Argentina Facts:
Vacation ideas & Guide for tourists

Argentina Facts is a guide for tourist, it offers all you need when coming to Argentina; travel tips, what to expect, what to eat, what to do and see in Argentina and Buenos Aire. And all is illustrated with pictures....

Page 1

Few facts about Argentinians

It will be hard to understand Argentineans without knowing something about them.

       So before you board the plane to the Capital Federal de Argentina – Ciudad de Buenos Aires, please carefully read the following notes.

After some thinking I realized that the best way to introduce you to the Argentinean capital is to tell you something about its inhabitants.

So - who are Argentineans?

And the answer is (quoting local city tour guide):

They are Italians, living in Argentina, speaking Spanish, thinking of themselves as being English living in Paris.

Wow! I agree, it sounds quite complicated and at first it may be difficult to comprehend this “mixture”, but these words are probably well reflecting the atmosphere “on the streets”….

In fact, it is really a good starting point to understand Argentineans, especially these living in Buenos Aires. But before going farther let me make it clear – they are proud but warm and friendly, “easy-going” but stylish and elegant, loving late night dining (and food in general) but still slim …..devoted to tango and practicing it almost everywhere around the city.

Now - if you are looking here for the information about visa requirements or last year’s temperatures, then definitely you are in the wrong place. There are literally thousands of websites providing this information. What they miss however is the first-hand practical information and tips you need to know from the first moment you land in the BA’s airport.

Food & Restaurants

So especially for visitors like you, the Argentina Facts present the following:

  • Food – if you are vegetarian then either go home or start “fasting” on red meat diet :-). Keep in mind that Argentinean cattle is grazing an “organic matter” readily available on vast pampas instead of being fed with an industrial food and antibiotics. You will be delighted with fresh tenderloin steak (locally called “lomo”. 

    Few useful words when it comes to meat ("carne"): 

    Lomo – tenderloin steak (this is a "Must" when in Argentina) 
    Ojo de bife – beefsteak
    Bife de Chorizo -kind of 1.5 inch thick NY strip steak 
    Cordero – Lamb
    Cerdo – pork
    Pollo – chicken
    Parrilla (a la parrilla) – grill (grilled)
    (bife) Asado – roasted (beef)

Parrilla (grill)

Lamb prepared traditional "gaucho"- way.

  • To finish with meat -try to avoid any “milanesa” – whatever it will be (beef, pork, chicken etc…) it will be breaded and then baked on the oil. The result is “not-so-healthy”. And definitely this is not what you want to eat in Argentina!
  • With some effort you may find “stuff” for vegetarians but it may not be quite what you got use to. The good news is however that the wave of “green”, “eco” and “healthy” is slowly making inroads into the traditional Argentinean cuisine. For example when in Buenos Aires, you may check the new chain of natural food restaurants called Tea Connections….

Argentinean food for vegetarians:

Freshly squeezed Orange juice (Jugo de Naranja Exprimido"

 ... and green salad.....

  • If you go to a restaurant for lunch or dinner then better do not be too hungry as it may take some time to get something on the table. You cannot do much about it but be patient. Argentineans are proud people and do not like to be pushed (anyhow - you know well that it is not in your best interest to be “pushy” in a restaurant at least until the meal is served). So – take it easy! Good thing is that meals (especially meat) are freshly made for you as you wait…..

Fortunately most restaurants offer a small basket of bread usually served shortly after you made an order (at your cost of about 8 to 12 AR-pesos). With an excellent local olive oil (aceite de oliva) it may do the job when waiting for the main meal.

More for vegetarian "gourmands": Rolls, toasted bread... with some extras like cream-cheese, humus, etc...may "save your life" if you are very hungry. 
Ask for olive oil (made from Argentinean olives - it's great!) 

  • Some restaurants open only late evening (after 8pm). In Argentina dinner starts well after 8pm! If you think that obesity and cardiac diseases are widespread among Argentineans then you are wrong. They do not spend much time behind the steering wheel or in front of TV – they walk, drink mate (the most powerful tea-based antioxidant) and drink "barrels" of the red wine! That helps – you can try!

