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Argentina FAQ's & Infos

Travel documents

The Paris of the South: Buenos Aires

Security

O.k., but what about Mosquitoes and all those tropical dangers?

Is Argentina expensive?

How about tipping?

Language problems?

What kind of money do I need?

Other 4starSouthAmerica destinations to combine your trip with

Payment FAQ's - Reservation Form

More questions?

Travel documents:

Most travelers, including US-citizens, only need a valid passport to enter Argentina. See our visa section for more details. If combining your trip to Argentina with other countries, please check also for those countries. Currently, and that situation is very "fluid" US citizens, otherwise needing a visa for Argentina, can visit the Argentinaian side of Iguassu Falls just with their passports - without visa - for a day excursion, however.

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The Paris of the South: Buenos Aires


This complex, energetic, and seductive port city, which stretches south-to-north along the Rio de la Plata, has been the gateway to Argentina for centuries. Portenos, as the multinational people of Buenos Aires are known, possess an elaborate and rich cultural identity. They value their European heritage highly--Italian and German names outnumber Spanish, and the lifestyle and architecture are markedly more European than any other in South America. One of the world's finest opera houses, the Teatro Colon, flourishes here on the plains alongside the river. Portenos are intensely involved in the life and culture of their city, and they will gladly share the secrets of Buenos Aires if you lend an ear and relate your own stories in return.


Buenos Aires' physical structure is a mosaic as varied and diverse as its culture. The city has no dominating monument, no natural monolith that serves as its focal point. Instead, Buenos Aires is composed of many small places, intimate details, and tiny events and interactions, each with a slightly different shade, shape, and character. Glass-sheathed skyscrapers cast their slender shadows on 19th century Victorian houses; tango bars hazed with the piquant tang of cigar smoke face dusty, treasure-filled antique shops across the way.

The city's neighbourhoods are small and highly individualized, each with its own characteristic colors and forms. In the San Telmo district, the city's multinational heritage is embodied in a varied and cosmopolitan architecture - Spanish Colonial design couples with Italian detailing and graceful French Classicism. La Boca's pressed tin houses are painted a rainbow of colors, and muralists have turned the district's side-streets into avenues of color.
For all its diversity, the elusive spirit of Argentina as a country is present everywhere in Buenos Aires. The national dance, the tango, is perhaps the best expression of that spirit--practiced in dance halls, parks, open plazas, and ballrooms, it is a dance of intimate separation and common rhythm, combining both an elegant reserve and an exuberant passion.


Cuisine and Nightlife
The dining options in Buenos Aires are endless. This is a city that takes dining seriously, and meals can easily last a few hours. Like the national norm, nobody here really starts eating until 9pm. Main courses usually consist of an asado, a barbecue of excellent quality beef. Beef is dominant, and it also comes in the forms of bife de chorizo (sirloin steak) or empanadas (meat pies). The local wine is also good, especially the reds. You also might want to try mate, the traditional gaucho drink. The national deserts are dulce de leche, a milk jelly, and alfajores - Argentine sweets made from dulce de leche.


Buenos Aires is never more alive than it is at night. It is what you'd expect from a city that invented tango. Avenues come alive with people on their way to restaurants and theaters, especially Puerto Madero or Recoleta. People like to dress up and stay out until dawn, and anyone who visits the city should go and see a tango show. There are several major venues, most of them in San Telmo. After dinner or a night of dancing, Porteños like to grab a coffee at one of the city's myriad cafes, chat, and perhaps watch the sunrise.

Teatro Colon
The Teatro Colon needs little introduction to those familiar with the opera. As one of the world's premier opera houses, it has hosted the likes of Maria Callas, Toscanini, Stravinsky, and Caruso. Tickets are hard to come by, as many of the theater's 3,500 seats are held by season ticketholders. A guided tour lets the visitor glimpse the inner workings of this eminent center of opera.


Plaza de Mayo
The Plaza de Mayo is the city center (the city, in fact, was literally built around it), some of Argentina's most important historical events took place here. Surrounding it is the Government House, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Cabildo (town hall). Today the Plaza probably owes most of its fame to the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, the women who still show up in the square seeking information on the desaparecidos, their loved ones who vanished during the Military rule.


