The information provided below aims to help U.S. businesspeople enhance their experience when doing business in Buenos Aires. If you have any suggestions or comments regarding this tool of the site, please contact us.
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Argentina is three hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, and two hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. Argentina does not observe daylight savings time. Therefore, the time difference with Eastern Standard Time is one hour, but with Eastern Daylight Time it is two hours. The 24-hour system is generally used rather than the 12-hour a.m./p.m. system. For example: 3.00 p.m. is referred to as 15.00 hours.
Business office hours are Monday through Friday from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (two hours earlier for factories) with a one-hour lunch break. Work luncheons are frequent for business executives and they generally extend from 1.00 to 3.00 p.m. Business and social dinners do not begin until 9.00 or 10.00 p.m. Because evenings start late and end late, the early evening nap is the secret to being functional the next day. It is advisable to not schedule morning meetings before 10.00 a.m. Business breakfasts are not common.
Most retail stores are open from 9.00 or 10.00 a.m. to between 6.00 and 9.00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Banks are open to the public from Monday through Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
Spanish is the national language of Argentina, although many business people speak English and European languages as well. Do not assume, however, that your contacts will speak English. For U.S. businesspeople that already speak Spanish, note that Argentine has distinct differences in pronunciation, cadence, and vocabulary. Any printed matter translated into Spanish should be reviewed first by a native Argentine to assure its suitability in Argentina.
It is wise as well as courteous to hire an interpreter to assist in business meetings unless you are certain that all parties speak English fluently. A list of interpreters is available upon request from the U.S. Commercial Service in Buenos Aires. Many large business hotels can also provide this service.
Almost all business in Argentina is transacted in Spanish and all documents and records must be in Spanish to constitute valid evidence. Business documents in a foreign language to be presented for legal purposes to Argentine authorities should be translated by a certified public translator.
A list of certified public translators is available upon request from the U.S. Commercial Service in Buenos Aires.
Argentina is located in southern cone of South America and has a total area of approximately 1,500,000 square miles including the mainland, the Argentine territory in Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands. (Argentina claims the islands it refers to as the "Malvinas" and which Great Britain calls "the Falklands".). It is the eighth largest country in the world, approximately the size of the United States east of the Mississippi River. Topography and climate vary significantly, with the high Andes mountains in the west, subtropical climate in the northeast, temperate climate in the middle part of the country, and semi-arid and cold in the southern part. The middle third of the country, which includes Buenos Aires, is the most populous, where most of the economic activity and agricultural production occur.
Travelers should note that since Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer in the U.S. is winter in Argentina, and vice versa. School summer vacations take place December through March, instead of June through August and there is usually a two-to-three week winter school vacation in mid-July.
Unless you have made arrangements otherwise, we recommend against traveling to conduct business meetings in Argentina in January, since most businesses are either closed or working on a limited schedule. Ask your business contacts for the best time to schedule a meeting, and plan travel times and clothing accordingly. Summer, particularly the months of January and February, is hot and humid in Buenos Aires. During the summertime, most Argentines take vacations. Therefore, a business trip to Argentine would be less productive.
In winter the coldest months are July and August, with temperatures ranging in the 40s° and 50s° F. The best months for business travel to Argentina are April through November.
For online information about the weather in Buenos Aires, please click here. For conversion from temperature degrees in Celsius to Fahrenheit and vice versa, follow these guidelines:
Argentine businesspeople are conservative and dress formally. Business dress follows European standards, and is generally more formal than the U.S. Men usually wear suit and tie, with some exceptions on Fridays, depending on the company. Women wear suits, and medium to high heels. Customs may change in the suburbs of Buenos Aires and in the provinces.
Business is not conducted on holidays. Argentine national holidays include the following:
The Argentine currency is the peso, and is signified by the same symbol ($) as the U.S. dollar.
To obtain real time information about the rate of exchange between U.S. dollars and Argentine pesos, please visit GoCurrency.com or ConvertIt.com.
Communications and Media
Telephone services, both international and local, are adequate. Many businesspeople use cellular telephones to work more efficiently. American businesspeople can bring their cellular telephones from the U.S. and use them as long as they have access to roaming service, which has to be arranged with the service provider in the U.S prior to departure. However, it may be more convenient to rent a local cell phone in your hotel, which usually offers this service or can contact travelers with the service provider.
Both domestic and international long distance calls in Argentina are expensive, especially from hotels. AT&T, MCI, and Sprint have local numbers that halve costs, but it may be difficult to establish a connection during peak business hours. Callback services are available for established businesses.
Internet access is available in large business hotels, but also throughout the city. There are plenty of call centers (locutorios) and cyber-cafes with Internet access in downtown Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires has many local television channels that broadcast Spanish language programming. There are also various cable television channels available, which include CNN International, CNN en Español (Spanish), MTV, as well as channels from Brazil, Chile, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy and others.
