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Known as the Land of the Gauchos, and once the economic powerhouse of the continent, Argentina maintains a sense of refined elegance more commonly associated with European countries. The city of Buenos Aires is more often than not the entry point for those exploring the world’s eighth largest country, and one could not hope for a more invigorating introduction. Those curious to explore the city will be rewarded by a visit to the refined districts of San Telmo, Recoleta and the colourful La Boca, before enjoying an energetic tango show or a visit to any of the city’s world class restaurants.

From Buenos Aires all major destinations can be accessed with ease, starting with the impressive Iguazú Falls where 275 separate cascades make them the world’s widest, prompting Eleanor Roosevelt to comment “Poor Niagara” upon witnessing them for the first time. Argentina’s increasingly important wine country surrounding Mendoza is home to Argentina’s very own Malbec grape, and with the breathtaking backdrop of the Andes catching the evening light, the city is a wonderful base for exploring the surrounding vineyards in style. Continuing south, the whale watching opportunities of Peninsula Valdes and the expansive forests and lakes of Bariloche provide a scenic welcome to Argentine Patagonia, before heading into the altogether harsher and more desolate southern regions. El Calafate is the basis for a visit to Perito Moreno, one of the world’s few advancing glaciers that can be seen calving vast walls of ice from surprisingly short distance, whilst a trip onto the glacier itself is available for the more adventurous. This inspiring country concludes on the Beagle Canal where Ushuaia, the world’s southern most city is found looking over these historic waters and provides the access to the final continent, Antarctica.

Argentina truly is a land of superlatives, and for those looking for a blend of chic cities, magnificent landscapes and exuberant culture Argentina provides all of this and much more.

