, also the lowest point in the southern and western hemispheres and the seventh lowest point on the planet).

The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and the Río Mojinete, in the province of Jujuy; the southernmost is Cape San Pío, in the province of Tierra del Fuego; the easternmost is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, in the province of Misiones; and the westernmost is in Los Glaciares National Park, in the province of Santa Cruz. The maximum north-south distance is 3,694 km, while the maximum east-west distance is 1,423 km.

Among the most important rivers are the Paraná, Uruguay, which join to form the Río de la Plata, Paraguay, Salado, Negro, Santa Cruz, Pilcomayo, Bermejo and Colorado. These rivers flow into the Argentine Sea, the shallow area of the Atlantic Ocean above the Argentine Plateau, an exceptionally wide continental shelf. Its waters are influenced by two major ocean currents: the warm Brazilian Current and the cold Falklands Current.


In the 2001 census [INDEC], Argentina had a population of 36,260,130; the preliminary results of the 2010 census indicate a population of 40,091,359. Argentina ranks third in South America in terms of total population and 33rd in the world. The population density is 15 people per square kilometre of land area, which is well below the world average of 50 people. The population growth rate in 2010 was estimated at 1.03% per year, with a birth rate of 17.7 live births per 1,000 population and a death rate of 7.4 deaths per 1,000 population. The net migration rate ranged from zero to four immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants per year.

The proportion of people under 15 is 25.6%, slightly below the world average of 28%, and the proportion of people over 65 is relatively high at 10.8%. In Latin America, this is the second highest figure after Uruguay and is well above the world average, which is currently 7%. Argentina has one of the lowest population growth rates in Latin America, the most recent being around 1% per year, as well as a comparatively low infant mortality rate. The birth rate, at 2.3 children per woman, is still almost double that of Spain or Italy, which are compared here because they have similar religious practices and proportions. The median age is about 30 years and life expectancy at birth is 77.14 years.

In 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America and the second in the Americas to allow same-sex marriage on a national scale. It is the tenth country to allow same-sex marriage.


Like other new settlements such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Uruguay, Argentina is considered a country of immigrants. Argentines commonly refer to the country as “crisol de razas” (melting pot).

Especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, Argentina was the country with the second largest wave of immigration in the world, with 6.6 million, after the United States (27 million) and ahead of other resettlement areas like Canada, Brazil and Australia.

Remarkably, at that time, the national population doubled every two decades. This belief has been preserved in the popular saying “los argentinos descienden de los barcos” (Argentines come down from the boats). Therefore, most Argentines are descended from the 19th and 20th century immigrants of the great wave of immigration to Argentina (1850-1955), the vast majority of which came from various European countries. The majority of these European immigrants came from Italy and Spain. The majority of Argentines come from several European ethnic groups, mainly of Italian and Spanish descent (over 25 million people in Argentina, almost 60% of the population is of partial Italian descent), while 17% of the population is also of partial French descent, and a significant number of Germans.

Argentina is home to a large population of Arab or semi-Arab origin, mainly of Syrian and Lebanese origin (in Argentina they are counted as white, as in the US census). The majority of Arab Argentines are Christians, belonging to the Maronite Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Rite Catholic Church. A small number are Muslims of Middle Eastern origin. The Asian population of the country is about 180,000, most of whom are of Chinese and Korean origin, although an older Japanese community dating from the early 20th century still exists.

A 2010 study by Argentine geneticist Daniel Corach of 218 people found that Argentina’s genetic map was 79% ethnically diverse European (mainly Spanish and Italian), 18% ethnically diverse indigenous and 4.3% ethnically African, with 63.6% of the group tested having at least one ancestor of indigenous origin.

Since the 1970s, immigration has come mainly from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, and to a lesser extent from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Romania. The Argentine government estimates that 750,000 residents are undocumented and has launched a programme to encourage illegal immigrants to declare their status in exchange for a two-year residency visa – to date, more than 670,000 applications have been processed under this programme.


The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Although it does not impose an official or state faith, it gives Roman Catholicism a differentiated status.

According to a CONICET survey, 76.5% of Argentines are Catholics, 11.3% agnostics and atheists, 9% evangelical Protestants, 1.2% Jehovah’s Witnesses, 0.9% Mormons; 1.2% follow other religions, including Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

The country is home to both the largest Muslim community and the largest Jewish community in Latin America, the latter being the seventh largest in the world. Argentina is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Argentines show a strong individualisation and de-institutionalisation of religious faith; 23.8% of them say they always attend religious services, 49.1% rarely and 26.8% never.

