Argentina – Experience Patagonia – Argentina Travel Guide
The city of Buenos Aires is the capital city of the Republic of Argentina. Buenos Aires is also known as ´The Queen of Río de la Plata´ since it is situated on the Río de la Plata, and its inhabitants are called ´Porteños´ (people of the port).
Buenos Aires is the largest city in Argentina, home to over one-third of Argentina´s entire population. This bustling metropolis is the political, cultural, and economical center of the country. It contains the National Government Buildings, the Legislative Quarters, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the Stock Exchange Market.
Known as the most European city in all of South America, travelers encounter cobbled walkways, lively cafes, and an array of museums in which to spend time browsing. With its abundance of elegance and style, Buenos Aires´s European architecture is oftentimes compared to that of Paris.
The city consists of a perfect blend of traditional and modern buildings: skyscrapers that touch the sky, colonial mansions – a live testimony of Spaniard influence, and an array of monumental French-influenced mansions. The streets are lined with beautiful trees, some as ancient as the city itself and a nice variety of city streets that can vary from some of the widest boulevards in the world to quaint and colorful alleyways. For being such a busy city, Buenos Aires astonishes the traveler with its extensive green parks and flourishing plazas.
The city has a wide range of activities. Visitors can spend days shopping for all sorts of artesian crafts, art and leather goods. Shopping is a way of life for many Argentineans; therefore, it is not difficult to find exactly what you might be looking for to take home as a gift – or simply to indulge in and keep for yourself. In the chic neighborhood of Recoleta, one can browse the many handicraft booths or stop into some of the small boutique shops lining the streets. Other hot shopping regions are Palermo, Calle Florida and Avenida Santa Fe.
For those interested in active city culture, visits to the planetarium, zoo, Japanese botanical gardens, racetrack, or floating casino can always be fun and exposes you to Buenos Aires´ local culture. With several museums and theatres, Buenos Aires boasts of being a rich cultural center. The city is home to one of the most famed opera houses in the world, the Colon Theatre – its stages have seen some of the most talented musicians, ballet dancers, and opera singers of all time.
For spectators of sport, Buenos Aires is the capital of soccer, otherwise known as “futbol”. With decades-old rivalries between neighborhood to neighborhood, local games can become quite a spectacle. For those interested in a more ´sophisticated´ sporting experience, Buenos Aires hosts a multitude of important polo matches throughout the year, where some of the world´s best ten-goalers compete.
For fine dining enthusiasts and night owls, Buenos Aires has a little bit for everyone. In terms of restaurants, the city is covered in places to dine. International fare abounds in ´the city that never sleeps´, and be sure to take advantage of tea time which is usually at around 4:00 p.m. since most of the locals are accustomed to dining at 10:00 p.m.
For the real night owls, Buenos Aires has plenty of nightlife to take advantage of – from lounge settings to discos, bars and pubs, all will keep you up to the wee hours of the morning.
To get a real taste of Argentina´s roots, a visit to a tango show is the best way to experience the dance that made Buenos Aires famous, the tango. The tango originated in the city´s port and is wildly popular to this day.
Buenos Aires has a large network of transportation. An international airport, a domestic airport, a port, railroads, subways, over a hundred bus lines and taxis, which allow the tourist to move easily throughout the city. Best of all, many of the city´s most picturesque sites are within walking distance of one another.
The village of El Calafate, a relatively young town located near Lago Argentino in the southwest province of Santa Cruz, is one of Argentina’s most popular cities to visit. Otherwise known simply as “Calafate”, this town, although small, is growing at a rapid pace, and is turning into one of the most expensive regions in all of Argentina.
Calafate was named after the famous red bushes of the Calafate plant. The plants speckles the Southern region of Patagonia, bursting forth magnificent red blooms and berries that locals turn into jams.
Tourists visiting the town come mainly for one thing, and one thing only. Visits to the Perito Moreno glacier, one of the only glaciers on the Southern ice field that is not receding, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Tourists will be astounded at the dramatic differences in topography when traveling from steppe to milky turquoise blue lakes in less than an hour. To top it off, very rarely can one get so close to a glaciers edge than here. Boat tours take visitors up close to experience glacier breaks and, for those adventurous enough, hiking along the glacier’s edge is also a wonderful way to experience the impressive size of these natural wonders. Also known as minitrekking, this adventure is for the physically fit and children must be ten years or older. Yet, the most extraordinary vista of all is a hike through Los Glaciares National Park, declared a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO, which provides a bird’s-eye-view of the Perito Moreno glacier. The park has 47 glaciers in all, the most famous being the Perito Moreno, also known as the ‘eighth wonder of the world.’
