Argentina through neighboring eyes

Argentina

Argentina is hugely popular amongst visitors from its neighboring countries. Here we will discuss just some of the things that are a proving a big attraction for such visitors.

When we think about what might be the main attraction, one of the first words that springs to mind is football. Argentineans are extremely passionate about football, to that point that you´ll find people playing it day and night in all cities and towns across the country. There are lots of clubs, as well as professional fields and ´Five-a-side´ (a version with fewer players and a shorter playing time).

Going to a football match is a spectacle in itself, while the football schools found in the capital are renowned for their high class coaching and producing players of international quality.

The Tango is another big draw for visitors. This unique and seductive music almost shrouds the dance floor in a cloak mystery, tempting even those who have no experience to give it a try.

Several variations of this musical genre can be heard today, from your typical orchestras to little groups playing classic guitar, right through to the increasingly popular ´electronic Tango´.

Continuing on with the arts, the film industry in Argentina has seen a huge surge in recent years, both in the number and quality of films produced. For example, ´El secreto de sus ojos´ won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2010. Since then Buenos Aires and other urban areas have been and continue to be host to several film festivals, seminars and conferences, all with big names in attendance.

The city of Buenos Aires is also home to a number of important museums. Whether it be history or art, collections of high cultural importance are exhibited throughout the whole year, attracting many visitors.

As for the food, the meat produced in Argentina is top quality as the bovine cattle are fattened through grazing. We only have to travel through the country to see the vast amounts of land dedicated to this, as well as the amount of animals bred especially for this purpose. Hereford and Holando-Argentina are the most common breeds of cattle. They can be found at just about any restaurant, and at a low price due to them being readily available and produced. The most typical way it is prepared is ´Asado´ (roasted), in which the meat is cooked over a wood fire for several hours, and accompanied by red wine. This is followed by Argentina´s most traditional dessert ´pastelito´, a fried pastry filled with quince paste.

From a geographical point of view, the country has an extensive land area, made up of many different landscapes. From the Cataratas del Iguazú in the north, to the Glaciar Perito Moreno in the south, passing through the Ruinas de San Ignacio and the beaches of Buenos Aires province, as well as many more in between. There are so many different views to be seen all on the same trip.

A final point of interest in the eyes of its neighbors is that Argentina, since the 2001 crisis, has managed to achieve and maintain a certain level of economic stability and job security for its workers. This ability to bounce back from adversity is also a common characteristic found in the Argentinean personality, something that is an attractive quality in the eyes of foreigners. A popular phrase often heard is: “lo atamos con alambre” (literally “we tie it with wire”), which refers to the action of seeking solutions to problems, even if they are nothing more than the most sensible and basic starting points.

Due to the above reasons, as well as others, many people choose Argentina as their place to live, integrating themselves into the current society. This only adds further to a culture distinguished by the mixing of several other social backgrounds, and which date back to colonial times.

For its landscape, sports, cultural expressions, cuisine, and its people, Argentina is very much worth the visit.

 

A Guide to Buenos Aires: Student visas

Argentina’s educational system is considered the best in South America.  Not surprisingly, students and young professionals from all over the world choose to enroll in Argentina’s many universities.  The combination of quality education and the rich culture offers an unparalleled  opportunity for students desiring a unique experience both in their studies and daily life.

Each year Argentina receives tens of thousands of foreign students into their universities and study programs.  Given this large influx of foreign students, the official procedure and documentation necessary to study abroad rarely presents major problems or difficulties.  However, a common question of potential or future study abroad students is whether they will need a student visa to live and study in Argentina.  The answer to this question depends on a few factors: the student’s country of origin, the planned duration of their stay, and sometimes, the particular type of program the student enrolls in.  The last two factors are often interrelated.

The first thing to find out is whether citizens of a student’s country of origin are required to have a visa to enter Argentina.  Note for most countries a visa is not required prior to entry into Argentina, rather a 90 day tourist visa is issued at customs upon arrival.  Furthermore, for students coming from these countries a student visa may not be necessary if their course of study will last less than 90 days.  If duration or program requirements dictate that a the student obtain a student visa, the student will need to visit the Dirección National de Migraciones.  At the DNM they will need to present the inscription certificate of the participating university, passport, and a certificate attesting that the student does not have a criminal record over the past 3 years for students from MERCOSUR countries (Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Venezuela).  Students from outside MERCOSUR countries must provide these same documents as well as proof of the absence of a criminal record for the past 5 years and a legalized birth certificate.

For students wishing to study in Argentina from countries that are required to have a visa to enter the country, the process is slightly more complex.  First, the Argentine institution at which these students wish to study must request a form from the DNM that will authorize these students to come into the country.  Once this has been obtained, the student will then need to visit the Argentine consulate in their country and present proof of their identity, absence of a criminal record over the past 5 years, a legalized birth certificate, as well as additional evidence of their ability to support themselves in Argentina.

