The eighth biggest country in the world, there’s little you can’t do in Argentina. Knowing where to start is the hard part.
Go skiing in the Andes or stare in awe at the world’s widest waterfall. Hang with the penguins in Patagonia or track down a jaguar in the northern tropics. Make like a gaucho in the pampa or enjoy time out on the eastern beaches. If you’re lucky, you will have enough time to experience all of these diverse experiences.
The biggest challenge for city lovers will be dragging themselves away from the capital—Buenos Aires. It is one of the world’s most cultural cities and known for its distinct European feel – although Buenos Aires is not without Latin spirit.
Nature lovers are also in luck. Argentina’s is a large country with a population of about 40 million—half of them living in the Buenos Aires. This makes it easy to escape into the country’s unspoiled wilderness.
In Buenos Aires, make sure you don’t miss Casa Rosada (where Evita Peron gave her balcony speeches), the world famous cemetery in Recoleta, the majestic Teatro Colón, and the unforgettable antiques markets of San Telmo.
Foodies and shopaholics will fall in love with the distinct barrios, while football (American soccer) fans can try to score a ticket for Maradona’s Boca Juniors, or their arch rivals River Plate.
Down in Patagonia, the enormity of the glaciers will leave you in awe. Moving West, you can stop at Mendoza, the capital of wine country, before heading through the Andes to the largest peak outside the Himalayas: Aconcagua.
In the North, the historical city of Salta is worth a trip, while no visit is complete without seeing the mighty Iguazu Falls.
When you think of Argentinean food, one word comes to mind–steak. Argentina is said to produce the best beef on the planet and, boasting the world’s highest consumption rate, it’s no wonder that they’ve perfected the cooking of it. For the best beef, keep your eye out for the parrillas (grill houses) and asados (barbecues).
Buenos Aires also is a very cosmopolitan city from a cuisine point of view. You can find foods from all corners of the world. Vegetarians are not out of luck in this carnivorous country; especially in the capital, new breeds of meat-free restaurants are popping up all over and are very chic. Outside the capital, vegetarians might have some difficulty as it seems that jamón (ham) has a way of finding a home in every recipe.
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Night owls will be in their element in Buenos Aires. Get in the habit of dining late and arriving at the clubs in the early hours and ready to party till dawn. There are also plenty of opportunities to watch tango, or you can head to a milonga (a local dance hall) to give the beautiful a dance a whirl yourself. The country’s second largest city, Córdoba, also has an vibrant nightlife as does nearby Rosario, the birthplace of Che Guevara.
After the economic crash of 2001, Argentina has become a bargain for travelers with any foreign currency. You can pick up bargains across the country with clothes, jewelry and leather goods being especially good bargains. If you are looking to bring a bit of Argentina home with you, bring back a gourd and silver spoon, used to make the highly-caffeinated national drink of mate.
Craft markets are abundant all over the nation, but for the fashion conscious, head to the boutiques in Buenos Aires’ Palermo district. If you’re keen to take a memory home with you instead of a traditional souvenir, why not try a Spanish course or learn to ride at an estancia (ranch)?
Buenos Aires has an excellent public transport network in the form of collectivos (buses) and the subte (subway). Taxis are abundant and very affordable. For cross country travel, you can hire a car or utilize the decent internal aviation network.
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