Guide for tourists : Left - consider Argentinean red wine as a mandatory part of the meal. It is great and you will find enormous choice of local wines in every restaurant. Here - photo from "Botega Del Fin del Mundo" 

Bohemian restaurant in San Telmo

One of the most famous restaurants in Buenos Aires - Tortoni. Here you need reservation unless you want to spend time waiting in the line..... This is also the place of great Tango Show!

      If you would like to have a lunch break, then you can try picadas (kind of tapas). To have an idea please visit:

Tasca Restaurant  (this one is in Patagonia!) or mentioned earlier Cafe Tortoni - this one not only for delicious food but first of all - for the "taste" of old bohemian times.....

But if you are not hungry (yet) then please follow the travel tips for tourists visiting Argentina as presented below:

  • Bread – local bakeries (called Panaderias) mostly make and sell a WHITE bread. It is difficult to find the healthy one. The bottom line is - for the most of your time in Argentina you will have to forget about these delicacies you got accustomed to - like multigrain, whole wheat etc stuff. Sorry :-(;.

Good news – things are changing and after a long “suffering” I found the chain of bakeries offering healthy bread operating in BA under the name – Casa de Pan “Hausbrot”.

  • Yerba mate is a favorite Argentinean tea (they are the biggest consumers of mate in the world, followed by Brazilians).

For tea-lovers: Mate-Gourd in its elegant leather-covered version.

      You will often find local people with characteristic mate gourds in hand sipping the tea. However, to my surprise you would not easily find places offering such traditional mate. Some bars will eventually offer tea-bags mate served in regular tea-cups but this is definitely not the same experience. To my disappointment it seems that “mate” is more a home tradition.

  • “Dulce de leche” (kind of soft caramel made from sugar and milk) is a favorite ingredient of many Argentinean desserts (and not only). Indeed it is tasty but keep in mind that you are eating pure sugar with a whole milk! (BTW - this may be the reason why it is so good!).
  • You have to try at least once Argentinean ice-creams (helados) but in a well recognized place (“Un Altra Volta” seems to be the best in Buenos).

For lovers of Ice Cream: Argentinean Dulce de Leche

There is a good chance that you will become ice-cream lover. Keep in mind – these goodies came here with Italian immigrants and since then the recipes were only improved (many consider Italian ice-creams as the best in the world, but this is only because they never visited Argentina).

  • Chocolate – in all its forms, be it a drink, a tablet, candies, ice-cream or cake like the famous “mousse de chocolate” is very popular in Argentina. In some areas like for example Bariloche (Patagonian Lake District in the province of Rio Negro) chocolaterias seem to be the most popular stores offering also “in-place” consumption. No wonder that Bariloche Lake District is often called “the Little Switzerland”. Obviously it is not only due to the lakes! The bottom line is – if you have a chance to try the “mousse au chocolate” then go for it!

Sweets in Argentina: Hot chocolate and mousse of chocolate in Rapa-Nui

Chocolateria in Bariloche - Rapa-Nui

It looks so good that my wife took a "bite" before I was able to take the picture :-) 

  • Drinking Coffee – seems to be a national sport in Argentina (of course soccer is still the “king”).

Argentina indisputable facts: Cafe con leche con - well, this time "mousse au chocolate". Please note that typically medialunas (croissants) will be served for morning breakfast)

Most coffee houses serve it with medialunas (croissants) and a glass of water (cafe con leche con medialuna). Cafeterias are on every corner, often expending on sidewalks. And this adds to the coffee fiesta as there is nothing better than coffee’s aroma stimulating your sense of smell combined with a fresh croissant, local newspaper (diario) and the street life unfolding in front of you….

I hope that this page of Argentina Facts and Pictures offered you a lot of useful information about Argentina and Buenos Aires. But this is just the beginning.

If you want to read more travels tips to prepare yourself for vacation in Argentina then please select one of the following links:

Public Transport in Argentina (page 2)

Security and Financial Tips in Argentina (page 3)

Capital of Argentina - Buenos Aires  (page 4)

Buenos Aires People (page 5)

Not sure yet where to go and what to see in Argentina? You may find help selecting: Tourist Destinations in Argentina

However if you are falling in love with Buenos Aires (I do not blame you for that as it happened to me) then please select: Buenos Aires Walking Tours

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