Argentina is one of South America’s largest countries, with a total land area of 2,766,890 square kilometres and 4,989 kilometres of coastline. It has borders with Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguaya. Geographically, the country is very diverse, with vast areas of north eastern Argentina being dominated by the rich cattle-farming plains of the Pampas. To the south of the Rio Colorado lies the area known as Patagonia, which is mountainous in the west and cool, arid steppe-land in the east. The rugged Andes mountain range is the dominant topography along Argentina’s entire western border, effectively separating Argentina from Chile. Argentina’s range of climate varies from the cold and dry southeast to a subantarctic climate in the southwest. Further north, on the east side of the Andes, there are subtropical lowland areas with very hot summers, which are quite dry in the central districts around Mendoza and much wetter in the extreme north east.
Electric Supply and Plugs
The electricity supply in Argentina is 220v, 50Hz. The most common outlets found are the type C, sometimes known as the europlug which has two round pins, and the type I which has two flat, oblique blades that form an inverted V, with a central perpendicular earthing blade. For type I plugs, be aware that the neutral and live blades are reversed from the order in Australia and elsewhere.
The time in Argentina is GMT - 4 hours.
The national language of Argentina is Spanish. Few people speak English and it will pay dividends if you learn some phrases before you go. Spanish is an easy language to learn and its all part of the fun to try out your vocabulary during the trip. We recommend you take a pocket phrase book such as the Lonely Planet or Berlitz and learn some basics such as common greetings.
Argentina is a long country stretching from the subtropics along the northeastern border with Brazil to the subpolar regions of Tierra del Fuego in the south. The western edge of the country runs along the Andean Mountains. Because Argentina is south of the Equator, the seasons are the reverse of Europe, North America and much of Asia, being similar to Australia. Summer in Buenos Aires (months of January and February) is quite hot and humid, while winter is damp and chilly. Rain falls throughout the year, from 100 cm per year (39 inches) in Buenos Aires to less than 50 cm (20 inches) in Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes. Average annual temperatures range from 24°C (75°F) to 11°C (51°F) in Buenos Aires (sea level) and Córdoba (420m/1270ft), and 24°C (75°F) to 8°C (46°F) in Mendoza (820 m/2484ft).
The unit of currency in Argentina is the Peso. For up to date exchange rates visit: www.xe.com. It is not necessary to purchase local currency prior to your trip. Credit and debit cards can be used to withdraw cash from ATM's in Buenos Aires and in Mendoza. You can choose to draw in US dollars or Argentinian pesos and usually this will be at the most favourable rate of exchange though your bank may make a charge. Credit cards can also be used to purchase goods and to pay for meals at most restaurants in the main towns and cities. If you are bringing your spending money with you we recommend bringing cash as this is generally much easier to exchange and will usually attract a more favourable rate. Sterling and US dollars are readily exchanged at most banks though cash dollars can often be used in an emergency for transactions and are therefore the preferred currency.
A passport with at least 6 months validity is required. Visas are not required by UK, USA and most EC passport holders. Citizens of the USA, Canada and Australia require to pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina, this must be done online prior to departure. You must check the individual visa requirements for your chosen holiday. The link to detailed visa information for each trip can be found on the trip page.
You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis ‘A'. Malaria prophylaxis is not required. A very good online resource is the NHS travel website at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Additional Sources of Information
Argentina. Footprint Handbook.
Argentina. Lonely Planet
The High Andes - A guide for climbers. John Biggar.
Aconcagua, Highest trek in the world. Cierone press
Latin America Spanish phrasebook. Lonely Planet
Argentina 1:2,200,000 - ITMB
Aconcagua 1: 50 000 - Zagier y Urruty
Lonely Planet - www.lonelyplanet.com
Rough Guides - www.roughguides.com