Argentina's a big place. With over a million square miles of territory, it's the world's eighth largest nation. Being the second-largest country in Latin America, Argentina occupies most of the southern part of the South American continent. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the east and south; its neighbours are Brazil and Uruguay to the North-east and east, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north and Chile to the West.
Argentina is divided geographically into six regions: the Pampas, the North-West, Cuyo, the North-East, Mesopotamia, and the Patagonia and South Atlantic Islands, The largest being Malvinas. Argentina also claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica.
When to Visit
Argentina's great variety and elongated geography means visiting is pleasant during any season.
Destinations, such as the Moreno Glacier in Santa Cruz, are best visited in the summer months (December to February) when the weather's milder and more services are available. Outside this time, services thin out and public transport becomes trickier. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Buenos Aires (the summer is hot and humid). Mendoza, Córdoba and the Lake District are all spectacular in autumn, when the leaves are fiery reds and yellows, the temperatures are comfortable and the crowds are few.
Because of the long distances between Argentina's main attractions many travellers choose to travel by domestic flights. Argentina has excellent worldwide air connections, with Aeropuerto International Ezeiza (35km/22mi outside Buenos Aires) the main international airport. From Ezeiza airport, there are several options to get to Buenos Aires. If you're alone, your best bet is taking a comfortable shuttle bus (they're right outside the customs exit). For taxi service, head to the city's booth (just behind the shuttle bus stands); a ride into the center should cost around 15.00. You will find a multitude of land and river crossing points connect Argentina with neighboring Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile. If you are traveling from Chile it usually involves going over the Andes, overland travel to Bolivia can mean journeying through the border towns of La Quiaca, Tarija or Pocitos./Yacuiba. Frequent ferries sail between Buenos Aires and Colonia in Uruguay.
Nationals of the USA, Canada, most Western European countries, Australia and New Zealand do not need visas to visit Argentina. You will find all non-visa visitors must obtain a free tourist card on arrival - it's good for 90 days and renewable for 90 more. Immigration officials issue these only at major border crossings, such as airports and on the ferries and hydrofoils between Buenos Aires and Uruguay. Although you should not toss your card away, losing it is no major problem , Immigration Officials will provide an immediate replacement for free, you will be able to do this at most exit points. Most other nationalities need an advance visa; check with an Argentine consulate or embassy for the latest info.
Health and Safety in Argentina
It is well known that Argentina is one of the safest countries in Latin America. You will find outside the big cities, the crime rate is very low. The most dangers in Argentina believe it or not, are speeding cars and buses. When visiting Argentina it is wise to be careful while crossing streets, and don't ever assume you have the right of way. One small concern in Argentina is air pollution.
In Argentina the US dollar is the normal and preferred currency, although Chilean and Uruguayan pesos can be exchanged at the borders if need be. You can change your Dollars and Euros can be changed at Cambios (exchange houses) in larger cities, most other currencies are difficult to change outside Buenos Aires.
Food in Argentina
Argentineans like eating beef and drinking wine. The most popular way to eat beef in Argentina is the "asado" which is barbecued beef ribs.which are crescent-shaped pies usually filled with meat or corn are also very popular and delicious. Locro, a type of stew made with corn, beans, potatoes and peppers is eaten in a lot of families. The National Drink in Argentina is "mate" which is pronounced mat-A, it is a green tea made from the leaves of Yerba Mate, a national herb.
Things to See and Do
Patagonia's Valdes Peninsula
See elephant seals, sea lions, birds and whales in surprisingly close quarters at Patagonia's Valdes Peninsula. Depending on the season, you can witness the rare sight of orcas snatching sea lion pups, mingle with thousands of breeding Magellanic penguins, or spot southern right whales from the shore.
Bordered by Argentina on one side and Brazil on the other, the World Heritage-listed Iguazu Falls are an astonishing, tumbling, rainbow-filled spectacle of 275 cascades. Take an inflatable dinghy ride out to one of the largest falls for a thrill and a drenching, or enjoy the views from the many nature trails.
Los Glacieres National Park
With its vivid blue hues and astounding sound effects, you won't soon forget Los Glacieres National Park. The park consists of glaciers, icebergs and two magnificent lakes, with the massive Perito Moreno glacier, at 60 metres high and five kilometres wide, as the star performer. Watch in awe as massive chunks of ice break from the glacier with a resounding crash.
A South American city with a distinctly European feel, Buenos Aires oozes style and romance. Visit the charming San Telmo quarter, with its quaint cafes and antique shops, see a tango show, and if meat's your thing, tuck into one of the city's legendary steaks. Fashionistas won't be disappointed here either, as there are plenty of upscale shopping malls as well as quirky shops and markets
Bariloche for Outdoor Activities
Boasting an idyllic location in Argentina's Lake District and a host of outdoor activities all year round, it's no surprise that travellers flock to San Carlos de Bariloche. Here you can trek in the magnificent Lake Nahuel Huapi District, ski, go biking or play water sports to your heart's content. And when you've had enough fresh air and exercise, reward yourself in the town's many chalet-style chocolate shops and fondue restaurants.
You will find a wide variety of accommodation in Argentina. You can choose from the basic 1 star hotel or a more expensive 5 star hotel. Hotels in Argentina offer a wider variety of services and facilities than most other accommodation types. Most Boutique Accommodation offers many of the same services but on a smaller scale. The many resorts throughout the country are very popular also. They tend to focus on offering more family orientate outdoorsy facilities.
If you are looking for something a bit different and personal, Bed and Breakfasts and Guest houses are usually privately owned and offer a change from other accommodation. You can also find hostel accommodation at a very low price if you are only looking for a place to stay overnight. Apartments and Villas are also available at reasonable prices.