Essential BA survival kit

The most important tips on how to survive in Buenos Aires:



CHE
You will hear that a lot. It’s an informal expression to call attention on people.

Che, where is the hotel? A way of addressing someone without saying his/her name. Also keep in mind that what they speak is Castellano, not Spanish. They use “vos” instead of “tu” as an informal addressing.

They tend to speak very fast, so don’t panic if after those Spanish classes you don’t seem to understand a word. Its been said that what they speak is Spanish with an Italian accent. Judge for yourself!

Safety

Like in any other big city (a population of 11 million people) all tourist should take precautions.

Lonely walks in poorly lit streets should be avoided. Argentineans talk very fast, and unfortunately pick pockets are quite fast too! If you want to see the rhythm of the underworld in Buenos Aires I recommend you to see the Argentinean movie “9 reinas” ( 9 queens). Although it’s a couple of years old, it’s quite realistic. Recently the local police has been reinforce with a lot of new agents. Tourist had increased in the last years, and its safety its and important matter. Take the usual precautions and you will be fine.

Currency and rate of exchange

The Argentine currency is the peso ($). There are $100, $50, $20, $10, $5 and $2 notes.

You can also find 1, 0, 50, 0.25, 0, 10 and 0,05 cent coins ( or “centavos”).

Shops accept credit cards and dollars. Look for “casas de cambio”(currency Exchange offices) to make the exchange. To everyday transactions its better to use pesos.

After the 2001 devaluation of the peso (before it was 1 dollar=1 peso), the tourist got a very good rate exchange. In the last couple of years, a bit of inflation affected the prices. So, expect cheap but not toooo cheap.

Should I remind that in touristy areas prices get higher?, Well,…the do!. Try not to go around with dollars or euros, and don’t stop taxis in the street. Get a “radio taxi” better.

But even with the “tourist rip off fares” you still find the city to be cheap.

Electric power

Don’t worry if you didn’t bring that adapter, the humidity in the air calls for a natural look anyway!. In Argentina the electric power is 220 volt, 50-cycle alternating current.

The power outlets have 2 cylindrical holes or two flat holes with ground connection.

Emergency

The ambulance emergencies service SAME, (free emergency ambulance service)

Public hospitals offer a 24 hour emergency service, without charge. Quite good the service, and many doctors speak English.

Weather

The climate is mild all year round. Tourist can enjoy walking around the city in any season. The medium annual temperature is 18º (around 64.4ºF).

Although frosts are rare, this last July we were able to see snow all over the “plaza de Mayo”. July is the coldest month, so an overcoat will be useful.

Phone calls and small shops

In Buenos Aires are many public telephone booths and they appear with regular coins. You can make local, national and international calls. The international code for Argentina its 54, and for Buenos Aires, 11.

You can also get phone cards in “QUIOSKOS”. Those small shops can sell from cold drinks and ice cream to tobacco or snacks.