Argentina is a country blessed by an endless array of natural beauties that will undoubtedly meet your most personal expectations.
The infinite Pampas, whose beauty and spirit are hardly appreciated at a first glimpse, is the first approach to a land that treasures the most incredible variety of natural resources ever gathered within a country. Views that will amaze, impress and move you. Every single trait leads to surprise: the imposing snowed summits of the Andean Cordillera; the subtropical rain forest that stretches down to improbable latitudes; the torrential falls of the Iguazú River; the barren bleakness of the Patagonian Steppe; the endless beauty of the marine fauna; the frozen land of the fascinating glaciers; the charming scenery of the hills; the blinding whiteness of the Puna; the assorted native fauna in the marshlands.
But the landscape is not all. Argentina has much more reserved for you. The kindness and cordiality of its people will undoubtedly grant you a most pleasant visit to our country. This cosmopolitan country where diversity has influenced even the composition of its society, since many immigrants from all over the world reached these shores decades ago, choosing the country to settle what is nowadays apparent in local inhabitant's mores and habits.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
The word Argentina comes from the Latin word 'argentun', which means silver. This part of the continent was named like this, in the XVI century, after the rich silver mines discovered nearby, in Potosí. In the XVIII century the region came to integrate the Río de la Plata Viceroyalty and it was not until 1860 that the Argentine Republic was constituted as a nation, comprising most of the territory of the former viceroyalty and adopting this word as its official denomination.
From mighty Iguazú Falls in the subtropical north to the thunderous, crackling advance of the Glaciar Perito Moreno in the south, Argentina is a vast natural wonderland. The country boasts some of the Andes’ highest peaks. It’s home to rich wetlands that rival Brazil’s famous Pantanal, mountains painted in rustic colors, deserts dotted with cacti, massive ice fields and arid steppes in Patagonia, cool lichen-clad Valdivian forests, Andean salt flats, a spectacular Lake District, penguins, flamingos, capybaras and more. All are stunning sights and adventures just waiting to be experienced.
The excellent quality of Argentine beef is well known worldwide. Typical dishes are: pasta, pizza, all cuts of beef, fish and seafood, lamb and pork, as well as a large variety of fruits and vegetables. A strong immigration influence is clearly perceived in local cuisine. There is, thus, a large array of restaurants offering typical dishes from all over the world. Typical Northern Argentine dishes are really good alternatives: 'empanadas' (meat pies), 'puchero' (meat and vegetables stew) as well as a number of corn-based dishes such as 'humita' (stew made of corn, squash, onion, tomato), 'locro' (a heavier corn based stew including rather fat cuts of pork and beef) and 'tamales' (cornmeal and shredded pork,wrapped in corn leaves and boiled).
Argentine wines have become famous worldwide because of its quality and variety. Each year, they take part in the most important contests in Europe, especially in France, where they have received many prizes. The best wines are produced in the regions of Cuyo and Cafayate, where the most prestigious wineries are located. These firms produce assorted varieties of wines such as: Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noire, Chablis, chardonnay and Torrontés, among others.
Tango is possibly Argentina’s greatest contribution to the outside world, a steamy dance that’s been described as ‘making love in the vertical position.’ And what about fútbol (soccer)? Argentines are passionately devoted to this sport and, if you're a fan, experiencing a live match should definitely be on your itinerary. Add a distinctive Argentine take on literature, cinema, music and arts, and you have a rich edgy culture – part Latin American and part European – that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Buenos Aires is the largest city in Argentina and is one of the most lively cities in the world. It has rightfully been called "the Paris of the South America" as it is reminiscent of many European cities while it still maintains its natural, latin culture and flair.
Buenos Aires lies in the "Pampas" (fertile plains), close to the coast, and is located on the edge of the great Río de la Plata. The Pampas are famous for the "gauchos," or cowboys, who tend the land and raise cattle and horses there. Because Buenos Aires is a port city, the locals are named "porteños." Many of Argentina's inhabitants are descendants of Western European immigrants who traveled to Argentina in the mid 19th century. You will see the European influence in the architecture of the various suburbs of the city. La Boca's rainbow-colored houses and San Telmo's mixture of French and Italian styles are just a couple of examples.