Argentina: A land of diversity and culture

Tolar Grande, in Salta province in northwestern Argentina, is a perfect place for hiking.

Tolar Grande, in Salta province in northwestern Argentina, is a perfect place for hiking.

Argentina is a country of many cultural, social and natural attractions, all of which will amaze visitors. Diversity is a characteristic that makes Argentina a unique choice. This includes its landscapes, climate and population. Argentina is usually described as a land of impressive contrasts, thanks to its  varied geography. From the Andes to the west, to the Pampas and the Atlantic Coast to the east; from the Puna to the north to Patagonia to the south, many attractions are designated protected areas, reserves or national parks. In addition, several natural and cultural landmarks have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Iguazú Falls (one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and also a Natural Heritage of Mankind) is made up of 275 waterfalls.

Iguazú Falls (one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and also a Natural Heritage of Mankind) is made up of 275 waterfalls.

Argentina also has a diverse population, a result of its Spanish heritage, immigrants from several other European and Mediterranean countries, its original inhabitants and people who have come from almost all corners of the globe to live in our country.
Tales of Argentina’s uniqueness have travelled the world by word-of-mouth,  thanks to visitors. Our people are friendly, fun and effusive; our cuisine includes lots of beef, especially barbecued, which is known as asado. Mate is a caffeine-rich infused beverage and we also offer several regional dishes and dulce de leche (a thick caramel dessert made from milk and sugar) treats. Traditional dances and music, such as the tango, which was born in Buenos Aires in the 19th Century and today has followers all around the world, draw visitors as does our folkloric music, with different rhythms and dances unique to each region. Argentina is also known for its passion for football (soccer in North America), and fans show their love for the major players and teams in a noisy and musical way, filling up the stadiums and displaying their enthusiasm for every game. But above all, each particular Argentine region offers unique treasures that have been maintained and strengthened as time goes by.

The Mendoza Wine Road is a favourite attraction for oenophiles.

The Mendoza Wine Road is a favourite attraction for oenophiles.

Cuyo: Cuisine at the birthplace of Malbec
Cuyo, which means “desert country” in aboriginal language, is a region of high peaks, snow-covered volcanoes and great wilderness, spreading from the Andes mountain range and foothills to the steppe.
Andean vicuñas and guanacos (both realtives of the llama), cohabit freely in parks and natural reserves, while condors fly over the area. The region displays the full splendour of the Central Andean Range. The Aconcagua, at 22,837 feet high (6,962 m), is the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, and its steep slopes are renowned and respected by mountain climbers from all over the world.
In the valleys of Mendoza and San Juan, among the farms and wineries, visitors can travel along the Wine Road, an attraction of international fame. With the Andean Range on the horizon, Cuyo’s flavours are tasted at restaurants and parrillas (restaurants serving Argentine barbecue exclusively) in the downtown areas, at estancias (ranches) near the mountains and at gourmet restaurants among lush vineyards. Authentic dishes are treated as art pieces and are always accompanied by excellent wines: young and mature red wines, fresh rosé wines, aromatic white wines and irresistible sparkling wines. Flavours and textures embrace the culinary legacy of Italian and Spanish immigrants.

Ischigualasto, also known as “Valle de la Luna” (Moon Valley) because of the diversity of forms and colours of a landscape shaped by erosion, is one of the world’s most important paleontological sites.

Ischigualasto, also known as “Valle de la Luna” (Moon Valley) because of the diversity of forms and colours of a landscape shaped by erosion, is one of the world’s most important paleontological sites.

A visit to Ischigualasto and Talampaya National Parks is a true journey into the dinosaur era. Ischigualasto, also known as “Valle de la Luna” (Moon Valley) because of the amazing diversity of forms and colours of a landscape that was shaped by erosion, is one of the world’s most important paleontological sites. The Talampaya Canyon reveals curious shapes formed by erosion. On full-moon nights, this canyon offers an amazing tour.