In general, this process proceeds smoothly and many university programs will provide detailed instructions to students if a student visa is necessary for their course of study.  For more information we suggest you check out the DNM’s website or the Argentine consulate in your country.  Additional information about Argentina and studying her can be found here.

 

 

 

A Guide to Buenos Aires: How to get around

Buenos Aires offers a wealth of memorable experiences for visitors.  However, with so much to see and do, it can be a challenge to figure out just how to spend your time here.  Of course there is no one “best” way to experience Buenos Aires, and different people will enjoy different aspects of this immense city.  With this in mind, we’d like to present a series of guides offering practical information that will help ensure your stay in Buenos Aires goes smoothly, no matter your reason for visiting.  Combined with the great sites we’ve highlighted in this blog, we hope this information we’ll help you get the most out of your stay.  So enjoy!  And for any accomadations needs you may have, please check out our main website.

Buenos Aires is huge.  Stretching from the banks of the Rio de la Plata to Pampas of Argentina’s interior, the federal capital officially takes up 78.5 square miles but includes a metropolitan area of near 4800 square miles.  To explore this entire territory would be an arduous task and an unnecessary one.  The most famous barrios found nearest the Rio de la Plata, from La Boca in the south to Belgrano in the north, contain all of the most popular tourist destinations.  However, even when you limit Buenos Aires to these barrios, you still need to know how to get around.  Therefore, we offer this guide for transportation around the city.

Walking

While not the most glamourous or speediest form of travel, walking is often the most enjoyable way to discover the city.  Buenos Aires is a wonderful walking city and most of its streets are on a grid system, making navigation simple.  Walking is also the best way to get a true feel for the city and a great way to stumble upon stores and restaurants you may not have noticed otherwise.  Furthermore, you get an up close view of Buenos Aires’s mix of architectural styles that adorn many of the buildings lining the larger avenues.  Due to Buenos Aires size, however, walking may not always be convenient; luckily, numerous other transportation options exist if your destination is outside of walking range.

Subte

Buenos Aires boasts South America’s oldest subway system, and today it remains one of the quickest and simplest ways to move through the city.  Thousands of porteños depend on the subte to bring them to and from work everyday.  Trains are generally punctual and run from 5Am to 10PM Monday through Saturday and 8AM to 10PM Sundays.  Currently a oneway ticket costs $2.50 Ar., which can be purchased at a boleteria next to the subway’s turnstiles.  Not surprisingly, trains tend to fill up during rush hours in the morning and evening.  If you desire to avoid cramped travel it may be best to avoid taking the subte during these hours.

The subte has 6 lines: A, B, C, D, E , and H.  Lines A, E, B, and D start in Downtown, next to Plaza de Mayo, and spread apart as they move west into the metropolitan area.  Lines C and H run perpendicular (north-south) and allow passengers to connect to the other lines without traveling all the way to Downtown.

Colectivos

Step foot on any street in Buenos Aires and you will notice dozens of numbered buses carrying passengers all over the city.  Since buses cover the entire city they are the most popular form of transportation for porteños and are incredibly inexpensive.  However, colectivos require some knowledge of the city’s layout and at least a general understanding of a few bus routes.  Travelers may experience some initial difficulty if they are unsure of where they are going or the particular bus route to use.  If you plan on using Buenos Aires’s bus system it’s worth picking up a “Guia T”.  This pocket-sized booklet contains maps of the city broken down into grids and lists of the corresponding bus routes between each numbered grid.  At certain bus stops you can find a list of the route’s stops.  They are often written underneath the sign that displays the bus’s number.

Perhaps the most inconvient aspect of colectivos is that, unless you have a sube card, each bus requires that you pay for your fair in coins.  Once you enter a bus, you indicate your destination to the driver (or the corresponding price to this destination) and then insert coins into a machine behind the driver.  While the fair is extremely cheap (the average fair at this moment is around $1.25 Ar.) it may take a traveler a few purchases in Argentina before they have enough change to use for the bus.  However, once you have change and a general knowledge of the layout of the city, colectivos are a great way to travel.  Not only are they efficient and reliable but you get superb views of the city’s many barrios as you travel to your destination.

Taxis

Taxis are almost as ubiquitous as colectivos on the streets of Buenos Aires.  Today all cabs are black and yellow and are required to have a meter.  They are simple to wave down and you can also order one from your phone.  While fares are relatively inexpensive, compared to the low rates of the subte and colectivos they are the most expensive form of travel in Buenos Aires.  However, with taxis you never have to contend with the tight squeezes of rush hour that can occur in both colectivos and the subte.  When hailing a taxi, look for an illuminated “LIBRE” sign located on the front windshield that indicates the cab is empty and available for pick up.

