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Argentina is, for the adventurous, a gift that just keeps on giving. Whether you fancy horseback rides through sun-dappled country lanes, skiing the slopes of a Patagonian winter wonderland, or dancing the night away in historic, cosmopolitan Buenos Aires—or all of the above!—you will find it here. Stretching from the humid, fertile plains of Salta to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, there’s no denying that Argentina is vast. It is, in fact, the world’s eighth largest country! All that square mileage adds up to unmatched diversity.
From sedate little towns in the Pampas dusted red with rock dust to the gleaming cosmopolises of the interior, one would hardly believe they are in the same nation. And yet, all these things are Argentine: throbbing nightlife, sleepy afternoons talking with new friends, high-end dining, joining a mountainside cattle drive, and quibbling with merchants (with their curiously-accented Spanish) at the open-air markets.
The food and libations in Argentina are legendary. Argentine beef is exquisite (some say unmatched), and the wines have well-earned their glowing reputation. Visit the vineyards where the fruit of the earth is lovingly cultivated into vino, or simply savor a glass—or several!—as you go people-watching at some fabulous, dimly-lit little dance club where couples explore the essence of tango—and each other—to the pulsing beat of amazing music. In short, if you are looking for a destination where one can eat, drink, and be merry… book your ticket now.
Top Argentina Sights
Sophisticated, sensual, and richly cultured, it isn’t for no reason that Argentina’s capital is referred to as the Paris of South America. The city is visually grand, packed to the gills with outstanding dining and shopping, and possessed of an inimitable charm that has prompted many a visitor to open their wallet for just a few more days of savoring their Buenos Aires love affair. Visit Recoleta Cemetery, the dignified and peaceful resting place of thousands of famed Argentinians ranging from presidents to poets—it’s a major attraction, not the least reason for which is that Eva Peron (“Evita”) is interred here. World-class opera is served up regularly at the Teatro Colon, the gilded interior of which features a hall of mirrors reminiscent of Versailles. Browse the ultra-fashionable shopping district of Palermo Soho, sip a cup of cafe con leche, and watch the world go by.
A strong contender for the country’s headliner attraction, this natural wonder will take your breath away. What we call Iguazu Falls is actually made up of almost three hundred cascades spilling into the divide between Argentina and Brazil. The most dramatic section, called the Devil’s Throat, is a semi-circular waterfall that, thanks to cleverly-placed catwalks, will bring you close enough to feel the spray of water all around you and drown your voice in the roar of nature’s majesty! The churning fury of the falls is powerful enough to create near-continual mists, which breed a proliferation of rainbows when the sunlight hits just so. The foothills surrounding the falls, the area generally known as just “Iguazu,” is studded with picturesque hiking trails and teeming with wildlife.
Think you’ve accidentally wandered from Latin America into an Alpine paradise? Nope—it’s just Bariloche, unique and wonderful. Another Patagonian destination, Bariloche is Argentina’s number one ski destination and the heart of its Lakes District. Sporting 40 lifts and miles after miles of meticulously-marked trails, ski bunnies will go crazy for this place! Happen to visit during the warmer months? Indulge in swimming, boating, and hiking. For pleasure, rent a car and cross the Road of Seven Lakes, which will wend you through two national parks and afford countless breathtaking lakefront views. Nature proudly boasts its diverse glory here: from dense forests of ancient, fragrant evergreens to ice-capped volcanoes and deep, cerulean glacier-fed lakes, one breathtaking vista after another waits to amaze and astound you here.
Los Glaciares National Park
The glaciers of Los Glaciers, located in the southern part of Patagonia on the foothills of the Andes, are epic enough to tempt even the most intrepid explorer. Chief among them is the Perito Moreno glacier, an impressive specimen that rolls out in a river of solid, crystalline blue. Take a 4x4 ride over the glittering, frozen surface, or set out on a (guided) tour by foot, with nothing between you and the celestial glimmer of the ice. Catwalks allow you to explore the steep, jagged edge of where the glacier meets the lake in which it sits. Many whale watching tours depart from here! You’ll spy pods of majestic whales, with calves swimming alongside their mothers—truly an unforgettable experience. The base for your glacial adventures will be El Calafate, a tiny Patagonian enclave known for outstanding food and wine.
