The native language in Argentina is Spanish. Argentine Spanish influences Spain and Italy, and while their Spanish is not unique, it is slightly different than Spanish in Central America and Mexico. A person that speaks Spanish will, without question, be able to communicate perfectly in Argentina. Because of the European influence on the language, most Americans find Argentina’s Spanish to be a little easier to understand than perhaps Spanish from Mexico or Puerto Rico.
Studies show that 15% of Argentinians speak English fluently; however, this figure is not accurate for a hunter traveling from the US to Argentina. The percentage of English speakers that a US traveler will be exposed to is closer to 40%. For example, part of the reason your lodge host is in the business is his English fluency. Without a command of the English language, a host would not be able to perform his job as most hunters that visit Argentina are from the United States.
English is taught to students beginning in the 3rd grade in the cities, so a traveler will find that they are much more likely to speak English if a person has a higher level of formal education. In the rural areas where you will be staying and hunting, you will find fewer people who speak English.
Below is a list of people/professions that a US traveler will interact with and the likelihood they will speak English, attempting to keep them in the order of when you will interact with them on your hunting trip.
Ticket Agent Airport 100%
Gate Agent Airport 100%
Flight attendants 100%
Immigration’s Officer (Argentina) 75% (always a fluent speaker nearby)
Customs Officer (Argentina) 50% (always a fluent speaker nearby)
Lodge Greeter at the airport 100%
Driver (transfer to/from the lodge) 25% (but knows basic English like bathroom and water)
Lodge Host 100%
Chef/maid/waitress 25% (your host is always nearby)
Field Guide/bird boy 15% (knows water, shells, rest, etc. Host is always nearby)
In closing, rest assured that no matter where you are in your travels to Argentina, there is always someone close by who speaks fluent English.
Most hunters, including myself, enjoy learning essential Spanish words and communicating with the staff in their native language. The most important thing is to have fun, it’s your trip, and there will always be an English speaker nearby.