Argentina MotoGP

31.03.2019 | Termas de Rio Hondo - Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo

Key Facts

Location: Southeastern South America.

Area: 2,780,400 sq km (1,073,518 sq miles).

Population: 43,431,886 (2015).

Population Density: 15.6 per sq km.

Capital: Buenos Aires.

Government: Federal republic.

Geography: Argentina is the second largest area of land in South America, separated from Chile to the west by the long spine of the Andes. Its landscape is extremely varied, with the top sub-tropical and sun-baked, and its sub-Antarctic bottom tip glistening with icy waters and glaciers. It has 3,100 miles (4,989km) of coastline. Its eastern border is the Atlantic Ocean, with Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil to the north and northeast. Argentina can roughly be divided into four main geographical areas: the spectacular Andes mountain range, the dry North along with the more verdant Mesopotamia, the lush plains of the Pampas and the windswept wastes of Patagonia. Mount Aconcagua soars almost 7,000m (23,000ft), and waterfalls at Iguazú stretch out in a massive semi-circle, thundering 70m (230ft) to the bed of the Paraná River. Argentina’s lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in Santa Cruz Province, sitting 105m (344ft) below sea level. In the southwest is the Argentine Lake District with a string of beautiful glacial lakes framed by snow-covered mountains. At Argentina’s southernmost tip, and so the southernmost tip of the whole of South America, is Tierra del Fuego (Spanish for Land of Fire), a stunning archipelago split between Argentina and neighbouring Chile.

Language: Spanish is the official language. English is widely spoken with some Italian and German.

Religion: Argentina's population is more than 92% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant with small Muslim and Jewish communities.

Time: GMT - 3 (GMT - 2 from third Saturday in March to first Saturday in October).

Social Conventions: The most common form of greeting between friends is kissing cheeks. It is customary for Argentines to kiss cheeks on meeting and departing, regardless of gender. Dinner is usually eaten well into the evening - from around 2100 onwards. While Argentina is famous for its wonderful wine, Argentinians as a whole do not have the same propensity for drinking large amounts of alcohol as Europeans, and in bars and even nightclubs many will be drinking soft drinks and few will appear noticeably drunk. Formal wear is worn for official functions and dinners, particularly in exclusive restaurants. A smoking ban was introduced across Argentina in 2011, it prohibits smoking in public areas, including museums, theatres, all forms of public transport, bars and restaurants. Queuing and waiting for things in public places can seem a little less ordered than in Europe; an example is the Subte in Buenos Aires – people will continue to board the carriage until the platform is empty, whether there seems to be space in the carriage or not. It can make for a rather crowded and sweaty journey.

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plug fittings in older buildings are of the two-pin round type, but most new buildings use the V-shaped twin with earth pin.

Head of Government: President Mauricio Macri since 2015.

Head of State: President Mauricio Macri since 2015.

Recent History: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner succeeded her husband, Néstor Carlos Kirchner, becoming Argentina's first elected female president in October 2007, with a majority of 44%. Billed as her husband's top advisor during his four-year tenure, she came to power promising more of the same centre-left populist policies that had served her husband so well. Soon however, the US claimed to have found evidence of ‘suitcase scandals' - where illegal money from Venezuela was allegedly couriered in to aid her election.

In early 2008, she took a hard line with the country's farmers, imposing export tax hikes that she hoped would be perceived as punishing wealthy landowners. But the whole agricultural sector (rich and poor) rebelled, blocking every major road in the country. This crippled Argentina's budget ‘road trip' tourist industry, and more seriously, food shortages were reported in major cities. Former Kirchner acolytes were then involved in violent actions against the protesters, bringing back horrific memories of former strong-arm governments. The tax increases were eventually overturned by a rebellious senate, and Cristina Kirchner's popularity has plummeted.

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