Its rich landscapes stretch from the snow-dusted Andean highlands and the wetlands of the Litoral, down to the stark splendour of the islands of Tierra del Fuego at its southern tip. And in between lie the rolling flatlands of the Pampas, the steppelike plains of Patagonia, the wine lands around Mendoza and, of course, the country’s pumping heart – Buenos Aires.
You can hit the beach at resort towns such as Mar del Plata, take to the slopes in Andean ski resort Bariloche, taste the wines of Mendoza and Salta which is also considered the country’s Indigenous capital, or play gaucho for a few days in areas across the country such as the Pampas. Meanwhile, down in Patagonia, you can find penguin colonies or watch whales while taking in the striking surroundings. This part of the country is also home to communities of Welsh settlers who first arrived in Puerto Madryn in 1865 in a bid to seek their fortune in the new world while retaining their cultural identity.
But it is the fiery combination of steak, tango and red wine for which the country is perhaps most well-known. Indulge in all three in the “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires. Here, wide elegant tree-lined avenues and curlicued mansions offer a taste of a time gone by, when Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world.
Places to Visit in Argentina
- Buenos Aires
Unique Things to See and Do in Argentina
- Take in the dramatic splendour of the Iguassu Falls
- Stay at an estancia and live the life of a gaucho
- Visit the Welsh communities of Patagonia
- Sip on a delicious Malbec in Mendoza
- Take a tango class in Buenos Aires
Gauchos – The Cowboys of Argentina
More than just a cowboy, gauchos have been part of Argentine life for more than three centuries.
Back in the mid-18th century, men usually of mixed ancestry, began to hunt the large herds of horses and cattle that roamed the country’s grasslands using lassos, knives and boleadoras – a leather cord with three iron balls at the end designed to immobilise fleeing animals.
Back then the gauchos were nomadic, living in small mud huts with grass roofs and sleeping on beds of animal hides. But as private owners acquired the livestock that lived on the Pampas, they were employed as workers, eventually going to work on the estancias where they farmed the animals.
Clad now, more or less as they would have been then, in a chiripa, a poncho and bombachas, pleated trousers worn over a pair of high leather boots, they are a romantic reminder of yesteryear and the traditional Argentine way of life.
The gaucho culture is embodied in the literature known as gauchesca which is made up of their own unique ballads and legends and has been absorbed into the country’s cultural tradition as a whole. The cowboys are also celebrated in the literature of Argentine writers such as José Hernandez and Ricardo Gurales.
Getting Around Argentina
If you’re planning to discover much of Argentina during your visit, be prepared to cover some serious ground. Even if you’ve never been a fan of long bus journeys, this country is likely to win you over. Travel on a premium ticket and you’re talking reclining padded seats, wine, decent food and even a waiter. Buses are also a great way to enjoy the beauty of the landscapes as you roll on past.
However, off the beaten path routes can see bus services deteriorate, so in these areas, car hire may be a better option.
Domestic flights are another option for some of the bigger stretches. For example, if you’re heading to Patagonia, taking to the skies could trim days off your travel time.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Argentina
If you’re heading for the capital of Buenos Aires, the best times to visit are the shoulder seasons of September to November and March to May thanks to the pleasant temperatures. These are also good times to visit the Lake District and the Mendoza region.
June to August are the busiest months for Argentina’s ski resorts.
Ready to plan your visit to Argentina? Check out these popular guides and trips.