A cultural hotbed surrounded by rolling hills, Cordoba is Argentina’s second-largest city and an important center of historic preservation. Numerous historic churches and administrative buildings constructed by Jesuits in the 1600s and 1700s stand testament to the enduring beauty of colonial architecture, and a thriving arts district bustles with museums and galleries. The shopping is outstanding, ranging from gleaming shopping malls to eclectic boutiques and thriving open-air markets peddling local handicrafts, artisan meats, and honey fresh from the comb. Vibrant nightlife and a youthful, energetic population ensure that an entertaining evening out is never far away!
Located in the country’s extreme northwest, in the shadow of the Andes, Salta is a paradise of natural scenery and fresh, exciting entertainment. This is the traditional home of indigenous farmers who are descendants of the ancient Incas, and homemade Andean handicrafts are must-have souvenirs of a visit to Salta. Venture down into San Lorenzo Gorge, tucked at the base of the Andes, and soak in the wonder of a natural cloud forest. On the opposite end of the altitude scale, the intrepid can climb the 1,000 steps up San Bernardo Hill for sweeping city views and sightings of many small, charming shrines. (A cable car ride to the top is another option, and makes for a much easier ascent!) Come hungry to Salta, which proudly defends its title as the birthplace of the delicious, ultra-versatile empanada. More adventurous eaters can sample the local delicacy: llama meat.
|Capital: Buenos Aires|
|Primary Airports: Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE), Jorge Newbery Airfield (AEP), Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio L.V. Taravella International Airport (COR)|
|Government: Federal Presidential Republic|
|Currency: Argentine peso (ARS)|
|Population: 41,009,000 (2012 est.)|
|Electricity: 220V/50Hz (European plug)|
|Time Zone: UTC -3|
Argentina Travel Reviews
Iguazu National Park
We had a fantastic time at Iguazu National Park in Argentina and Brazil. The waterfalls were truly impressive and the park was full of rainbows, beautiful flowers, and interesting lizards and other wild life. La Garganta del Diablo was stunning--the sound adds a whole new level to it. Bring a raincoat or a poncho so you can get up close. Besides Iguazu, we spent a little bit of time in southern Argentina on our way to Chile. We had great food and wine, and met a bunch of nice travelers and natives. We're definitely going to plan another, longer trip in the future!
Fabulous Long Weekend in Buenos Aires
With two friends, I spent a terrific long weekend visiting Argentina's capital city of Buenos Aires. The city is known as the Paris of South America, and my friends and I enjoyed exploring the beautiful city. Seeing Argentina's architecture was fantastic, and our favorite sites were probably the Barolo Tower, the Colon Theater opera house, and Basilica del Santisimo Sacramento. On our first afternoon in the city we toured MALBA, a museum highlighting Latin American art. The next morning, we walked through the Recoleta neighborhood and walked down Avenida Alvear, with its historic mansions and embassies, and then Caminito, an alleyway full of colorful and vibrant street art that proudly displayed the local culture. Later, in the evening, we went to bars and restaurants in a fashionable, youthful neighborhood called Palermo. We made some time for some shopping the next day, heading to the Abasto shopping mall, a former market that is now a shopping mecca in the Balvanera neighborhood. Later, we headed to Parque Tres de Febrero, a grand park where we relaxed a bit on the park benches and watched the local Argentines strolling by and checked out the Rose Garden inside the park. Overall, we loved checked out the fascinating and beautiful city of Buenos Aires and hope to make it back again soon.
