Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Argentina is amongst the busiest airports in South America. In fact, it’s the main gateway for visitors traveling to Argentina. Situated 22 kilometers (14 miles) south west of Buenos Aires, the airport handles the majority of Argentina’s international flights and serves as many as nine million passengers each year. So whats Duty Free Argentina like?
Skytrax consistently votes this as one of the best airports in South America and the selection of duty free shops and authentic local restaurants along with beauty spa, massage services and cigar bar do not disappoint. Thankfully the airport is pretty easy to navigate but it does get busy at peak times so allow enough time for duty free shopping if you’re catching a flight.
The airport has been operated privately since 1998 but there are “drawbacks.” The foggy Argentinian weather in the winter can cause flight delays but, when you think about, it’s not such a drawback when you have extra time to indulge in some great shopping!
Duty Free Argentina
The duty free shopping on offer at Ezeiza is good and the opening of a Terminal C at the airport has worked to strengthen that Duty Free Argentina’s retail offering. There are arrival duty free shops at this airport but take note that the allowances are somewhat stingy compared to regional standards. For example, the cigarette allowance is a carton of 200 per traveler and for booze it is one 1-litre bottle of wine and spirits each.
There are very few large international airports worldwide that haven’t undergone some sort of expansion program, have one underway or are planning for one in the future and Ezeiza is no exception. And so a new 150 million US dollars Terminal C was completed in July 2011. The terminal is dedicated to Aerolineas Argentinas. The section was opened as part of a plan to increase the airport’s capacity to accommodate 13 million passengers by 2013. The section has been named after an Argentinian folk singer called Mercedes Sosa and boasts an impressive nearly 800 square meter, walk-through duty-free area which sells cosmetics, fragrances, tobacco, liquor, watches, confectionary, jewelry and sunglasses.
The other two terminals in the airport, A and B, sport duty free shops that are run by InterBaires – the same company that runs the shops in terminal C. All prices are marked in US dollars and owing to the high domestic prices, cosmetics and perfumes seem to be given the most floor space in the shops. The range of brands on offer is really impressive and includes the likes of Bvlgari; Chanel; Biotherm; Estee Lauder; Clinique; Lancome; Dior and Carolina Herrera to name a few of the stars on the shelf.
Alcohol at Duty Free Argentina
When it comes to duty free alcohol shopping in Argentina, I suggest you bypass the spirits and head straight for the very well-stocked wine section. Argentina is well-known for its wines and rightfully so. The combination of varying climates, high altitude and volcanic soils makes for some exciting and irresistible vintages. If you enjoy a glass or two of the red grapes, look out for Malbec – arguably the jewel of local wines which is light, refreshing and offers a taste full of liquorish and plum. If white is more your tipple, try out the fruity and floral Torrontes that’s grown in the regions of Mendoza and Salta. These wines combine the joyful flavors of peach and rose.
Electronics at Duty Free Argentina
Electronics are another strong category at this airport when it comes to variety and offerings. From laptops and smartphones to digital cameras; Mp3 players; headphones and mobile phone accessories as well as computer games, you’re truly spoilt for choice. Think big brands Nintendo; Canon; Apple; Sony; Motorla and Nikon – they’re all well stocked. Prices aren’t really discounted but you do at least get the chance to compare prices before jetting off. You can even have a look on the duty free shop’s website here before you arrive.
Football at Duty Free Argentina
As you may be aware, football is nothing short of a religion in Argentina and Buenos Aires proudly sports the highest concentration of football teams anywhere in the world. The two main clubs in the capital, Boca Juniors and River Plate, enjoy intense rivalry and Boca has outdone their rivals by opening a dedicated store in terminal A. The store sells all manner of paraphernalia and merchandise. If you’re a diehard football fan though, you simply have to purchase the current season’s football jersey when at the airport!
Pampering at Duty Free Argentina
If you’d like to start or continue on your journey feeling pampered, visit universe Garden Angeles in terminal A. The shop stocks a good range of aromatherapy products as well as body and facial treatments along with fragrances for men and women and bath products. You can take a look at their website here before heading to the airport.
For some fashion pampering, check out the topnotch Argentinean leatherwear brand, Los Robles Polo Times in terminal A. Argentina is famous for the tradition of polo-playing and the store attempts to imitate the stylish fashion of the polo-playing circles with fine leather handbags; shoulder bags, briefcases; purses; wallets and other accessories.
Souvenirs at Duty Free Argentina
‘Mate’ is a popular Argentinian tourist souvenir. It’s a decorative gourd that people all over Latin America use to drink an herbal tea also called “mate.” Other popular items to take home as gifts include “gauchos” – items traditionally used by Argentina’s tough and skillful cowboys – such as ‘boleadoras’ (three hard balls made from leather connected by a leather strap which would be used to hunt animals) and curved knives. Handicrafts and handmade ponchos made by local Mapuche Indians are also popular items.
Duty Free Argentina Summary
There are no duties charged in this airport on toiletries, personal effects or clothing. Electronics such as camera, laptops, mp3 players, binoculars and other things you would typically carry on are duty-free as long as they have been used and only 1 of each item is carried on. You are only permitted to bring in new personal goods up to a value of 300 US dollars. There are some products that allow you the option to get the tax back on them, which is usually 13.70% of the item’s cost.
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