Discover Local Customs in Argentina

Written by: Dave Owen

 

Argentina is a well-developed, modern country, with a strong western influence on their culture, so as long as you use common sense and behave as you would in any country, you won’t need to worry about breaking any social norms.

Here are a few social customs in Argentina you should keep in mind during your visit.

Money in Argentina

Currency

The currency in Argentina is the Argentine peso, and although some shops and restaurants will accept US dollars or euros, pesos are most commonly used.

Damaged bills may be declined, so try and keep your money in good condition!

Argentina Pesos Bank Notes

Tipping

Tipping in Argentina is not mandatory in most situations, but in restaurants, hotels, and spas it is common to tip between 10-15%.

The exception is taxi drivers, who don’t expect to be tipped unless they perform an extra service like carrying your luggage.

Social Etiquette in Argentina

Same sex relationships

Same sex marriage is legal, and in major cities public displays of affection by same sex couples are unlikely to draw attention.

However in the north of the country and in small towns it may not be received well. Exercise caution and stay safe.

Greetings and conversation

Meeting people in Argentina can be overwhelming for visitors, as locals can be very forward. Cheek kissing is a common greeting, even between strangers, though only on one cheek and without any lips making contact. This might take some practice!

Argentines are likely to ask personal questions very soon after meeting you, and may expect you to do the same, otherwise they may think you don’t like them. This direct manner continues in their sense of humour, which can be quite sharp, and may involve making fun of you. It’s okay to do the same back.

Swearing in Argentina is also incredibly common, so don’t worry if you hear people swearing in conversation.

Time and punctuality

Locals in Argentina are very relaxed about timekeeping, so expect them to be 10-15 minutes late for any social meeting. This is normal, and not a sign of disrespect.

So, if somebody invites you to their house for 9pm, don’t actually turn up at 9pm – anything up to an hour late is usually okay.

Things to Avoid in Argentina

Religion and politics

Argentina’s recent history is still a sensitive subject for many Argentinians, so it’s best to avoid talking about the Perón years, the military junta, and religion in general.

We also recommend not openly comparing Argentina to neighbouring Brazil and Chile, as some people may take offense.

The Falklands War

If you’re English, don’t talk about the Falklands – even using that name may upset some Argentinians. It could even be a good idea not to wear any clothing with English or British symbols on it, just in case.

Football

A huge number of people are crazy for football in Argentina, and this could potentially lead to trouble if you decided to wear a domestic club’s strip and walked into a rival part of town. If you must show your love of the game, wear the colours of Argentina’s national team.

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