The Recoleta

This area is the most fashionable place in Buenos Aires to dine; it is adjacent to the Cementario de la Recoleta, Eva Peron's final resting place. Along with Evita's much-visited grave, there is Our Lady of the Pilar Church, the Cultural Center, and the Palais de Glace, a major gallery. You can walk along the Pilar, which brims with a wide variety of restaurants and venues featuring live music every night.


San Telmo
San Telmo is widely hailed as the most picturesque part of Buenos Aires. Cobblestone streets and colonial buildings set the atmosphere for an array of shops and boutiques, tango parlors and cafes.


La Boca
Perhaps the most colorful area in Buenos Aires is La Boca (the Mouth), which sits along the port. Here an assortment of brightly painted low houses made of wood and metal burst upon the eyes in a scene that could almost be from some- where in Scandinavia. The main street here is Caminito, which has an artisans and painters fair, open air tango shows, and typical Italian cantinas.


The Parque Lezama
This is one of the city's most attractive parks--enormous magnolias, palms, and cedar elms grace the winding paths among the hills, and a smoothly-flowing river cuts through the park center. At the Museo Historico Nacional, Argentina's turbulent history is reviewed, from the 16th century to the present. It features a collection of paintings by Candido Lopez, a primitive stylist and one of Argentina's most important artists. The Catedral Russo Ortodoxo, with its soaring and majestic onion domes, is one of the city's many fine architectural ornaments. Curiously enough, it is still owned by Russia.


Palermo
Palermo is area of woods and lakes, on large park composed of many small ones. Among the attracts are a pleasant rose garden filled with sculptures, polo fields, and the Japanese Garden.


Tigre
Situated on the Parana River Delta, Tigre is a natural playground consisting of 350 rivers and streams and an ecological reserve. You can partake in water sports and fishing, or check out crafts at the Fruit Dock. There are also two museums here, the Navy Museum and the Sarmiento.


Estancias
A great excursion from the city is a visit to one of the many Estancias, or Argentine ranches. Here you can get a sense of the traditional life of the gauchos. Many Estancias offer accom- modations, traditional food, live folk music and dancing, and exhibitions of gaucho horseback skills.


Shopping

When it comes to shopping, Buenos Aires can be one of the most charming places anywhere. From its grand boulevards to the winding streets of Arroyo, the city offers an endless variety of boutiques, galleries, and antique shops. The Sunday Flea Market in San Telmo provides excellent, leisurely people-watching and shopping, and there is a very good Sunday Antiques Fair at the Plaza Dorego.

Most of 4starArgentina hotels are located close by the Florida St. The main shopping area with Galeria Pacifico the best and most traditional mall in all of Argentina

Weather
Fall - ranges between 10-21C.
Winter - ranges between 2-12C.
Spring - ranges between 13-25C.
Summer - ranges between 21-31C.

Transportation
Air - International flights arrive at Ezeiza, about 40 minutes ($35 taxi ride) from downtown Buenos Aires. Domestic arrivals land at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, 10 minutes from downtown (by taxi, about $7).
Major carriers include: Aeroflot, Avianca, Aerolineas Argentinas, Air France, American Airlines, Alitalia, Aeroperu, Austral, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Dinar, Iberia, KLM, Lan Chile, LAPA, Lloyd Aero Boliviano, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Pluna, South African Airways, Swissair, TAM, United, Varig, Vasp.
Taxis - Taxis are black and yellow. Available ones have a red light on the front, and the fare is metered. Arriving as the airport you have the choice of booking a "remise" with predetermined prices for every possible destination within Buenos Aires.


Rail: Service is good to the suburban areas, but it is nowadays limited for longer distances.
Subway: Five lines connect the city, all of them safe and fast. Service is punctual.

Medical Facilities
The main hospitals in Buenos Aires are the German Hospital, Fernandez Hospital, Clinica Suizo Argentina, Clinica Bazterrica, Rivadavia Hospital, French Hospital, Clinica de la Trinidad, and Italian Hospital. For emergencies, Asistencia Medica SAME.

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Security:

Is it dangerous to travel to Argentina?

Democracy has brought forward many changes. In places where a city regards tourism as serious business, policing has been heightened dramatically.

Ten years ago, group tourism to Argentina, in a manner similar to European tourism, did not exist.

It is unwise anywhere to leave valuables lying around or flaunt one's wealth, and the traveler generally does not venture far from the main stay (just as you would avoid certain parts of large U.S. cities.) Argentina can be regarded as no less "safe" than any region where rich and poor meet. Just be discreet!

