Country Argentina

[Personal experience] Argentina is the best country in the world. Why go here

Kirill Makoveev, a Russian journalist and (now) entrepreneur who has lived in Argentina for 6 years, talked to us about the peculiarities of this country, information about which is outdated every few months on the web. The snow once in 50 years, free medicine and universities for tourists, the ideology of Peronism, the unique Spanish language and the reasons for the eternal hyperinflation.

We will talk about the pros and … the pluses of life in this country. There will be almost no minuses this time!

About life before Argentina.

In 2010-2015 I worked as an editor at the Novosibirsk project NGS.ru. I was in charge of business news there, and I took the portal from 50,000 visitors a month to 350,000. Then the portal was sold, the owner changed. I also wanted to change something.

In the fall of 2014 I flew to Latin America. I had no expectations, I just wanted to have a good rest and sort myself out. But I liked it so much that I returned to Russia, packed my bags, and in February 2015 moved permanently to Argentina. I didn’t even know the language.

I planned to create the same NGS here. A city bulletin board with a good news site. There was no such thing in Argentina, the Internet is not very advanced here. I was sure that with partners we could make a successful project.

But in the end it didn’t work out. Doing business with locals is very hard. In short, I will say that they and the Russians have completely different ideas of how you should and shouldn’t work. For example, in Russia they are offended when they are made to wait, which we feel is an insult. And Argentines don’t like the word “no” very much. They feel it as a spit in the soul. You will be told “yes”, “yes”, “yes”. And you won’t realize that they don’t really agree with you at all.

I’ve seen how you can make a living here. And realized that there are almost no services for Russian speakers in Argentina. There was only one Russian guide per country, and he charged an incredible $500 per day for his tours. I thought – great, no competition!

Argentina and the Russians

I created my own portal RuArgentina. At first there was no success, but friends from Novosibirsk helped. The company WhoTam is the biggest Rosreestr extracts database in Russia. They told me what was wrong, I corrected it, and the site immediately shot up in Google. Now I have the largest portal about Argentina in Russian. All the information on tourism, relocation, childbirth, emigration. There are only 3,000 Russians living in the country, Google searches about Argentina (if you don’t count soccer) only 10,000 times a month. And I have 130,000 visitors in a year. Sometimes it seems that everything written about Argentina on the Internet is 70% rewritten from my site.

One rarely searches about the country, and almost no one knows anything. It’s perfect to live in, though, and it’s incredibly easy to emigrate here. I am now a self-proclaimed ambassador for Argentina on all social media. I think it’s worth talking about.

The population here is 45 million, 300,000 of whom have Russian roots. They came mostly from 1900 to 1945, plus there was a big wave after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But the problem now is that people came here, found themselves, they are happy with everything. They don’t really sit on the Internet, they don’t share information. Not many people know and write about the country in Russian now. When I came here, there was only one site, ru-ar.ru, which had at least some information about Argentina (and even with pictures!).

Everything in Argentina is changing at the speed of light. Governments, laws, the value of money. In the six years that I have been living here, three presidents took office, and the value of the peso dropped ten times. Information about the country has to be constantly updated, it quickly becomes outdated. I run a news site, it’s a constant run. Sometimes I give an interview about Argentina, the edited video comes out a few months later – and I watch it and realize I’m already living in a different country.

Why inflation and defaults?

Very simple: Juan Domingo Perón came to power here in 1946. He led the country down a third path, between socialism and capitalism. Which is now called Peronism. That’s when you have, in addition to the employer and the worker, very strong trade unions in the arena. When the state does not take away business, but regulates it very strongly. When the employee has more rights than the employer. It is almost impossible to fire a person.

Business is not taken away here, it’s not pressured by inspections. But if you’re a big corporation, you’re competing here not so much with other corporations as with the unions. They can say: this year you’re raising wages by 50%. The company says, what are you doing? And they say, “Look, the inflation rate was 40%, raise it by 50%, with a bonus. Otherwise there will be strikes. And the state takes the side of the unions.

