Top tips when travelling to Argentina

Culture in Argentina

The standard greeting for men and women in Argentina is a single kiss on the right cheek.

Religion is very important to Argentines; most people are Catholic and the current Pope, Pope Francis, hails from Buenos Aires.

Locals may call you gringo (male) or gringa (female).

Meal times in Argentina are around 1pm to 1:30 pm for lunch, with a snack at 5pm–6pm and dinner typically after 9pm and as late as 11pm on weekends. Bars get busy close to midnight and nightclubs after 1am.

A tip of around 10% is appreciated at restaurants.

Argentines tend to arrive fashionably late to social gatherings – 20 minutes at the minimum, but up to 40 minutes is normal.

Carry small change – no one will appreciate 100 peso bills.

The mate ritual

If you're offered mate (pronounced mah-tay), a tea-like hot beverage made of the yerba herb, follow the rules below to do it right (and to avoid offending your server!).

Mate is served in a communal cup with a bombilla, or metal straw.

The person who serves the mate is called a cebador.

Those partaking in the ritual sit in a circle. The cebador brews the mate and then takes the first drink.
The mate is then passed around the circle to the right, with each participant drinking all the liquid in the cup before passing it back to the cebador to be re-brewed. (You'll know there's no more water in the cup when you hear a sucking sound).

If you don't want any more, say gracias to indicate you're finished. Don't say it unless you don't want any more mate.


The official language in Argentina is Spanish. But even if you speak Spanish, you may struggle to understand Argentinians – the language sounds different to elsewhere in the region both due to the local accent and because there's a lot of slang, or lunfardo.

Common scams

Taxi drivers may give you change using fake peso bills, or swap your real pesos for fake ones and claim you've given them a forged bill.

A taxi "handler" at the airport may ask you to pay a prepaid fee for your ride, but the taxi driver claims to know nothing about this and asks you to pay again.
Someone might spill some mustard or sauce on you, and then pretend to help you clean up. While you're distracted, an accomplice steals your belongings.

Source: Choice Australia

Posted by KosherLat Jewish travel in Argentina and Cuba