In Argentina, cash is king. Given the several financial problems in the last decades, Argentinians make most of their daily transactions in cash. Many places don’t take credit cards and unfortunately there are very high commissions for taking cash out of the ATM. This is quite annoying for travellers visiting our country who are usually used to pay everything with credit card or just take cash out of the ATM. Many places take credit cards, such as hotels or big stores obviously, but you have to know that many restaurants, small shops or services such as taxis, vendors, etc. won’t have a system for credit card payments.
Our recommendation: bring US dollars cash. Argentines save in US dollars because of the Argentinian peso instability, so many places accept pesos or dollars for payments and maybe you can get good deals if you pay in dollars (thus avoiding exchange money fares). For using pesos, you should change at an exchange house. Finally, if you sit down at a restaurant and are willing to pay with credit card be sure to ask if they are accepting credit cards before you order. Remember, bringing cash makes much better deal than using ATMS!!
GET THE SUBE CARD FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Buenos Aires has a good public transport system to visit most tourist sites. The metro is easy to navigate and people are friendly and willing to help you getting around.
What you must know is that to use all public transport in Buenos Aires, you will need a plastic magnetic card called SUBE (stands for Only electronic ticket system). Without this card you won’t be able to pay for any public transport such as metro or bus.
To get the card is pretty easy, as you can buy it at metro stations or in many shops. Once you buy it you must top it up, and once done you can use start using it!. The SUBE card is not personal, meaning it is not attachted to your identity or person and you can give it to another person, use one card for many users or even lend it to a friend once you leave the city. For more info please read our article on how to get around Buenos Aires!
TIPPING WAITERS AT THE RESTAURANT and TABLE SERVICE FEES
In Argentina people tip waiters at restaurants and cafes. A normal tip is considered to be around 10% (this is not mandatory and related to the quality of the service you received). Tipping is always in cash and never included in the bill, most people will leave the tip at the table before leaving the place. IMPORTANT: in many restaurants you will find a “table service” (or “cubierto” in Spanish) fee included in the bill. You must know this is NOT the waiters tip but the cost of the breadbasket, butter, and other stuff normally served for you to eat when you sit down at the table. Some places don’t charge it, but most do. The “cubierto” will always be charged no matter you don’t even touch the bread basket. Normally the “cubierto” or table service is not very expensive but you should check the price on the menu (sometimes written somewhere in the first pages) or ask the waiter.
Finally, though people tip in restaurants and cafes, argentines normally do not tip at bars.
BUENOS AIRES HAS MANY FREE ACTIVITIES TO ENJOY
Buenos Aires is a very cultured city and has a wide offer of concerts, shows and events for free. You can check concerts of tango, local folklore, classical music, at the CCK Cultural Center a wonderful venue worth a visit right in the city center. Most national museums are free (or charge ridiculously cheap fee) and places such as churches or government buildings can be visited for free.
For discovering our city history and culture, you can also join one of our free walking tours clicking here! . Free walking tours are definitely one of the best ways of knowing our city.
PEOPLE GO OUT LATE!
If you are coming to our city for enjoying night life you must know we go out late!! While in many countries people will have dinner at around 6 or 7pm, Argentines normally do it at around 9 or 9.30 pm (during weekends we can even push It to 10 or 10.30 pm!). This means that if you get to a restaurant at around 6 o 7 it will absolutely empty or in many cases closed (many restaurant open at 8pm for dinner). If you find a bar crowded at 6 or 7, it is an after-office pub (which just get people on week days) and people won’t stay till very late. Most local will go out after having dinner (normally after 11pm) and head to the bar to meet their friends (or meet at a friend’s house for drink) and finally if going to a dancing club they will get here at round 2am and dance all night long till the sun rises.