Planning a trip to Argentina? Good for you. From its sandy beaches and bustling cities to the unspoiled beauty of Patagonia, there’s a lot to do and see. Preparing for an Argentinian vacation is a key part of the process. You’ve got to research and decide which parts of the country you want to see. It’s important to make sure that you pick the right time of year. Perhaps the most crucial of all, and often overlooked, is the need to understand Argentina culture. Developing some knowledge of the culture of Argentina and its people will help you make the most of your trip.
Don’t know the first thing about Argentina culture? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Argentina culture 101: What you need to know
Let’s establish a few basics first, shall we? Argentina is a republic with a population of more than 43 million people. The majority of people in Argentina are white and of European descent, mostly from Spain and Italy. Argentinian people are often said to be culturally more like Europeans than Latin Americans. The official language in Argentina is Spanish, though the local dialect differs from the Spanish they speak in Spain. If you don’t speak Spanish, you should be OK: There are plenty of other languages widely spoken here, including English and Italian.
Religion in Argentina culture
The official religion in Argentina is Roman Catholic, though freedom of religion is assured by the country’s constitution. Other religions, notably Islam, are also popular and practised relatively widely.
Family in Argentina culture
Family values are central to life and culture in Argentina. This applies to immediate families as well as wider, extended families. The men and women at the head of the family command a great deal of respect, and notions of respect and honour are crucial in Argentina culture. Younger generations look up to their parents, grandparents and other authority figures with respect and admiration. At the same time, older generations have a responsibility to look after the younger ones and to provide for them.
Families spend a lot of time together, particularly at meal times. On that note…
Food and dining in Argentina culture
It’s not customary to arrive on time for dinner in Argentina. Instead, dinner guests should to arrive between half an hour and 45 minutes later than the indicated time. However, dining at somebody’s home is a special occasion, so guests are expected to dress up a little. Black tie is not exactly essential, but gentlemen should wear a jacket and tie and ladies a skirt or dress. Table manners are important, follow the host’s lead before eating, and where possible don’t pour wine for yourself or anybody else.
Communication in Argentina culture
Spanish is the official language. If you can speak it, do so. If you’ve got a few words here and there, give it a try. The locals will appreciate it. Many people in Argentina can speak English, or Italian or German. You should get by without much trouble, particularly in big cities and tourist areas. It’s worth knowing that Argentinian people are quite physical communicators. They’re direct, expressive and it’s not unusual to gesticulate or come into close physical contact as they talk to you.