Visitors should not miss a stroll through the town’s city center. The main avenue consists of cozy shops, handicraft stores, quaint restaurants and hostels. This picturesque town becomes even more charming when in bloom. It is a great place to visit in the spring and summer, but also welcomes visitors year-round.
The city of Mendoza is located at the foot of the Andes and is best known as THE wine region of Argentina. In ancient times, this city was inhabited by the Huarpes Indians and the Incas. The Huarpes are best known in the region due to their contribution of one of the most critical aspects of the city, a complex system of irrigation channels. The artificial irrigation system was a means to establish this region into a huge agricultural mecca that makes this city the oasis that it is today.
Because of its terrain, Mendoza is famous for the wide variety and high quality of its wines. But without the introduction of the irrigation channels, wine would have never grown here since the irrigation system provides the necessary water for making this area a fruitful wine producing region. Every year, Mendoza celebrates the Fiesta de la Vendimia (the wine harvest festival), which honors the new crop of grapes. The celebration always lands on the first Saturday of March, but harvest and festivities begin in surrounding regions in late January with the final celebration occurring in Mendoza. It’s a wonderful time to be in the region, especially for wine lovers.
San Carlos de Bariloche city
San Carlos de Bariloche, the main tourist destination in Río Negro Province and one of the main tourist destinations in Argentina, is located in the northwest of the Argentine Patagonia, at 770 meters above sea level, on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. It is 1,050 miles away from the city of Buenos Aires.
The colors and hues of the landscape vary according to the time of year, with each season offering its own special surprise: sheer green in summer, ochre and yellow in autumn, multicolor in spring and stunning white in winter.
There is a full range of accommodation and shopping in Bariloche, where the lifestyle blends the best features of big city and small village life. Bariloche is a melting pot of cultures, where the area’s native past, European culture and provincial customs converge. The city’s rich history can be explored more at the Patagonia Museum, overlooking the main square in the Civic Centre.
There are a large number of events on Bariloche’s festival calendar. Some of the most interesting and well-attended are the traditional Snow Festival, involving sports competitions on Mount Catedral, a display of torch-bearing skiers swooping down the slopes in the evening, a fireworks display, a wood-chopping competition, the Snow Queen beauty pageant and a variety of other events. The festival is a great time for families and younger travelers. Another typical event is the ‘Navidad Coral’ or Christmas concert, where the local children’s choir sings Christmas songs at the Bariloche Cathedral. Other festivals worth experiencing are the Rose Hip Festival (Fiesta de la Rosa Mosqueta), the European-Argentine and Latin American Community Festivals, and the National Curanto Festival celebrated in Colonia Suiza (the Swiss Colony).
Day-trips of all kinds can be arranged with Patagonia Calling. A visit to one of the following spots in the Bariloche region should not be missed while there: Mount Tronador, Victoria Island, the Arrayanes Forest, El Bolsón, Puerto Blest or San Martín de los Andes. All have become must-sees for travelers visiting the area. In addition, there are an abundance of nature hikes in which trained guides will teach hikers about the typical plants and wildlife that inhabit each of the different ecosystems in the Nahuel Huapi National Park. For those interested in a more adrenaline-packed stay, Bariloche offers biking, rafting, skiing, horseback riding tours or any other countless outdoor activities.
Because Bariloche has, for decades, been a hot tourist destination in Argentina, there is a wide variety of things to do, places to see, dine, shop or simply relax. Bariloche offers a wide variety of local handicrafts and local culinary treasures. Chocolates and smoked foods (ahumados) are a classic, both in Argentina and abroad. In addition, there is an almost endless variety of products ranging from beer to natural cosmetics made from wild rosehips and lavender, pottery, candles, knitted garments, preserves and carved wood.
San Martín de los Andes city:
Located in the southwest of the province of Neuquén, on the shores of Lake Lacar, stands the city of San Martín de los Andes, the most important tourism center in the province of Neuquén.
San Martín de los Andes is the perfect place for those who are looking for adrenaline as well as those who want to relax and enjoy time with their families.
Tourists visiting San Martín de los Andes will be enchanted by the beauty of its landscapes. The versatility of its terrain makes San Martín de los Andes a magnificent place to enjoy year-round. Mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests are only part of its imposing scenario.