International papers and magazines, including a wide range from the U.S., can be found at the several kiosks around Buenos Aires.
Calling Buenos Aires
The international country code for Argentina is 54 and the city code for Buenos Aires is 11. Always dial 011 to establish an international connection, followed by the country code and the city code. The procedure to dial is the following:
011 + country code + city code + number
For example, if you wish to contact the American Embassy in Buenos Aires at 5777-4533 (local number), you should dial:
011 + 54 + 11 + 5777-4533.
011 + Argentina country code + city code + number
Calling from Buenos Aires
When a traveler wants to make a phone call to the United States, the procedure to dial is the following:
00 + country code + area code + number
For example, if you wanted to call the Argentine Embassy in Washington, DC, at: (202) 238-6400, you should dial:
00 + 1 + 202 + 238-6400
00 + US country code + area code + number
Calling Cell Phones
When making calls to cell phones within Argentina, you must add (15) to the number; e.g. (15) 5999-9999. However, when initiating the call in the U.S. you need to dial (9) after the country code "54"; for example, 011 + 54 + 9 + 11 + 5999-9999, no (15).
Unlike in the United States, electric current in Argentina is AC 220-380 volts. In addition, business travelers should be aware that outlets in Argentina are shaped differently than in the U.S. Electric plug configurations are usually two round-tipped straight pins or 2-3 flat pins with the top two slightly angled to form a "Y" shape. Business travelers are therefore advised to carry adapters and/or transformers.
Buenos Aires has no particular health risks and there is no need to take special precautions. Sanitary conditions are good, and tap water is safe. Many competent doctors, dentists, and specialists are available in Buenos Aires. Outside of Buenos Aires or other cities, basic precautions, such as drinking bottled water, are recommended.
Even though entering the country with medical insurance is not mandatory in Argentina, we recommend travelers to contract their own medical insurance before departing the U.S.
How to Get to Buenos Aires
U.S. carriers flying to Argentina include American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. The primary gateways are from Miami, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington DC. Argentine carrier Aerolineas Argentinas also flies between the U.S. and Argentina. As a reference, a flight from Miami to Buenos Aires takes approximately 8½ hours. All international flights land at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE) in Ezeiza, located in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. In country flights and flights between Argentina and other South American countries are widely available from a variety of Argentine and foreign carriers. All domestic flights and some regional flights to Uruguay and Chile leave from Airport Jorge Newbery (AEP), near downtown Buenos Aires.
Visas are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to Argentina for up to 90 days for tourism or business, except holders of U.S. Diplomatic and Official passports.
However, Argentine law requires that, prior to arrival in Argentina at any entry point, U.S. citizen tourist and business travelers pay a $160 reciprocity fee by credit card online at the Provincia Pagos website. For English instructions, check Online Payment brocuhure. Once paid, travelers must print out the receipt and present it to the Argentine immigration officer at the time of entry. The fee is valid for 10 years from the date of payment and for multiple entries. It is advisable to keep multiple copies of the receipt, as it must be presented every time you enter Argentina. The fee applies only to bearers of tourist passports. Travelers bearing diplomatic or official passports are required to get visas prior to arrival in Argentina but are not charged the reciprocity fee, nor are travelers transiting and not entering Argentina.
Visitors may request an extension of stay up to 90 days from the Argentine Immigration Service at:
Dirección Nacional de Migraciones
Av. Antártida Argentina 1355, Edificio 1, Piso 1
C1104ACA Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: (54-11) 4311-7695 or 4313-2777
Fax: (54-11) 4313-1778
For information on work and other extended visas, please contact an Argentine Consular Office in the United States.
Temporary Entry of Personal Laptops and Exhibit Materials
Personal working elements such as laptop computers, cellular phones, and other tools must be registered at Customs at the time of entry and again upon departure from Argentina. Samples brought into the country by a traveling salesperson are admitted free of duty provided they have no commercial value. Otherwise, the traveler may be required to deposit a 90-day bond that is refunded when taking the goods out of the country.
Argentina is not a party to the A.T.A. (Temporary Admission) Carnet program of the U.S. Council for International Business allowing for the import of goods, display booths, and literature for local trade shows and for subsequent re-export. The Argentine Temporary Admission Regime (TAR) allows duty free admission of goods such as commercial samples, packaging, pallets, containers, and goods for exhibits. These items must be re-exported within the timeframe stipulated by Customs on entering the country. Many trade show organizers are able to obtain a special waiver from the Argentine government on a case-by-case basis.
Transportation to Downtown Buenos Aires
Once at Ezeiza International Airport, a type of private car service, called "remise" is readily available for approximately 400/500 pesos, and is recommended for traveling into Buenos Aires. Remise services have counters at the airport.
