With excellent exchange rates between the dollar and the peso, Argentina is becoming a premier destination for Americans seeking overseas vacation alternatives to Europe. The country is vast. Buenos Aires province itself is larger than France. There are incredible locales and vistas to be found in every part of Argentina. Here is a list of the ten most unforgettable places.
The capital of Argentina is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Most people comment that Buenos Aires has a stronger resemblance to Europe than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere. With a population descended largely from Italian and Spanish immigrants, Buenos Aires has a cultural heritage that has given rise to tango and dozens of streets featuring splendid architecture. The highlights of the city are the old, bohemian neighborhood of San Telmo with its cobblestone streets and Recoleta Cemetery with its ornate mausoleums, among which is the burial place of Evita.
Estancias on the pampas
Surrounding the city of Buenos Aires is the pampas, the vast plain where the country’s legendary cattle graze. The Argentine equivalent of cowboys, gauchos, can be found working the many estancias (ranches) that dot the pampas. Many of these estancias are now open for tourism and feature beautiful nineteenth-century homes for spending a relaxing few nights.
Along the Atlantic coast of Argentina is one of the world’s greatest wildlife reserves. But most visitors come for the activity that’s just off the shore, which is a breeding ground for whales. Peninsula Valdes also offer fantastic opportunities for observing huge numbers of sea lions and elephant seals in their natural habitat. And you might even be able to witness an Orca, killer whale, fiercely displaying its hunting behavior, as made famous through David Attenborough’s wildlife films. South of Peninsula Valdes is one of the world’s largest colony of penguins, which number more than 500,000 at Punta Tombo.
At the tip of South America in Tierra del Fuego is Ushuaia, the southern most town in the world. With a spectacular setting, you can imagine how Ushuaia looked when Charles Darwin first landed there in 1832. And if you have the money, then you can book an excursion on one of the ships that cruise to Antartica.
Glaciers of Patagonia
In one of the most remote parts of the Patagonia Andes, the Perito Moreno glacier is one of the world’s last advancing glaciers with ice cliffs as high as 200 feet. Fortunately for the visitor, the glacier is so impressive that a holiday village has sprung up nearby that caters to tourists. But even more impressive than the Perito Moreno glacier is the Upsala glacier, which is the longest in South America. The Upsala glacier is 4 miles wide and 37 miles in length.
Mount Fitz Roy
Just over 130 miles to the north of the glaciers is Mount Fitz Roy, which features a terrifying rock spire that soars more a mile above a surrounding glaciaer. Mount Fitz Roy is often described as one of the most breathtaking mountain peaks in the world.
Nestled in the Andes is the Lake District, an area closely resembling the beautiful mountains and massive lakes of Switzerland. Bariloche is the main city in the Lake District but there are many smaller, more charming towns nearby including Villa La Angostura and San Martin de los Andes. The town of El Bolson is a center for crafts while Esquel offers the chance to ride on the Old Patagonian Express railway. Near Esquel you also can follow the trail to the cabin of outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid who hid out in this part of Patagonia.
Argentina is becoming known internationally for its Malbec wine, which is produced in the vineyards surrounding the Andean city of Mendoza. Many of the bodegas (wineries) now offer tours and wine tastings. And as with any town near the Andes, opportunities for mountain trekking abounds. A short drive from Mendoza is Aconcagua, which at 22,831 feet is the highest peak outside the Himalayas. This remarkable mountain scenery in Argentina was the actual location for filming the Brad Pitt movie Seven Years in Tibet.
Salta & Jujuy
The northwest of Argentina offers an environment dramatically different from the southern part of the country. And no where better to see the stark, colorful, indigenous north than in the towns of Salta and Jujuy. With an abundance of colonial architecture Salta is the primary tourist base for this region. Near Salta you can ride on the Train to the Clouds, one of the highest railways in the world. Or, outside of Jujuy you can visit one of several cloudforests and the many small, picturesque villages.
The most spectacular sight in Argentina is Iguazu Falls, which are more than 275 waterfalls stretching for miles along the border of Argentina and Brazil. No waterfalls in the world, Niagara or even Victoria Falls, come close to matching the power of Iguazu Falls. The main falls, known as the Devil’s Throat, sends more than 10,000 gallons of water per second falling more than 230 feet over a semi-circle span of rock that is almost two miles in length. Iguazu Falls has been featured prominently in many movies, including The Mission and, more recently, Miami Vice (though Miami Vice had the location of the falls set in Colombia rather than Argentina).
The wonders of Argentina are so impressive that many visitors return year after year to further explore this country at the bottom of the world.