From the sub-tropical north to the freezing waters of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago - famously explored by Darwin and Fitzroy on the ‘Beagle’ - Argentina is a country of dramatic contrasts.
Its long border with Chile stretches 3,000 miles along the Andes, dominated by Aconcagua, the highest peak in the southern hemisphere, and the magnificent glaciers and lakes of the Patagonian ice field. The mountain foothills provide ideal conditions for cultivating vines, the grapes watered by snowmelt each spring to produce some of the finest wines in the world.
To the east lie the fertile plains of the Pampas, where 85% of the country’s grain is grown and gauchos herd beef cattle on vast estancias. At the heart of this rich agricultural region is Buenos Aires, ‘the Paris of South America’; a city of broad avenues, elegant shops and hotels, imposing colonial buildings and of course the sultry tango.
More than a third of the population live in and around the capital, leaving the rest of the country sparsely inhabited. Whether you opt for city culture or wide open spaces (or both) you’ll find the people extremely welcoming. Argentines are descended from a vibrant mix of Spanish, Italian, Arab, Jewish and Welsh immigrants, and pride themselves on their warm hospitality and excellent service.
Here are some of our Argentina highlights
The Iconic capital
Buenos Aires is Argentina's capital and one of South America's most colourful and cosmopolitan cities. Superb restaurants, chic bars, lively markets and designer shops, BA has it all - and we haven't even mentioned tango!
Lakes and forests
Snow-capped mountains, flowing streams and deep blue lakes, the Lake District has some of Argentina's most beautiful scenery. Fish, trek, climb or simply explore the picture-postcard lakeside towns and villages at the foot of the Andes.
The Valdés Peninsula on Argentina's Atlantic coast is one of the best wildlife destinations in South America. Whales, penguins, sea lions, dolphins and elephant seals are just some of the creatures regularly spotted here.
Argentina's wine capital, Mendoza, is nestled under the eastern flank of the Andes. Tree-lined avenues criss-cross the town, itself surrounded by world-famous vineyards offering tastings of the region's prime export - Malbec.
5km wide and 30km long, the Perito Moreno glacier is an incredible sight. See it from walkways, boat trips or even mini-trekking on its sculpted surface and watch as huge chunks of ice break off into the impossibly blue water below.
The gaucho life
A national icon, the indomitable 'gauchos' (cowboys) are fiercely proud of their culture and connection to the land, its cattle, and their horses. Visit a working estancia and sample this traditional way of life for yourself.
With glacial lakes, verdant forests and soaring granite peaks, the Los Glaciares National Park in Argentine Patagonia is a Mecca for walkers. From day walks to multi-day treks, the serene beauty and undisturbed wildlife will not disappoint.
Where to begin? We had a great time, saw lots and pretty much everything from your end ran like clockwork, thank you for that. It does make life easy when someone has prepared all the groundwork and your travel booklet was also very helpful. Once our finances have recovered we would love to see more of Central/South America and will be back to you. Thank you Sue for all your invaluable help and guidance, we would certainly recommend Last Frontiers - a terrific holiday, loved it. - VB