The second largest country of Latin America, fourth of the continent and eighth of the world is much more than a “couple” of square kilometers put together. Tourists who choose to travel to Argentina do so drawn by its history, culture, beauty and an infinite number of little details and secrets that make it a unique nation with an unavoidable attraction. If you still need convincing, here are 5 reasons why you should drop by:
Incredible wine and incomparable food
It goes without saying that wine and beef lovers NEED to travel to Argentina at least once in their life. Just as you set foot on the country, it’s almost obligatory to try a smooth Malbec, an aromatic Torrontes or an acidic Cabernet Sauvignon. For the real wine fanatics, there’s a great variety of vineyard tours throughout the northern regions, although the most special ones hide in the western province of Mendoza, just at the foot of The Andes. Of course, wine will always taste better if you try it at a place that’s considered to be the 3rd biggest producer of beef in the world.
You’ll find it impossible to avoid drinking a glass or two next to the tastiest meat of them all: bife de chorizo, or the cheap, greasy and just as delicious “choripan”. Although you must know that when it comes to food, Argentines definitely know what they’re doing: milanesa, provoleta, pizza, pasta, mediaslunas, alfajores and anything with delicious “dulce de leche” on it. Hope you have time (and appetite) to try everything before you end your trip in a rooftop terrace having a traditional Sunday asado, a meal with family and friends that can last an entire day.
Untouched nature and rare species
Perito Moreno, Ushuaia, Salta, Talampaya, The Lake District, Iguazú, Chaltén… when you decide to travel to Argentina you know that you’re not going to be left indifferent. Breathtaking landscapes with virgin nature can be found throughout the whole country, which makes it a perfect place to disconnect from everything and get lost in an amazing scenery. If your soft spot is for animals, you will definitely fall in love with the tropical birds, the penguins, the squeaky capybaras, and the cute (yet aggressive) coatis, among many, many others.
If you feel stressed, angry or nervous, the best choice for you is going to a football match. Although the most intense fans are normally those of Boca (the “bosteros”) it actually doesn’t matter which team you claim to support: put on the jersey and head to the field. Singing chants and screaming things you can’t even understand, celebrating goals like it’s the last thing you’ll do in your life and complaining as if it’s the end of the world while you try to watch soccer may seem like mayhem. But what a fun mayhem…
Endless and beautiful bookshops
One of the main attractions of Argentina is its vast and varied cultural offer, which is mainly concentrated in the center of Buenos Aires. Cinemas, theatres, expositions, museums… the capital holds an unbearable number of places to enjoy any kind of art but it’s mainly special for one fact: it’s the city with more bookstores per inhabitant of the world, with 25 for every 100.000 porteños, mainly located in the hustle of Corrientes street. Among the typical modern ones and smaller antique treasures where you can get lost for hours between the delicate, faded pages of classical works, rises one of the most astonishing bookstores of the world: El Ateneo, a former theatre that opened its doors in the year 1919 and is now a must-visit site in the capital.
Like samba in Brasil, flamenco in Spain or salsa in Colombia, Argentina also has a dance that’s considered an essential part of its culture, history and character. The country breathes tango in every corner. The conventional visitor normally has access to it in the most obvious (still dazzling) places: the main squares, the touristic streets, the organized shows… But that’s only the surface of it. If you travel to Argentina for a couple days, you must search beyond the perfect, good-looking dancers that perform inplain sight and visit a milonga. Milongas are small events that take place in every neighborhood where people of all ages, social classes and appearances dance tango with each other for hours.
If you’re bold enough, you should join and let them teach you all the codes, history, details and secrets that surround the 2×4 rhythm. Although tango doesn’t stand alone: folklore dances like chamamé or chacarera, both originated in the northern regions, can be seen and performed in traditional parties held in “peñas”. Besides, salsa, cumbia, swing, rock, reggae, electronic or latin music… you choose what you want to move your hips to: Argentina and especially Buenos Aires is the perfect place to take a dance class or let go in a “boliche”, clubs that open every day of the week until the sun comes up. ¡A bailar!
Written by Irene Valiente