Welcome to Argentina!
Argentina, the “Land of Silver” is the second-largest country in South America with a mix of nice and open people of Italian, Spanish, or French decent and their customs and traditions are shaped by the cultures of all those countries. People there are generally very laid-back. The Buenos Aires, the capital, is one of the busiest and most elegant cities in the world which embraces the essence of all that is Argentina. Have an awesome time and wonderful trip to Argentina, but remember to respect the local culture and blend in. The following Argentina travel tips, taboo, dos and donts will help you with any possible culture shock.
Argentina Travel Taboo
The inverted American “OK” sign is an obscene gesture that means screw you.
Pouring wine with the left hand while grasping the neck of the bottle is a big no-no.
Argentina Travel Donts
- Do not make the ‘OK’ sign or give a ‘thumbs up’, which are considered vulgar.
- Do not be offended by Argentines’ open, blunt and direct expressive communication style. That’s just the way they are!
- Do not be offended by Argentine humour which can sometimes be insulting, such as poking fun at your appearance, weight, or attire.
- Do not show up on time to someone’s house for a party in Argentina which is considered rude. Be there 30 to 60 minutes late or even 2 to 3 hours late is normal.
- Do not eat on the street or on public transportation.
- Do not head to a bar until 11.30 pm. The nightlife in Buenos Aires is considered to be among the best in the world. It’s the city that never sleeps.
- Do not pour wine for others. There is a ritual associated with pouring wine in Argentina.
- Do not expect all banks to cash traveller’s checks. Cash them at your hotel.
- Do not talk about sensitive topics about their relationship with the USA, Brazil or Great Britain, which could evoke strong reactions. Nor discuss the politics or religion.
- Do not yawn which is considered rude. Try to cover your mouth at the very least.
- Do not extend the pinky and index finger while bending the middle and ring finger which means one’s wife is cheating on them.
Argentina Travel Dos
- Do expect a kiss on the cheek for greeting, which is typical greeting form in Argentina, even to a total stranger. The meeting ends with a kiss and a “ciao”.
- Do dress conservative and modest if you want to blend in. Argentina is a very fashion conscious country. Avoid flip-flops.
- Do expect a late dinner in Argentina. People will usually have dinner at 9pm or 10pm.
- Do tip 10% at restaurants and one peso per bag to hotel porters.
- Do bring a gift for your hosts, such as flowers, candy, pastries, chocolate, or imported liquor. If receive a gift, open it right away and show your gratitude.
- Do show up between thirty to sixty minutes late if invited to a party. Showing up on time is considered impolite!
- Do try yerba mate, which is a national drink and a cultural ritual as well. The mate is passed clockwise and shared as a sign of friendship and acceptance.
- Do have a coffee at the famous Cafe Tortoni in Buenos Aires which is patronized by celebrities since 1858.
- Do learn to dance the tango or at least watch others dance it. Dress nicely, no jeans, sneakers, or other casual attire.
- Do carry enough one and five-peso notes, as few stores have change for bills over 20, as one and five cent pieces are not in circulation, and taxis never have change for anything over a 10.
- Do go to the post office to mail letters or postcards, not the mail box. And do not mail things that are important as the Argentine postal service is unreliable.
© 2010 traveltaboo.com
Hey there! I’m from Argentina and let me say that there are a few things that are wrong. First, we don’t show up to a dinner or party late, or at least not that late (2-3 hours) because it is rude. Very. Yes, we tend to arrive 10 or 15 minutes late but not 2 hours. It’s very impolite.Second, we do the OK sign and thumbs up sign as well, it’s not rude, it’s just informal. Third, we normally don’t eat on the street but if you’re in a hurry then yes, it’s completely normal. However, it’s not that normal to eat on the public transportation.
There are a bunch of things that we consider as impolite, but next time try to talk with an Argentinian and do more research!