The City of Buenos Aires is the capital of the Argentine Republic and is located in the southern hemisphere. The city extends on a plain and has 202 square kilometers (78.3 sq miles). Approximately 3 million people live in this city. Including the metropolitan area, the total population of Buenos Aires is above ten millions, making it one of the 10 most populated urban centers in the world. The Río de la Plata and the Riachuelo are the natural borders of the city on the east and south, respectively.
The climate of Buenos Aires is mild all year round. July is the coldest month. In summer, the weather is hot and humid. Mornings are warm and during midday and the first hours of the afternoon, the temperature rises. At night, temperature goes down slightly, so people may wear light clothes; coats are not needed. You may visit the city all the year round. January (summer) is the most tranquil month since many residents are on vacation, but the cultural offer is still abundant and varied.
Buenos Aires was founded twice: the first foundation was in 1536. Don Pedro de Mendoza, a Spanish colonizer, established the first settlement. He named it Ciudad del Espíritu Santo y Puerto Santa María del Buen Ayre. The second, and final, foundation was in 1580. Juan de Garay called the site Ciudad de Trinidad.
In the 19th. century, the port was the arrival point for the great migratory wave promoted by the Argentine State to populate the nation. Spanish, Italian, Syrian-Lebanese, Polish and Russian immigrants provided Buenos Aires with the cultural eclecticism that is so characteristic of the city.
During the 20th. century, successive immigrations - from the provinces, other Latin American countries and Eastern countries – completed the picture of Buenos Aires as a cosmopolitan city in which people with different cultures and religions live together.
Buenos Aires has always been an open-door city. Its inhabitants are called porteños, which makes reference to the fact that the city is a port.
Porteños are warm and hospitable. The characteristic infusion is the mate. It is prepared by pouring warm water into a gourd, also called mate that contains yerba mate. Some people add sugar, but most prefer "un amargo" (a mate without sugar).
The official language is Spanish.
Argentina recognizes the freedom of worship. The official religion is that of the Roman Catholic Church.
Vaccination is neither obligatory nor necessary to visit Buenos Aires since the city is safe from the sanitary viewpoint. The public water supply is reliable.
Public hospitals -available for tourists- offer a 24-hour emergency service, without charge. The ambulance emergency service is also for free.
The time zone corresponds to GMT-3 and currently no change is made in the summer months. Activity in Buenos Aires starts in the first hours of the day and extends until late at night. This city has lost the habit of siesta – a nap after midday -, which is still the custom in the interior of the country.
Shops are open Monday through Fridays, from 9 am to 8 pm, and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm; however, shops located in important avenues are open on Saturday afternoon. In shopping centers, hours usually extend until 10 pm, including Saturdays and Sundays.
Banks open at 10 am and close at 3 pm (some banks extend their closing time to 4 pm). Cash extractions and other transactions may be made in ATMs, 24 hours a day.
The Argentine currency is the peso ($).
The U.S. dollar and the euro are the most common foreign currency. Banks and “casas de cambio” (currency exchange offices), where you must present your passport, exchange foreign currency.
The exchange rate in Argentina is very convenient for the foreign tourist.
The U.S. dollar and euro are accepted in many shops, but it is convenient to exchange them for pesos in exchange offices or banks.