Argentina: land of tango, football, polo and cowboys
Argentina offers you an eclectic range of environments: jungle in the northeast, the rugged Andes Mountains in the west, the rocky deserts of Cuyo in the Midwest, the Atlantic coastline in the east and the vibrant city of Buenos Aires. You can experience 50°C of summertime heat in Cuyo or Antarctic temperatures in the southern Andes. The capital of Argentina is Buenos Aires, where you can find colonial-style houses, try out some tango-dancing, join the emotional turmoil of a football match or enjoy the dynamic nightlife. The Pampas region lies on a rich plain; you can visit Che Guevara’s birthplace in Rosario or enjoy the beautiful setting of Cordoba, with its colonial architecture cradled by surrounding hills. In the Cuyo region, you can taste the finest Argentinian wines. Marvel at the highest mountain outside the Himalayas: Cerro Aconcuaga, in the Andes is 6,960m high. For flat, rolling plateaux, head for Patagonia.
Apart from enjoying the majesty of the Argentinian terrain, you can also hang out with Argentinian cowboys at a Gaucho party, savour some of the country’s famously tender beef in a parrilla restaurant (dinner is served at 10 pm), enjoy a world-class polo match or drink yerba mate with locals.
When to Go?
Remember that summer comes between December and March; June to August are the winter months. Buenos Aires is best to visit in the autumn or the spring. Patagonia is at its most beautiful in the summer. Don’t go to the Andes in winter unless you are an extremely hardy soul! Look out for the Mardi Gras Carnival in February and the World Tango Championships in October. The Gaucho Parade takes place on 16th June.
How to get there?
There are over 100 airports in Argentina. The main one for international flights is Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), near Buenos Aires, which serves destinations in South America, the USA, Europe, South Africa, Sydney and Kuala Lumpur. There are airports in the largest cities: Cordoba (COR), Rosario (ROS), and Mendoza (MDZ).
The sensational Iguaza Falls, in the northeast, are made up of 275 separate waterfalls. The Glaciers National Park (El Calafate) includes the must-see Perito Moreno Glacier. The wetlands of Ibera cover 13,000 km² and feature the eco-village of Colonia Carlos Pellegrini. Ski-ing in the Andes is an unforgettable experience. You can marvel at the sight of a million penguins guarding their nests at Punta Tombo Nature Reserve; the other nature reserves, at Puerto Madryn, Peninsula Valdes and Nahuel Huapi are also well worth a visit.