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Argentina Etiquette


Dress Etiquette

Argentines favor chic, fitted, European-style clothing, so the traveler who wants to blend in might steer clear of baggy shorts, flip-flops, tattered clothing, and other gringo telltale signs.

Argentines also tend to dress up quite a bit for a night on the town, with leather shoes or heels, structured pants, and accessories. Women look after their grooming, with manicured hair and makeup.

Travelers need not worry about bringing nice clothing with them, as the shopping in Buenos Aires is great, and inexpensive, fashionable, and good-quality clothing, especially leather, is readily available.


Dining and Social Gathering Etiquette

Dinner is eaten quite late in Argentina, with restaurants filling up around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. Standard tipping in restaurants is 10%. Even if you are starving and can’t wait until dinner, avoid eating in the street or on public transportation – it is considered rude.

If invited to a party, always arrive between half an hour and an hour late. Like in many parts of South America, the host doesn’t actually expect you to come on time, and if you do, it is considered impolite. If female, greeting everyone in the room with a kiss on the cheek is common practice. If male, kisses for the women and handshakes for the men.

Good conversation topics at parties or social gatherings include soccer, history, culture, home and family. Conversation topics that are best avoided with people you do not know well, unless they bring them up first, include the Dirty War, the Falkland Islands conflict, and religion.

The ever-popular Mate tea may be offered to you by new friends or acquaintances -- do not refuse it, as this is an ice-breaker and a social ritual. Keep in mind that bitter, strong Mate can be a bit of an acquired taste!


Especially for Women

Solo female travelers will notice that Argentine men can be very forward. Some nightclubs in particular can feel like meat-markets, with men ogling every woman who comes through the door, sometimes to an annoying degree. Women often get whistled at or cat-called while walking down the street. The best practice to deflect this unwanted attention is to ignore them and keep walking.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Argentina: Tips for Budget Travelers, Ushuaia Services, What’s in A Name?, Health & Safety in Argentina, Safety, Highlights, When to Go, Safety, Crossing into Brazil and El Calafate Restaurants.

By Nili Larish
I'm a reader, a writer, and a traveler, the kind of gal who likes to get as filthy as possibly on a camping trip, and then spend hours in the bathtub...
22 Feb 2008

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