Argentina has held travelers in awe for decades. The country is full of natural wonders, and is a diverse and fascinating place to visit. Its large size (1.074 million square miles) offers a huge variety of geography and climatic zones, from the arid deserts of the north, to the frozen expanses and glaciers of Patagonia in the south. Famous for its wine, and infamous for the country’s military dictatorships of the 1970s, the country has changed drastically in recent years, and is now a safe, stable, good value for money and welcoming destination.
There’s so much to see and do in Argentina that you could make multiple trips here and still barely just scrape the surface of the country’s attractions. Typically, a couple of weeks is enough, though, to give a good introduction to the country’s highlights.
Arriving in Buenos Aires, is like jumping aboard a fast moving train – from your taxi window a blurred street scene whizzes by, but pay attention and you’ll notice the purple jacaranda trees, the cafes, the stylish, well dressed Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) and the classic architecture of stately buildings lining wide boulevards. each neighborhood has its own identity here and there’s something for everyone, from colorful La Boca, home of Argentina’s best known soccer team – Boca Juniors, to stylish Palermo with its cafes and upmarket shopping.
There’s more to city life here than just Buenos Aires, though. Other major cities of Mendoza, Cordoba, Salta and Bariloche are all beautiful and retain their own individuality and unforgettable attractions. Mendoza is the gateway to the beautiful wine region, Cordoba is Argentina’s finest colonial city, Salta is located near the northern deserts, and Bariloche is a relaxed town offering easy access to the Lake District.
THE NORTHERN DESERTS
The deserts of Las Yungas in Argentina’s northwest, bordering Bolivia and Chile, offer travelers unique landscapes of tortured red rocks and sands, formed over millions of years. Bordered by Bolivia to the north and Chile to the west, this region harbors an inspiring wealth of natural beauty and traditional culture. Tortured rockscapes and a palette of ever changing mineral colors, spectacular mountain passes and imposing cliffs give this region a true frontier feel. There are several authentic, colorful villages with picturesque cobbled streets that make a great base for visiting the region.
In northeast Argentina, the peaceful Iguazu River meanders through the lush forested wetlands between Brazil and Argentina before it plunges dramatically over basalt cliffs in a spectacular display of thundering sound and spray in one of the planet’s most awe-inspring sights. The falls are simply astounding – a chain of hundreds of individual falls spread over 2 miles, they lie in a beautiful national park setting of jungle teeming with unique plants and wildlife.
MENDOZA’S WINE REGION
Argentina has long been recognized as one of the world’s leading wine producers, and the city of Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes Mountains is the main focal point of this. Wine tours are plentiful and easy to arrange, and with the growth of wine tourism, it’s not a matter of whether you should do a wine tour, it’s a question of which one. Malbec is the best known variety here, although many others are produced. This is a fascinating way to spend a few days, soaking up the scenery and enjoying sampling some of South America’s finest wines.
Tango is possible Argentina’s greatest contribution to the outside world. Originally a dance of the poor, it has evolved into a cultured, sultry and passionate performance, danced the world over. There are countless Milongas all over the country, predominantly in the larger cities where you can learn the basic steps, or dance all night to the sounds of classical Tango. For those who are only interested in observing, Buenos Aires offers many Tango shows where you can watch a performance of professional dancers while having a typical Argentinian dinner. No visit to Argentina would be complete without visiting a Tango show.
A carnivore’s dream come true, Argentina has some of the world’s finest meat. Satisfying that carnal craving for a juicy steak couldn’t be easier than in the country that has perfected grilling wonderfully flavorful sides of beef. Parrillas (steakhouses) are found everywhere, and will offer up every cut you can possible imagine. Unlike most North American and European beef, the cows here are generally raised free-range, without steroids and are fed natural grass, giving them a flavor unlike any beef served outside the country. Traditionally cooked around an open fire or on a searing grill, the cuts of beef and lamb you’ll enjoy in Argentina will leave you wanting more.
BARILOCHE AND THE LAKE DISTRICT
Home to some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, the wide open spaces of the Lake District draw visitors who crave the great outdoors. People come here to ski, climb, hike, trek, camp and enjoy the amazing natural beauty of the area. The huge landscapes, dazzlingly blue glacier fed lakes and huge forests are simply spectacular. The region is filled with towering snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and dense pine forests, and it’s easy to spend a few days touring the area from the delightful lakeside town of Bariloche.
World-famous Patagonia needs little introduction. It is Argentina’s southern frontier, where nature grows wild, barren and beautiful. The spaces here are huge, as are the silences that fill them. Jagged peaks, pristine rivers and spectacular, calving glaciers, such as the amazing Perito Moreno are easy to visit, while for the more adventurous, donning crampons and hiking onto glaciers, repelling, kayaking and even multi-day overland treks into Chile are possible.
USHUAIA AND TIERRA DEL FUEGO
This windswept region is the southernmost extreme of the Americas. Travelers come here for the end-of-the-earth novelty and the chance to visit the world’s southernmost town. This alluring region is at turns beautiful ancient and strange, with intriguing stories of shipwrecks, failed exploration missions and the harsh weather of the southern ocean and famed Beagle Channel. It’s also the stepping-off point for Antarctic cruises, as well as home to adventure activities such as off-piste skiing, ocean kayaking, glacier hiking and cold water scuba diving.
Argentina is one of Latin America’s most beautiful and diverse countries. We are proud to offer tailor-made, private tours to Argentina from May 2015. Please visit our website to learn more about the country and how we can help plan an unforgettable journey of a lifetime to this beautiful country.