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What happens when wages are always raised by the rate of inflation? Inflation doesn’t stop! It only goes up.

But I’ve been living here for six years, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Everybody’s used to inflation. Well, cafes have to write the cost of food in the menu with a simple pencil. Well, you don’t remember the prices of products (it’s unreal to remember them, they change every day). But if your income is in dollars, you don’t worry at all. And the local population is also used to – the salaries are indexed.

The laws of economics that you learned at school do not work here. No one cares about high inflation, everyone is happy with life (except multinational corporations and lovers of foreign shopping).

We don’t have IKEA, we don’t have H&M. But Argentina has its own factories producing LG and Samsung phones, it has its own assembly plants for cars, televisions, and so on. It’s all our own, of our own making. Free social services, independent media, completely independent courts – and a very unstable national currency. This is the way of life here, this is Peronism.

About documents and moving.

Argentina is a country of immigrants. You have 20 legal ways to legalize. You don’t need a visa to enter here. You can enter simply with a passport. And already on the spot, apply electronically for legalization. You only need a passport and a certificate of criminal record (with an apostille). Well, and a document of income, for example.

Most of the remaining documents are collected on the spot. This certificate of residence, a certificate that you have not killed or robbed anyone here. Plus a document about the basis on which you intend to stay here. For example, that you have income in Russia, you rent your own apartment there. Or you decided to go to university. Or you have come for medical treatment.

A lot of people do that in Bali, downshifters: they rent an apartment, live on the island for that money, and after two years they get nothing. But if you come to Argentina and live here for two years, you get the right to citizenship, an Argentine passport. You don’t need a visa to the Schengen area, Japan, or Britain. Visas to the USA and Canada are granted for ten years at a time.

It’s very easy to get an Argentinian passport. If you give birth to a child here, both the child and the parents instantly get the status of a citizen. If you marry an Argentine woman, it’s the same, you get a permanent residence permit and the instant right to citizenship. Or you can live for two years (you only need money to live on) and get it by naturalization.

Pros of Argentina: why it’s the best country in the world

There is free medicine, including for foreign tourists. And they will cure you of cancer and replace your kidney. It’s free! I had a tourist here who had an inflamed appendix. She went to a public hospital, waited in line for two hours. They x-rayed and ultrasounded her, put her in the hospital that night – she was operated on. She kept asking, worried how much it would cost her. But they did it all for free and also fed her. They said – here we have a basket for donations, you can put something if you want. I also know that young people from India often come here to receive free HIV therapy.

Free education, including for foreigners. From kindergarten to university. When you come to Argentina, you can go straight to any university. In neighboring countries – Brazil, Chile, Colombia – education is very expensive. So many people come here, rent good housing, get the best education (especially in medicine). And it is cheaper for parents than paying for their children’s education in their own country.

The universities are very good. UBA, say, is higher in the ratings than MSU. Anyone can get in, they accept anyone, including foreigners. But not everyone can graduate. By graduation, only a few percent remain – those who really study. The competition here is not at the admission stage, but at the training stage. If the hardest thing in Russia is to get into a university, the hardest thing here is to finish your studies and get your diploma. In the end, the quality of education is high.

The Argentine Constitution states that every citizen has the right to free health care and education. And, more importantly, there is a special article 20 of the constitution, according to which foreigners in the country have the same rights as citizens. Once upon a time, everyone in Argentina was a migrant. So those who come here are not restricted in any way, they can feel like full-fledged Argentines. That will never change here, it’s part of the culture.

There are enough jobs in IT. The biggest company is Mercado Libre. There are also offices of Google, Facebook, IBM, Samsung, big banks. There are not enough programmers of their own, they quickly leave for Silicon Valley. Or they open offices for them outside the country, so as not to pay gigantic taxes. But the salaries are world level, $2000-$3000 per month in IT is considered an average salary.

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Low taxes for entrepreneurs. As an individual entrepreneur, I only pay 9%. At the same time, Russia and Argentina have a double taxation treaty. This means that you can choose which country you pay taxes to.

