Behaving like a Porteño is a list of attitudes, behaviors or actions that will make you blend in with the locals of the city.
Are you ready to learn to be a Porteño? Here we go:
- INFORMALITY IS THE RULE.
Argentines are very open people and like chatting a lot. It is normal to engage in conversation when buying something, taking a cab or any situation. It is common for people that you just met to tell you things about their family, friends or are willing to hear about your feelings, thoughts or whatever you want to share with them. While in some countries this can be rude, in Argentina it is very normal. Just take it easy and know it is not mandatory to share back!
- CROSSING STREETS
Argentinians are not very polite drivers. If you are coming from a country where people won’t blow the horn of their cars or gently stop at every zebra line, get ready for adventure!
It won’t take you long to know the rules: 1) The yellow light at the traffic light means: go faster! 2) If there is no traffic light at a corner, cars go first. This means that cars won’t stop to let you go first even if there is a zebra lines. This is just how it works, pay attention and I won’t be big deal. 3) There are many corners where there is no pedestrian traffic light. In that case you must use logic: pay attention to the cars light and deduce when to cross!
We recommend that you cross as carefully as possible, avoiding using your cell phone when you do it, always on the pedestrian paths if there are any and looking both ways, because in Buenos Aires, there are many cyclists too!
- GETTING ON BUSES
While quite disorganized in many matters, argentines have strict rules for getting on the bus. First, you can only get on a bus by using the front door as doors at the back are used for people getting off. For this reason people make a line at the bus stop and will get on the bus one by one (In some countries people get on the bus from any door in any order). This line is sacred and you must never try to get on the bus in any other way or people will literally hate you!
It is expected that you leave your sit to the elder, disabled or women with babies, so please do it.
Finally, don´t forget to get the sube card for public transport (check this article)!
Argentinians are informal and greet with kisses in the cheek. This can be very shocking mostly for foreign men who never kiss. When you get to a friend’s house or party, people you don’t know will greet you with a kiss in the cheek no matter they have never seen you before. Don’t panic and let yourself go. Handshakes are considered cold and too formal, and might be used just for work relationships or only between men. Greeting a woman with a handshake is considered to be awkward in Argentina.
- FEEL FREE TO PET STRANGER’S DOGS
Locals love dogs!! We have the highest dog owning rate in Latin America!! You will see thousands of people walking their dogs, dog parks and many dog walkers in the streets!! People are used to strangers petting or greeting their dogs in the street so if you like a dog just ask for permission (most locals don’t ask for permission but we recommend you do it) and go for it!