Some more help

If you are unsure how to arrive at any destination in Buenos Aires a great resource to use is the city’s website mapa.buenosaires.gov.ar.  By clicking on the “Como Llegar” tab, you are able to enter your current location and the address or location you want to travel to.  The map will then provide a number of travel options including subte lines (if any subte stops are near) and bus numbers, listing them in order of fastest to slowest with an estimated time of how long each will take.

 

Favorite travel destinations in Argentina

Argentina has become the favorite travel destination for travelers around the world.  And while most visitors come through Buenos Aires, which we have discussed in previous posts, there’s so much more to see in Argentina than just the beautiful neighborhoods of Recoleta, Las Cañitas, Belgrano, San Telmo, and Downtown.  The country stretches for 3,900 km (2,400 miles), from the middle of South America to its southernmost end, and contains countless natural wonders and charming cities.

Below, we’d like to highlight a few of the top Argentine destinations everyone should know about.

IGUAZU FALLS:

Iguazu Falls Vacation

The Iguazu Falls are some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world.  Depending on water levels, they consist of up to 300 small falls and a few giant ones, including Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat) where half of the river’s water falls 269 feet.  The Iguazu river marks the border between Argentina and Brazil, cutting through the thick vegetation of tropical rainforests.

The simplest way to travel to Iguazu from Buenos Aires is by plane.  Flights leave everyday, and a 2 to 4 day package will provide ample time to take in this amazing sight.

At the falls you will find a visitor center where tickets are sold for about $10 USD each.  Included in the price of the ticket is a train and boat ride that will take you to San Martin Island.  To get to the main gate of the park from Puerto Iguazu, you can catch a bus from a variety of points: Downtown Puerto Iguazu, Hito Tres Fronteras (the main hotel area), the main bus station, and ruta 12.  The bus runs every 45 minutes and costs about $1 USD per person each way.

Iguazu Travel Packages

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EL CALAFATE TOURISM

El Calafate Vacation

Located deep in Patagonia, the small town of El Calafate serves as the gateway to Los Glacieres National Park—the home of Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most visited glaciers in the world.  El Calafate is situated on the southern border of Lake Argentino and was named for the little bush with yellow flowers and dark blue berries found throughout Patagonia.  Calafate in Spanish means “caulk”.

Today the town is an important tourist destination as travelers use it as their base to explore Patagonia’s glaciers.

El Calafate Travel Packages

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USHUAIA ARGENTINA

Ushuaia Vacation Travel

Ushuaia, the capital of the Tierra del Fuego province, is located on the Beagle Channel and bordered to the north by the Martial Mountains.  As the southernmost city in the world, one can truly say that Ushuaia is the end of the world, but make no mistake, it is also one of Argentina’s most visited cities.  It features a large ski center that stays open all the way into spring (October-November in Argentina).  Also worth seeing is the Museum of the End of the World and the Sea Museum, featuring exhibits on the Indians that inhabit the Tierra del Fuego province, the stunning nature that surrounds Ushuaia, and local history.

UshuaiaTravel Packages

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BARILOCHE ARGENTINA

Bariloche Vacations Travel

Speaking of skiing, San Carlos de Bariloche, or just Bariloche as it’s more commonly referred to, is Argentina’s primary skiing destination.  Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, Bariloche lines a shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi and is surrounded by Nahuel Huapi national park.  In the winter, skiiers flock to Cerro Catedral, the main ski resort, while in the summer visitors and residents sunbath on the beautiful lake beaches of Playa Bonita or Villa Tacul or brave the chilly waters for a swim.  Fed by glaciers, Lake Nahuel Huapi’s temperature only averages 14 C (57 F) in the summer.

The city itself boasts an intense cultural scene and is famous for its likeness to towns of the Swiss Alps.  Its distinctive Swiss architecture is complemented by its quality chocolate.

Travel to Bariloche

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MENDOZA HOLIDAYS:

Mendoza Vacations

Wine has become one of Argentina’s chief exports, and the best Argentine wines come from the vineyards of Mendoza.  Subsequently, this western city supports a booming wine tourism industry with many wineries offering tours and tastings.  Even if you don’t enjoy wine, the city is well worth a visit.  Along Mendoza’s tree-lined streets visitors will discover numerous museums, theatres, and art galleries as well as universities and a thriving culture.

By virtue of its location next to the Andes, Mendoza also acts as a hub of outdoor adventures including hiking and rafting.  El Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,962 meters or 22,841 feet and rises to the northwest of the city.  Las Leñas also lies in the Mendoza province.  Along with Bariloche, it is another favorite ski spot for Argentines and is known for its compact, dry powder.

Travel packages to Mendoza

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Anyone planning a trip to Argentina should look into these prime destinations.  Buenos Aires is a must see, and visitors should plan to spend at least a few days exploring its neighborhoods and culture.  However, we strongly suggest you take the time to travel around Argentina and discover some of these places.  It will be time and money well spent!