They say that Argentina is a very dangerous country. But according to UN statistics, there are half as many murders as in Russia. Yes, it is more dangerous than Europe, but we are not Europeans either. We know very well how to behave in disadvantaged areas, and when it would be better to cross the road.

Working remotely, you can live like a king in Argentina. The white rate is now 90 pesos per dollar, the black rate is 140 pesos per dollar (there are underground exchangers on every corner). The average salary in Buenos Aires is 50-60 thousand pesos ($430). A one-bedroom apartment in a nice safe neighborhood of Buenos Aires for a foreigner will cost $500 a month. With a great view out the window, internet (this is included in the rent), air conditioning and everything else. For people with a “bank guarantee” – two or three times cheaper, $ 200-250.

Excellent ecology. You can drink water from the tap. The situation is precisely better than in Russia, approximately at the level of Europe.

The climate is to any taste. The country extends from north to south for 4000 km. Here you can find the desert and the tropics, and up to the tundra. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean, to the west – the Andes. There are whales and penguins, there are armadillos and wild ostriches. In Buenos Aires, a month and a half of the year you need air conditioning, a month and a half you need heating. The rest of the time the temperature is perfect. The last time it snowed here was July 9, 2007, just in time for Argentina’s Independence Day. I know this because in 2017 we celebrated 10 years of the last snowfall.

Argentina’s minuses.

The main thing one hears about is crime. Yes, there are more robberies here than in the Russian Federation. But at the same time you won’t get killed, just robbed and run away. I had my wallet snatched once in the bus. There are friends who have had their phones snatched. But that was before 2019. Then they put cameras with facial recognition in the capital. They caught 7 wanted criminals in the first 8 hours of operation. In urban areas these cameras are everywhere now, it really works. Argentina is now considered one of the safest countries in South America.

Technology is hard to come by here. It’s expensive, even though a lot of it is made here. It is twice as expensive to buy an iPhone as it is in Russia. If it is stolen, it would be doubly upsetting. My macbook is broken now, I left it on the terrace, it got caught in the rain. They can’t repair it in the country, there are no parts.

It’s hard to order from Amazon, eBay, AliExpress. You have to pay a 50% tax on all packages over $50, they take a long time to arrive and don’t always get there.

Taxes on corporations are insanely high. 140% per employee. It’s suicide to open a company here.

The Spanish language. Not many people in Russia know it. Besides, there is a special dialect here, Rioplatte, which is only spoken in Argentina and Uruguay. It has a different grammar, phonetics and a third of its own vocabulary. Even if you learned Spanish at school, you’ll have to forget it when you come here. It sounds to people here about the same as if you speak old Slavonic in Russia.

Argentina is a very remote country. It takes at least 15-18 hours to get to Moscow. Direct flights to Europe take at least 12 hours. You won’t be able to go home for the weekend.

There are no usual foods: dairy products, buckwheat. We eat mostly meat and wine. And fruits and vegetables, of course. They are incredibly delicious here. In Argentina I liked salad for the first time in my life.

It is not worth going here for work. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Paraguay are fleeing to Argentina. They are willing to live with ten people in a one-room apartment and sleep on three bunk beds. You can’t compete with them for basic labor. You either have to find a company in IT beforehand (better on LinkedIn). Or work remotely from here for a foreign firm.

Overall I think Argentina is the best country in the world to immigrate to. It has great living conditions, and it’s easiest to get a second passport. I don’t understand how such an opportunity can be missed, and why people go to Bali and Thailand. It’s a pity that not many people know about Argentina. It’s not even fair.

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If you look at my channel on YouTube, in the comments there are always saying “don’t tell, now everyone will come here!” But I think only the most sophisticated of natures will come. The country is romantic, far away. Not everyone will be able to get away. So I don’t feel sorry. I don’t think the country will crack because of Russian immigrants.

By the way, you cannot go and come to Argentina right now. From March 16, 2020 we have the longest quarantine in the world. The borders are closed to foreigners. When they open, I will worry about that.

