“From tango to gauchos and vineyards to adventure sports”
Is located in South America, bordered by Chile to the west and south, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north and Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, ia a varied as the whole of North America, with waterfalls that plunge hundreds of feet, soaring Andean peaks, vast and fertile prairies know as the pampas, and frozen Antarctica. Argentina is called “ the land of the Gaucho” because of its vast prairie lands that are worked by gauchos or cowboys, Argentina beef is considered to be the world’s best.
Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina is often called “The Paris of South America” and with good reason. The city is laid out in the French manner with wide boulevards, beautifully landscaped parks and impressive buildings and shops. The heart of this sophisticated city is Plaza De Mayo, which contains the presidential Palace, the Cathedral and City Hall, Buenos Aires was named in honour of Nuestra Señora de Santa María del Buen Aire, provider of the good wind, the patron saint of the Spanish sailors who first landed on the banks of the Río de la Plata estuary in 1516. The first successful settlement came in 1580 but, though the Spanish found the horses and cattle that they brought over from Europe thrived, the fertility of the land made little impression on them. They were more interested in precious metals, and named the settlement’s river the Plata (silver) in the belief that it flowed from the lands of silver and gold in the Andes.
Official Language: Spanish Language
Though some visitors reach Argentina overland from a neighbouring country and a tiny handful arrive by boat, the overwhelming majority of travellers first set foot on Argentine soil at Buenos Aires’ international airport, Ezeiza.
In general, airfares to Argentina still tend to be quite high, but they do vary widely depending on the routing and the season. The highest fares are between December and February, around Easter and in July and August. You’ll get the best prices during the low season: March to June and September to November. Note also that flying on weekends often hikes return fares; price ranges quoted in this section assume midweek travel.
The romance of adventure is evident in travelling through Patagonia; this immense area is both legendary and extreme, from the breathtaking natural wonder of the craggy Glacier Perito Moreno, to the savagely beautiful peaks of the Fitz Roy massif. Marvel at whales, penguins and elephant seals, and feel as though you’re travelling to the edge of the world
When it emerged in the city’s brothels and slums some time in the 1890s, the world’s sexiest ballroom dance, the tango, horrified the genteel residents of Buenos Aires. By the 1910s tango’s popularity had gone global, but Buenos Aires remains its spiritual and professional home. Beware, though: the locals may have you under their spell – and in their arms – faster than you may have anticipated.
The Roxie Diner:
The Roxie diner, on the Río de la Plata’s Costanera embankment, is perfect for whiling away hours over espressos, reading, talking or stealing a kiss. But this riverside strip comes alive at night, as fun-loving Porteños flock to its bars and clubs. They’re still here in the morning, chatting and sipping drinks. Many clubs remain open until past midday and, as any Porteño worthy of the name knows, that’s when it’s time for a siesta.
The startling Floralis Genérica, a 25-metre aluminium and stainless steel flower that opens and shuts daily, stands in Recoleta in Buenos Aires. Eduardo Catalano’s 2002 work is a tribute to all the world’s flowers and, in his words, a symbol of “hope for the country’s new spring” – a reference to the 2001 crisis which saw widespread rioting in the capital.
If you’ve ever wondered why Argentina punches above its weight in international football, a wander through Buenos Aires’ poorer barrios should offer a few clues. There is, arguably, no city in the world where the passions of the people are caught up with the sport the way they are here – everywhere you go you’ll see people kicking a ball about, and football slogans plastered across walls all over town.
In Buenos Aires, tango is a world unto itself (el mundo tanguero). Most visitors tend to associate tango with dance but it is a complete art form: a combination of music, poetry and scintillating footwork. The music gets its distinctive sound – the bloodcurdling tone of longing – from the bandoneón, a German cousin of the accordion and concertina; the melancholic groan, acidic timbre and sliding rhythm are a perfect match for tango.
Buenos Aires is Latin America’s gastronomic capital. The mainstay is the barbecue, or parrilla, and the crowning glory of most menus are the beautiful cuts of world-famous beef delivered daily from the hinterlands. But the city’s bon vivant culture is evolving: palates have grown finer, clientele are more exacting and chefs make greater use of fresh produce; haute cuisine is now a well-established part of the city’s culinary landscape.
Glacier till makes up Futaleufú River, which is why it’s so gorgeously clear and gorgeously blue. Starting in Argentina and traversing the Andes into Chile, the river is currently a hotspot for whitewater rafting and kayaking, though a hydroelectric dam has been proposed by the Chilean government, which may put paid to those incredible frothy rapids.
