Argentina in brief
- Capital: Buenos Aires
- Language: Spanish
- Population: 40,117,096 (2010 National Census)
- Currency: Argentine peso
- Dialling code: +54
The Argentine Republic is situated in the southern hemisphere of the American continent. It borders Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile and is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Geography and climate
Argentina is often described as a country of striking contrasts owing to its rich and diverse geography. From the Andes mountain range in the west, which runs the length of the country's border with Chile and rises to 6,959 metres at its highest point, Aconcagua, to the pampa plains and the Atlantic coastline, Argentina is a land of mountains, forests, jungles, deserts and fertile valleys. The biodiversity of the country's ecosystems accounts for the wealth of its flora and fauna. Many of Argentina's natural sites have been protected and given special area, reserve or national park status. Some of the country's most important natural landmarks, such as the Perito Moreno glacier and the Iguazú falls, have been classified as UNESCO world heritage sites.
Argentina's geographical diversity is matched by its extremely varied climate: mild and humid in the pampa lowlands, cold and wet in western Patagonia, subtropical in Mesopotamia, and warm in the northwest. The coldest weather conditions are found at the highest elevations, regardless of latitude, where the climate is dry and the land mountainous. It is common for the temperature to vary considerably in such areas.
The ocial language of the Argentine Republic is Spanish.
GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) -3 hours.
Argentina is a multicultural country that has formed a plural and multi-religious identity thanks to
successive waves of immigration.
While the majority of the population is Catholic, the country's religious fabric is woven from Christian
communities of various denominations, the largest Jewish community in Latin America, a growing Muslim
community, Buddhists, followers of traditional African religions, and Hare Krishna, amongst others.
Official source: Secretariat for Worship
Currency, commercial establishments and banks
The Argentine Republic's ocial currency is the Argentine peso.
In large cities, shops are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, although shops on the main thoroughfares stay open all afternoon. Outside of the cities, shops generally close for lunch from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Shopping malls are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., including at weekends and on some public holidays. It is usual to leave a 10% tip for services received (mainly in restaurants), which is not always included on the final bill. It is also usual to tip doormen, porters and theatre ushers.
While US dollars and euros are generally accepted by shops and businesses, foreign currencies can be exchanged for Argentine pesos at authorized establishments only. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, VISA, Diners Club, and MasterCard. Travellers cheques are widely accepted in Buenos Aires, but not always in towns outside the capital.
Banks are open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 24-hour automated teller machines (ATMs) can be used for cash withdrawals and other transactions. Oce hours are normally 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break (12 a.m.-1 p.m. or 1 p.m.-2 p.m.).
Official source: www.argentina.travel