Argentina

Argentina is a distant South American country, and perhaps the most atypical of all the countries of the continent, is famous for its unique atmosphere, the mix of New and Old World traditions, and an extraordinary variety of man-made and non-man-made attractions, which certainly makes it extremely tempting for active tourism. Not fitting into the usual concepts and frameworks, this country is able to capture the imagination, breaking stereotypes and standards.

With its impressive area of 2,780,400 square kilometers, Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil) and is rightfully called the second largest country of the continent.

Occupying the southeastern part of the South American continent and the eastern part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Argentina is surrounded by Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay, with the Atlantic Ocean to its east.

Demographically, Argentina also leads the South American continent, being the third largest country in South America (after Brazil and Colombia). According to the 2016 census, the country’s population is 43,847,430. A significant difference between Argentina and other South American countries is the predominance of the white population, historically due to mass emigration from European countries. The Indian population makes up only 1.5% of the total population of the country.

The country’s capital is the legendary city of Buenos Aires, with a population of more than 3 million people.

The country’s national currency is the peso, ARS. In recent years, due to the crisis and the default, the Argentine peso has a reputation for being quite unstable currency. The country has several exchange rates – official and floating black market rates.

Most of Argentina’s population is Catholic, but about 9 percent are Protestant. Due to the variegated ethnic composition of the population, religious faiths such as Judaism and Islam can also be found here.

The country’s name is thought to be derived from the Latin word argentum, meaning silver, although rumors of silver deposits here have proved false.

The country that gave the world the passionate tango dance, the original culture of South American gaucho cowboys, the art of soccer, raised to absolute totality, cannot leave any of its guests indifferent. Signature cards of the country are the unique drink mate, without which the Argentines can’t imagine their life, and the famous Argentine meat, the glory of the taste of which resounds around the world. Argentina is a meat-eater’s paradise – there is no other place in the world that offers such delicious meat. However, Argentina became famous all over the world not only for tango, meat, and soccer, but also for its unique natural beauty – the glacier Perito Moreno, harsh virgin lands of Patagonia, snow-white expanses of Antarctica, the splendor and power of Iguazu Falls, red canyons and colorful deserts of Salta, the lake region of Bariloche. And at the same time, it is one of the most highly urbanized countries with major metropolitan areas like Buenos Aires, Rosario, and Cordoba.

Capital city: Buenos Aires Area: 2,780,400 km 2 Population: 43,847,430 (2016) Language: Spanish Official website: https://www.argentina.travel/#!/?lang=en

Flight time: from Moscow – from 18 hrs 45 min. (1-4 connections) from Saint-Petersburg – from 18 hrs 20 min. (1-4 connections) from Kazan – from 23 hrs 20 min. (1-3 connections) from Ekaterinburg – from 23 hrs (1-3 connections) from Novosibirsk – from 25 hrs (2-3 connections)

Legendary far country of Southern Hemisphere with most European appearance among its neighbors which had a lot of ups and downs during its history is slowly turning from unattainable dream to reality, more and more Russian tourists every year turn their sights in its direction.

How to get to Argentina

From Russia

The most logical, simple and cheapest way is to fly to the capital of the country. There are no direct flights to Buenos Aires from Moscow (as well as from other Russian cities). But different airlines (mainly European, but not only) fly to the capital of Argentina from Moscow and other Russian cities. Below we list these airlines (the connecting cities are in parentheses). We deliberately cite only flights with one connection, or flights operated by one airline with a stopover, as indicated additionally.