Although unemployment has risen sharply between 1999 and 2001 and although as a big city Buenos Aires does have it's spots it is still regarded as a safe travel destination.

As much as you know where the places are in your city which you would never go or take other people to, we know Argentina. At 4starSouthAmerica we do not wish to hide anything from you. However, our tours and destinations steer clear of such dangers.

That's also why we decided to offer escorted tours to Argentina. 4starSouthAmerica works only with specially trained, experienced and licensed local guides and tour directors, who'll share their best advice to keep you safe! 

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O.k., but what about Mosquitoes and all those tropical dangers?

4starSouthAmerica tours do not visit places where the World Health Organization recommends - or a Government organization requires vaccinations.

However, we do recommend that if you are heading for the Amazon on our Post-extension Amazon Ariaú Jungle Lodge or for the Pantanal on our Brazilian Exuberance that you get prophylactic Malaria medication (and take it, too!) If you are planning on exploring deeper into the rainforest or other unusual places in earnest on you own, please get advice from a specialized hospital or medical center.

The Jungle Lodge is located on the Rio Negro arm of the Amazon, which contains less nutrients for mosquitoes, and therefore attracts fewer!

Still, parts of Argentina and Argentina are a tropical countries. Be prepared, bring or buy repellent and eat only in hygienic places.

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Is Argentina expensive?

At this moment the Peso's peg to the US$ has just been pulled! Expect the currency to fall by minimum 30%. International Finacial markets forsee that the Peso falling by up to 50 % to the dollar.

Local drinks (beer, wine, cocktails, soft drinks, and bottled water) cost about half what they do in the U.S. Tap water is safe, but only because it contains a lot of disinfectants. For your tastebuds' sake, ordering water „sin gas" (without gas) is an inexpensive alternative.

When you desire American standards and/or American food, expect prices as you would pay in the U.S. As with anything that is imported, expect to pay more, at times much more!

One nice thing: there is no sales tax to pay on top of the bill (Although, hotels, if indepently booked usuall -and legally- add the 21% VAT on top of the hotel bill. Tips in restaurants should not exceed 10%.

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Oh right, how about tipping?

As just mentioned, restaurant tipping is about 10 %. Otherwise, where you would hand out one dollar, give one Peso. You need not tip taxi drivers.

It is customary to tip your highly trained, bilingual tour director about US$3 to $5 per person per day, and your coach driver about US$2-$3.

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Language problems?

Yes, but no communication problems. Everybody loves to practice the little English they know. But do not expect everyone to speak English fluently. Use body language! In larger cities, everybody knows someone who speaks a bit of English, at least. In the more remote areas, Spanish is best. French, with a bit of patience, is often understood.

Hotels usually carry at least one TV-channel is English (CNN). Many cable channels broadcast their programs (like American sitcoms) in English with Spanish subtitles.

Just learn the two magic words:

Please! Por favor! (easy, isn´t it!)

and

Thank you! Gracias!

it gets you a lot of friendly smiles.

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What kind of money do I need?

The Argentine currency is the Peso, which had been pegged one to one to the dollar. On January 9th, 2002, the peg was removed, and the currency has dropped to approx. 3.50 Pesos to the dollar.

Dollars are still widely accepted by Argentines.

Please ask us about this just before you travel, the situation is constantly changing!

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4starSouthAmerica's other destinations


Bolivia
Bolivia borders Peru to the northwest, Argentina to the north and east, Paraguay to the southeast, Argentina to the south, and Chile to the west. La Paz, the seat of government, is the world's highest capital city. It contains many museums and provides visitors with modern and comfortable hotels.

Cochabamba, the garden city, boasts a long tradition of local culture and folklore and Tarija City's excellent climate, combined with beautiful flowers and fine wines, makes it ideal for finding peace and quiet. The states of Beni and Pando, in the heart of the jungle, occupy a region offering visitors dramatic and colourful landscapes. The 'Golden' Pantiti's many rivers provide popular land and water excursions.

National dishes include empanada salteña (a mixture of diced meats, chives, raisins, diced potatoes, hot sauce and pepper baked in dough) and lomo montado (fried tenderloin steak with two fried eggs, rice and fried banana). Cruzena, is considered to be one of the best beers on the continent. La Paz has many nightclubs, which generally open around midnight. On Fridays and Saturdays there are folk music and dancing shows which start late in the evening.