Argentina // Things not to miss
1- Climbing Aconcagua
Despite frigid temperatures and extreme altitude – 6959m – the highest peak outside the Himalayas can be climbed with the right preparation and a knowledgeable guide, making for a world-class mountaineering experience
2- Carnival in the Literal
Like their neighbours across the river in Uruguay and Brazil, the people of the Northeast do know how to party, not least in Gualeguaychú in the lead-up to Lent.
3- Birdlife at the esteros del Iberá
Hundreds of varieties to excite ornithologists, delight photographers and entertain every visitor – the shimmering lagoons of these vital wetlands mirror myriad birds, from tiny hummingbirds to majestic herons.
4- Quebrada de Humahuaca
Polychrome mountains and whiter-than-white salt-flats, bottle-green valleys and spiky cactus forests, expanses of windswept steppe and deep gorges – some of the planet’s most incredible scenery.
5- Glaciar Perito Moreno
Standing before, or even trekking on, one of the world’s last advancing glaciers is a treat for the eyes, and for the ears; compare impossible shades of blue as you listen to a chorus of cracks, thuds and whines.
The undisputed highlight of La Rioja Province is a World Heritage Site dominated by giant cliffs of deep pink sandstone – once home to dinosaurs, now the protected habitat of condors, guanacos and foxes.
7- Wines of Mendoza
What better to accompany a juicy grilled bife de chorizo than one of the province’s award-winning
8- La Recoleta
The prestigious resting place of Argentina’s great and good – even Evita sneaked in – this cemetery is one of the world’s most exclusive patches of real estate.
9- Iguazú Falls
Known simply as the Cataratas, the world’s biggest, most awe-inspiring set of waterfalls is set among dense jungle, home to brightly coloured birds and butterflies.
10- Winter Sports
Las Leñas for the jet-set après-ski, Cerro Catedral for traditional pistes and Tierra del Fuego for the world’s most southerly resorts – winter sports in Argentina combine great snow with a lot of showing off.
11- Dinosaur Fossils in Neuquėn
The world’s biggest dinosaurs once roamed Neuquén Province – nothing will convey their immensity more than standing underneath their skeletons or seeing their giant footprints in the rock.
12- Volcán Lanín
Despite the unappealing meaning of its native name - “he who choked himself to death” - this perfect symmetrical cone of a volcano is both a beauty to behold and a treat to climb.
The local answer to the barbecue, and inseparable from Argentinidad (the national identity), these meat-roasting rituals are prepared with the utmost pride and devoured in a carnivorous bliss.
14- Trekking in the Andes
South America’s great mountain range offers plenty of opportunities for some world-class trekking, not least in the northern FitzRoy sector of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.
15- Elephant Seals at Valdės
Península Valdés is a natural wonder and home to a staggering array of wildlife – but for many the giant blubbery elephant seals steal the show.
Once Argentina’s most feared penal colony, now vaunted as the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia sits proudly on the Beagle Channel, backed by serrated peaks and a bijou glacier.
17- Ruta de los Siete Lagos
Seven Patagonian lakes – their sparkling waters emerald, ultramarine, cobalt, turquoise, cerulean, sapphire and indigo – linked by a rugged mountain road: a magical route best explored in a 4WD.
18- San Telmo, Buenos Aires
Take a stroll down the cobbled streets of this bohemian neighbourhood full of tango bars and antique shops, talented street performers and decaying grandeur.
19- Andean camelids
Shaggy llamas and silky-fleeced alpacas, imposing guanacos and delicate vicuñas – all four of these distant relatives of the camel can be spotted the whole length of Argentina’s cordillera
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that nothing else quite holds a grip on Argentine society like football – for some no trip to the country is complete without attending a match.
Try your hand at cattle-herding or sheep-shearing at a working estancia – one of the great Argentine institutions – and get an authentic taste of the gaucho way of life.
22- Tigre and the Paraná Delta
Take a boat or paddle a kayak around the swampy islets and muddy creeks of Tigre – a subtropical Venice right on the capital’s doorstep.
23- The Pampas
Rugged gauchos, nodding pampas grass and herds of contented cattle are the famous inhabitants of Argentina’s most archetypal landscape – fertile plains stretching for as far as the eye can see.
24- Cueva de las Manos Pintadas
A prehistoric mural, an early finger-printing exercise or ancient graffiti? Whatever it is, this delicate tableau of many hands is one of the continent’s most enchanting archeological sites.