Argentina TravelBack to Story

Argentina - the land of red meat, tango and parties

Argentina is probably one of South America’s countries most heavily influenced by the Europeans which makes it a different experience for South American travel. During its long history there have been influences from the French, Italians, English and Spanish. These cultures have left behind a beautiful architecture and rich culture that has blended to become something unique. Buenos Aires is as cosmopolitan a city as you would find anywhere. The streets have a wonderful old fell Europe to them while the restaurants, clubs and music have a distinctive Argentine feel.

Buenos Aires

The sights to see in Buenos Aires are relatively compactly centered around town and you can easily walk or catch a cheap cab. There are many highlights to this city. Palermo was my favorite spot to hang out in town and I would recommend you find one of the many boutique hotels here and make this your base. It is home to all the cities cool and hip boutiques which are a feast for the eye. In direct contrast to the neutral minimalist style that has been so fashionable there is no shortage of color and flare. Many shops are painted or decorated with bright reds, pinks and blues. It feels extremely safe to wonder the streets and the traffic is very local which makes for the perfect stroll. You can pick up a pair of tango shoes or that cow hide rug you’ve always wanted. When you tire of all that there are a whole host of fabulous bars, cafes and restaurants to pull up at.

San Telmo is an opportunity to see an old part of the city. Tall double stories houses that would be at home in Paris and cobblestone streets make this suburb very picturesque. It has made itself the home of tango as well and on the weekends you can come down and enjoy the markets and watch some street dancing. There are some cute shops but the majority of the shops are antique shops. So if you’ve always wanted a new sideboard this could be the spot for you.

Mendoza

For those who like wine and food – and lets face it who doesn’t. Head to Mendoza. It’s only a quick flight away and is a wonderful wine destination. The unique part of it is that the wineries do not offer a cellar door or retail shop as we know it. You must make an appointment to go and see them. However with this comes amazing hospitality. You are welcomed, given an informative and interesting tour around and then the opportunity to taste. Outstanding value and you also get to learn a lot about the area and the winery you’re visiting.

Iguazu Falls

Unfortunately time didn’t permit but one of the places I would love to go next time is the Iguazu Falls. From everyone I have spoken to it is a magnificent destination and well worth the plane trip out. Next time it will be on the list.

Patagonia

Patagonia is an amazing part of the country where you can see some of the worlds most spectacular mountains, rivers, lakes and also wildlife. See whales, seals and all manor of wildlife. Once again with a tight timeframe we chose to head to Perito Moreno Glacier. It was certainly a destination that did not disappoint. One of the highlights was to put on the crampons and go for a hike on the glacier. Looking up it was hard to consider scaling the side of such a seemingly wall of ice. However under the expert guidance of our tour guides we were soon chipping up the side in a well worn path.

The one thing you are not prepared for is the noise of the glacier. So I will try to explain here what I mean. Perito Moreno is one of the worlds few glaciers that are not receding. Most of them are melting and getting smaller. However because the cool winds come over the mountains and drop snow onto the top of the glacier it is always growing and moving. As a result of this movement the ice almost howls. It sounds like a gentle ghost adding an airiness to watching it. And you will be watching it – all the time. Because as it howls then creaks and groans parts of the glacier fall off into the water. Its a spectacular sight and its not until you hear / see the splash before you realise you’ve been holding your breath waiting for it.

Oh I almost forgot to mention the other surprise about Patagonia. Is the quality of the food and wine. Being a big fan of Pinot Noir, they have some fabulous examples here. And the quality of the meat and food is delicious. Don’t tell anyone in my birth country New Zealand but I think I may have had one of the best lamb meals of my life here. I can see this rugged part of the world being a perfect spot for the men of New Zealand to travel as there is so much here they will be able to relate to but it’s also different enough to be challenging.

So I feel like my time in this fabulous country was too short and there is much left on the list. But isn’t that just the best way to travel?

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