Argentina
Two-thirds of Argentina's population lives near the coast, meaning that life is a beach for locals and tourists alike.

People are the essence of the country, and while Argentina is home to a multitude of ethnic groups of varying economic status, there are some characteristics that everyone shares - energy and passion.

It's not all reserved for football either; Argentinaians enjoy a good party whatever the circumstances.


Rio is the hottest of destinations, particularly around Carnival time. Dancers gyrate, the music beats and the summer temperature rises. Almost anything goes. Bodies of all ages, colours and sizes don the very minimum in beachwear and idle away the days on the sun-kissed Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Volleyball, swimming and people-watching are but a few of the activities in which you can indulge.

Argentina's landscape is as diverse as the people who inhabit it. A rich colonial history exists, and the town of Parati is an exquisite example of eighteenth-century Portuguese architecture. The jungles and rivers of the Amazon, home to lush vegetation and exotic wildlife, incite notions of exploration amongst the intrepid, while the thundering Iguassu Falls are simply a spectacular wonder. Argentina's massive assortment of people and places renders it ripe for choice.


Chile
Chile is situated in South America, bounded by Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, the Antarctic and the Pacific Ocean. Home of the Andes mountain range, it is a thin ribbon of land, 4200km (2610 miles) long and nowhere more than 180km (115 miles) wide.

Arica, near the northern border with Peru, is an excellent tourist centre. It has good beaches and the famous San Marcos Cathedral. Chile's central region and the islands feature the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, rolling green fields, vineyards and orange groves. The modern capital city, Santiago, has a good range of hotels to suit all tastes and pockets. Easter Island, west of the mainland, is famous for the Moai, gigantic stone figures found all over the island. National dishes include empanada (meat, chicken or fish, with onions, eggs, raisins and olives inside a flour pastry) and humitas (seasoned corn paste, wrapped in corn husks and boiled). Chile is, of course, famous for its wine and pisco is a powerful liqueur also distilled from grapes. While many restaurants and hotels offer entertainment there are also a number of independent discotheques, nightclubs and late night cabaret spots.

Argentina (short review)
Argentina is a land of extremes, its hectic urban centres contrasting with a staggeringly remote hinterland, and can be simultaneously hot in one region and cold in another. The one common thread is that the people possess a curiosity, passion, and fervour for life, most visible when it comes to football, the national obsession. Evita, the Tango, gauchos and estancias are the country's clichéd attractions, but what strikes visitors most is that life here is for living - the fast pace only letting up for the afternoon siesta.

Referred to as a grimy Paris, Buenos Aires is a sophisticated capital brimming with character and an excellent spot for shopping and watching the world go by - whether it's pedestrians strolling or motorists driving at break-neck speed. Nightlife is second to none and the restaurants are a food-lover's delight.

Argentina's national parks teem with wildlife and incredible mountainous vistas, while the colossal Perito Moreno Glacier and Iguazú Falls are natural wonders. Endless hiking opportunities abound in the south, where Patagonia is stunningly barren and mystifying and the Tierra del Fuego feels like the end of the world. The Andes offer excellent skiing - the ski-resort of Bariloche being the country's most established. Horseriding, adventure sports and birdwatching are just a few of the other activities on offer throughout the country.
Argentina, vastly unexplored and undiscovered by most tourists, is an adventure waiting to happen.

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Payment FAQ's - Reservation Form We accept online or written check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover & American Express for deposit on our tours. Bulk consolidator fares for airlines often can only be paid by check, and must be paid within 5-14 days of reservation (depending on airline and fare). We shall notify at the time of reservation. Please let us know at time of booking if you wish to pay by credit card, and we shall try to make special arrangements.

If paying by credit card, we require a credit card authorization form be filled out. Please click here to download a form.
Requires FREE Adobe Acrobat 5 Reader.

Reservation Form - Please click here to download a tour reservation form. Requires FREE Adobe Acrobat 5 Reader.

More questions? Please ask us! There are no silly questions (but everyone is allowed to try!) Just write to info@Suedamerika-Reisen.travel or go to our contact us! page and your question might make it into this hit list of frequently asked questions!

Boa viagem!

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