25 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Came To: ARGENTINA

For a Brit’s first encounter in South America; there was a lot of things that are very familiar in Argentina, but then there were a lot of customs I had to quickly adapt to. Many times in the first two weeks I stood cluelessly guessing, but with help from locals, I am now a master of current Argentinian culture. I’ve made a quick list of everything I found out:

  1. Shop open times vary due to siestas – a lot of shops will close 1pm – 5pm then open back up until 10pm
  2. If a shop doesn’t have the exact change in coins, they might give you sweets/candy or onions, or paracetamol (dependent on the shop) and once a tea bag
  3. Lots of things are closed on Mondays, like Parks or Museums
  4. If you don’t ask for the cheque, the server will never bring it over (our friend told us a good way to ask for it; is to get the attention of your server from across the room and pretend to sign a cheque in mid air)
  5. Always go into a restaurant and sit down, don’t wait for the waiter to seat you
  6. Argentinians have a very relaxed attitude towards time
  7. They have their own accent and words different to the rest of South America, and there are plenty of articles and books on their slang (¡Che Boludo!)
  8. Cambios are more likely to give out fake pesos
  9. If you are in an area where you see locals with their backpacks on their fronts, it indicates you should be cautious and doing the same
  10. Supermarket lines take a reaaaally long time (Argentinians aren’t in a rush) and it’s always handy to pre-weigh your fruits and vegetables
  11. You can return your empty beer bottles to supermarkets or corner shops and get several pesos off your next bottle
  12. There is no spicy food, and if an Argentine says something is spicy… it isn’t
  13. ‘Menú de la dia’ is always great value
  14. Dinner is late, 10pm onwards
  15. Sparkling water is always offered first over still, make sure you ask for ‘agua sin gas’ if you want still
  16. If you visit Buenos Aires in summer, book a place with a pool
  17. Machismo is real
  18. Mate is a big deal (upcoming article about the nation’s favourite drink in December)
  19. Toilet paper goes in the bin, and not in the toilet…
  20. The cars on the road are NOT cautious and will keep going regardless of whether you’re in the street
  21. Wi-fi is everywhere
  22. Argentina is absolutely MASSIVE
  23. Buenos Aires is generally safe day or night, but there are certain avenues to avoid.
  24. You can use the subté card on the bus
  25. Argentinians greet with a hug and two kisses on either cheek

I hope this concise list will stand you in good stead for any future trips to Argentina. Now I’ve been here roughly 9 weeks, I’m sure there are a lot of things I have got used to that should be on this list! If you have any questions about Argentine customs – I’ll be happy to answer you, pop me a message 🙂

Upcoming post: Mañana in Mendoza


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