  • Lufthansa (Frankfurt am Main): Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Samara
  • AlItalia (Rome): Moscow, St. Petersburg
  • Air France (Paris): Moscow, St. Petersburg
  • KLM (Amsterdam): Moscow, St. Petersburg
  • Iberia (Madrid): Moscow, St. Petersburg
  • British Airways (London): Moscow, St. Petersburg
  • Air Europa (Madrid): Moscow
  • Emirates (Dubai): Moscow, St. Petersburg; additional landing in Rio de Janeiro on the way in and out of Dubai
  • Qatar (Doha): Moscow; additional landing in Sao Paulo en route from Doha and back
  • Aeroflot: from Moscow with Aerolineas Argentinas via Rome and with American Airlines via Miami (check with the airlines about the need of an American transit visa)
  • Transaero: from Moscow by codeshare with United via Houston (there) and New York (back); check with the airlines about the necessity of a U.S. transit visa.
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The easiest way to get from Ezeiza International Airport to downtown is by cab, but there are also buses. You can read more about the airport by following the link at the beginning of the paragraph.

From Brazil, Chile and Uruguay

Recently, tourists are increasingly combining visits to Argentina with Brazil and Chile. Travel between these countries is most convenient by direct flights of LAN airline. To date, this airline is considered the undisputed leader in the Latin American aviation market. LAN is known for high-quality service and reliable modern aircraft, but its ticket prices are quite high.

Thus, the average cost of economy class ticket on the route Buenos Aires – Santiago – Buenos Aires will be about 250 dollars if you buy the ticket several months before departure. Prices can go as high as $400 the day before departure. Travel time is just under two hours. From time to time the airline arranges sales, and then, if you’re lucky and there is an opportunity to play the numbers, then you can get a ticket on this route and for $ 150. As a rule, such specials happen in March.

The average cost of a ticket from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro and back ranges from 250 to 500 dollars.

Aerolineas Argentinas flies between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. There is a connection to Santiago with the LAN airline.

Argentina’s customs rules

Customs rules of Argentina are not too strict, but nevertheless this country has its own nuances.

Import and export of local currency is not limited, but the amounts over 10 thousand U.S. dollars are subject to declaration. Gold and gold jewelry must also be declared.

As for cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, adult citizens are allowed to bring in up to 400 pieces of cigarettes and 50 cigars and 2 liters of alcoholic beverages. If the quantity exceeds these limits, however, a duty of 50% of their value is levied.

Traditionally for South America, the import of uncanned food products, as well as the export of items of historical or artistic value is prohibited. A special permit is required for the export of such items. When buying wool, leather, and jewelry, it is wise to have a receipt from the store where they were purchased. And when exporting furs, not only a receipt but also an export stamp will be required.

We compare all available flight options at your request, and then direct you to the official websites of airlines and agencies for purchase. The airfare you see on Aviasales is the final price. We’ve removed all the hidden services and tick boxes.

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We cooperate with Aviasales.ru and take no commissions – the cost of tickets is absolutely the same as on the site.

History

The history of Argentina, like many other countries of the South American continent, is directly linked to Spain and the colonization process. However, strangely enough, the Portuguese were the first to arrive in these lands. In 1502 an expedition of the Portuguese, with the participation of Amerigo Vespucci himself, discovered the estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay and Parana rivers to the Atlantic Ocean and called Rio de la Plata, which means the silver river. It was not until 1535 that the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Mendoza founded the fort of Santa Maria del Buen Aire, which later became the capital of modern-day Argentina. The Spanish conquered and colonized territories in the area were called the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, which included the territory of present-day Uruguay, Paraguay, parts of Bolivia, and the northern and central lands of present-day Argentina. As a result of the defeat of British forces and the revolutionary bourgeois movement in 1810, the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata were formed and the Viceroyalty was dissolved. On July 9, 1816, the country’s independence from Spain and the creation of the United Provinces of South America were declared. Great merit in the process of fighting for the independence of Argentina belongs to General Jose de San Martin, who led the army and defeated the Spaniards. In the 1920s, Argentina was at war with Brazil over territorial disputes over Uruguay. As a result of this conflict, Uruguay seceded from Argentina and became an independent state.

In 1833, Great Britain occupied the Malvinas Islands, which Argentina considered part of the Tierra del Fuego province. Great Britain’s rights to the islands are disputed by Argentina to this day.