If you prefer cabs, which cost about the same as a remise but run on meters, we recommend you arrange the service with your hotel in advance, or once in the airport select only the ones with a radio-taxi sign.
Also, you can take the Manuel Tienda Leon shuttle bus for 145 pesos, which takes travelers to Av. Madero & San Martin, right in front of the Sheraton Hotel, where they can connect with a Tienda Leon's minibus to go to downtown Buenos Aires for an additional fee. However, if more than one person is traveling, or the hotel is not located in the downtown area, it is more convenient to take a Tienda Leon's remise for 545 pesos per car, which can transport up to four people and drops passengers off in any area of Buenos Aires in a safe manner.
Ezeiza International Airport is 45-minute drive from Buenos Aires.
Automobile rental is available throughout the country, although it is quite expensive compared to U.S. rental costs. Travelers should be aware that Argentina has a high rate of auto accidents, and driving is not recommended for travelers in country for short visits.
Here are the different customs, depending on the situation:
Taxis: Taxi-drivers are not usually tipped in Buenos Aires. However, when they are used to dealing with foreigners, they expect a small tip, which usually consists on rounding the fare up to the nearest peso or 50 cents.
Restaurants/Bars/Pubs: The usual tip approximately equals 10 per cent of the bill, although it is not a rule, and the amount is usually less in many cases.
Delivery Boys: They expect around a peso.
Theaters/Movie-theaters: Ushers generally get a small tip (around 50 cents to 1 peso) in exchange for the program.
Gas Stations: Attendants get around 1 peso when they provide services other than filling the tank, such as washing the windshield or checking the oil.
Basic Words and Expressions in Spanish
Good afternoon/Good evening
Thank you very much
How are you?
¿Cómo le va? / ¿Cómo está?
Very well, thank you
Muy bien, gracias
The bill, please
La cuenta, por favor
I beg your pardon / I'm sorry
I don't speak Spanish
No hablo castellano
I speak a little Spanish
Hablo poco castellano
Can you speak slowly, please?
¿Puede hablar más lento, por favor?
Do you speak English?
I'd like to go to...
Quiero ir a...
Where can I get a taxi?
¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?
Can you call me a taxi?
¿Me puede llamar un taxi?
Where are you from?
¿De dónde es/viene?
I am American
Yo soy de los Estados Unidos
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez
How much is it?
(for a service already provided)
How much is this?
(for an item to be purchased)
¿Cuánto cuesta esto?
Tarjeta de Crédito
Tarjeta de Débito
Money and Banking
ATM machines can be found everywhere in Buenos Aires, allowing travelers with a variety of credit or debit cards to withdraw funds automatically in local currency. Although usually accepted at most hotels, traveler checks are often refused by business establishments and can be difficult or expensive to change at banks. So, be sure to bring an ATM card. For security reasons, do not take a cab right after withdrawing money from an ATM.
Banks open Mon-Fri 9/10 am-3 pm.
The crime rate in Buenos Aires is high, much of it based on street crime. Therefore, U.S. visitors and residents should take the same precautions they would take in any major U.S. and foreign metropolis. There are no specific threats directly against American visitors. It is recommended, however, that due caution be exercised when traveling about the city, including avoiding wearing expensive jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash. In general, avoid looking like a tourist.
Pick-pocketing, purse-snatchings, and various scams are all popular methods of operation by thieves, who abound even on busy streets and are especially common in areas frequented by tourists, such as the Florida Avenue mall in Central Buenos Aires, San Telmo, La Boca, Recoleta, in public conveyances, and other visitor frequented locations, such as hotel lobbies, airports, and shopping malls.
Several laptops have been stolen from hotel rooms or from Ezeiza Airport in the past two years. They are high-ticket items in Buenos Aires. Keep control of it at all times and never leave it unprotected in your hotel room.
Recently, there has been an increase in nighttime-armed robberies of restaurants. Upscale restaurants are most-often targeted. We therefore recommend limiting the valuables you carry, and the cash in your pocket.
Pay cash wherever possible, since some criminals in Buenos Aires are high-tech and have the capability of reproducing credit cards from the credit card receipt. If you pay by credit card, when you return to the U.S., scrutinize your credit card statement to ensure that there are no fraudulent purchases.
Consult the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs web site for general travel information and the site's section on Travel Warnings for country-specific information.
Argentina has a solid selection of international class business hotels. Many U.S. chains are present in country offering the same level of comfort and service as their hotels offer in the United States. Many categories of hotels are available throughout the country.
