I studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina for five months, and I did my research before I went. I learned about safety tips, how to budget, and things to do in the country, but there were a few things I wish I had known before living there. Here are some helpful travel tips for your next trip to Argentina.
The Cheek Kiss
I was never sure when to do the cheek kiss (which, by the way, isn’t actually a kiss. Rather, it’s a cheek touch), but it’s about 90% of the time. Since I didn’t do business transactions, I’m not clear about the cheek kiss, although I’m sure business meetings would require a handshake for new acquaintances and a cheek kiss for old friends. I wasn’t used to the mass goodbye. By this I mean, when you leave a party or meeting, you should cheek kiss every single person in attendance before you leave. Americans tend to wave goodbye and get out of there, but this is considered rude in lugares turisticos en buenos aires capital . Don’t be that guy!
I’m used to scarfing down my food. It’s usually because I’m in a rush and eating just takes time out of my day. I also like to eat on the go. For example, I’ll have a granola bar for breakfast on my way to work. But eating habits are different in Argentina. Argentinians tend to eat slowly and enjoy each other’s company. A prime example is when I had ice cream with a friend. I finished my cone and got up to leave. He didn’t understand what the rush was, and I didn’t either, so we stayed for another hour.
How to get around
If you’re arriving by plane, you’ll probably land at Ezeiza International Airport. It’s just outside the city, so you’ll have to take a bus, taxi, or private car to the city center (Capital Federal). Manuel Tienda Leon is located outside customs, and you can save money by taking a bus with them for about $15 USD. It is not recommended to take the public bus because it’s long, uncomfortable (seating is not guaranteed), and your luggage might be stolen. There is also a new shuttle connection between the Jorge Newbery national airport and Ezeiza, so if you have a layover, don’t fret.
There’s more out there
Buenos Aires is a huge city, and it may seem like the center of all Argentine cultural events. But there are many other regions of Argentina, and it would be a shame to miss out. For outdoor activities, visit Patagonia or Bariloche. In these areas, you can experience some of the best hiking and skiing in the continent. There are some beautiful beaches and wildlife just south of Buenos Aires in Puerto Madryn and Mar del Plata. This coastline may not be tropical, but it’s hot enough in January and February to get a nice tan. To the west, Salta is a growing city with more indigenous influence and folkloric music. There are a few artisan markets where you can purchase traditional crafts and handmade gifts.
Enjoy your trip to Argentina. It’s a huge country, and there’s a lot to explore. I hope these travel tips help make your adventure a memorable one!