The North
Argentina’s northern provinces feature traces of pre-Columbian cultures mixed with ruins of native villages, as well as forts and constructions dating back to the time of the conquest and colonization. Time seems to stand still in the high plateau of Puna, a land full of mountain ranges, steep mountain paths and gorges. Multicoloured and monochromatic hills are covered with huge cacti on the slopes that surround unique villages.
This region offers landscapes full of contrasts for tourists to enjoy, from the high peaks to the plains, the salt pans and the subtropical rain forests — all display our Latin American roots and culture.

The tango has enjoyed a resurgence in Buenos Aires.

The tango has enjoyed a resurgence in Buenos Aires.

Iguazu Waterfalls: wonders of nature
Iguazú National Park is one of the most emblematic parks in the country. The park’s roads are surrounded by jungle and lead to a unique site, where birds sing and nature vibrates with the thunder of running water. Iguazú Falls (one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature) consists of 275 waterfalls that create a white mist over the area. The rivers that run through this region are an invitation to adventure and adrenaline-pumping activities. More than 450 bird species attract birdwatchers and nature lovers.
Not far away from Iguazú Falls, we find the San Ignacio Miní Guarani Jesuit Missions — declared a Mankind Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO — as well as other Jesuit missions. In those places, culture and jungle merge with the stories of the Jesuit missions that were established in the region during the 17th Century.

Along the Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires, one can enjoy the mix of art nouveau and neo-classical architecture.

Along the Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires, one can enjoy the mix of art nouveau and neo-classical architecture.

Patagonia
The Andean Mountain Range displays all its greatness on the Patagonian provinces. Thousand-year-old silent forests with native vegetation extend to the banks of the lagoons. On mountain tops, nature overflows with granite needles and icy fields brimming with glaciers over lakes.
Imposing mammals and sea birds are abundant on the Patagonian coasts, where they spend a good part of their life cycle. Colonies of sea lions play and rest on small islands and sandbars. Southern elephant seals have their greatest continental station in the world on the Valdés Peninsula. The Nuevo and San José gulfs bear witness to the arrival of the Southern Right Whale, which every year returns there for feeding and breeding. One of the largest colonies of Magellan penguins nests in Punta Tombo.
Farther south, visitors will find Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia, the latter being the southern-most city in the world. They are both an open door to the immense solitude of mysterious Antarctica.

Province of Buenos Aires
In the largest province of Argentina, there is a horizon of striking, endless cultivated and cattle-raising lands. This is the land of the gauchos, the people of the pampas or greenlands. There are many “estancias” that offer accommodation, activities and great food. Along the Atlantic coast, beach towns come one after another, offering plenty of options to enjoy sand beaches, dunes, forests, fishing spots and nightlife.

Buenos Aires City
Buenos Aires is one of the greatest cities in the world. It is a cultural city, devoted to art, music, theatre, design, architecture, fashion and great food. Eclectic, sexy and mysterious, Buenos Aires witnessed the birth of tango in its suburbs and now proudly features it at sophisticated tanguerías and popular milongas (both dance bars where the tango is performed).
A city for fashion and shopping, it attracts visitors with its elegant commercial centres, prestigious designer stores and picturesque fairs offering fine second-hand products. The capital of Argentina features many beautiful buildings, reflecting different styles and influences, such as French, Italian and Spanish. Modern buildings, avant-garde towers, rationalist and contemporary architecture are all present in the Buenos Aires skyline.
This bohemian and fraternal city is full of remarkable cafés and bars,  where chatting never ends around the tables. In gastronomic terms, gourmet and family restaurants co-exist with parrillas, pizzerias, international restaurants, tea houses, exquisite delicatessens and astonishing ice cream parlours. Considered a friendly metropolis, it is an international tourist destination that welcomes people from all over the world.

Gerardo Ezequiel Bompadre is the chargé d’affaires at the embassy of Argentina. Reach him at (613) 236-2351.

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Gerardo Ezequiel Bompadre is the chargé d’affaires at the embassy of Argentina. Reach him at (613) 236-2351.

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