On 13 March 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentine cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. He takes the name “Francis” and becomes the first pope from the Americas or the Southern Hemisphere. He is the first pope born outside Europe since the election of Pope Gregory III. He is also the first Jesuit pope.


Buenos Aires is the second largest city in South America. It is one of only three “alpha” cities in Latin America and is the most visited city in South America. It is also the 13th richest city in the world. It has the highest per capita income in the Southern Cone.

With abundant natural resources, a highly educated population, a diversified industrial base and an export-oriented agricultural sector, Argentina’s economy is the third largest in Latin America and the second largest in South America. It has a “very high” Human Development Index score and a relatively high GDP per capita, with a substantial domestic market size and a growing share of the high-tech sector.

As a medium-sized emerging market and one of the world’s largest developing countries, Argentina is a member of the major G-20 economies. Historically, however, the country’s economic performance has been very uneven, with strong economic growth alternating with severe recessions, income under-distribution and, in recent decades, increasing poverty. At the beginning of the 20th century, Argentina reached a level of development that made it the seventh richest country in the world. Although it managed to remain among the top fifteen economies until the middle of the century, it has suffered a long and steady decline and is now only a middle-income country.

High inflation – a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades – has once again become a problem. In 2013, rates varied between the official 10.2% and the 25% estimated by the private sector, leading to heated public debates over manipulated statistics. Income distribution, which has improved since 2002, is classified as “average”, i.e. still very unequal.

Argentina is ranked 107th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. While the country has settled most of its debts, it has been in a technical debt crisis since 31 July 2014. A New York judge has blocked Argentina’s payments on 93% of its bonds unless it pays “vulture funds” the full value of the defaulted bonds they bought after the 2001 default. Argentina has vowed not to capitulate to what it sees as a ransom fund tactic.


In 2012, manufacturing accounted for 20.3% of GDP – the largest goods-producing sector in the Argentine economy. Well integrated with Argentine agriculture, half of industrial exports are of rural origin.

With an output growth rate of 6.5% in 2011, the diversified manufacturing sector is supported by a steadily growing network of industrial parks (314, in 2013).

In 2012, the main sectors by volume were: food, beverages and tobacco; motor vehicles and auto parts; textiles and leather; refined products and biodiesel; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; steel, aluminium and iron; industrial and agricultural machinery; household appliances and furniture; plastics and tyres; glass and cement; and recorded and printed media. In addition, Argentina has long been ranked among the top five wine producing countries in the world. However, it was also ranked among the 74 countries where child and forced labour was observed and mentioned in a report published in 2014 by the Bureau of International Labour Affairs. The ILAB’s list of goods produced by child or forced labour shows that many of the goods produced by child and/or forced labour are from the agricultural sector.

Córdoba is Argentina’s main industrial centre, producing metal processing, motor vehicles and auto parts. It is followed by Greater Buenos Aires (food processing, metallurgy, motor vehicles and parts, chemicals and petrochemicals, consumer goods, textiles and printing); Rosario (food processing, metallurgy, agricultural machinery, petroleum refining, chemicals and tanning); San Miguel de Tucumán (sugar refining); San Lorenzo (chemicals and pharmaceuticals); San Nicolás de los Arroyos (steel mills and metallurgy); and Ushuaia and Bahía Blanca (petroleum refining). Other manufacturing companies are located in the provinces of Santa Fe (zinc and copper smelting and flour mills); Mendoza and Neuquén (wineries and fruit processing); Chaco (textiles and sawmills); and Santa Cruz, Salta and Chubut (oil refining).

Argentina’s electricity generation in 2009 was over 122 TWh (440 PJ), of which about 37% was consumed by industrial activities.

How To Travel To Argentina

By airAerolíneasArgentinas and LAN Chile operate flights between Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport and many cities in South America, as well as in North America, Europe and Australia. Air New Zealand operates direct flights from Auckland. Qantas no longer offers direct flights from Sydney to Buenos Aires, but instead...

