Argentina has it all: glamour, beautiful people, fabulous wine, snow-capped peaks, basking whales, amazing glaciers, awe inspiring waterfalls, gauchos and empanadas. The list could go on. The country is vast and the distances are huge so one trip is not enough.
The starting point for every trip should be the capital, Buenos Aires. Affectionately known as BA, it is an elegant and cosmopolitan city that radiates verve and exuberance from every corner. This is a city that comes alive at night, and where heated discussions about politics, fashion and football are held over glasses of Malbec. BA is a great city for exploring and each area is truly unique.
San Telmo is full of alleys and its colonial architecture is in sharp contrast to the paint box coloured buildings in La Boca. In refined and sophisticated Recoleta, a visit to the cemetery and to Eva Peron’s tomb is a must, as is a visit to Casa Rosada where Peron addressed her people in Plaza de Mayo. El Tigre operates as the perfect destination spot for sophisticated Argentineans and rightly so. You can reach this glorious spot by motor launch and explore the islands by kayak.
Many on a first visit want to see The Iguazu Falls. Half as high as Niagara Falls, this natural splendour can be viewed from nearby paths where this subtropical setting is filled with vividly coloured butterflies. The primary attraction is the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) where walkways take you right above the falls and into the real action. The falls are shared with Brazil but for the more exhilarating trip the Argentine side is the place to be.
The total opposite of The Iguazu Falls is the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia. This huge 30 km long glacier with 60m high walls that creak and move constantly, is well worth the visit. It is a destination in itself straddling Chile and Argentina and is the stuff of legends. It has been made famous by everyone from the early Welsh settlers to Bruce Chatwin. It is vast, imposing, wild and impossibly beautiful.
For culture as opposed to countryside go to Salta. It is one of Argentina’s most charismatic and historic cities and is worth a couple of days. Its palm filled plazas and 17th century buildings are delightful to wander around but it is in the evenings that the town comes to life.
If you want to see the ‘End of the World’ head to Ushuaia. This is the starting point for expeditions to Antarctica, or take the Australis boat providing an amazing cruise to Punta Arenas in Chile.
For a gentler landscape that is simply stunning head north from Ushuaia to Bariloche in the heart of Argentina’s Lake District. Here you can trek amongst the snow-capped peaks, go white water rafting, take a slow boat across a fjord or simply watch the sunset over the mountains. There are some great drives around the lake and sparkling in the distance you will see the jagged and dramatic snow-capped peaks of the Andes.
For culture as opposed to countryside go to Salta. It is one of Argentina’s most charismatic and historic cities and is worth a couple of days. Its palm filled plazas and 17th century buildings are delightful to wander around but it is in the evenings that the town comes to life. The food is great and the wine is even better. If you are interested in wine head out to The Calchaqui Valley and visit some of the local wineries. But the best known wine region in Argentina is Mendoza. Here the scenery is as stunning as its wines, with row upon serried row of vines stretching out into the distance.
Peninsula Valdes is a great spot for seeing a huge array of marine life, birds and a profusion of Patagonian wildlife such as guanacos, rheas and armadillos. During the spring months this treeless island is home to whales, penguins and seals who come to breed at the foot of the peninsula’s cliffs. The wonderful thing about this nature reserve is that you can stay right in the heart of this scenic playground.
Whoever you are there is something for you, no matter your interests. You can explore the lush rainforest of Missiones, go horse riding in the red mountains of Salta and trek through the evergreen forests of the Lake District or play gaucho in the fertile Pampas. Argentina provides bountiful opportunities for the adventurous traveller with its diverse geography of snow, deserts, lakes and enduring coastline.