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Argentina

Argentina

General

Argentina, the country of Tango and football, meat and wine, Iguassu and Tierra del Fuego, Eva Peron and Lionel Messi (or Diego Maradona) –taste can differ. This large country in South America has so much to offer that time will never be on your side when travelling Argentina. Start of course with Buenos Aires the proud capital and home to over 10 million inhabitants. This is a city that makes itself feel, you’ll feel the proud of this city when wandering through neighborhoods as Recoleta, San Telmo and Palermo and of course the popular area of Boca with its colorful houses and bustling energy. Many of the famous Argentina tourist attractions can be found in Buenos Aires. For instance see the famous Plaza de Mayo, where the mothers of the children and husbands who disappeared during the dictatorship of Videla in the 70’s are still protesting and demanding justice every day. This square is the heart of popular resistance in Buenos Aires and even the whole of Argentina.  From here it is only a short walk to Avenida 9 de Julio, supposedly the broadest avenue in the world with 24 lanes besides each other. Another thing one may want to do when in Buenos Aires is enjoy one of the famous football games here filled with passion and conviction. The biggest and best known classic in Argentina is of course between the two big Buenos Aires teams Boca Juniors and River Plate. In the evening one should of course enjoy a fabulous Tango show in one of the venues, accompanied by a good steak and a nice bottle of Argentinean wine. This sensual dance with all its grace and passion will leave you flabbergasted.

Besides its capital, another of the famous Argentina Tourist attractions are the mighty Iguassu Falls on the border with Brazil and Paraguay in the north of the country. These falls, a combination of hundreds small falls, are a true spectacle of the sheer force of nature in its most pure form. You will feel and hear the falls from a long distance away and the mist of water created by this force of nature will get you wet from a good distance away. Located in a beautiful national park, covered in Atlantic Rainforest, this natural beauty will provide you with some of your best vacation pictures and an everlasting memory of something so impressive and powerful. The area is known for it hot and humid climate all year round and with some great hotels make for an awesome vacation destination. From here it is also possible to cross into Brazil and from here head to Rio or the Pantanal in Southern Brazil.

In the center north of the country you can find Mendoza and its beautiful countryside. This region is the largest wine producing area in Latin America and combines two great Argentina tourist attractions; the Maipu and the Lujan Valley. For the real wine lover a visit to this part of Argentina can be combined with a visit to Chile and the Chilean Wine Valleys. Besides these worldwide known wineries, Mendoza has a very nice city center and good restaurants. For some countryside and outdoor tourism the Mendoza and Salta regions are also great destinations.

More to the South in the Argentinean Lake District one can find Bariloche. This area is great for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and in the wintertime (June through September) some of the best skiing on the continent.

Further south starts the mythic Patagonia region where you can find El Calafate and the Perito Moreno, one of the biggest glaciers in South America and an awesome sight. Come close with a boat meanwhile you can see and hear huge chunks of ice falling into the lake.

Even more South you can find Ushuaia, the self-proclaimed Southernmost city in the world (even though below Ushuaia you can find Isla Navarino, a Chilean Island with its capital Puerto Williams).

As you can read Argentina has it all. This combined with good road and air transport possibilities, great food and very hospitable people; it is obvious that Argentina has what it takes to be a great vacation destination.

Buenos Aires

The City of Greater Buenos Aires is home to over 13 million people and with this one of the bigger urban centers in South America and the world. The city was founded by the Spanish as a trade port in the 17th and 18th century, the city started thriving as an important port between goods from South America to Spain and vice versa. The expansion of the city started in the nowadays named neighborhood if San Telmo, the historic heart of Buenos Aires. In the modern history Argentina became a very important immigration country receiving many people from all over the world, mainly Europe. Almost all of these people had to come through Buenos Aires and all left parts of their legacy in this city. This is why Buenos Aires to a lot of people feels very European like and claimed the nickname the Paris of South America. People and lifestyle in Buenos Aires will also feel very European to some was it not for some of the typical Argentinean customs. Tango, beef & wine, and football are all things that the average Porteño will take quite seriously. People in Buenos Aires are very friendly and genuinely interested in other countries and cultures. You will also find a very political motivated city with many people and groups moving the city at times standing up for their rights.

The city is made up out of 48 “barrios” or districts. The most famous ones are;

San Telmo; known for being the historic heart of the city and home to some beautiful 19th century architecture.

Recoleta; The upmarket neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, full of parks, nice restaurants and great hotels. Here you can find a lot of cultural venues combined with some typical Parisian architecture and the famous Recoleta Cemetery.

Palermo; a younger and hipper area where you can find some of the best restaurants, nightclubs and “boliches” in town.

Puerto Madero; the old harbor with dockland buildings, now restyled into high-rise and loft apartments for the lucky few. This is Buenos Aires’s newest barrio.

