With a surge in travelers' interest to discover unique flavors of South America, Argentina is inching its way up to the top while competing with Brazil's carnivals and beaches, Peru's Inca heritage and Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. The world's 8th largest country in size and the largest Spanish-speaking nation on Earth has so much to offer the discerning traveler. Here's why you should have Argentina on your South America bucket list.
The Spell-binding Iguazú Falls
Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed out loud "Poor Niagara Falls!" when she first saw the Iguazú natural area. Iguazú Falls is a powerful system of river faults and a huge canyon that is shared between Brazil and Argentina. Most of the waterfalls are on the Argentinian side of the border. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only great for hiking and photography, but for water sports such as rowing, motorboat expeditions, sailing, and water-skiing in the greater Iguazú area. Visit this spectacular region with a private guide to enjoy the lesser-known viewpoints and get away from the crowds.
Sip Your Way Around the Wine country
Enter any good wine store and you'll find plenty of 'red or white' that has the origin country marked as Argentina. The climate in Argentina is pretty good for growing and harvesting grapes. And if it's good enough to make wine, it's great for you to explore and wine-taste your way through the countryside. Should you have the chance to pick only one spot, choose Mendoza. The scenery is as intoxicating as the wine and there's a wide variety of drinks to try. Many connoisseurs have compared Mendoza to the top wine regions in Spain, Italy, and France.
It's Party Time All-Year-Round
Argentina is a multicultural country tracing its roots back to influences from Spain, France, Great Britain, and even Italy. All this accumulated cultural baggage shines through all-year-round, especially during the various festivals.
Buenos Aires hosts the world's largest Tango festival in August. Beginners have endless opportunities to get initiated into this sensual dance, while the professional dancers compete with their admirable skills. The festival buzz is not limited to the capital city; Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia is held every March in Mendoza. As spring turns into summer, marking the time when grapes finally turn into intoxicating nectar, it is time for the grape farmers to pop a bottle. Visitors can expect concerts, events, and a lot of wine.
One of the longest festivals in Argentina takes place in Cosquín. The scenic city brims with people participating in folk songs and dances for nine full days. This huge celebration is not focused only on Argentina; it is a celebration of Latin-American folklore, which means that there will be many participants from the neighboring countries as well.
No Worries About Safety
Travelers might be wary of exploring some regions in South America, as it could be quite sketchy or plain dangerous. But safety isn't a cause of constant worry in Argentina, as opposed to Venezuela, for example. As in any other big city anywhere in the world, keep your eyes open and minds sharp as you enjoy your holidays in Argentinian cities. As for the countryside, the untouched nature is enough to fade away any remaining fears.
Buenos Aires is Simply Lovely
A city that needs to be felt as much as to be seen, Buenos Aires greets you with its beautiful European architectural styles from Italy and Spain. There's zero doubt that the city runs on steaks and tango, with a huge concentration of steakhouses called parillas that are ready to serve you perfectly grilled beef any time they're open. While tango represents the city's spirit in the most sensual way; it's the quintessential dance of both the capital and the country as a whole. If you'd like to learn or get better at tango, then there's probably no better place than Buenos Aires to dance your way into lessons.
Road Trips are a Bliss
Do you love roads with unforgettable views? Argentina offers top-notch driving experiences for those who love seeing the world through their windshield. The Road of the Seven Lakes is one of the best drives you can't miss - starting from Bariloche and way up to San Martin. All of the sights are located within Patagonia's lake district. Most of the road is asphalt, so you needn't expect a nerve-wracking drive as in other parts of the region.
Gateway to Antarctica
Thanks to Argentina's location on the world map, many exploration cruises to Antarctica start from the southern city of Ushuaia. It is even possible to catch last-minute spots on Antarctic cruises from one of the 'last-minute travel agencies' of the town. Grabbing flight tickets is the best way to get to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires, as the distance between these two points is a whopping 3000 kilometers.
Say hello to Penguins
Did you know that every summer over 1 million penguins nest in Punta Tombo? These are Magellanic penguins, named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first spotted them in 1520. Local guided tours from Trelew to Punta Tombo are available from mid-September to late April. Patagonia would be ideal for a walk among the penguins.There are smaller breeding colonies in Ushuaia and Puerto San Julian too, but these are farther away from Buenos Aires.
Step into glacier land
Argentina is home to Los Glaciares National Park, with its Perito Moreno glacier growing bigger every year. As of now, the icy giant extends 121 square miles. Position yourself in El Calafate to admire this stunning sight; there are bus companies that offer round trips to Perito Moreno. Or ask your guide to organize the 1 ½ hour drive to enjoy the spectacle at leisure.
Robert is a writer, entrepreneur, and photographer discovering the world while sharing the finds with his readers. He loves hiking and active holidays. Never says no to trying a new gelato flavor!