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Argentina – an expanse of natural wonder
January 6, 2018, 2:49 pm
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With stunning sights and experiences just waiting to be explored, Argentina is an exotic canvas that is bound to satisfy travellers of varied interests, including culinary, cultural, nature treks, adventure and more.

The country boasts of some of the most diverse topography in the world. From the highest peaks of the Andes to rich wetlands, deserts dotted with cacti, massive ice fields and arid steppes in Patagonia, cool lichen-clad Valdivian forests and Andean salt flats and much more. In addition to this, wildlife in the region that includes penguins, flamingos, capybaras to name a few, there is no limit to the natural wonder the region has to offer.

Tourists are bound to be surrounded by parrillas (steak restaurants) everywhere they go, and in the land that perfected grilling wonderfully flavorful sides of beef, satisfying the carnal craving for juicy steaks is far from a challenge in Argentina. 

With a rich cultural portrait that gave the rest of the world the Tango and fútbol (soccer), the passion exuded by the local population is undeniably contagious. The distinctive Argentinean take on literature, cinema, music and arts, makes for a rich and edgy culture with both Latin American and European roots that you cannot help but be captivated by.

Buenos Aires

A lively city that at first appears to be a complex and concrete jungle, invites you in for a stroll that introduces you to a sense of beauty unlike any other. Although the limelight is directed toward the magnificent architecture that includes grand French and Italian influences, Buenos Aires is popular for the low-key, local barrios that are just as mesmerizing. The beauty of these traditional neighborhoods is further enhanced by colorful murals painted by artists involved in the city's vibrant street-art scene. For these talented individuals, the city is their canvas.

Cementerio de la Recoleta is a cemetery that is one of the top attractions in Buenos Aires, where past presidents, military heroes, influential politicians and the rich and famous have made it past the gates. You can wander for hours in this incredible city of the dead, where the ‘streets’ are lined with impressive statues and marble mausoleums.

Unique to this city is The Grand Splendid Theater in Barrio Norte, which was opened in 1919 and then converted into a bookstore in 2000. Most of the seating was replaced with bookshelves, but the original features have been preserved, including the beautiful painted cupola and balconies.

Ushuaia

Ushuaia is a resort town in Argentina, which is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago; the southernmost tip of South America (nicknamed the ‘End of the World’). The windswept town, which promises a wide range of activities for tourists and travelers, is perched on a steep hill and surrounded by the Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel. It is the gateway to Antarctica cruises and tours to nearby Isla Yécapasela, known as “Penguin Island” for its penguin colonies.

Chronicling the town’s history is The Maritime and Prison Museums, which is housed in a former jail. The Museo del Fin del Mundo displays tools by indigenous tribes such as the Yámana and screens nature and history films.

To the west, along Chile’s border at the end of the Andes, Tierra del Fuego national park offers varied hiking trails for the adventurous traveler.  The Southern Fuegian steam-engine railway or ‘End of the World Train,’ originally built by convicts in the early 1900s, runs from west of Ushuaia to the park. Other activities offered include downhill and cross country skiing in the Martial Mountains. Opened in 1920, the Les Eclaireurs lighthouse is popularly known as the ‘Lighthouse at the end of the world’, and can be easily visited by boat tours along the Beagle Channel.

Salta

Sophisticated Salta is a popular destination among tourists, engaging them with its outstanding museums and the live música folklórica of its vibrant peñas (clubs that combine folk music and regional cuisine). It offers the liveliness of a larger city while retaining the comfortable pace of a smaller town that happens to have preserved more colonial architecture than most Argentinean destinations.

The city centers on Plaza 9 de Julio, an elegant, cafe-lined square bordered by the neoclassical Salta Cathedral and El Cabildo, an 18th-century town hall turned historical museum. Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM) nearby houses Incan artifacts, including mummies.

Neighboring Plaza 9 de Julio are San Francisco Basilica, famed for its terra-cotta facade and 54m-high bell tower, and Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes de Salta, an 18th-century house now exhibiting colonial art. The Teleférico cable car on the edge of town ferries visitors atop roughly 300m-tall San Bernardo Hill, offering sweeping city and valley views. Salta is also the starting point for the Tren a las Nubes, a favorite among tourists, which is a dramatic, high-altitude railway journey unique to this region.

Bariloche

Strung out along the shoreline of Lago Nahuel Huapi, in the middle of the national park of the same name, Bariloche (formally San Carlos de Bariloche) has one of the most gorgeous settings imaginable. This, combined with a wealth of summer and winter activities in the surrounding countryside, as well the production of Argentina's best chocolate, has helped it become the Lake District’s principal destination among tourists.

Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi is popular for hiking and climbing, with waterfalls, lakes, glaciers, abundant wildlife and Tronador (Thunderer), an extinct volcano rising more than 3,400m.  The soaring peaks of Cerros Catedral, López, Nireco and Shaihuenque – all well over 2000m high – ring the town, giving picture-postcard views in nearly every direction. These mountains aren’t just for gazing, though – excellent snow coverage makes this a winter wonderland, and a magnet for skiers and snowboarders.

In summertime the nature buffs take over, hitting the hills to climb, hike trails, fish for trout and ride mountain bikes and horses.

In town is a Civic Center complex, inspired by the architecture of Bern, Switzerland which houses the Francisco Moreno Museum of Patagonia, dedicated to the region’s natural history and ethnography.

El Calafate

Named for a berry that, once eaten, guarantees your return to Patagonia, El Calafate hooks you with an irresistible attraction: Glaciar Perito Moreno, 80km away in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. The glacier is a magnificent and a favorite among tourists and the ever-shifting icy landscape is a popular destination for sightseeing and hiking.

Glaciar Perito Moreno is as much an auditory as a visual experience when huge icebergs calve and collapse into the Canal de los Témpanos (Iceberg Channel). A remarkable sight, the glacier’s appearance changes as the sun hits its face in the morning and shadows shift as the day progresses.

A modern interpretive center called the Glaciarium serves as a primer on the region’s numerous glaciers.

The town’s main street, Avenida del Libertador, features quaint shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodations. The El Calafate Historical Interpretation Center presents exhibits on the area’s natural and human history. Surrounding the area are ranches called estancias, many featuring lodging and dining as well as sheep-shearing shows, horseback riding and hiking trails.

 

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