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In 1853 the first Constitution of Argentina was adopted, followed by a military conflict with the province of Buenos Aires, which sought independence. As a result, the province of Buenos Aires became part of the state, and the city of Buenos Aires became the capital of the new state. Throughout the 19th century Argentina was shaken by wars and conflicts. It was not until the 1880s that Argentina began to rise to prominence and a golden age of economic and social success. At the beginning of the 20th century, Argentina’s livestock and farming boom turned it into one of the richest and most prosperous countries in the world. Millions of Europeans, attracted by the great opportunities of this rich New World country, contributed greatly to the country’s development. In those years, the fame of Argentina’s economic miracle rumbled around the world. The country’s stability and prosperity were shattered in 1930, when a military coup took place. The reign of President Perón and his wife Eva in the forties and fifties, who enjoyed great popularity among the people, is an important chapter of the country’s history. Perón was elected president twice and, together with his popular wife, carried out severe economic reforms. Perón’s overthrow in 1955 was followed by his new rise, when he returned to power in 1973 as a result of a succession of military governments. After his death in 1974, Argentine life entered a dark period as revolutionary elements unleashed a wave of terror in the country, culminating in a military coup in 1976. Thousands of Argentines were killed and reported missing.

The eighties were characterized by a change of democratic governments, the nineties by the development of democratic freedoms. At the beginning of the 2000s, inept leadership and as a result too open economy, the sharp liberalization of the foreign investment regime led the country to a technical default and devaluation of the national currency. The amount of public debt at that time was $132 billion, making the Argentine default the largest in world history. Unemployment, riots and pogroms characterized Argentine life during this period of crisis.

Today Argentina is a federal republic divided into 23 provinces and one federal capital district. The president of the country since 2007 is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, widow of the previous president Néstor Kirchner. Poor leadership, rampant corruption, theft, unemployment, unrest and discontent are just some of the components of the rule of the current Argentine leadership.

The ethnic composition of Argentina is not as variegated as in other South American countries. The Indian population was almost entirely exterminated during Spanish colonization, and the Argentine nation itself was formed in the 19th century by numerous European immigrants. Suffice it to say that more than 85% of the inhabitants of the country belong to the white European race and only 1.5% are of Indian origin. Mestizos, mulattoes, and Asians are also present in small numbers. In terms of the ethnic makeup of the immigrant population, it was very diverse in the 19th century. There were several waves of immigration. The first wave of immigration is the direct descendants of the settlers of the Spanish colonial period, the second – the descendants of European immigrants in the late 19th – early 20th century. The first wave was dominated by immigrants from Spain and Italy, followed by the French, Germans, Irish, Poles, Czechs, Jews, Arabs, Dutch, Croats, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Armenians.

An interesting fact is that although there have been several waves of emigration from Russia to Argentina, there is no organized Russian community here.

At the end of the 20th century immigration from Europe almost ceased, changing its focus to neighboring countries. Now people from Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru come to Argentina, and it is not by chance that Argentines themselves go to work for their neighbors in Chile.

The Argentines are by nature a very likeable people, unpretentious, sometimes self-confident, cultured and passionate about life. And even in spite of the difficult period in the country they live cheerfully and do not lock themselves in their home world.

Economically, Argentina today is a developed country, especially compared to its poorer neighbors. But despite this, the problems of corruption, bureaucracy and theft are clearly seen here, which certainly hinders the development of the country. The country’s economy is characterized by livestock, agriculture, mining and processing industries, and the service sector. The leading branches of industry in Argentina are represented by non-ferrous metallurgy, mechanical engineering and oil extraction. The meat and chili industry traditionally occupies a special place in the country’s exports. Even today Argentina is the world’s largest producer and exporter of meat, mostly beef. Meat in Argentina is the national treasure of the country, its pride and glory. In terms of meat consumption, Argentina ranks first in the world, which certainly speaks volumes.

Today, to visit Argentina is quite simple and accessible to everyone, because the tourist visa to this country for a long time already does not require Russians. Citizens of the Russian Federation can stay in Argentina without a visa for ninety days.

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