As the largest Spanish-speaking nation and the eighth-largest country in the world, Argentina offers differing landscapes that support an array of activities sure to please even the most picky vacationer. Nestled between the expansive Andes mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, a bit south of the equator, this area’s varying geography and climates intrigue everyone from skiers to surfers, mountain climbers to arctic explorers. In fact, the activities this environment allows for are so numerous, they are best presented by examining a few of the most memorable spots.
1. Buenos Aries
As close as one can get to North America, south of the Equator, this cosmopolitan gem is the perfect mix of modern society and Old World style. Considered the “Paris of the South,” the cobblestone streets of Buenos Aries are brimming with history and classic European charm. In this city one can explore numerous museums, outdoor cafes, and art displays by day and party all night; but that’s not even half of what this stunning local has to offer.
Whether one decides to peruse the funky shops and exquisite boutiques in San Telmo, join artistic activities in La Boca, indulge at fine eateries, or catch an opera at Teatro Colón, boredom will never be a word found in any Buenos Aries itinerary. Marvel at the sights, visit the world’s largest religious theme park, play polo, enjoy ballroom dancing, explore nature, bike ride, sail the Tigre River, visit Eco Yoga Park, or simply tango the night away; this sophisticated city literally has everything one could desire.
2. Mal del Plata
Another spectacular spot for the busy vacationer. Mal del Plata, known as “the Happy City,” is one of Argentina’s premier water sport locals. With 17 kilometers of beach and 24 pristine ocean front resorts, one can water ski, snorkel, swim, and scuba dive until the sun sinks below the horizon. However, water sports isn’t the only excitement amid this Argentine gem.
The dynamic city of Mar del Plata also boasts impressive colonial architecture, numerous sporting events, wildlife displays, a casino, and a vivacious night life that will have one swinging until the early morn. Of course, like many Argentine locals, this city also makes plenty of room for nature. Plan to take walks in the many parks, go horseback riding, enjoy bird watching, or visit a number of exquisite botanical gardens, but come prepared for the perfect mix of nature and city life that will leave a lasting impression.
3. The Patagonia Region
Although these cities are a great draw, most visitors come seeking to marvel at Argentina’s natural beauty rather than its modern developments; and the Patagonia region is the perfect place to do just that. The southernmost area, just above the gateway to Antarctica, this largely isolated spot is a nature lovers paradise. In this spectacularly pure Argentine region one will find hiking trails instead of bustling boardwalks, country lodges instead of crowded resorts, and dirt roads instead of paved highways. It is truly a place for those looking to leave the stresses of the city behind.
Despite the undeveloped nature of the area, exciting activities are quite plentiful. One can relax in the lush lake district, marvel at the white-tipped mountains, traverse Patagonian Steepe, or visit the painted Andean Deserts; but no matter the choice, Patagonian experiences are sure to include the perfect mix of excitement and tranquility. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to mingle with Argentine penguins, explore the ancient routes of the dinosaurs, whale watch, windsurf, kayak, and marvel at gigantic glaciers, no visitor to the Patagonia region leaves disappointed.
Mendoza is another impressive escape. Tour world-renowned wineries, travel through breathtaking vineyards, and marvel at the landscapes beautiful ambience but don’t think of this area as purely laid-back. Mendoza may be less developed than the bigger cities but it is actually quite an exhilarating place. Thrill seekers from all over come to ski, horseback ride, hike the Andes mountains, paraglide, and mountain bike the rugged trails of the rocky countryside; however, exploring mount Aconcagua is, hands down, one of the most thrilling draws.
The highest peak outside the Himalayas, Aconcagua attracts thousands of daring climbers each year. Visit the mountain park or venture all the way to the summit, but don’t forget to check the weather to ensure the best possible experience. Mendoza is also known for numerous street festivals, cooking classes, art museums, impressive spas, historic attractions, and beautiful buildings one can simply relax and enjoy.
Argentina is a place of diversity and pristine beauty that is unmatched, but that is not the country’s only attractive quality. At just a fraction of the cost associated with European or North American vacation spots, this South American republic will capture one’s heart, all while leaving one’s pocket book relatively intact. Traveling Argentina is truly awe inspiring in more ways than one.