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70th IFLA Conference Logo  

World Library and Information Congress:
70th IFLA General Conference and Council

"Libraries: Tools for Education and Development"

August 22th - 27th 2004, Buenos Aires, Argentina








About us - Argentina

Official Airline

How to get to Buenos Aires and travel around the city

Buenos Aires - The City

Habits and food

What is "tango"?




Travel and local information


From North to South and East to West, Argentina displays her marvellous natural scenery, mixed with special and distinctive architectural details and references to history and culture. Although it would be impossible for you to travel the entire country due to its vast territory and the long distances involved, a visit to just one of the regions will allow you to appreciate the magic of this country as well as the kindness and hospitality shown by its people to all foreign visitors.

Argentina has always opened her doors to all immigrants. At the beginning of the 20th century there were mostly Spaniards and Italians, together with English, Portuguese, Lebanese and Syrians, followed by French, Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, Armenians, Chinese and Koreans amongst others. A true melting pot, cosmopolitan and multifaceted, Argentina drew on the essence of each of these communities to build one of its own.

Its pampas and waterfalls, valleys and ravines, high mountains with permanent snows, glaciers and rivers, extensive seacoasts, everything, absolutely everything contributes towards making this country an attractive tourist destination.

Governmental System
Argentina has a presidential, republican, representative and federal government system. The country is divided into 23 provinces and one federal territory (the city of Buenos Aires) and each of them is self-governed.

Spanish is the official language. A vast majority of the population also speaks other languages, especially English (it is taught at school, beginning at the primary level), Italian, Portuguese and to a lesser extent French and German.

Argentina is a large country and therefore weather conditions vary considerably, ranging from tropical climate in the North to permanent snow in the southernmost part of the territory. Lately climate has not followed traditional patterns due to the influence of the Pacific currents.

The official religion is Roman Catholic. However, according to our Constitution, there is freedom of worship in Argentina. Therefore many other religions are practiced, including Protestantism, Islam, Greek Orthodox and Judaism.

According to the last census carried out by the National Institute on Statistics and Census (INDEC) in 2001, the total population in Argentina amounts to 36.224.000 persons, which includes 18.556.000 women and 17.668.000 men.

The country’s total area is 3,761,274 Km2. Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China, United States of America, Brazil, Australia and India.

The official currency in Argentina is the peso ($). Exchange of foreign money into local currency and vice versa is free and should preferably be done at an authorised exchange bureau or a bank.

Please be aware that most prices will be indicated with $, which means Argentine Peso. American Dollar prices are indicated with U$S or USD

Credit cards are widely accepted in all business transactions. Some stores apply a 10% surcharge over the cash value.

It is customary to leave 10% of the total bill as a tip at cafés, bars and restaurants.

The electricity used is of 220 v (volts) and 50Hz (Hertz).


As Official Airline for the World Library and Information Congress 2004, Aerolineas Argentinas offers special airfares to all registered participants on all its domestic and international routes.

For further information regarding flights and airfares, please contact the Call Centre in Buenos Aires by calling +(54)(11)0810-222-VOLAR (86527) or any of the branches abroad to the following Call Centres:

London: +(44)8456011915
Madrid: +(34)(91)335660, +(34)(91)902365747 (rest of Spain)
Miami: +(1)(305)6484100, +(1)(800)3330276 (rest of USA and Puerto Rico)
New York: +(1)800-3330276
Paris: +(33)820-040060

For further information on AEROLÍNEAS ARGENTINAS you can visit our web site at http://www.aerolineas.com.ar


VERY IMPORTANT - Information about flights

We suggest all delegates and accompanying persons interested in attending IFLA 2004 to reserve air plane tickets in advance! August is vacation time in the Northern Hemisphere and Buenos Aires has become a very important turistic centre.

Argentina is approximately 10,000 km away from European or American ports in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. This implies flying time is approximately 11 and a half hours from Madrid, 14 hours from Frankfurt or London, 9 and a half hours from Mexico and 14 hours from New York.

Argentina borders on Bolivia and Paraguay to the North, on the confluence of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to the South, on Brazil, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean to the East and on Chile to the West.

