Useful tips in Argentina
Language: Spanish is the official language in Argentina but English is spoken in many restaurants, hotels and stores.
Currency: The official currency is the Argentinian peso ($ or AR$). It is recommended that you purchase Argentinian pesos upon arrival at Ezeiza International Airport. There can be quite a difference in exchange rates between the official US$ to AR$ and the rate “in the streets”, but we do not recommend to change money outside official exchange agencies. Many vendors will accept American Dollars but bear in mind that they may not offer optimal exchange rates. Most credit cards are accepted in stores, restaurants and hotels.
Electricity: The electrical power supply in Argentina is 220 V, 50 Hz. The official standard for plugs and sockets (outlets) is the Type I (also used in Australia, New Zealand and China). However, older buildings may have the Type C Europlug type.
Climate and clothes: Due to the extended territory there is a variety of climates in the country, from tropical in the North to very cold in the South. The average high temperature in Bariloche for early December is around 20ºC, usually not higher than 25ºC, and nights may turn cool (as low as 5ºC if it is windy). Although historically we can expect dry and sunny days, be prepared for the ocasional rain (or even a light snowfall!). Definitely check the long range forecast the week before the Workshop to get the final idea.
Groceries and shopping: There is a small convenience store 300 m from the Hotel, and the closest big commercial area is located 10 km away. You will find most shopping stores along Bariloche's main street called “Mitre”, including shops selling souvenirs and Argentinian products such as mate (similar to tea), wines, chocolates, leather goods, local hand-crafts, etc. Bariloche is well-known for its chocolate shops.
Tax refund: Foreign tourists can claim a refund of the IVA (VAT or consumer's tax) on Argentinian goods purchased in Argentina (minimum amount is AR$70). Ask for a “type B” ticket or invoice (“Factura B”) along with the Global Refund Check which should state the amount of the refund. Before leaving the country present these papers to be sealed by Customs and obtain your refund.
Water Supply: Tap water is good to drink in most of the country, including Buenos Aires and Bariloche. As usual, people with a history of digestive problems should exercise caution as the bacterial flora in the water might be quite different from home. Bottled water is readily available everywhere.
Health: There is a variety of hospitals and private clinics in the city. All visitors are advised to have a valid international insurance before coming to Argentina.
Security Advices: Bariloche and Buenos Aires, being international tourist destinations, are safe cities. For the same reason, the incidence of pickpockets and "opportunity thieves" are higher than usual. Of course, as you would do at home, you need to be careful but not paranoid. Watch your valuables. Do not leave purses, cell phones or laptops unattended or laying in plain sight (even inside cars). Avoid walking in dark, solitary areas. Do not exchange money in the streets or with taxi drivers. Preferably call a cab or take radio-cabs when in the streets, and pay with Argentinian pesos. If possible, try to leave your passport and valuables at your hotel's safe and carry another ID (driver license or passport photocopy) with you.