For a list of most used business hotels in Buenos Aires and other cities in Argentina, please contact us. A more comprehensive list of hotels in Buenos Aires can be found at the Argentine Secretariat of Tourism's web page (Tourist Services/Facilities) and at the Argentina Contact.com hotels page.
Buenos Aires has extensive subway and bus routes. Taxis are plentiful and fares are reasonable. Taxis are generally the most effective way of moving around Buenos Aires. The so-called "remise", a type of private car service, is also widely available in downtown Buenos Aires. For security reasons, the U.S. Embassy recommends travelers to use either remises or radio taxis, rather than hailing taxis on the street.
Railroad travel is available from several stations in downtown Buenos Aires. Commuter trains link Buenos Aires with most suburban areas, and long-distance trains connect most large cities. Travel outside greater Buenos Aires can be accomplished by train, bus, or car, although air travel is recommended for many trips to the provinces because of the distances involved.
Business hours begin between 8-9 a.m. and finish between 5-7 p.m.
Upon arriving and leaving, it is important to shake hands with everyone in the room. Among Argentines, it is customary for men to kiss women, even those they meet for the first time, on the right cheek. However, Americans should shake hands with Argentine women, until a friendly relationship has been established. Businesspeople greet each other by shaking hands firmly. A weak handshake may be interpreted as a symbol of personal weakness, or as lack of interest in the meeting.
U.S. businesspeople seeking to be successful in Argentina should take the time to develop a close personal relationship with their agent, representative, distributor or other business partner, through regular visits.
Argentine business customs are generally more formal than those in the U.S. Courtesy is very important, and efforts to rush a business deal are unlikely to meet with success. No encounter starts with a business discussion. To establish trust, some time spent discussing family members or sports and social activities is fundamental to developing a solid business relationship.
Contacts and introductions are important. Therefore, use the business matchmaking services of the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, or other organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce, industry associations and other contacts rather than a direct "cold call" approach. U.S. Commercial Service Argentina offers a complete package for the businessperson visiting this country to meet with potential business partners. We can find the right contacts for you and have a schedule of meetings set up in advance of your visit.
It is important that you always have a pre-arranged appointment and be prompt to business meetings, though your Argentine contact may be slightly late. Also, be sure to have an ample supply of business cards. Although not essential, it is beneficial to have cards printed in Spanish, as well as English.
One cultural note is that it is better form not to say you are from "America." In Latin America, the term "America" denotes North and South America, not just the United States. Therefore, it is better to call yourself a North American (norteamericano), from the United States. Saying you are from the United States, or where you are from in the U.S. (Soy de los Estados Unidos / Soy de Chicago, etc.) is clearer.
Argentine eating customs differ from those in the U.S., especially in terms of meal times and the types of meals and beverages consumed throughout the day. For a comprehensive report on Argentine eating customs with restaurants included, please refer to Restaurant.com.ar (Tourist Information in Spanish).
Stores open Mon-Friday 10am-8pm, and Sat 10am-1pm as a general rule, although there are some exceptions. Most shopping malls open every day from around 10 am up to 10pm.
For information on shopping centers in Buenos Aires, you can visit the City of Buenos Aires' web site, which contains information on where to shop in the city.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Emergency dispatcher for the City of Buenos Aires and Greater Buenos Aires: 911.
Listed below are the web page addresses of newspapers containing news on Argentina:
Buenos Aires Herald (Argentine, in English)
InfoBae (Argentine, in Spanish)
La Nacion (Argentine, in Spanish)
Clarin (Argentine, in Spanish)
The Economist (U.K., English)
Other Travel Resources
Official Tourism Site of the City of Buenos Aires: Information, circuits, services, activities, expos, shopping and more.
Argentine Secretariat of Tourism: Valuable information for travelers, classified by region or province, including Buenos Aires City.
Argentina Travel: Official tourism promotion site. Offers valuable information about points of interest, destinations, tourist circuits, national parks, and more.
City of Buenos Aires Interactive Maps: Interactive maps of neighborhoods, parks, museums, libraries, street fairs, cultural centers, shopping centers, sport centers, and hospitals. (Spanish)
ArgentinaContact.com: Travel and hotel directory of Argentina
Animap.com: Maps and door-to-door transportation info (Spanish)
Other Cities in Argentina
Although Buenos Aires is the primary destination of most business travelers, there are some other cities that deserve your attention. Other important cities include Cordoba, Rosario (Santa Fe Province), Mendoza, and San Luis.
If business travelers are interested in spending extra days for tourism in Argentina, we recommend visiting the Argentine Secretariat of Tourism's web page, as well as the official tourism promotion site Argentina Travel.
The following chart shows domestic flight times from Buenos Aires to:
Mar del Plata
San Salvador de Jujuy (more northern airport)
San Carlos de Bariloche
Ushuaia (more southern continental airport)
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