Argentina is awesome. It’s the place to be if you want a South American country with a European flavor with extremely hospitably people and some of the most impressive natural wonders in the world.
Many people think of Argentina as a soccer-mad, steak-eating group of tango dancers. Actually in my experience, only the first two are true. I have yet to meet an Argentine who could admit to tango as one of their pastimes.
Most visitors who enter Argentina start in the capital, Buenos Aires. The city is famously called “the Paris of South America” for good reason: few cities in the New World have the European flavor and architecture, broad boulevards, parks, museums and nightlife that is commonplace in Buenos Aires.
What also makes Argentina unique is its natural beauty. From the Iguazú falls in the northeast, the towering Andes in the west, the fertile and flat pampas towards the center, the vast stretch of wilderness that is Patagonia, the salt deserts near the Bolivian border and the Perito Moreno Glacier, just to name a few, Argentina has all of the characteristics of a continent within a single country.
Check out below just some of the cool things that Argentina has to offer.
A Quick Tour of Places and Things to See and Do
Buenos Aires is the cultural, political and economic center of Argentina. It is here that you’ll find the best food, nightlife, cultural activities, museums, art, music scene, shopping and of course, lively people. The city also has a thriving theater district and one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world, the Teatro Colón. However one of the most enjoyable things to do in Buenos Aires is to explore the different neighborhoods (called barrios) by foot or by subway. It’s a city that simply rocks!
Glaciers National ParkArgentina’s Glaciers National Park (Los Glaciares) is a place that’s truly unique. The southern part of the park is home to some of the largest glaciers in the world (the others being in Greenland and Antarctica). This place can be a bit overwhelming (and even frightening) as the moving glaciers, which advance and retreat during the year, create thundering sounds as giant sheets of ice break off them and crash into the surrounding lakes. The most famous of these glaciers is Perito Moreno.
The northern section of the park features the famous Fitz Roy mountain range. Resembling giant razor-sharp shark’s teeth as they scrape across the sky, these jagged peaks are considered to be difficult to conquer for even the most agile mountain climbers. Don’t let that scare you though as there are plenty of hiking trails that don’t require mountain climbing equipment and offer spectacular views of the surrounding areas.
Iguazú FallsThough the view is better on the Brazilian side, the Iguazú falls are also impressive when seen across the border from Argentina. In fact, you’ll be much closer to them in Argentina, literally an arm’s length from touching the water in some areas.
Quebrada de HumahuacaLocated in northwest corner of Argentina, Quebrada de Humahuaca in the province of Jujuy is very close culturally to cities in Bolivia and Peru. That’s because, along with being a rocky desert, it’s one place in Argentina where indigenous South American culture and traditions are still very much alive. This is where you should go to see Andean, non-European, Argentina. Oh, and the llamas that roam the area are cool too!
MendozaThe city is nice but it’s really the areas around Mendoza that are pretty awesome. Along with its natural beauty at the foot of the towering Andes Mountains, Mendoza is famous for its wine made from Malbec grapes. Many people come here from all over the world for wine tasting at the many vineyards and wineries that can be found nearby in almost any direction. There are plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting and horseback riding that can be done in many of the nearby natural parks. In winter, the slopes around Mendoza are some of the best places to ski and snowboard in all of South America. South America’s highest peak, Aconcagua, is also located nearby.
CórdobaLocated more or less in the center of the country, Córdoba and the surrounding areas have lots do, especially if you’re into outdoor activities. The city itself is Argentina’s second largest after Buenos Aires but has a totally different feel than the capital. Its people are known throughout Argentina as being some of the friendliest in the world. The city is also home to the 400 hundred year-old Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, one oldest institutes of higher learning in the Americas. Córdoba is also a good base for exploring the nearby Punilla Valley and Sierras Chicas mountain range.
BarilocheAs Argentina’s lake district, Bariloche is one of the most beautiful parts of the country and home to Cerro Catedral, one of the best places in the world to go skiing. Many also journey here for hiking, climbing, camping, cycling and of course, swimming.
UshuaiaUshuaia has the prestigious honor of being the world’s most southernmost city (however the Chileans dispute this and claim that Punta Arenas in Chile is). Once a penal colony, Ushuaia is now the base for those wanting to take cruises southward towards Antarctica or up north to Patagonia. Bring your jacket as the temperature is generally pretty cold for most of the year.
Mar del Plata
Argentina has nearly 5,000 km of coastline and Mar del Plata is probably the best part of it. It is the place to go for fun in the Argentine sun. During the day life on the beach takes over but once the sun goes down, the city and surrounding areas get really alive with some of Argentina’s most lively nightlife outside Buenos Aires.
Península ValdésPenínsula Valdés is possibly the best place in the western hemisphere for whale watching, especially to see groups of the southern right whale. While the whales get the most attention, wildlife lovers can also see elephant seals, sea lions, killer whales, penguins and countless species of marine birds along the peninsula’s coastline. Hanging out here is like going on a rustic South American safari.
Los Esteros del Iberá
Los Esteros del Iberá is a scenically beautiful and protected wetland reserve in Argentina’s northeast. It is actually the 2nd largest wetland reserve in the world (the largest being Brazil’s Pantanal region). Here you can see various species of wildlife including swamp deer, monkeys, several varieties of rare birds, alligators and other swamp creatures. It’s Argentina’s version of the Bayou, only much larger.
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