Secretaria de Turismo
Suipacha 1111, Piso 21
1368 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: 312 5550/2232. Fax: 541 313 6834


Physical geography

Argentina extends within the southern and occidental hemispheres between the 22° and 55° of southern latitude. Its continental territory covers 2,761,810 sq. km. (1,066,336 sq. miles) and 3,761,274 sq. km (1,452,230 sq. miles), including the Argentine Antartic land and the southern intercontinental islands. Argentina covers 3,700km (2,300 miles) from north to south, 1,400km (870 miles) from east to west and its coastal perimeter totals 3,500km (2,175 miles). Its boundaries are Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil to the north; Brazil, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east; Chile to the west and Chile and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

Argentina is mostly flat toward the east, with minor elevations in the Central Pampas. The Andes Mountain Range rises in the west, running parallel to the border with Chile, from north to south. Islands and archipelagoes on the South Atlantic and a part of Antartica complete its territory.

The country is veined by several rivers: Riodela Plata is the terminal river of one of the world's great drainage systems and on its banks are situated two important ports, Buenos Aires and La Plata. Its main tributaries are the Rivers Parana and Uruguay, of exceptional economic importance for the country because of their conditions for navigation. The main rivers in the Patagonia region are the Colorado, Negro, Santa Cruz and Chubut which empty their waters into the Atlantic Ocean. The Nahuel Huapi, Futalaufquen, Buenos Aires and Argentino are the most important lakes and are located in the Southern Andes.


Seasons in Argentina are opposite those in the Northem Hemisphere. Climate ranges from sub-tropical (in the north) to sub-antartic (in the south).