How To Travel Around Argentina

By trainIn recent years, the government has encouraged the reintroduction of long-distance passenger trains, although most lines still operate at low frequency (one or two departures per week). The rail network is very limited, and intercity buses offer better service and faster journeys. Train tickets are very cheap -...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Argentina

Passport holders from the following countries do not need a visa to enter Argentina if the purpose of the visit is tourism for a maximum of 90 days: Andorra, Australia*, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada*, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador,...

Tourism in Argentina

Argentina has a vast territory and a great diversity of climates and microclimates, ranging from tundra and polar climate in the south to tropical climate in the north, a vast area of temperate climate and natural wonders such as Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas,...

Destinations in Argentina

RegionsNorthwestern Andes (Catamarca, Jujuy, La Rioja, Tucuman, western parts of Salta and Santiago del Estero)Chaco (Chaco, Formosa, eastern parts of Salta and Santiago del Estero)Cuyo (Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis)Mesopotamian (Corrientes, Entre Rios, Misiones)Pampas (Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires City, Córdoba, La Pampa, Santa Fe)Patagonia (Chubut, Neuquen, Rio Negro, Santa...

Weather & Climate in Argentina

Buenos Aires and the Pampas are temperate; cold in winter, hot and humid in summer.The deserts of Cuyo, which can reach temperatures of 45°C, are extremely hot and dry in summer and moderately cold and dry in winter. Spring and autumn often experience rapid temperature changes; several days of...

Accommodation & Hotels in Argentina

There is a wide range of accommodation options in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country, from student dormitories to luxurious palaces and modern five-star hotels, as well as cosy guesthouses and trendy boutique hotels in the city. There are also many beautiful lakeside lodges in Patagonia and...

Things To See in Argentina

For many travellers, Argentina as a country has the same seductive appeal as the tango for which it is famous. Like this iconic couple's dance, Argentina embraces you, constantly moving to the rhythm of the streets and improvising with every step.Urban atmosphereIts major cities are all full of life....

Things To Do in Argentina

HikingBuenos Aires offers a number of walking tour options. These include the typical tours that can be found in any city, as well as interesting options such as free guided tours, downloadable MP3 tours and even guided running tours.SportsThe most popular sport in Argentina is fútbol (football). If you...

Food & Drinks in Argentina

Food in ArgentinaArgentine breakfast is a little light compared to what travellers from English-speaking countries are used to. It usually consists of a hot drink (coffee, tea, milk) accompanied by some toast, medialunas (croissants, literally "half moons") or bread.Hotels usually offer a free buffet of coffee, tea, yoghurt drinks,...

Money & Shopping in Argentina

CurrencyThe official currency of Argentina is the peso (ARS), divided into 100 centavos. Coins are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos and 1 and 2 pesos. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. Be prepared to receive change in...

Internet & Communications in Argentina

By telephoneYou can get a prepaid SIM card from Movistar/Claro/Personal for a few pesos/free in phone shops, you only pay about 20 ARS (about 5 USD) for your starting balance. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked mobile phone should work, but you may need to enter your passport...

Language & Phrasebook in Argentina

The official language is Spanish. In general, most people speak Spanish in a local dialect, Castellano Rioplatense, which is different from both the language of Spain and the language of Central America. Notably, the pronoun "tu" is replaced by "vos" and the plural pronoun "vosotros" is replaced by "ustedes",...

Traditions & Customs in Argentina

Successive peso crises have left many Argentines bitter towards certain authorities and institutions. Although many shops will accept payment in US dollars or euros and even offer you a better exchange rate than banks, try to adapt elsewhere. Keep a supply of pesos on hand for shops that don't...

Culture Of Argentina

Argentina is a multicultural country with significant European influences. Its cities are largely characterised by the predominance of people of European origin and the deliberate emulation of European styles in fashion, architecture and design. Modern Argentine culture has been strongly influenced by immigrants from Italy, Spain and other European...

History Of Argentina

Pre-Columbian eraThe earliest traces of human life in the area now known as Argentina date back to the Paleolithic, with further traces in the Mesolithic and Neolithic. Until the time of European colonisation, Argentina was relatively sparsely populated, with many different cultures with different social organisations, which can be...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Argentina

Stay Safe in ArgentinaThe road death rate in Argentina is 12.6 per 100 000 inhabitants. This compares with 10.4 and 2.75 for the United States and the United Kingdom respectively. In Argentina, drivers kill 20 people a day (about 7,000 a year), and more than 120,000 people are injured...



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