Argentina Don’ts

  • Do not make the ‘OK’ sign or give a ‘thumbs up’, which are considered vulgar.
  • Do not be offended by Argentines’ open, blunt and direct expressive communication style. That’s just the way they are!
  • Do not be offended by Argentine humour which can sometimes be insulting, such as poking fun at your appearance, weight, or attire.
  • Do not show up on time to someone’s house for a party in Argentina which is considered rude. Be there 30 to 60 minutes late or even 2 to 3 hours late is normal.
  • Do not eat on the street or on public transportation.
  • Do not head to a bar until 11.30 pm. The nightlife in Buenos Aires is considered to be among the best in the world.  It’s the city that never sleeps.
  • Do not pour wine for others. There is a ritual associated with pouring wine in Argentina.
  • Do not expect all banks to cash traveller’s checks. Cash them at your hotel.
  • Do not talk about sensitive topics about their relationship with the USA, Brazil or Great Britain, which could evoke strong reactions. Nor discuss the politics or religion.
  • Do not yawn which is considered rude. Try to cover your mouth at the very least.
  • Do not extend the pinky and index finger while bending the middle and ring finger which means one’s wife is cheating on them.

 

Argentina Do’s

  • Do expect a kiss on the cheek for greeting, which is typical greeting form in Argentina, even to a total stranger. The meeting ends with a kiss and a “ciao”.
  • Do dress conservative and modest if you want to blend in. Argentina is a very fashion conscious country. Avoid flip-flops.
  • Do expect a late dinner in Argentina.  People will usually have dinner at 9pm or 10pm.
  • Do tip 10% at restaurants and one peso per bag to hotel porters.
  • Do bring a gift for your hosts, such as flowers, candy, pastries, chocolate, or imported liquor. If receive a gift, open it right away and show your gratitude.
  • Do show up between thirty to sixty minutes late if invited to a party.  Showing up on time is considered impolite!
  • Do try yerba mate, which is a national drink and a cultural ritual as well. The mate is passed clockwise and shared as a sign of friendship and acceptance.
  • Do have a coffee at the famous Cafe Tortoni in Buenos Aires which is patronized by celebrities since 1858.
  • Do learn to dance the tango or at least watch others dance it. Dress nicely, no jeans, sneakers, or other casual attire.
  • Do carry enough one and five-peso notes, as few stores have change for bills over 20, as one and five cent pieces are not in circulation, and taxis never have change for anything over a 10.
  • Do go to the post office to mail letters or postcards, not the mail box. And do not mail things that are important as the Argentine postal service is unreliable.