There aren’t many large international airports around the world that don’t have an expansion programme either underway or in the pipeline and Ezeiza is no exception. In July 2011 the new $150 million (£93.84 million) Terminal C dedicated solely to Aerolíneas Argentinas was opened as part of a plan to boost the airport’s capacity to 13 million passengers by 2013. This bright, modern glass-windowed building is named after a local folk singer (Mercedes Sosa), and features a large 750 square meter, walk-through duty-free shop selling fragrances, cosmetics, liquor, tobacco, confectionery, watches, sunglasses and jewellery.
The duty-free shops in the airport’s other two terminals A and B are run by InterBaires, the same company as in the new Terminal C. Prices are in US dollars and because of high domestic prices perfumes and cosmetics tend to get the most floor space in these shops and the range of brands on offer is truly impressive: Biotherm, Clinique, Estée Lauder, Dior, Lancôme, Bvlgari, Chanel, Carolina Herrera are just of the names on the shelves.
When it comes to booze, blended Scotch whisky is the top tipple in this part of the world: Johnnie Walker Black Label, Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s and Buchanan’s are all big names. Single malts are far less popular and the range is limited to a few well-known names like Glenfiddich, Highland Park and The Macallan. The range of rum and tequila is also a little disappointing too.
Our advice would be to bypass the spirits and head straight for the well-stocked wine department. Argentina is rightly famous for its wines• the combination of high altitude, varying climates and volcanic soils makes from some dynamic and exciting wines. The red grape varietal to look out for is Malbec, the jewel of Argentine wines, light, and refreshing with a taste full of plum and liquorice. As for whites, it has to be floral, fruity Torrontes from the wine-growing regions of Salta and Mendoza: these wines often combine flavours of rose and peach.
In terms of breadth of offer electronics is another strong category at InterBaires. Mp3 players, smartphones, laptops, digital cameras, mobile phone accessories, headphones and computer games are all well represented. Apple, Sony, Nintendo, Canon, Nikon, Motorola and Sony are all stocked. Prices may not be a steal (the hot Apple iPad 2 13GB is a disappointing $769 /£480, for instance), but at least travellers have the chance to compare prices before they travel at www.freeshop.com.ar