The Rio de la Plata and the Riachuelo are the natural boundaries of Buenos Aires city to the East and South while the rest of the metropolitan perimeter is surrounded by Avenida General Paz, which goes around the Northern and Eastern borders. This avenue joins the City with the Greater Buenos Aires, a large urban area that displays a high level of commercial and industrial activity.

International flights arrive at Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Ezeiza. The Airport is 35 km away from the city centre travelling mostly along highways so the transfer takes about 40 minutes. There is a bus service that, for a very reasonable price, operates every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour between the Airport and downtown hotels. There are banks, restaurants, exchange bureaus, tax-free shops and car rental services at the Airport terminal.

Domestic flights as well as some flights from Uruguay and Brazil arrive at Jorge Newbery Domestic Airport, located very near the city centre.

Buenos Aires is connected nationally and internationally through a comprehensive, wide-ranging transport network, an important harbour where cruise ships and ferry boats arrive, railway lines, highways, bus routes converge about one kilometre away from the city centre.

There are 150 bus lines known as "colectivos" that offer round-the-clock service. All buses have coin-operated ticket machines.

City taxis are painted yellow and black. There are many just travelling round the streets but you can also request this service by phone. The cost of the trip is the exact value shown on the meter. You may round up the amount/round off the cents but it is not customary to tip the driver.

Travelling around Buenos Aires is very simple. There are five subway (underground) lines, known as "subtes" and identified with the letters A, B, C, D and E, all of which converge in the heart of the city centre.

If you want to move around comfortably on your own, your best option is to rent a car. Buenos Aires offers a wide range of vehicles at affordable rates. You need to be over 21 years of age, have a valid driver's license issued at least two years ago and have a credit card to cover the full amount of the rental and collateral.


The main gateway to this fascinating country is the city of Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, covering an area of 202 Km2 and housing eleven million inhabitants (incorporating the suburbs known as Greater Buenos Aires) whereby it ranks as one of the ten most highly populated urban centres in the world.

Horacio Ferrer, a well-known poet, wrote the lyrics of a famous tango which was set to music by Astor Piazzola and began by saying "There's something about the streets of Buenos Aires...have you noticed?".

Tourists love Buenos Aires and its many different "looks": melancholic, fun, traditional, modern, passionate and delightful but above all, its pleasant manner and fraternity.

The climate in Buenos Aires - oceanic temperate - is mild all year round. There is no frost in winter (between June 21 and September 20). Average temperature is 10º C. So please dress warmly!

The heaviest rainfall occurs during autumn and spring.

Business Hours
Banks: Mondays to Fridays from 10.00 to 15.00. Withdrawals and other transactions can be done at cash dispensers (ATM's) available round the clock.
Shops: Mondays to Fridays from 09.00 to 20.00 and Saturdays from 09.00 am to 13.00.
Shopping Arcades / Malls: Daily from 10.00 to 22.00.

City "Neighbourhoods"
There is a very close relationship between our neighbourhoods and literature, so you can get to know most neighbourhoods through some of our great Argentine writers. Jorge Luis Borges, Leopoldo Marechal, Julio Cortázar, Osvaldo Soriano and Roberto Arlt, have related some of these neighbourhood peculiarities and secrets hidden in dark corners. One of the clearest examples is San Telmo, one of the oldest areas of the city, home of poets, artists, antique shops and Bohemians.

La Boca, with its brightly coloured houses, hosts the stadium of the most popular football team where Maradona, the famous Argentine (and international) football player, took his first steps in this sport. You can take a walk around classy, noble Recoleta to appreciate its attractive contrasts. Beneath the sunny winter sky (which is not as harsh as it is in the Northern hemisphere), you can sit under the trees, next to the lake at Palermo Park. A visit to the Rio de la Plata riverside is a must, offering a wide variety of dining options and an incredible nightlife. You should also include the banking and business district in the city centre. There are several shopping arcades and options in each neighbourhood. Currently the rate of exchange is extremely favourable for foreign visitors and you will be able to buy handicrafts and antiques as well as modern and exclusive products at very affordable prices.

Buenos Aires has always been known for its cultural life. There are innumerable options for entertainment through visits to museums, cinemas, theatres and different shows. Currently there are 175 theatres and 200 cinemas.

The Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra offer free concerts. Famous local and foreign artists perform at recitals that are frequently organized at one of our football stadiums.

