Culture and Customs in Argentina

Visiting a foreign country means mixing with a new culture. Every culture has its own etiquette, protocol and customs which if not understood can cause offense or embarrassment. Here we offer some tips on culture and customs in Argentina.

An important element of the local culture revolves around dress. The dress code in Argentina is fairly formal and Argentineans take pride in their appearance and efforts are made to look presentable at all times. Fashion is considered important and the latest European styles are usually worn. In restaurants, it is common for men to wear a suit and tie for the occasion.

You will be judged in Argentina in respect to the clothes you are wearing and your personal hygiene. It is therefore good etiquette to make efforts to look presentable. Men should avoid wearing body piercings like earrings as this is frowned upon in Argentina and may draw a degree of negative attention to the person concerned. It is not custom to wear shorts outside of the capital, so again, you should avoid wearing them where necessary.

If shopping for clothes in Argentina, you will find that clothes are typically marked as small, medium or large. However, you may on occasion find European measurements. It may be useful for you therefore, to gain an understanding of European clothes measurements prior to visiting Argentina if it is possible that you will be shopping for clothes.

Etiquette in Argentina:

Etiquette is polished in Argentina and the people are typically very polite. Efforts should be made to reflect the same levels of politeness and adhere to local customs where possible.

As an example, men should always remove headwear when entering offices or other formal establishments in Argentina and say “con permiso” (excuse me) upon entry. First encounters in such establishments are typically followed by a shaking of hands.

People in Argentina do not give the same importance to orderly queuing as many other countries. Although this may be frustrating, it is important that you remain polite and do not display any anger.

Giving Money to Beggars in Argentina:

When giving money to beggars in Argentina, it is advised not to give money to children. Personal discretion should then be used in determining whether or not to give money to adults. As in all countries, there is a tendency for tourist rich areas to attract individuals who are not genuine beggars. It is wise therefore to look and see whether locals are giving individuals money prior to deciding whether or not to do so yourself.

Safety in Argentina:

The same safety tips apply in Argentina as apply anywhere in the world. It is comforting that, although crime is on the rise in large cities in Argentina, it is typically lower than in cities in other countries with equitable population numbers.

Key tips however to help guard your security in Argentina include the following:

Don’t leave any valuables on show in your car when your car is unattended and when driving, ensure that all the car doors are locked.
Do not walk around the city with your money / passport clearly visible.
Do not show large amounts of cash when making purchases.
Do not walk alone in deserted areas late at night.
Do not leave your belongings unattended whilst checking in at a hotel.
Beware of pickpockets.

Read – Social Customs in Argentina for more information.