"Is Argentina one of the Best Countries to Retire and Live in?"
Argentina (official name Argentine Republic) (official name in Spanish Republica Argentina) is a large, elongated country in the southern part of South America, neighbouring countries being Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay to the north, Uruguay to the north east and Chile to the west. In the east Argentina has a long South Atlantic Ocean coastline.
Top Cities to visit in Argentina:
The largest cities are:
* Buenos Aires or "Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires", usually called Capital Federal to distinguish it from the province of Buenos Aires.
* Córdoba, second largest.
* La Plata, capital of the most important state, and known as "the perfect city" for its tracing.
* Mendoza, fourth largest, well known for its extensive and high quality wine production.
* Rosario, third largest city.
* San Juan, the tenth largest city, capital of the province of San Juan, and a center of quality wine production.
There are also a lot of medium-sized towns, like
* Bahía Blanca
* Comodoro Rivadavia
* Concepción del Uruguay
* Mar del Plata
* Río Gallegos
* Santa Fe
* Villa Gesell
The climate of Argentina:
Buenos Aires and the Pampas are temperate; cold in the winter, hot and humid in the summer.
The deserts of Cuyo are extremely hot and dry in the summer and moderately cold and dry in the winter. Spring and fall often exhibit rapid temperature reversals; several days of extremely hot weather may be followed by several days of cold weather, then back to extremely hot.
The Andes are cool in the summer and very cold in the winter, varying according to altitude.
Patagonia is cool in the summer and cold in the winter. Extreme temperature shifts within a single day are even more common here; pack a variety of clothes and dress in layers.
Don't forget that seasons are reversed from those of the Northern Hemisphere.
How to get around in Argentina:
During the last years the Argentinian government promoted the re-establishment of long distance passenger trains. Most lines still operate on a low frequency (one or two departures weekly). The rail network is very limited, intercity buses offer better service and faster rides. Trains fare are very cheap - often only a fourth of the bus fare.
One of the major operators is Ferrobaires. See also Satélite Ferroviario for up-to-date information on trains and services (in Spanish). ferrocentral departes from buenos aire weekly to tucuman and twice per week to cordoba.
An amazing train ride is the Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) in the northwestern province of Salta, but some people get altitude-sick. In addition, this train has currently not running. It should start running sometime in 2007 after proper repairs.
Domestic flights are available within Argentina, but tickets are pricey, and most domestic flights pass through Buenos Aires' domestic airport Aeroparque Jorge Newbery. The main carriers are Aerolíneas Argentinas LAN Argentina . Aerolíneas Argentinas' subsidiary Austral, which shares its parents fleet, and tickets of the two can be booked at the same office.
If you fly on your international trip to Argentina with Aerolíneas you always get discounts on domestic flights. Sometimes you even get free flights with your international ticket but keep in mind that you pay it with your international ticket...
Argentina boasts an outstanding short and long-distance bus network. Since regional train service is limited and plane tickets are expensive, bus travel is the most common way to travel from city to city within Argentina. In Buenos Aires, a city bus is called a colectivo while a long distance, city-to-city bus is called a micro; usage varies somewhat in provincial areas. The hub of this network is definitely Buenos Aires' Terminal de Omnibus Retiro; it has 2,000 bus arrivals and departures every day, and multiple companies serve most destinations.
The buses generally offer high-quality service, and for distances longer than 200km, it is common to have food served on board. There is generally a good amount of legroom, and many buses have seats that recline horizontally into beds (camas) making them a lot like traveling business class on a plane. Somewhat cheaper seats only recline partially (semi-camas), or not at all (servicio comun).
Car rental is readily available throughout Argentina, though it is a bit expensive compared to other forms of transportation. Argentina generally recognizes valid drivers' licenses from foreign jurisdictions. Drivers must be over 21. The rental companies will charge the renters card arg$6000 to be used in the event of an accident. They cancel this charge when the car is returned. Be aware that the driving style in Argentina is much more aggressive and chaotic than in North America and non-Latin European countries. Speed limits and lane markings, for example, are universally ignored, and running red lights is common. Most drivers treat stop signs, octagonal red signs reading PARE, as though they were "yield" signs, though some drivers ignore them completely. Right of way is determined somewhat haphazardly by a combination of vehicle size and who arrives first. Make sure you are thoroughly confident in your driving skills before attempting to drive in Argentina.
Highways are limited to the areas around large cities. Most of the country is connected by paved unlit two-lane roads (rutas) shared by buses, cars, and large trucks. Some places are accessible only by gravel or dirt roads -- indeed, some main roads in southern Argentina are unsealed, leading to 4WD vehicles being more popular in the south.
On the rutas, in the provinces bordering other countries, the police frequently stop cars at controles policiales ("police checkpoints") to check insurance and registration papers and drivers' licenses. They do not stop all cars, though; when you come to a control policial, drive slowly and you will usually be waved through without stopping. Near provincial borders, these controles may also involve inspection of the trunk for contraband and a mandatory two peso fee for "disinfection" or "de-insectifying" the car's underside by driving it over a a mechanical sprayer that either sprays water or does nothing. The police have been known to set up roadblocks and demand bribes for passage, particularly around the city of Buenos Aires.
The current cost of fuel in central and southern Argentina is approximately 2 pesos per litre, and 1.6 pesos per litre in the north (prices 04/05/2007). Be aware that in many small towns, particularly in the north, they may ration fuel to ensure they have enough to sell until the next refuelling truck arrives, in which case you will only be allowed to buy 30 pesos worth of fuel at a time. It's advisable to fill your tank at regular intervals when the opportunity arises.
The hitchhiking club Autostop Argentina began in Argentina in 2002, inspired by clubs in France, Italy and the United States. As a result, hitchhiking has become more acceptable among the younger generation, and raising a thumb at a highway is a symbol most people understand.
