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Argentina
Argentina
ę Jakobradlgruber / 123RF
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Things to see in Argentina
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Coasts

The Argentinian coast is divided into two regions. First, the Atlantic Coast south of Buenos Aires is a very touristy area. It is the French Riviera of Argentina. It has vast beaches, immense dunes and coniferous forests. The largest city on the Atlantic coast is Mar de Plata; it is ideal if you like crowds and a lively urban atmosphere. Then, there is the wilder and colder region on the southern coast in Patagonia. You might compare it to the coasts of Cornwall and Devon. The beaches on the southern coast alternate between tepid, even cold water and beaches with dirt, sand and rocky cliffs. One of the biggest cities on the southern coast is Bahýa Blanca.

The fauna and flora

Argentina has a very diverse climate. The vegetation and animal species have adapted and developed following the variances in the weather. Every region has its own fauna and flora. In the forest of Misiones, the tropical vegetation consists of trees such as the palm tree, the rosewood, the ga´ac, the jacaranda and the red quebracho (from which tannin is extracted). Magnificent forests of conifers (firs, cypress, cedar) can be found in Tierra del Fuego, in the eastern part of the Andes. Trees are rarer in the pampas, even though Argentinians have tried to import species that are resistant to drought, such as the eucalyptus, the sycamore and the acacia. In Patagonia, only some grasses and shrubs can resist the climate. In the north, the fauna is varied and abundant. Among the mammals that live in this region, there are different species of monkeys, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, anteaters, tapirs, peccary and raccoons. There are also flamingoes, hummingbirds and parrots. As for the Pampas, they are home to armadillos, foxes, martens, wildcats, hares, deer, greater rhea, falcons, herons and plovers. Some of these animals also live in Patagonia. The colder regions of the Andes are full of lamas, guanacos, vicuna, alpacas and condors. The coastal waters, lakes and rivers are full of fish.

Arts and culture

Argentinian culture bears testimony to the cosmopolitan nature of the country. The inhabitants have very diverse origins. The influence of European culture is very present in Argentina, especially because the Argentinian population is largely made up of immigrants who were originally from Spain and Italy. With regards to art and music, the local culture is imbued with African influences. Argentina is known worldwide mostly for the tango. Born in the suburbs of Buenos Aires in the middle of the 19th century, the origins of this dance come from the community of black slaves who comprised a large percentage of the population at the time. Later, the tango was blended with some of European dances in the 1920s and 30s before charming Westerners and passing from the streets to the salons. A sensual dance, tango represents both diversity and seduction, two Argentinian traditions. Indeed, what Europeans often remember about Argentina are the beautiful men and women.
The Gaucho, Argentinian cowboys who were nomadic and wandered the pampas for a long time, are part of the Argentinian culture. Representing freedom and courage, and with a romantic side, they had to adapt to modern life and now work on the ranches in the pampas. Argentina also has its own specialities when it comes to cuisine. For instance, try some asado (a delicious grilled meat), empanadas (a meat-filled pastry), dulce de leche (milk jam) or alfajores (small biscuits), served with very good wine from Mendoza or Cafayate.