La Boca; and old time favorite, the old harbor area. Full of painted houses and with an atmosphere only to be found in this popular area. Also home to the Boca Junior Football Club, one of the biggest in the country.

As you can read Buenos Aires is definitely a city to spend several days without one boring moment. Culturally very close to Europe yet still very different. Great food, great people and lots and lots of culture, definitely a “must see” in South America.

Iguazú Falls

Located in the Misiones Province in northern Argentina the Iguazu Falls are considered one of the great natural wonders of the continent.

Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguaçu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau this is where numerous islands along the 2.7-kilometre long edge divide the falls into about 275 separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 meters and 82 meters high. About half of the river's flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil's Throat. The Devil's Throat is U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide, and 700-meter-long. The border between Argentina and Brazil runs through the Devil's Throat. Two-thirds of the falls are within Argentine territory.  The tourist circuit on the Argentine side comprises three sections: the upper falls, the lower falls, and the Devil's Throat. For all sections there are boardwalks foreseen to get closer to the falls. Be aware this will be a wet experience. On the Argentine side of the falls it is also possible to make a boat ride on the foot of the falls and experience the wetness and noise from very close by. The junction of the water flows marks the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. There are points in the cities of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Puerto Iguaçu, Argentina, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, which have access to the Iguaçu River where the borders of all three countries can be seen, a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the three cities. Being located so close to the border this is also an ideal place to pop over to Brazil and continue your trip in Brazil.

Mendoza & Salta

Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province, in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes.

The city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere) and for adventure travelers interested in mountaineering, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and other sports. In the winter, skiers come to the city for its easy access to the Andes. Besides being a Mecca for outdoor activities, the region is maybe even more known for its wineries. Mendoza holds the largest wine producing area in South America and some of Argentinean most famous wines come from here. Argentina’s most highly rated Malbec wines originate from Mendoza’s high altitude wine regions of Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. These Districts are located in the foothills of the Andes mountains between 2,800 and 5,000 feet elevation. The two main wine valleys here are the Maipu and the Lujan Valley. Most wines produced here are from the Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon grape followed by the Tempranillo and Chardonnay. As the area is known for its wineries and countryside, it is no wonder that the region in the last couple of years got developed for rural and culinary tourism. Many of the tours here can also be done on bike combining the good life of eating and drinking with some exercise during the day.  For more outdoor tourism Argentina’s Mecca is definetely Salta. The town of Salta is a laidback semi large city that invites to hang around for a couple of days. The region is known as one of the upcoming places for tourism in Argentina and provides great day or multiday hikes, biking, and paragliding adventures. From here one can also cross into Bolivia.

Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego

When talking about one of the most enigmatic areas in South America it is inevitable that Patagonia and even more Tierra del Fuego will obviously appear high on the list. This large piece of land, shared by Argentina and Chile is one of the lesser inhabited on the continent with on average only 1.9 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The region is divided in three parts; Eastern Patagonia, Western Patagonia and Tierra Del Fuego. The Eastern part is almost completely in Chile, the Western Part in Argentina and Tierra Del Fuego is shared by both countries. From East to West, Patagonia starts off with long plains or pampas that stretch for thousands kilometers from North to South. More towards the East and the border with Chile these Patagonian plains start to rise to a large Cordillera located on the border with Chile.

Located in this cordillera one can find Bariloche, the best known skiing resort in Argentina and maybe South America. This is a great outdoor country full of amazing landscaped, lakes, and glaciers.

More towards the south over this Cordillera you will come to El Calafate, known for one of the biggest glaciers in South America the Perito Moreno. This is an amazing spectacle to see as huge blocks of ice break off of the glacier and fall into the water. The sound of this glacier creaking is a sound that will impress you every time.

Even more to the South, crossing the Chilean border and back into Argentina you ended up in the worlds Southernmost region; Tierra Del Fuego. The one bigger city here, proclaimed to be the Southernmost city in the world sounds even far away; Ushuaia. Here in Ushuaia you can glare at the beagle Channel dividing Argentina with Navarino Island, the last island before you reach cape Horn. Ushuaia is located besides a national park where in the wintertime one can do some skiing and in the summer do great one or more day hikes. Of course are the boat excursions to some of the surrounding islands only inhabited by sea lions and penguins a must see. Ushuaia being an ex penal colony, does also have its history. You can visit the jail that was used in these times now housing a good museum about this part of the history of Tierra del Fuego. Also you can pass by the harbor, the last harbor for many ships before crossing Cape Horn, still one of the deadliest seas in the world. And also the last stop for many large icebreakers on their way to Antarctica to supply the several bases located there. You can even see some of the bigger cruise ships in the world passing by here as this is a famous cruise destination.

Don’t forget get the official end of the world stamp in your passport at the local tourism office.

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