Do's and Don'ts in Argentina

Argentina Etiquette Tips

Did you know that showing up on time to someone's house for a party in Argentina is actually considered rude? If you're invited to a party that starts at 9 PM, no need to rush to be there on time! In fact, you should show up between 30 to 60 minutes late, and even showing up 2 to 3 hours late is normal and sometimes expected.

Argentina is a unique country in that most of the locals are of Italian, Spanish, or French decent and their etiquette and traditions are shaped by the cultures all of those countries. You'll find that the people there are generally very laid-back, but in order to blend in and respect Argentina, it's wise to follow their etiquette.

1. Dress Attire

  1. DO dress well. Argentina is a very fashion conscious country. Conservative and modest clothing is ideal.
  2. DON'T wear clothes that is ripped or baggy if you want to blend in with the locals. Avoid flip-flops for this reason, too.
  3. DO dress up for a night on the town.
  4. DO avoid wearing soccer jerseys, especially of rivals. Argentines are serious soccer fans, so wearing a rival's jersey can be asking for trouble!

2. Table Manners

  1. DON'T eat on the street or on public transportation.
  2. DON'T talk about business during a meal unless an Argentine business associate brings it up first.
  3. DO remember that dinner is eaten late in Argentina. People will usually have dinner at 9 or 10 PM.
  4. DON'T pour wine for others, if you can avoid it. There is a ritual associated with pouring wine in Argentina, so it's best to let an Argentine do it.
  5. DO cross your fork and knife to show that you are finished eating.

3. Tipping

  1. DO tip 10% at restaurants.
  2. DON'T tip a taxi driver unless they help you carry your luggage or provide another extra service like that.
  3. DO tip a movie theater usher 50 centavos.
  4. DO tip one peso per bag to hotel porters.

4. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DON'T give clothes or other items that might be considered personal.
  2. DO open your gift right away and show your gratitude.
  3. DO give gifts such as flowers, candy, pastries, chocolate, or imported liquor.

5. Body Gestures

  1. DON'T make the ‘OK' sign or give a ‘thumbs up.' Bother of those are considered vulgar.

6. Greetings

  1. DO shake someone's hand when greeting someone you haven't met before.
  2. DO kiss on the cheek when greeting someone you've met before and upon departing. This type of greeting is traditional among and between both men and women.

7. Socializing and Conversation

  1. DON'T be offended by Argentine humor which can sometimes be insulting, such as poking fun at your appearance, weight, or attire. It's all in good fun.
  2. DON'T compare Argentina with the U.S. or Brazil. This could be considered rude.
  3. DON'T talk about Great Britain, The Falkland Islands, or the Peróns. Those are all very sensitive topics and could evoke strong reactions.
  4. DON'T participate in discussions that include politics or religion. Argentines are often vocal about those subjects, but as a foreign guest, you should steer clear of putting in your two cents.
  5. DO participate in conversations about your personal life. Argentines may begin asking you personal questions right after meeting you. By being unresponsive, it could show disinterest in the conversation and the person you are talking to.

8. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DO show up between thirty to sixty minutes late if invited to a party. Showing up on time is considered impolite!
  2. DO bring a gift for your hosts.
  3. DON'T rest your feet on the furniture.

9. Business Meeting

  1. DO make small talk before discussing business.
  2. DO develop a personal relationship with potential business associates before engaging in business together.
  3. DO expect several meetings to take place before a decision is made.
  4. DO stay relaxed at a business meeting.
  5. DON'T be late, but do expect to be kept waiting.
  6. DO note that business happens at a much slower pace in Argentina than in the U.S.

10. Tango Dance Etiquette

  1. DON'T hang around the dance floor if you're not dancing.
  2. DON'T stay in a high-traffic dance area if you're trying to show someone a new step. Move to a corner or off the dance floor completely.
  3. DON'T stop in the outer lane while dancing. Those are the faster lanes on the dance floor and the slower lanes are in the middle.
  4. DON'T talk too much while dancing.
  5. DO bring a towel if you sweat a lot, or even consider bringing an extra shirt to change into if you get really sweaty.
  6. DO dress nicely. Don't wear jeans, sneakers, or other casual attire. Tango is an elegant dance and you should dress appropriately!

Impress your friends and colleagues in Argentina by showing off how much etiquette you know! Especially when it comes to socializing and business etiquette, be prepared. Have a wonderful trip to Argentina!

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