Argentina, the vast country that marks the most southerly tip of the South American continent, is full of surprises at every turn. Colonised by the Spanish the country’s cities retain European architecture and culture, but the country is made up of so much more than that. Known for the cattle that graze on its grassy plains great swathes of the country is made up of acres of gaucho territory, but the diversity at the further reaches of the country will completely blow you away. Follow our tour for your guide to Argentina travel.
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Don’t miss our feature on the amazing Salar de Uyuni Bolivian salt flats
What to See
The best starting point for any trip to Argentina is its capital beguiling Buenos Aires. The picturesque port city is the home of tango, steak houses and some of the most interesting fusion food on the planet try sushi and ceviche or ‘chifa’ a Chinese and Peruvian hybrid.
From upscale avenues in Palermo lined with chi-chi cafés to downtown La Boca with its coloured tenements of courrugated iron the city hums with the history of Argentina. Go to San Telmo antiques market for curiosities and street tango, have a café cortado at Café Tortoni and cycle alongside the river at Puerto Madero.
From Buenos Aires fly south very far south. At the very tip of the country, Patagonia is the region shared between Argentina and Chile, which encompasses the most southern section of the Andes and its glacial south before stretching out to the Antarctic.
The landscape looks as though it has been plucked from fantasy movie film set with sinister ice pinnacles. Don’t miss the ominously titled Torres Del Paine and the Glacier Perito Moreno – one of the world’s most accessible ice fields. It measures 30km long, 5km wide and 60m high and it’s constantly advancing at a rate of 2m a day.
A little north up the Andean border with Chile is Bariloche – a little slice of the Swiss Alps in Argentina. The Lake region of Bariloche is surrounded by summits up to 2,000m high, in summer they are green and lush, while winter sees them obscured by snow and the skiers it attracts.
The wooden chalets dotted around the mountain-scape are delightful anytime of year and visitors flock to the area for adventure holidays such as horseriding, biking or hiking.
Head northwards once more and this time to Mendoza and the heart of wine-growing country in the shadow of the magnificent snowy peaks of the Andes. The city is vibrant and cultural with many wine bars to sample the local plonk.
If you really want an adventure get a bus slightly out of the city centre to El Maipu, you can hire bikes here with companies like Bikes and Wine, they’ll give you a map of the local vineyards and off you peddle. The cycle is roughly 12km and when you arrive at each winery they’ll show you around and give you the odd glass of Malbec. It’s thirsty work after all.
Take an overnight bus up to the northern province of Salta. A city in its own right with plenty to entertain, the surrounding areas, however, have so much more intriguing options.
Take a self-drive trip to Cafayate and sample local wines, don’t miss the Humuahuaca mountains or the Puna dustbowl some 4,000 metres above sea level. Dine on Andean food like tomales, humitas, both stuffed corn husks and the deliciously light cazuela de cabrito, kid goat stew.
Go via Tucamon and yet another overnight bus to Iguazu, the famous falls that splits the border with Brazil. There’s not much to see in the small town, which has been set up for the purposes of tourism, but it is well equipped for the legions of tourists that descend here each year.
Allow a day or two to explore the falls from both sides. Hike up the trails taking in the dozens of little falls before opening out onto the thunderous main event encircled by rainbows forming in the spray.