From its beginnings as a riverside settlement, to its present day status as one of the world’s largest cities 400 years later, Buenos Aires has fit an awful lot in. It’s been wealthy and glorious, it’s been battered and broke. Its life, as scientist Jared Diamond would say, has ben shaped by guns, germs and steel. Yet such is the city’s short, intense life, most of the influential buildings are still here to be seen and explored, the museums add essential detail, while the tombs of the country’s great, good and downright dastardly can still be seen in the great city of the dead: Recoleta Cemetery.
Granted, any walking tour of eateries requires an impressive predilection for gluttony and a stomach the size of which would, frankly, be a physiological anomaly. The eyes, as the idiom would suggest, are bigger than the tummy – and that’s exactly what this walking tour is: a feast for the eyes from which you can pick from a smorgasbord (a veritable All-You-Can-Eat buffet – a tenedor libre) whatever gastronomic delight takes your fancy.
If you had to define Carnival, you’d probably think of Rio de Janeiro, the masks of Venice, or perhaps a damp August bank holiday celebrated West Indian style in Notting Hill. But how does Argentina’s Carnaval, a national holiday that regained its status in 2010 after being banned during the dictatorship, kick up its heels? Here’s our guided tour to the glitter and the good times, which peaks over the bank holiday weekend on 11-12 February 2013.
San Juan province is a victim of Argentina’s embarrassment of riches. With so many better-known attractions on the tip of people’s tongues, it falls off the radar for most foreign tourists, which is a shame considering the caliber of its offerings. If you are feeling adventurous and want to see an under explored part of the country, a visit to San Juan can easily been tacked on to a trip to Mendoza. Here’s our guide to the hotspots.
AirBnB has over two thousand properties listed in Buenos Aires. Argentina at large has a total of 3,500. The site is doing so well in South America that the company has opened a hub office in São Paulo. It is even gaining on the original US market: there are currently 55,000 listings in North America compared to 20,000 across Latin America.
Buenos Aires and its porteño residents have never been a particularly disciplined lot, so the idea of sending visitors on a traditional sightseeing tour complete with an officious flag-bearing guide is wrong on all accounts. However, BA, as creative as it is, offers a whole host of alternative ways to see the city via its street art, boutiques, sacred grape and a photography workshop.
The Patagonian Lake District, with its famous Siete Lagos route, is undoubtedly one of Argentina’s outdoor highlights. It’s stunning whichever way you go, but nothing beats on horseback. The days pretty much go like this: wake up in camp, light a fire to warm water, drink some mate tea, lazily eat some facturas (pastries), saddle up and hop on a horse, amble around some of the world’s most idyllic countryside, get off the horse, set up camp, help the gaucho with an asado, eat meat and drink wine overlooking a mirror flat lake, sleep into a divine slumber.
When travelling to a country of such imposing latitudes as Argentina, one of the key issues you’ll need to consider is how to cover the often enormous distances between the top sights, cities and attractions. Luckily Argentina has an excellent infrastructure and an efficient flight network, but before you rush to the nearest online booking engine, it pays to be armed with some basic information and advice that may well save you money and ensure a considerably smoother journey.
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth, Torres del Paine National Park is South America’s final hurrah before crashing into the ocean with only the prospect of Antarctica further south. The scenery is incomparable: a rugged wilderness of scaling mountains, vast lakes, dramatic glaciers and dense forests. It is an unbelievable sight.
Could there be a better day? An exhilarating few hours whitewater rafting along the mineral blue meltwater of the Andes before pulling over for an asado brimming with meat and a glass brimming with wine, before a gentle meander downstream. I can think of fewer ways I’d rather spend a sunny day in my favourite country. When Pacahmama (Mother Earth) created Argentina’s geography, or more accurately, its geology, she was in a fun-loving mood…