The Argentine Republic, with an area of almost 3.8 million square kilometers (1,468,000 square miles), is located in the Southern Hemisphere of the American continent. Its 3,800 kilometers (2,361 miles) in length stretch from 22º to 55º south latitude. The country borders on Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile, and on the Atlantic Ocean to the East. The country is touristically divided in 6 regions, and politically divided in 24 provinces.
Argentina is usually described as a land of impressive contrasts, product of a varied geography. From the Andes to the west, which stretch along the Argentina-Chile border from north to south, with the highest peak, 6,960,8 meter / 22,831 feet Mount Aconcagua, to the Pampas and the Atlantic Coast, and across hill ranges, numerous forests, rainforests, deserts and fertile valleys, the biodiversity of these ecosystems allow the development of rich flora and fauna. Many natural sites in the country are protected areas like reserves and national parks. Moreover, some of the main natural landmarks have been declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
The main characteristic of Argentina is diversity, and this is also the case with the weather. The country enjoys a very varied climate: it is mild and humid in the Pampas; cold and damp in the western Patagonia; subtropical in the Mesopotamia region; and warm in the Northeast. The highest points at all latitudes are the coldest areas, with dry, snowy, mountain weather, and a wide temperature range.
Argentina has many peculiarities that have traveled the world by word of mouth with the people who have visited the country. The outgoing personality of its people, who are friendly, fun and effusive; the typical cuisine which includes asado, mate, regional dishes, and dulce de leche treats; the traditional dances like tango, a couple dance with a 2 x 4 rhythm, which was born in Buenos Aires during the 19th century and today has reached an international level, or folklore, with different choreographic forms, according to each area; the passion for football, and the fanaticism for the major players and clubs, Boca Juniors and River Plate being the most popular ones, and the ones that fill their stadiums and cause proliferating displays of excitement every time they play; typical games like truco, a card game in which luck and the ability to trick or deceive the opponent are the most important things, or horse riding games in the outskirts of the city which reveal the powerful Spanish influence and the persistence of old traditions; and, of course, the personality that each special region knows how to maintain and strengthen as time goes by.
In big cities, stores are open Monday thru Friday from 9 am to 8 pm. On Saturdays, stores are open from 9 am to 1 pm. However, stores located in major avenues remain open during the afternoon. In the provinces, it is usual to take a break at noon, usually from 1 pm to 4 pm. In shopping malls, operating hours are from 10 am to 10 pm, even during weekends and some national holidays. It is customary to leave a 10% tip for different services received (mainly in restaurants), which is not always included in the bill. It is also customary to tip doormen, hotel attendants, and ushers.
Although the US dollar and the Euro are generally accepted in stores and shops, foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and authorized agencies. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, VISA, Diners, and MasterCard. Traveler’s checks can be easily traded in Buenos Aires, but not in some provincial towns.
Banking and Business Hours
Banks open Monday thru Friday, from 10 am to 3 pm –some banks close at 4 pm to perform only specific transactions. There are ATMs operating 24 hours a day where you can withdraw cash and do other transactions. For most business offices, the usual operating hours are from 9 am to 6 pm. In general, there is a one-hour lunch break at noon (from 12 pm to 1 pm or from 1 pm to 2 pm). In some towns where it is usual to take a “siesta” (a break after lunch, generally due to the hot-weather conditions of some regions), the recess is extended until the afternoon and the business hours are extended two more hours.
It is possible to get the VAT (value-added tax) refunded at the airport. If you have purchased national products for over $70 (per invoice) in shops operating with the “Global Refund” system, it is possible to get a VAT refund at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (Ezeiza).
VAT reimbursement for foreign tourists
Are you travelling around Argentina? You have a whole country to discover. And now, when paying for accommodation you can obtain VAT reimbursement for such purchase.
What do you need?
Passport or ID evidencing that your country of residence is not Argentina. Furthermore, you have to pay for accommodation through a credit card issued in a foreign country or a bank transfer from a foreign country.
You may hire the services directly or through travel agencies authorized to operate by the Ministry of Tourism.
No errands or subsequent rebates: reimbursement is direct and automatic, i.e., it is effected when services are invoiced and collected.
What is reimbursed?
VAT corresponding to accommodation and breakfast, if included in accommodation Price.
Other services, goods or products purchased will be invoiced separately and are not subject to VAT reimbursement.
Cancellation fees or no-show fees are not subject to the reimbursement.