In the winter, Chapelco Ski Resort, located only 12.4 miles from San Martín de los Andes, is favored as one of the best tourist spots in the region. Its excellent tourism infrastructure, its various runs, and the modern ski-lifts and chair-lifts, make Chapelco a must for snow sports lovers.
During the rest of the year, San Martín de los Andes offers endless activities for visitors to choose from. Adventure sports like rafting, trekking, land and lake excursions, and horseback riding, among others, are some of the options tourists have. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy windsurfing, water skiing, and kayaking. San Martín de los Andes is also ideal for those who like golfing, hunting and fishing.
The main attractions are the Lanín National Park, within which the city is located, and the ´Corredor de los Siete Lagos´ (Seven Lakes Circuit).
A stroll through the town´s city center is an experience that visitors should not miss. The town is full of many small and quaint restaurants offering a wide variety of dishes such as fondue, trout, ´raclette´, and stag. Tea houses serve exquisite cakes and European pastries.
Ushuaia is the capital city of the province of Tierra del Fuego, and is the southernmost city in the world. Located along the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the mountainous chain Martial, Ushuaia offers its visitors a distinctive landscape that combines mountains and forests with lakes and glaciers.
In the beginning of the 19th century, European sailors landed in the region in search for a new route to the Spice Islands. By this time, Tierra del Fuego had long been inhabited by four ethnic groups: the Onas, the Yamanas, the Alakalufes, and the Haush. These groups are suspected to have been living in the region for more than 6,000 years before European arrival.
Ushuaia, meaning ´bay overlooking the West´, was named by the Yamana Indians, after the location of the Beagle Channel and the manner in which the sun set behind the Martial mountains.
This city is a great spot to visit during all seasons. During winter, Ushuaia offers endless possibilities for skiing. Downhill and cross country skiing can be done at Mount Castor, which stands only ten miles from the city.
In summer, Ushuaia is ideal for the practice of adventure sports. Because of its unique topography there is plenty to do. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and fishing are among some of the most popular sports. For serious runners, the yearly Fin Del Mundo Marathon is usually held in the last months of the southern hemisphere´s summer. The marathon´s course is hilly and begins in Tierra del Fuego National Park winding through the foothills of the Andes.
The Tierra del Fuego National Park is situated seven miles to the west of the city of Ushuaia, bordering the Republic of Chile. This park gives one the chance of admiring magnificent landscapes and unmatchable views.
One of the icons of the island is its historical jail. This prison began to be built in 1902, and its construction lasted for almost 20 years. It lodged a mixture of the most dangerous criminals, thieves, political prisoners, and members of the armed force. In 1947 it was shut down and nowadays it has become a museum, where one can see some of the cells in which criminals lived. The building also contains the Marine Museum, an excellent place to learn about the surrounding marine life.
The ´Les ´Eclaireurs´ Lighthouse and the Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino, also known as ´the train of the end-of-the-world´, are some of the many attractions that can be visited in Ushuaia.
Villa la Angostura
Villa La Angostura, known as one of Patagonia’s prettiest towns, is located in the south of the province of Neuquén, on the north shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi. The town receives its name from the isthmus that joins the land and the peninsula of Quetrihue, producing a narrow canal named ‘Angostura’.
Tourists visiting Villa La Angostura will be enchanted by its breathtaking landscapes, surrounded by transparent lakes, dense forest, and immense mountains. Because of its natural environment, Villa La Angostura is the perfect place to throw on your swim suit and jump in the lake waters. Most popular of the water sports are scuba diving, rafting, kayak, and windsurfing. If you’re not ready to actually get into the water, you can take a sail around the lakes or take a stunning horseback sunset ride alongside the shores of the Nahuel Huapi. Villa La Angostura is also a first-class area for those who like to fly-fish. Among the many species that can be found in this area are brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, and salmon encerrado.
As a result of its temperate climate, fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are often cultivated by locals. Springtime in the region overcomes the senses. Roses, tulips, amancays, and mutisias bloom in abundance and provide an incredibly beautiful backdrop. Villa La Angostura also has an important variety of tree species such as ñires, coihues, and arrayanes. In the late summer the Arrayanes bloom with white flowers, which then turn into black berries, a truly stunning site.
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS:
A valid passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter Argentina. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism or business, but U.S. citizens coming to Argentina for tourism and business travel through Ezeiza International Airport must pay a reciprocal entry fee of $140.00 dollars. Currently, the fee is only charged at Ezeiza airport. It can be paid in dollars, by credit card, or with travelers checks, and is valid for ten years and multiple entries. It applies only to bearers of regular, tourist passports.
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