The language of Argentina:
The official language is Spanish. The regional dialect, Voseo (Rioplatense Spanish), is subtly different from both the language of Spain and that of Central America; most notably, the pronoun "tu" is replaced by "vos" (with separate verb conjugations, sometimes significantly different for irregular verbs in present tense and informal Commands); "y", "ll"and "ch" are pronounced ranging from an English "sh" (in Buenos Aires and Patagonia) through a soft "zh" sound, to a sound like English "j" in Cuyo. The interjection "che" is extremely common and means approximately the same as English "hey!".Or also imply as a phrase known to someone you dont remember their names. Ex: "Oye Che,...." In the north the "rr" sound has a particular distinctive sound.
The Argentine accent evinces heavy Italian influence from the large influx of Italian immigrants. Hand gestures derived from Italian are extremely common, and many slang expressions are borrowed from Italian. Most locals can readily understand most Spanish dialects, and Portugese or Italian if spoken slowly. English is usually understood on at least a basic level in tourist-oriented places. German and French can be understood and to some extent spoken by small fractions of the population. A few places in Patagonia near Rawson have native Welsh speakers. Aboriginal languages still in use such: quechua, guarani, mataco and other.
Visitors who speak Spanish should be aware that many words and expressions which are considered obscene or insulting in other Spanish-speaking places are considered a normal part of everyday speech in Argentina. For instance, it is common to refer to one's friends as boludo ("big balls") or hijo de puta ("son of a whore") in Argentina, expressions that would be considered extremely rude in many other Spanish-speaking places.
The concept of political correctness does not exist in Argentina. Fat people are unapologetically addressed as "gordo", blacks as "negro", people who appear to be of American Indian descent as "Peruano" or "Boliviano" (regardless of their actual ancestry), anyone of Asian descent as "chino" or middle-easter as "turco" etc. Visitors should be aware that this sort of blunt address is considered normal in Argentina, and no insult is implied and is the result of immigratory mixture.
Stay safe in Argentina:
There is plenty of activity and foot traffic throughout the night. Nice areas have a very thorough police presence, perhaps one officer per 3 blocks, plus store security and auxiliary patrols. Public security in all major cities like Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario is handled by the Federal Police, the Urban Guard, and the National Gendarmerie or the Naval Prefecture, especially in the Puerto Madero area of Buenos Aires.
As in any large city, certain particular neighborhoods in Buenos Aires and other cities are very dangerous. Ask trusted locals, such as hotel desk staff or police officers, for advice. Pay attention to your environment and trust your instincts. If an area seems questionable, leave.
Many people in the street hand out small cards with horoscopes, lottery numbers, or cute drawings on them. If you take the card, the person will ask for payment. You can simply return the card along with a no, gracias. Persistent panhandlers are usually not dangerous; a polite but firm no tengo nada ("I don't have anything") is usually enough.
Most robberies are not violent; in most cases, if your wallet is stolen, you won't even notice until hours later. In the unlikely event that you are confronted by a mugger, simply hand over your valuables - they are replaceable. Watch out for pickpockets in the subway and on crowded city streets. Never hang your purse or bag from the back of your chair in a cafe or restaurant - stealthy theft from such bags is common. Keep your purse or backpack on the floor between your legs while you eat.
Popular demonstrations (piqueteros) are very common in Buenos Aires, and are best avoided by tourists as these demonstrations usually grow into violent confrontations with the police or National Gendarmerie, particularly as they approach the government buildings in the city center.
There are rogue taxis operating in Buenos Aires whose drivers kidnap and rob tourists and locals alike. If you take a taxi, it's best to have your hotel or business phone for a radio taxi. If you must hail one on the street, look for one with the lighted gear on the roof and the designation "Radio Taxi" next to a phone number. Try to have small bills ready, as you may receive counterfeits if you pay in large denominations.
It is recommended that you carry some ID with you, but not your original passport. A copy of it (easily provided by your own hotel) should be enough.
Ezeiza International Airport Security Warning
On July of 2007, Argentina's Canal 13 conducted an investigation revealing that a group of security operators at the airport are stealing valuable objects such as iPods, digital cameras, cellular phones, sun glasses, jewelry and laptops while scanning the checked luggage of passengers. According to the special report, security operators at the airport should check each bag before putting it into the plane; however, some operators take advantage of the scanner machine to detect valuable objects and steal them. The report states that this event occurs every day and that the stolen items include anything from electronic devices to perfumes and chocolates.
Travelers and residents using the Ezeiza airport are strongly encouraged to place high-value items in their carry-on luggage to prevent any incidents.
* Ambulance (Inmediate Health Emergency Service, SAME): 107
* Firemen (National Firemen Corps): 100
* Police (Argentine Federal Police): 101 (currently Argentina is implementing a 911 service, but at the time of this writing it is available only in a few cities, which include Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata)
* Tourist Police: (011) 4346-5748 / 0800-999-5000
Stay healthy in Argentina:
Visiting Argentina doesn't raise any major health worries. Certain vaccinations may be necessary for visitors, depending on where in Argentina you plan to visit. Yellow Fever vaccinations are recommended for those visiting the Northern forests. Different climate conditions might take your body by surprise, so be aware of the weather before you arrive. A bout of travellers' diarrhoea is the most you're likely to have to worry about as your body adjusts to local micro-organisms in the food. It's also best to ease yourself gently into the local diet – sudden quantities of red meat, red wine, strong coffee and sweet pastries can be very unsettling for a stomach used to gentler repasts – and though tap water in Argentina is safe to drink, if sometimes heavily chlorinated, you may prefer to err on the side of caution in rural areas in the north of the country.