The Paris of South America, Buenos Aires has become known as the style capital of the continent. A wander through the streets reveals a fantastical mix of stunning republican architecture, fine restaurants, excellent art galleries and a distinctly Latin feel to the exuberant street life. Buenos Aires is a destination within itself and a few days here allows the visitor to appreciate the boutiques and coffee shops of Palermo, before exploring the elegant corners of Recoleta and San Telmo. Throughout any visit, the evenings are easily filled with the chance to see the sensual tango danced in true Argentine style, or a visit to one of the many fine restaurants where the true quality of Argentine wines and beef can be appreciated. Nearby Uruguay can also be easily visited in a day trip or longer, with the most popular options being historical Colonia, nearby Carmelo, or the beach resort of Punta del Este.
With 275 separate cascades stretching over 2.7 kilometres (1.6 miles) in total, Iguazu Falls has the largest flow of water of any waterfall in the world. To best appreciate this force of nature a two day visit allows the visitor to see the panorama afforded by the viewing platforms from the Brazilian side, whilst the Argentina side offers access to ‘The Devils Throat’, an enormous chasm with a horse-shoe shaped cascade tumbling 80 metres (270 feet) just beneath the viewing platforms. Zodiac trips allow for a closer view of the falls from the river below, and even allow for visitors to pass behind the falls for a very different perspective. For those interested in nature, the falls are located in sub-tropical rainforest and therefore offer excellent opportunities to see a wide array of wildlife including caimans and a large number of bird species such as toucans and parrots.
The city of Salta was originally constructed as a commercial and military strategic point between Lima in Peru and Buenos Aires. For this very reason, the city is an example of fine colonial architecture set in the arid northwest of Argentina. Once beyond the city’s limits, the reds and greens of the agricultural land bring the panorama to life. A visit to the surrounding towns of Cachi and Cafayate sheds light on the area’s aristocratic past, simultaneously allowing an introduction to the region’s unique Torrontes wine and the extraordinary natural forms found in the landscape. A trip north of Salta also rewards the visitor with the chance to see a number of attractive architectural sites, as well as the Seven Colours hill in Purmamarca.
The attractive city of Mendoza, located in the foothills of the Andes’ eastern slopes, is the gateway into Argentina’s most important wine region and home to its signature grape, Malbec. The city itself is without doubt an interesting cultural and gastronomic centre and well worth a short stay in order to fully appreciate both these facets, before heading beyond the city walls into the wine country which sits in the shadow of South America’s highest mountain, Aconcagua. With 70% of Argentina’s wine production coming from this area, a number of excellent vineyards are found in close proximity to the city, allowing for day trips into the countryside. However those wishing to explore the Argentine wine country more in depth can easily spend a number of days staying on the winemakers’ properties throughout the region.
An alpine paradise and often described as “Little Switzerland”, San Carlos de Bariloche and the surrounding area is one of Argentina’s most beautiful regions. First settled by Germans and Austrians, it is easy to see where Bariloche gets its distinctly Alpine feel, with the skiing options in the winter and outdoor options in the summer making it a truly year round destination. Beyond the town, the spectacular landscape is dominated by forested peaks dropping dramatically into azure lakes. The area lends itself perfectly to outdoor pursuits including fly-fishing, golf, hiking, horse-back riding, kayaking and cycling – all of which allow for further discovery of this stunning corner of southern Argentina. Bariloche is also a fantastic entry point into neighbouring Chile with an exciting journey by road and boat through the dramatic scenery making the border crossing journey an immense visual experience rather than an inconvenience.
Lying just to the east of the southern ice field which stretches 370 kilometres (250 miles) from north to south, southern Patagonia puts on display some of nature’s most powerful forces. A visit to the Perito Moreno glacier, one of the few advancing glaciers in the world today, is an awe-inspiring experience and one of the few places worldwide where you can sit and listen to the creaking of the glacier and watch as enormous shards calve off into the lake below. Further to the north, the small town of El Chaltén is the base for the exploration of the majestic and world renowned Fitzroy Massif whose icy granite spires reach over 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) and have come to be seen as some of the world’s most challenging peaks to climb. Due to the geography of the area, the nearby landscape is easily enjoyed through non-strenuous hikes although longer options are of course available. In the extreme south of Patagonia lies the city of Ushuaia keeping watch over the Beagle Canal, and the gateway to both Cape Horn and the seventh continent Antarctica.
This World Heritage Site set in the barren wastes of Argentine Patagonia displays a surprising marine diversity, making this an exciting destination for those interested in the natural world. Boat trips running from the coastline allow visitors a close look at southern right whales, elephant seals, killer whales and huge penguin colonies amongst others. Much of the wildlife is seasonal, so if wishing to focus on one particular aspect of the marine fauna, travellers should check the best time to travel beforehand.
Due to Argentina’s vast extension, weather conditions and temperatures vary greatly from destination to destination.

Buenos Aires is a year round destination with mild winters (May – September) and hot summers (November – March) whilst the spring and fall months in between remain warm.

Iguazú falls can be visited year round although the summer months (November – March) can be particularly hot and humid, and the falls have their highest flow at this time of year. The winter months of June through September offer milder temperatures whilst the flow of water is lower than during the summer.

The mountainous Lake District is cool all throughout the year, enjoying a northern European climate. Here, April through June are the months of heaviest rainfall. November through March is considered the best travel time, but is also the time of year that attracts the biggest crowds.

Atlantic Patagonia is mainly cool, with unpredictable changes of weather throughout the year, while the best time to visit the Peninsula Valdés natural reserve depends on the fauna viewing more than on the weather. Whale watching usually takes place between late June and late November while penguin watching is between December and March every year.

Southern Patagonia experiences extremely cold winters (May – September) with much of the infrastructure closed at this time of year. The summers attract the largest crowds as well as the strongest winds whilst the shoulder seasons of spring (September-November) and fall (March – April) see reduced winds as well as colourful landscapes with flora coming into flower.

Central Argentina offers a continental climate and Cordoba and Mendoza can be visited all year round. Winter in both destinations presents cool mornings and evenings with mild afternoons. In the wine country surrounding Mendoza, the harvest takes place in February and March.

Northwest Argentina is best visited during the winter months of April – September when the climate remains predominantly dry and pleasantly warm whilst the summer months of November – March bring hot temperatures and some overcast and rainy days.

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