In Buenos Aires, summer temperatures fluctuate from 70°F to 90°F and winter temperatures from 40°F to 60°F, with night temperatures dropping below freezing. It is usually humid throughout the country except in the west and the northwest regions where desert-like conditions prevail. The popular resort areas are crowded in January, February and July since schools are closed for the vacation. The high season is from October to April; the prime time for beaches is December to March. Skiing is best from mid-June to October. <H3>Economic geography</H3> Agriculture and livestock: these two economic activities are the most important sources of income for the country. As far as livestock is concerned, all sorts are bred in Argentina, cattle being the most numerous (approx. 54.5 million heads - livestock census, 1984). Sheep occupy the second place of importance (29,600 heads). The typically agricultural region covers the eastern plains where cereals (wheat, corn, barley, rye, oats) and oilseeds (linseed, sunflower, peanut and sojabeen) are obtained. The agricultural production supplies local needs, and allows a large surplus for export. Other important crops are fruit, sugar cane, cotton, yerba mate, tea, tung and sorgus. The total agricultural production obtained during 1983/84 amounted to 40,000 tons. <H3>Petroleum</H3> Its production is outstanding, for it supplies 90 per cent of local needs. <H3>Industry</H3> According to the study carried out by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, which classifies countries in four groups considering their level of industrialisation, Argentina appears in the second group. Food and cold storage are the most important industries. <P>Other increasingly developing industries are textiles, siderurgy, iron, motor vehicle and heavy industry in general, electric appliances, chemicals, petrochemistry, cellulose, paper and leather. <H3>Trade balance</H3> (In million dollars), 1994 estimated imports: 21,476, exports: 15,406. <H3>Exports</H3> The country's main exports and sources of foreign exchange are: grains, oilseeds, vegetable oils, pellets, tourism, beef and metals. <IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <P> <H3>Demography</H3> The estimated population for 1994 was 33 million, mostly of European descent. Population growth is calculated at 1.2 per cent annually with a density of 30 people per square mile. The literacy rate is 94 per cent, which is first in Latin America and among the highest in the world. <P>Buenos Aires is the federal capital and seat of government. It is located in the Federal District with a population near 11,300,000 people, including the city's metropolitan area. <H3>Major cities</H3> Buenos Aires: 11,353,592; Cordoba: 1,179 067; Rosario: 1,078,374; Mendoza: 121,696; Mar del Piata: 533,756; La Plata: 542,567; Tucuman: 473 014; Santa Fe: 442,210; San Juan: 119,399; Salta: 373,857. <IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <P> <H3>A brief history</H3> In 1776, almost 200 years after the definite foundation of Buenos Aires by Juan de Garay (1580), the city became the headquarters of the Viceroyship of the River Plate and it remained a Spanish colony until 25 May 1810, when the people replaced the Spanish Viceroy with a board government. The Declaration of Independence took place on 9 July 1816 and the National Constitution was passed on 10 May 1853. The national hero, General Jose de San Martin, struggled for independence in the whole of South America, and actually set free Argentina, Chile and Peru. <P> Argentina returned to a democratic rule in 1983 after years of military regimes. Major political parties are the 'Justicialista' (Peronist) Radical, UCEDE (Union de Centro Democratico), Intransigent, Christian Democratic, and a number of smaller national parties. In addition there are several provincial parties, some of them strong in their own territories. <P>Argentina is a Federal Republic ruled by a National Constitution. The country consists of twenty-three provinces under a provincial governor, and a federal district. The president is elected by popular vote for a four year term. Congress (senate and house), governors, provincial congress members and city mayors are also selected by popular vote. Voting is mandatory for all Argentines over 18 years of age. <IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <P> <H3>Religions</H3> Roman Catholics make up the country's largest religious group (90 per cent) followed by Protestants (two per cent), Jews (two per cent), with the rest (six per cent) represented by other denominations. Religious freedom in Argentina is a right recognised by the National Constitution. <IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <P> <H3>Languages spoken by nationals</H3> Argentina's official language is Spanish. English is spoken in all tourist areas. Other languages, such as French, German, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese, are also spoken in urban centres. Translation services are available in Buenos Aires and some provincial capitals. <IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <P> <H3>Time</H3> Argentina is in the GMT -3 time zone. Daylight Savings Time (one additional hour) is observed from mid-December to mid-March. The 24-hour time system (0:00 to 24:00) is in common usage in the country. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>Currency</H3> The country's currency is the peso, with one peso equal to 100 cents (valued with US$1). It circulates in notes and coins of various denominations. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>Official holidays (all offices and shops closed)</H3> Public holidays observed in Argentina are as follows: <P> 1 January, New Year's Day; April 13*, Holy Thursday; April 5*, Good Friday; 1 May, Labour Day; 25 May, 1810 Revolution; June 10**, Malvinas day; June 20* *, National Flag Day; 9 July, Independence Day; August 17**, General San Martin's Anniversary; October 12* *, Columbus Day; 8 December, Catholic holiday; 25 December, Christmas Day. <P>* Movable holidays <BR>* * Holidays falling on Tuesday or Wednesday are observed on Monday. Those falling on Thursday or Friday are observed the following Monday. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>What one should not fail to see</H3> Buenos Aires: The capital city. The so-called 'centro' comprises the banking area, big business, important hotels, political and administrative activities, law courts, cinemas and theatres. Numerous conventions and meetings are held in Buenos Aires all the year round. Fifty museums, 40 art galleries; Opera House: Colon Theatre; 40 theatres, 60 movie houses, 500 restaurants, five underground lines, four railway terminals. Active and varied nightlife and entertainment. <P>Iguazu Falls, San Ignacio and Posadas: The Iguazu river runs through the jungle and crashes over huge blocks of solid rock, forming 275 falls. At San Ignacio, the Jesuit ruins, dating from the 17th century, are most visited by tourists; they stand 60km to the north of Posadas, the capital city of the province of Misiones. The Southern Lake District: This area is remarkable because of its natural beauty and because of the possibility of practising ski; climbing, hunting and fishing. An outstanding place is the city of San Carlos de Bariloche, which rises on the southern shore of the Lake Nahuel Huapi, set in the National Park of the same name. Esquel in 'Los Alerces' National Park, San Martin de los Andes and 'Lanin' National Park are also important tourist attractions in the area. <P>Lake Argentino: Sailing the lake Argentino from Punta Bandera (50km from Calafate) is a glacier region. The Perito Moreno glacier is the most important and it differs from any other in the world in that it is still advancing. <P>Ushuaia: This is the southernmost city in the world. Its attractions are the National Park 'Tierra del Fuego' and the channels known as 'fueguinos'. Ski and skating can be practised. <P>Northwestern Argentina: A land of mountains, precipices, gorges and streams. Apart from the wonderful scenery, the region is remarkable because of its high historical and archaeological value. Most outstanding are the Calchaquies Valleys (Tucuman-Salta) and the Humahuacaravine (Jujuy). Mendoza: Its large vineyards and olive plantations add to the charm of the province. Moreover, at this point the Andean range reaches its highest level at the Aconcagua peak (6,959m). The area is apt for ski and climbing. This connection with the Chilean Republic is most frequently effected via Mendoza. Ten kilometres away from Las Cuevas, the last Argentine town, stands a huge bronze statue of Jesus Christ the Redeemer. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring</H3> Summer vacation generally takes place during January to February. However, many people combine Christmas holidays with summer vacations in December. The high season begins in December and lasts until March. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>How to dress</H3> Seasonal clothing is recommended. However, it should be noted that Argentine dress code is generally on the formal side, particularly for business, evening receptions and nightlife. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>Main holiday resorts</H3> Those mentioned under 'What one should not fail to see'. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>Main holiday sports</H3> Soccer, rugby, fishing, hunting, ski, mountaineering, bicycling, polo, pato, swimming, golf, tennis, horseracing, softball, yachting, volleyball, basketball, diving, trekking. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>What to eat and drink</H3> Argentina is famous for its beef and wines. Italian and Spanish cuisine are also popular with international and nouvelle cuisine complementing a memorable gourmet experience. Excellent restaurants can be found in both Buenos Aires and most cities. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>What to buy</H3> Most shopping areas are located in downtown districts with some found in residential sectors. The shopping centre concept, common in North America, is fairly new in Argentina. New malls are found in Buenos Aires and some provincial capitals. A wide variety of quality goods are available throughout the country, with leather goods, wool products and designer clothes as outstanding buys. Furs, antiques, and handicrafts are also of superior quality. <P> <BR>Most shops are open on weekdays from 9:00am to 7:30pm and on Saturdays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>Frontier formalities</H3> <B>A valid passport</B> is required for all visitors except nationals of neighbouring countries who must carry identity cards.Most business travellers require a business visa. International visitors from a number of countries require tourist visas. Interested parties should check with Argentine embassies and consulates. <H3>Health regulations</H3> Vaccinations against yellow fever and cholera are required of passengers arriving from infected areas. <H3>Customs</H3> Oral baggage declarations may be made on arrival in the country. The instances will differ according to the term of the stay and whether the country of origin is border or not. The following articles can be introduced into the country for private use or as presents: one litre of alcoholic beverage, 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars and two kilos of foodstuffs. This holds good for border countries. In the case of non-bordering countries, twice this amount can be introduced. <H3>Currency regulations</H3> Presently, foreign currency exchange is unrestricted. Banks, exchange offices and hotels offer such service. Foreign currency is accepted at hotels, restaurants, and most shops. There are no restrictions on import/export of currency, local or foreign. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>Main travel routes</H3> Air and land transportation is convenient and extensive, but in high demand. Advance bookings are recommended. Presently, national air carriers and the railroad system are being privatised. A highway network of approximately 156,250 miles, a quarter of which is paved, links major population centres. Main roads are in good condition. Bus companies provide adequate service from Buenos Aires to all of the country. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <H3>Miscellaneous</H3> <H3>Hotels</H3> At major tourist destinations and due to high seasonality, advance bookings are recommended. <H3>Taxis</H3> Taxi service is adequate and plentiful throughout the country. All taxis operate with meters. Tipping drivers is not necessary, but a small tip is appreciated. <H3>Travellers cheques</H3> Travellers cheques are usually accepted, but exchange rates applied are generally lower than those applied to cash. <H3>Electric power</H3> Argentina's electric power is on 220 volts, 50 cycles. <H3>Water</H3> Tap water is safe. Bottled water is available nationwide. Care should be taken when using water outside cities and towns, especially in tropical areas. <H3>Visit Argentina Tariff</H3> This is available only for foreigners and Argentine residents outside the country. The cost of the fare is US$450. It lasts 30 days and is valid to visit one to four destinations. Additional for further destinations: US$120. Purchase: only outside Argentina. <P> <IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <P> <I>We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Argentina thanks to the co-operation of the Secretaria de Turismo in Buenos Aires.</I> <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>