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Overview

NEED TO KNOW


Language: Spanish
Capital City: Buenos Aires
Population: 39.5 million
Area: 1,070,000 square miles
Telephone Calling Code(s): 54
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Currency: As of Nov 22, 2011:
1 Argentina Pesos = $0.24 US Calculate Other Amounts
Entry Requirements:

Argentina does not require visas from most foreigners. You should be issued a free, renewable 90-day tourist pass upon arrival.


GOOD TO KNOW


Books and Movies
Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia is an informed synthesis of life and landscape. Gerald Durrell's entertaining accounts of his travels in Argentina include The Drunken Forest and The Whispering Land.

Cuisine
Eating in Argentina is a lot like eating in Texas. It's all about the steak. Instead of cowboys, Argentina has gauchos, and instead of steakhouses, Argentina has parrilladas: mixed grill restaurants where you can feast on every cut of beef, from tenderloin to sweetbreads and udder. If you tire of well-marbled hunks of meat at ridiculously cheap prices, Argentina provides a few other international cuisine options, especially in Buenos Aires. Whatever you eat, be sure to try the local wine. It can be suspiciously inexpensive, but in many cases the Argentinean wines are a good deal better than the world-renowned wines of neighboring Chile.

Good Buys
Before Eva Perón became Dior's muse, Buenos Aires was a haven for South American fashionistas. It still is, but don't expect many bargains on Italian and French couture; Dolce & Gabbana and Prada will always cost you, except perhaps out of the back of a van. Argentina's hometown designers would be a better choice for a new look. And, for obvious reasons, leather bags, leather clothing, and leather furniture are all incredibly cheap.

Money
A hefty value-added tax (VAT) of 21 percent is added to every purchase in Argentina, but tourists can get a refund at the airport. Tipping is outlawed in Argentina, but only in theory. Usually, 10 percent is expected in a restaurant. Some high-end restaurants may add a 25 percent service charge to your bill, but you'll still be expected to leave a little extra.


NATIONAL HOLIDAYS


January: 1, New Year's Day
April: 2, Veteran's Day
May: 1, Labor Day; 25, Revolution of May Anniversary
June: Third Monday of June, National Flag Day
July: 9, National Independence Day
August: Third Monday, Anniversary of the Death of General José de San Martín
October: 12, Race Day/Columbus Day
December: 8, Immaculate Conception Day; 25, Christmas Day; 31, New Year's Eve
Spring: Friday before Easter, Good Friday; Easter
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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