Argentina is the second largest country of South America (after Brasil) and has a very divers landscape. In Argentina you can find tropical forest, dessert, savanna, mountain ranges and the typical Argentinian Pampas. The country has over 30 national parks, most of which are located on the west side of the Andes. In the Andes you can hike, climb mountains and even ski. On the pampas and in the Andes you will encounter a lot of Guanacos and Vicuñas. Both are part of the Lama family. Argentina has more to offer than nature alone. The cosmopolitan capital city Buenos Aires. The tango and the tough gauchos on the pampas. The legendary Carlos Gardel, and of course Eva Perón, revived in the movie Evita played by Madonna.
Waterfalls of Iguazú
Located at the tri-border area of Argentina, Brasil and Paraguay, the waterfalls of Iguazu are an absolute attraction in Argentina. You can view these imposing water falls of 70 meters high and 2 km wide from the so called ´catwalks´. You won´t be able to stay dry! From Pueto Iguazú in Argentina it´s a 30 minute bus ride to the border of Brasil where you can see the waterfalls from the other side. If the sun shines you can see rainbows everywhere and little black birds dive at amazing speed in and out of the water hunting for food. With a bit of luck you will see toucans and you can also take jungle hikes.
In one weekend you can experience the life style of the guacho´s in San Antonio de Areco. From Buenos Aires the bus ride takes a little over an hour. An other place worth visiting outside Buenos Aires is the pilgrimage site Luján. Here you will find a portrait of the patron saint of Argentina in the gothic basilica. Every year 4 million Argentinians visit this place. By boat you can get to Montevideo in Uruguay in 3 hours. Here they still collect the garbage with horse and cart. Most cars you see are over 50 years old.
The population of Argentina
About 85% of the Argentine population is white. Most Argentinians decent from European immigrants, mostly from Spain and Italy. In the 16th century the Spanish settlers came to the ´new world´ and brought infectious deceases with them. The native popultion living their isolated life were not resistant to the measles, smallpox and typhus. In 1850 only a half million native indians were left in Argentina. The indigenous population was used to walk around without wearing much clothing, but were forced by the English settlers to wear cloth collected for them in England. These clothes were infected with germs and moreover wearing cloth impaired their natural defense system. A lot of indigenous population died of flu and pneumonia. The small group of indigenous Indians that are left mainly live in Tiera del Fuego.
Activities in Argentina
- Learn to dance the tango
- Visit the waterfalls of Iguazú.
- Visit the center of the lake district in the Andes: San Carlos de Bariloche. Here you can ski, take boat trips, fish, hike and climb mountains.
- The ski area Gran Cathedral has an elevation of 1000 meters; best time to go: mid June until end of September. Cheap ski passes and equipment rental compared to Europe.
- Visit the nature reserve on the archipelago Valdez (Patagonia) with colonies of penguin, sea lions and walruses.
- Visit the beach of Mar del Plata from November through April.
- Go to Cordoba where you can take beautiful hikes in the surrounding mountains and visit picturesque villages. Posada las perdices is an example of an estancia, and old farm, magically turned into an hotel.
- Go in our winter to worlds most southern located city: Ushuaia on Tiera del Fuego.
Information about Buenos Aires
Forty percent of all Argentinians live in the capital. Because of the strong hold of the city over the rest of the country the city got the nick name ´El Pulpo´ the octopus. Because of the great influx of European immigrants it became a very cosmopolitan city. When you want to escape the crowds on the weekend you can take a bus to the city Tigre on the Río de la Plata. From here you can catch a boat to the island of Martín García where you can spend a peaceful weekend.
In the fancy district Belgrano you will find foreign embassies and universities. The stately houses are build in French colonial style and you can find many interesting museums (entrance $1 often with guide). Every district has its own charm. Like ´La Boca´ where houses are painted in bright, funny colors and artists paint in the street and have their work on display. In the neighborhood of ´San Telmo´ they still dance the tango on the street. There are nice little antique stores and many artists live there. On Sundays there is a market. In the expensive neighborhood La Recoleta you will find the grave site of Eva Peron in the crazy Cementerio de Recoleta. A lot of famous people are buried here in miniature churches.
The Subte, which is the subway of the capital, will quickly take you to all parts of the city. A ticket for the subway will cost you 0,50 USD regardless of the distance you travel.
Activities in Buenos Aires
- In the micro center of town you will find buildings from the 19th century, just like in European capitals.
- In the center of town you will also find interesting museums, (Museo de Arte Hispano-Americano, Museo Histórico, Museo de la Dirección Nacional del Antartico).
- The theater district in Buenos Aires is centered around Corrientes. There are many bookstores and the famous obelisk.
- Escape the city crowds by visiting many of the great parks and practice your Spanish. You will easily strike up a conversation with the young people of Buenos Aires.
- Visit the traditional, classic Cafe Tortoni on Avenue de Mayo 829, also for jazz music and tango.
- Musicians play tango music on the streets of San Telmo. You will also find tango dancers on the street.
- Go visit `Confiteria Ideal` on Suipacha on a Friday or Saturday night to watch tango in stylish authentic surroundings.
- Want a weekend getaway? Visit the colonial villages of San Antonio de Areco the go horseback riding, hiking, cycling or enjoy a nice meal in the country.
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