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Discover tango and the Andes in Argentina

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Home to the Andes and bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, Argentina is a destination high up on most people's travel hit-lists. It's a country of contrasts designed for the budding adventurer with a multitude of landscapes including the fascinating glaciers, Andean lakes and the Iguaçu falls. Argentina allows you to step into the shoes of a Gaucho, visit Ushuaia or even get some r&r at Mar del Plata. The capital, Buenos Aires, is hip and trendy yet retains an antique feel of Old Europe.

Travel guide

Iguazu Falls

Amongst the main tourist attractions in Argentina are the Iguazu falls which mark the divide between Argentina and Brazil; they are often referred to as one of the most beautiful sights in the world. The falls have over 200 separate cascades and are home to around 2,000 different species of fauna and flora. They are accessible from the town of Puerto Iguazu and are found in the national park amidst luscious, tropical vegetation.

Wine tasting in Mendoza

Mendoza offers several wine-tasting tours which enable participants to see the workings of a vineyard firsthand. The tours explain how, with the use of an irrigation system capturing the melting snow from the Andes, such a dry area developed into one of the most fruitful wine regions in the world.

Meatilicious

Argentina is renowned for its delicious beef, wherever you are you're guaranteed to have access to one of the most succulent and tender steaks ever tasted. The beef comes directly from the cows raised in the plains of the Pampa, where they roam freely and eat grass to their hearts content. Although Argentineans enjoy their meat well done, they will happily cater to your needs if you wish to have your steak cooked rare.

Get your groove on

Tango, along with beef, is one of the first things that pops into people's heads when they think of Argentina. If you're keen to convey a fiery and passionate love story through your eyes or sharply move your feet and legs around the dance floor, Argentinean tango is the dance for you. Tango classes are available just about anywhere in Buenos Aires and due to demand most instructors now teach in English. If you're keen to dance outside in the Argentinean sunshine there is a milonga called ?La Glorieta' which takes place on Sunday evenings at around 8pm.

La Paris de Sudamérica

Buenos Aires embodies a striking combination of European and American influences and continues to provide both unpredictability and endless entertainment. If you're looking for a wild nightlife, Buenos Aires definitely fits the bill. Most of the bars don't open until midnight and the clubs at two, at the earliest. In terms of food, this city offers pretty much any cuisine around but of course visiting the parrillas (steakhouses) first is highly advised.

Our Editorial team's advice

Before jetting off to the South of the country, be warned that the further you go the more prices start to rocket, even doubling in some places compared to the North.

Don't be too trusting of the Argentinean locals; the gap is always widening between the rich and the poor, which lately has led to more muggings and assaults.

As Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world, it's advisable to explore thoroughly one area rather than cover too much ground if you're only there for a short while. However, the night bus service is an excellent way to get around if you want to save money on a night in a hotel and not eat up too much of your travelling time. In the Andes states coca leaves are used as an herbal remedy as they help to combat altitude sickness. It is recommended to chew the coca leaves in Argentina but it is illegal to try to take them elsewhere.

pros

  • +The Atlantic coast, the Sierra, the Andes, the Pampas and Patagonia; you're spoilt for choice, with desert landscapes which stretch as far as the eye can see.
  • +The underwater fauna is exceptional: a paradise for divers.
  • +Buenos Aires is a very attractive city.
  • +The kindness of the Argentinian people.

cons

  • -Package holidays to Argentina are expensive.
  • -A huge country that requires several weeks to properly visit.
  • -There is considerable disparity between the prices in different regions.

Traditions

In Argentina, you will always be offered a strange container (the mate) with a silver straw (la bombilla) containing a greenish beverage (la hierba mate). This is a mixture of herbs resembling a very strong and bitter tea that everyone drinks in the daytime. It wakes you up and fills you up too and it is offered around as a sign of conviviality and friendship.
The Argentinian timetables are similar to those of their Spanish cousins. The time for a siesta is between 1:00pm and 3:00/4:00pm and dinner is served at around 9:00/10:00pm.

Food

Dulce de leche - This sweetener is sold all over Argentina; it is comprised of milk and sugar which gives it a very sweet and caramely taste. Its consistency is probably a cross between honey, nutella and butter. Most people enjoy it spread across their bread, pancakes or hot and poured over ice cream.

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Argentina . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Argentina . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Argentina .

Souvenirs

Various leather products can be found in Buenos Aires, such as jackets, bags and shoes. Gaucho trousers, in thick beige or khaki cloth fastened at the ankles, are very practical for travelling and worn by most locals.

You'll also find woolen ponchos and Indian crafts in the region of Salta. Shops are open from 9:30am to 7:30pm during the week, and on Saturday from 9:00am to 1:00pm. There is often a break from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.