Argentine Culture


Basic Etiquette

  • It is rude to walk through/between people who are conversing. If it is unavoidable, one should excuse themselves with the phrase ‘con permiso’ (‘with your permission), or simply ‘permiso’.
  • Hats are expected to be removed when entering buildings, houses, elevators and (among some men) when in the presence of women.
  • In public places or transport, it is common for people to offer their seats to the pregnant or elderly.
  • When approaching someone of authority (such as a police officer), one should always formally greet the official before asking questions.
  • Apart from formal work commitments, Argentines will often prioritise people and relationships rather than strictly adhere to time frames. Arriving late to an event is acceptable. However, if you will be considerably late (over an hour), it is polite to call and let someone know you are on your way.



  • It is common for Argentines to visit friends and relatives without making prior arrangements.
  • Argentines tend to enjoy hosting guests in the home. Typically, the host will offer their guests refreshments.
  • Except for formal occasions, guests are not expected to arrive at the designated time. Guests are usually expected to show up approximately half an hour to an hour after the set meeting time.
  • If the gathering has roughly 20 guests or fewer, visitors are expected to greet everyone individually. To greet everyone as a group is considered inappropriate/impersonal.
  • Guests are not seated until the host indicates what the seating arrangements are.
  • When leaving, a guest is also expected to bid farewell to every person individually. To say goodbye, people use phrases such as ‘chau’ (‘bye’) or ‘hasta luego’ (‘until later’).
  • In urban areas, it is common for the host to open the door for guests when they leave.



  • Argentines typically eat three meals a day, with the main meal being lunch.
  • Most Argentines eat with a knife in the right hand and a fork in the left hand.
  • Using a toothpick in public is considered bad manners. 
  • Blowing one’s nose or clearing one’s throat at the table is also considered poor manners.
  • Eating on public transport is seen as poor etiquette. However, eating on public streets is considered acceptable by most people.
  • During a toast, people typically raise their glasses, look at the person being toasted and then say “Salud” (“Cheers”).
  • Many Argentines enjoy afternoon tea (merienda), which usually includes ‘mate’ (a type of herbal tea made from yerba mate leaves) or coffee along with a pastry or slice of cake.
  • It is also common in some regions of Argentina for friends and relatives to share a round of mate. Sharing tea is a sign of friendship and acceptance.
  • If the meal is an ‘asado’ (barbecue), a guest is typically expected to bring a plate of food to share with everyone. 
  • Compliments to the host about their home or the meal are appreciated.

Gift Giving

  • Gifts are usually opened when received.
  • Gifts are often nicely wrapped and presented.
  • If invited to an Argentine’s home, bring a gift of chocolate, flowers, candy, pastries or wine to show your appreciation. Edible gifts are often shared with guests on the same day they are received.
  • Avoid giving anything that is obviously expensive. This sort of gift might be interpreted as a bribe.

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