Studded with outstanding natural wonders and endowed with one of the world’s hot-list cities, Argentina is a vast and varied land. Tapering from the Tropic of Capricorn towards the tip of Antarctica it encompasses a staggering diversity of terrains, from the lush wetlands of the Litoral and the bone-dry Andean plateaux of the Northwest to the end-of-the-world archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. Its most emblematic landscapes are the verdant flatlands of the Pampas and the dramatic steppe of Patagonia, whose very name evokes windswept plains inhabited by hardy pioneers. Arriving in Buenos Aires is like jumping aboard a moving train.
Outside the taxi window, a blurred mosaic of a modern metropolis whizzes by, and then the street life appears – the cafes, the purple jacaranda flowers draped over the sidewalks (in spring!), and porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) in stylish clothing, walking purposefully past handsome early-20th-century stone facades. And it’s not just Buenos Aires that’s a stunner – Córdoba, Salta, Mendoza and Bariloche each have their unique personalities and unforgettable attractions, so don’t miss them. Satisfying that carnal craving for juicy steaks isn’t hard to do in the land that has perfected grilling wonderfully flavorful sides of beef. Parrillas (steak restaurants) are everywhere and will offer up any cut you can imagine. And if you’re a fan of pizza and pasta, these Italian staples are ubiquitous as well.
But there’s more – in Buenos Aires, you can experience a huge variety of ethnic cuisine, from Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern to Scandinavian. Down it all with that famous Argentine wine, and you’ll be struggling to maintain your waistline. Tango is possibly Argentina’s greatest contribution to the outside world. And what about fútbol (soccer)? Argentines are passionately devoted to this sport and, if you’re a fan, experiencing a live match should definitely be on your itinerary. Add a distinctive Argentine take on literature, cinema, music and arts, and you have a rich, edgy culture – part Latin American and part European – that you can’t help but fall in love with.