Argentina comes from the latin word Argentum, which means silver. The official language of Argentina is Spanish, and more than 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. The country was settled from the 16th through the 18th centuries by colonists from Spain and other parts of South America. Emmigrants from many European countries, including Italy and Germany, settled in the central plains and south during the 19th century. Agriculture, based on grain and livestock, became the dominant factor in the Argentine economy and accounts for most of its exports. Industry in general has not kept pace with the country's population growth. A United States-style constitution was adopted in 1853, but military government and political instability have been the norm.
Argentina's airlines, railways, and bus and ship lines constitute the most extensive transportation system in Latin America. The rail network is the most complete on the continent, fanning out from Buenos Aires in all directions. Rail lines are government owned. Roads are extensive and link all parts of the nation with the capital. Telephone and telegraph networks are mainly government owned.
Buses (colectivo) run 24 hours a day in Buenos Aires but are often crowded. Expect as reckless a ride as you might in any other mode of motorized transport. Passengers pay an inexpensive flat fare. The main bus station (Estación Terminal de Omnibus) is located at Ramos Mejía 186 in Retiro.
A yellow roof on a vehicle indicates a metered taxi. Cars are usually black and yellow and easy to find in cities at taxi stands; one may also hail them by standing on the street corner and waving your hand. Most cabs are metered, but make sure they start at zero when you start your journey. Cab drivers may charge extra for luggage. Radio taxis (remises) come without meters for a fixed fare to certain destinations. Ask about the fee before embarking.
Because Argentina lies south of the equator, the seasons are reversed from Europe, North America, and much of Asia. The best months to visit are April and May (autumn) and October and November (spring). Business goes on year-round, although December, January, and February prove the least optimal because of the Christmas season and the summer vacation schedule.