Argentina, adjacent to Chile in the south of the continent, is a wonderfully diverse country. The cosmopolitan Latin capital Buenos Aires, is worth at least 2 to 3 days of exploration including the historical city centre, the colourful La Boca and experiencing the famous “tango” at one of the local venues in town. From here diversions to the most panoramic waterfalls in the world – Iguazu Falls, the ‘Swiss Alps of South America’ town of Bariloche and the southern-most point of the continent in Patagonia are highly recommended. For those looking for adventure, consider Argentina’s north, with its many archaeological sites, colourful landscape of the desert mountains, as well as the famous ‘Train to the Clouds’. With so many options, World Journeys is able to tailor-make an itinerary to suit you!
• Iguazu Falls
• Buenos Aires
• Salta & Jujuy
• San Carlos de Bariloche
Argentina’s climate varies widely from the dry and hot north to the sub-Antarctic Patagonia to mild and humid in the Pampa’s plains. The best time to visit Patagonia is between Oct – Apr, whereas the best times to visit the North are during the autumn and winter when the days are less hot and rainfall is infrequent.
I love Argentina and have been fortunate enough to return there often since my first visit in the 1970’s. My special favourite is Buenos Aires, one of the great world cities, both elegant and crazy in the same breath. It was a melting pot of European settlement in South America. There is a very strong influence from Spain and England but in fact the largest proportion of Portenos, as the natives of Buenos Aires are known, decend from the Italians. This blend helps give the city it’s unquestionable style in architecture (it is known as the “Paris of the Americas”), fashion, wonderful cuisine and of course football. I highly recommend you attend a weekend game between say Boca Juniors and River Plate, the atmosphere is electric. For something more sedate, attend a performance at the magnificent 100 year old Teatro Colon, considered by many to be amongst the greatest Opera Houses on earth and offering amazing performances at a very affordable price – the acoustics are fabulous.
Eating out is one of my favourite pastimes and as well as some of the juiciest steaks around, the fusion food and range of dishes available is extraordinary, again that legacy of immigrants from Europe! Continue the evening at one of the many excellent tango shows that can be found in the city and be prepared to stay up late if you choose as there are many fantastic clubs and bars that await the night owl.
Shopping is another must do in Argentina. Leather goods and shoes are especially good buys along with designer goods from some of the main European fashion houses. For a typically authentic experience, I particularly enjoy the Sunday flea market held in one of the central districts of San Telmo. All manner of antiques, old and new, are on sale. There is wonderful street theatre here including tango dancers and classical musicians from the university and along with some great little sidewalk cafes and a vibrant atmosphere, it is one of the best things to do in the city.
Elsewhere in Argentina, in the north at Iguazu on the border with Brazil, you have the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Don’t miss them … they are in every sense of the word awesome. Way down south in Patagonia there are some more ‘must do’ experiences. I will never forget the sound of ice ‘carving’ off the 5km wide face of the Perito Moreno Glacier. At the very bottom of the country, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world and the jumping off point for those visiting Antarctica or taking a cruise around Cape Horn and through the glorious Straits of Magellan to Chile. Go there in summer and enjoy the stunning scenery and impressive wildlife in one of the many national parks. Back in BA, you should visit the remarkable cemetery at Recoletta where Eva Peron, Evita, is buried. In the Plaza de Mayo in the centre of town, stands the Casa Rosada and your guide will point out the balcony from which Evita made the memorable speech to her doting crowd… “Don’t cry for me Argentina”. These days, the only tears that are shed are those of disappointment at having to leave this wonderful country. Chris
Currency Argentine Peso
Language Spanish and in Buenos Aires some “lunfardo” expressions (city slang)
Why we love it From the obvious attraction of a passionate dance of the Tango (in which you may feel slightly voyeuristic!) , delve into the San Telmo antique markets and roam along Recoleta avenues spilling over with trendy cafes and boutique clothes and shoe shops. The shoes!! San Carlos de Bariloche (you just have to go there for the name alone) you will find to be remarkably similar to a little town in the Swiss Alps which is why they call it the “Switzerland of the Americas”. A fantastic summer and winter resort with loads of activities and scenery to die for. The Iguazu Falls of course are a major highlight with the Iguazu River flowing into 275 waterfalls plunging more than 70 metres. A scene of exuberant natural beauty and deafening noise awaits – make sure you do the jet boat excursion! Patagonia is a real cool – literally. This area of millennium old forests, granite peaks and magnificent ice fields and glaciers is a natural wonder of the world. Travel there in the summer time for the best weather and hiking/fishing/horse riding opportunities.
Weather Argentina’s climate varies widely from the dry and hot north to the sub-antarctic Patagonia to mild and humid in the Pampa’s plains. Argentina’s seasons are climate are not dissimilar to New Zealand’s actually. The best time to visit Patagonia is between Oct – Apr, whereas the best times to visit the North are during the autumn and winter when the days are less hot and rainfall is infrequent.
Social customs & quirks As with any country there are variations between city and country folk and Argentina is no different. There are vast differences between the European sophistication of Buenos Aires inhabitants and those hardy rural Argentinian’s living outside of the Capital Federal province. Tipping is a custom in Argentina and you should allow 10% on top for services provided. Football (or soccer as we know it) is huge in Argentina, and if you are a soccer fan you should definitely make time to go to La Boca Stadium and even see a game. Latin American’s are huge sport fanatics!
Festivals & events Argentina does not have any major recurring events or festivals but hosts many large business delegate groups mainly in Buenos Aires all throughout the year. The National Independence Day is 9th July (as in the main street of Buenos Aires, Ave 9 de Julio)
Health* Currently no compulsory health requirements to visit Argentina.
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.
My Grand Tour of South America was everything I had dreamed it would be and more. The stay in the Amazon was magical. The only place in the world where I have been able to see more stars at night than in New Zealand.