Argentine Peso (ARS)
Argentina is a huge country (the 8th largest in the world) that possesses a great variety of natural wonders, interesting culture, a bustling nightlife, an opportunity for winter sports, wonderful festivals, scrumptious food, endless chances for wine tasting, tango dancing, and much, much more.
The country boasts the highest and the lowest points of South America, with Cerro Aconcagua being the tallest at an altitude of 6,960 meters above sea level and Laguna del Cabrín being the lowest, with an altitude of 105 meters below sea level.
The name Argentina comes from Latin language. Argentum means “silver” and it is what the Spanish conquerors were after when they first reached the region.
A stroll through Buenos Aires’ or Cordoba’s bustling city life, a night of dancing tango, skiing down the Andes, admiring the world renowned and jaw-dropping Iguazú Falls, an excursion to the southernmost tip of the Americas, Tierra de Fuego (“Land of Fire”) are just some of the many things you can do while in this country that will heighten your senses like no other.
Argentina’s climate varies from region to region due to the country’s size (it is the eighth largest country in the world!). The northern region can sometimes be the host to extreme heat, while the capital, Buenos Aires and the Pampas in the center remain quite temperate and Patagonia displays sub Antarctic cold in its glacial regions.
Buenos Aires and the Pampas have quite a temperate climate which is cold in the winter, then hot and humid during the summer.
The Andes region is cool in the summer but very cold in the winter. The same goes for Patagonia.
The desert region can reach temperatures as high as 50°C in the summer and become quite cold in the winter.
In many ways, Argentina is the “Europe of Latin America” as it has been greatly influenced by Italian, Spanish and German immigration. Many big cities and even small villages are characterized by their European nature.
Tango is one of Argentina’s biggest contributions to the world and you must give it a go while here! It is a steamy dance like no other and free lessons take place in various public places around big cities. Football/Soccer is another emblem of the country’s lifestyle and Argentines are passionate about it!
Argentina is known for its beef-oriented cuisine. Grilled meat, beef ribs and steaks are eaten on an almost daily basis. A common condiment is Chimichurri (a sauce of herbs, vinegar, and garlic).In Patagonia, lamb and goat are consumed more commonly than beef.
Lunch is the biggest meal in Argentina because dinner takes place quite late (around 21:00 or 22:00). This is common in many Latin American countries.
Because of the huge population in Argentina that are of Italian descent, pizza is another common meal and is taken quite seriously! Argentinians often regard their pizza as being better than Italy’s. Gelato is also easy to find around the cities.
And for dessert: dulce the leche (“milk candy”), which is used to fill cakes and pancakes and also eaten over toast.
Domestic flights are plentiful, but often quite pricey. Another point of note is that the price of the ticket is often doubled for non-residents. The main airlines are Aerolíneas Argentinas and LAN Chile. There is a budget airline option called LADE, with fixed prices which are usually very cheap, but hard to get as they get booked almost instantly, especially during the holidays. LADE is a great option if you wish to fly, but it is important to keep in mind that their flights are often delayed (even for a day or two!).
The bus network in Argentina is extensive and the buses are quite comfortable, especially those that are used for long distance travel. There is a good amount of legroom available and food is often served on board on buses that are due to travel longer than 200 kilometers. For this reason, and the fact that domestic travel can be quite pricey, getting around Argentina by bus is one of the most common methods. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is a huge country and sometimes you might have to spend more than fifteen hours in a bus to reach your destination.
Rail networks are very limited and the trains are often slow and not very comfortable. However, prices are extremely cheap so it remains a good option for those on a tight budget. The rail network is not very extensive, but it does go from one major city to another major city a few times per week (i.e. Ferrobaires train company departs from Buenos aires to Córdoba twice per week).
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