Argentina stretches 4,000 km from subtropical north to sub-Antarctic south. It is the world’s eighth-largest country by area and is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking country.
Its terrain includes part of the Andes mountain range, swamps, the plains of the Pampas, and a gargantuan coastline. In recent years Argentinians have struggled with military dictatorship, a lost war over the Falkland Islands, and severe economic difficulties. Nevertheless, the country is rich in resources, has a well-educated workforce, and boasts one of the Western Hemisphere’s largest economies.
Border Countries: Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, & Uruguay
Capital City: Buenos Aires
Population: 41.5 million
Language: The predominant and official language of Argentina is Spanish.
Electricity: 220 v. Visit the World Electricity Guide for more information.
Buenos Aires residents, or Portenos as they’re locally known, have a passion for following Europe’s architectural trends. As you explore the city, you’ll see a number of buildings that strongly suggest the influence of Rome and Paris.
Most of the city’s historical sites surround the Plaza de Mayo. The barrios of La Boca and San Telmo are also historically important. Furthermore, any traveler to Buenos Aires should indulge in a walk along the river in Puerto Madero, as well as an afternoon coffee at the many plazas and cafes in the Palermo and Recoleta neighborhoods.
El Obelisco is one of the main icons of the city and is the center for many cultural activities and on occasion, protests. It is also the main gathering place for sports fans when their favorite team wins a game or a tournament.
The Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place of many of Argentina’s wealthiest and most famous families and personages, including Eva “Evita” Peron. The Museo de Artes Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires houses one of the best collections of Latin American art from the 19th- and 20th-centuries, and is home to works by Antonio Berni, Pedro Figari, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
San Carlos de Bariloche, invariably referred to as Bariloche, is a city in Argentina’s Lakes District, located in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of spectacular Lake Nahuel Huapi.
The city first became popular as a tourist destination and ski center in the 1930s and 1940s, offering extensive trekking and mountaineering possibilities. Tronador.
Bariloche’s permanent population slightly exceeds 100,000. It boasts numerous restaurants, cafés and boutiques. It is also renowned for being Argentina’s chocolate capital, with multiple shops in town selling artisanal chocolates.
Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes.
In 1561, Pedro del Castillo founded the city and named it after the governor of Chile. Prior, the area was populated by three tribes: the Huarpes, the Puelches, and the Incas. The Huarpes devised an irrigation system that was later developed by the Spanish. The system is still evident today in the wide trenches (acequias), which run along all city streets. The Spanish founded the city at the bank of the Río Mendoza, only later realizing that the "river" was actually an irrigation canal dug by the indigenous Huarpes.
Ruta Nacional 7, the major trans-Andean road connecting Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile, runs through Mendoza. The city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres). In the winter, Mendoza attracts thousands of skiers due to its easy access to the Andes, although its ski stations are not as developed as those of Chile.
Two of the main industries of Mendoza area are olive oil production and more importantly, wine making. The region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America. Of the many types of wine cultivated here, Malbec is the most famous.
Ushuaia is generally considered to be the southernmost city in the world. It is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bordering the Martial Mountains to the north and the Beagle Channel to the south.
Tourist attractions include Tierra del Fuego National Park and Lapataia Bay. The park can be reached from Ushuaia by highway or via the End of the World Train (Tren del Fin del Mundo). Wildlife attractions include local birds, penguins, seals and orcas, with many of these species colonizing islands in the Beagle Channel.
Ushuaia is also the key access point to the Southern Ocean, including the sub-Antarctic islands of South Georgia and South Sandwich, and the Antarctic islands of South Orkney and the South Shetlands.
The city of El Calafate is the gateway to unforgettable Los Glaciares National Park. El Calafate lies 316 kilometers away from Río Gallegos, capital of the Province of Santa Cruz. Its name derives from a small bush called calafate, typical to southern Patagonia, which bears a fruit ideal for making jam. Situated on the border of the Patagonian steppe, El Calafate has evolved into an important tourist destination. Most circuits involving the glaciers, especially the well-known Perito Moreno Glacier, start here.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is named after pioneer explorer Francisco Moreno, who studied the region in the 19th century and who played a major role in defending the territory of Argentina in the conflict over the international border with Chile. It is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes system, which is shared with Chile. This ice field is the world's third largest reserve of fresh water.
food & drink
Argentine cuisine may be described as a cultural blending of Mediterranean influences within the wide scope of livestock and agricultural products that are abundant in the country.
Beyond asado (Argentine barbecue), no other dish more genuinely matches the national identity. Nevertheless, the country's vast area, and its cultural diversity, has led to a local cuisine of various dishes. Dulce de leche, a ubiquitous caramel spread, is used to fill cakes and pancakes, eaten over toast, and enjoyed as an ice cream flavor and topping.