My Two Favorite Places in Argentina
My brother went on the trip of a lifetime starting in Minnesota, USA, traveling by land all the way down to Patagonia, Argentina. He ended the trip to Argentina with a year’s stay there. While there, my husband and I decided to visit him and explore Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. While in Argentina we spent a week in Buenos Aires and then headed up to Iguazu Falls for a few days. Buenos Aires has a great vibe and really does smell good. I loved getting a nice strong coffee every afternoon and eating ‘media lunas,’ which are moon-shaped sweet cakes. We stayed out late every night always finding a delicious steak and red wine for dinner. The San Telmo market, which only happens on Sunday, was an amazing place to be. Tango dancers, artists, musicians, and vendors come together and create a unique experience for visitors. Many of the art booths feature beautiful pictures of tango dancers, particularly the women’s feet in beautiful high-heeled shoes doing classic tango steps. Instead of paying high prices for these pictures, I took a bunch of my own shots, found the best ones, and then printed them in black and white. For being an amateur photographer, I have to say they turned out great. After a week in Buenos Aires, we took an overnight bus to Iguazu Falls. The bus was actually fantastic, with comfortable seats, movies to watch, and food and drinks provided. The falls were absolutely breathtaking. I felt like I could stare at them forever and listen to them rush over the edge and never get bored.
Two months in Argentina
I traveled to Argentina for two months in 2010. I lived in Buenos Aires, which is an amazing, historic city. If you can choose when to go, I recommend being in Buenos Aires for the annual celebration of the May Revolution, which occurs on May 25. As the most important holiday in Argentina, there is a large fair and parade. No matter when you go, be sure to visit the Casa Rosada (Pink House), which is where Argentina's President works each day. Across the square, there is also the Cabildo, a historic building where early governments met. Nature lovers will enjoy the Rosedal, a large rose garden, as well as scenic walks along Buenos Aires' harbor, Puerto Madero. For an entertaining evening, attend a tango show or visit the grand opera house, Teatro Colon. Last, a trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without visiting the Recoleta Cemetery, where famous Argentines including Evita have been laid to rest in ornate tombs.
I also was able to travel outside Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay. Buquebus provides an easy ferry across the Rio Plate and Colonia itself is a beautiful example of a early Spanish and Portuguese town. Adventure lovers should also consider traveling to Iguazu Falls, a beautiful waterfall that is located on Argentina's border with Brazil. The falls are accessible by an overnight bus ride from Buenos Aires or a short 90 minute flight. The combination of nature, arts, and history make Argentina a tremendous place to visit.
Buenos Aires: : A Different Melting Pot
I visited Argentina to talk with companies that recruit students to learn English in the United States. Argentina has the largest population of any Spanish-speaking country. Like the United States though, this country is a melting pot. Nowhere is the impact of many cultures better exhibited than in the capital, Buenos Aires. This bustling city on the Rio de la Plata borrows its look and feel from several European cities. Yet, it is undeniably distinctive because its characteristics come from so many different sources.
Buenos Aires is made for and best viewed while walking. Avenida Nuevo de Julio is, at 110 meters, wider than a football field is long. The monuments along its course are stunning. Avenida de Mayo contains fine examples of the capital's eclectic architecture, including the executive mansion, Casa Rosada, across from Plaza de Mayo. The Plaza is famous for many historical events. My favorite street is Avenida Florida, a pedestrian thoroughfare teeming with stores, shopping centers and restaurants located in century-old buildings. Performers line the street in the evening to entertain while you stroll.
Walking also takes you to spots favored by residents. One evening, I heard an amazing tango singer in a hole-in-the-wall bar followed by carne asado (barbequed meats) in an open-air restaurant. Another evening, I bought ice cream in redeveloped Puerto Madero by the water. Many Argentinians, including Pope Francis, have Italian roots, so outstanding pizza and pasta restaurants abound. Friendly residents of this melting pot city will welcome you everywhere you go.
Traveling through Argentina
Traveling through Argentina is blissful! Buenos Aries offers the big city fun of restaurants, nightlife, and shopping. Mendoza offers world renowned wineries producing some of the best Malbec wines and other varietals. Iguassu Falls with a jungle hike - monkeys, butterflies, toucans!! Then head to Patagonia for breathtaking landscape, hiking, ice climbing to walking on a glacier. Truly an amazing place, Argentina...and the people are fantastic!