Museums and art galleries are open to the public most days for several hours. There are over 100 including private and public entities. One of the most outstanding ones is the internationally famous Fine Arts Museum where admission is free almost every day. Other traditional Museums include the Decorative Art, Spanish American Art, Isaac Fernandez Blanco, and Modern Art Museums. The newest museum is MALBA (Buenos Aires Latin American Art Museum), whose doors opened in 2000.

Craft fairs are one of the most picturesque proposals. Caminito street museum, where 62 plastic arts artists exhibit their work outdoors, is one of the best of its kind worldwide.

As you will get to know Buenos Aires, a fine thread that connects the city's history and daily life slowly emerges. You can enjoy a "cortado" (coffee with a dash of milk) at one of the many cafés, which are meeting places where bohemian mysteries and dreams lie hidden, while listening to a tango being played in the background. For many foreigners, Buenos Aires "is" tango, a melancholic, sensual music that will captivate you and incite you to dance (even if you don't exactly know the right steps...)


"Asado" (barbecue) is the traditional local meal and preparing it is a real ritual. Many people find the classic flavour of the "bife de chorizo" (special beef cut similar to strip sirloin or entrecote) or the special "achuras" (spicy sausage) irresistible.

Argentines share food, coffee and mate (an tea made with mate leaves, a devotion shared with our Uruguayan neighbours) while they talk about a bit of everything: politics, economy, "popular saints" such as Gardel, Evita or Maradona who reappear in stories past, present and future. Most of all, however, they talk about football (soccer), the sport that gathers crowds together and sparks off colour, fun and passion. Argentines are also internationally famous as polo, tennis and hockey players.

Courtesy and respect standards are mostly informal. Both men and women greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. Smiles, hugs, closeness when talking and gestures are common and friendly communication skills.

The most distinctive language features are the use of the pronoun "vos" instead of "tú" as the informal form of address for "you" and "che" (approximately equivalent to "hey, you") to speak to another person.

Only a few kilometres away from Buenos Aires you can find the "pampa", with its "estancias" (farms) where "gauchos" are breaking in horses. There you can enjoy peace and flat landscapes as well as horseback riding, local music, dancing and songs.

We are sure this will be an unforgettable Congress, not only because we trust our professional abilities and we love our city but also because we want to welcome the librarians from all over the world, for them to feel happy that this meeting is being held in this country of generous and educated people and outstanding natural beauty.


Tango is Buenos Aires’ authentic and unique cultural product with origins dating back to the end of the 19th century.

Poets like Celedonio Flores, Enrique Cadícamo, Homero Manzi and Enrique Santos Discépolo wrote lines describing their lives and dreams. Musicians like Aníbal Troilo, Osvaldo Pugliese and Juan D’Arienzo shaped orchestras to their personal style for the delight of dancers who followed its rhythm in clubs and tearooms. Major singers like Carlos Gardel (undoubtedly the best known of all), Alberto Castillo, Floreal Ruiz, Alberto Morán and so many others were the voice of people for whom Buenos Aires was the place in the world, and tango its cosmovision.

Years later, the talent of Astor Piazzola and the irresistible seduction of major dancers like Juan Carlos Copes, Virulazo or Miguel Angel Zotto catapulted tango to the world and set free a contagious passion that goes beyond frontiers and languages but recognizes Buenos Aires as the tango’s world capital.

Presently, tango is heard and played all over the world, but it is mostly danced. Fervently, thousands of fans practice on dance floors to grasp those steps that seem "walks in couples".

With an attractive history and a vital present, this city welcomes its librarian friends. And there aren’t many differences between its history and that of the tango. Corrientes Avenue, the traditional bars of Avenida de Mayo, the Colon Theatre, the streets of Borges and Cortazar, La Boca, San Telmo and Recoleta. Every corner of Buenos Aires holds an anecdote, a legend or a building connected to the tango. And above all, the porteño quality that confirms tango is a culture, despite its artistic nature. A culture alive in records and stages, but also in books and the plastic arts, the cadence of our steps, an intonation, the gesture of a greeting…

This culture makes Buenos Aires vibrant and renewed, day after day, night after night, while its music seems to be lingering around every corner like a warm invitation.

Perhaps tango is just that: the best excuse for those coming from afar to feel the city’s embrace and warmth.


Latest Revision: May 12, 2004 Copyright ©
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