Argentina: What to see and how to get there

Just thinking about South America makes one think of bigness – big spaces, big personalities, big feasts, big mountains, big living. Nowhere is this more acutely true than in Argentina, the eighth largest country in the world and one of the best known in South America.

Known for the hot-blooded nature of the culture, Argentina holds its own kind of mystery and allure for travelers. Given the widely varying geographic elements of the country, it comes as no surprise that some areas are relatively temperate for much of the year, while others can be quite extreme.

There is much to see in Argentina, including the famous and extremely beautiful Iguazu Falls. The Perito Mereno Glacier is another truly wondrous sight to behold, and the contrast of these two attractions illustrates the range of terrains and attractions that can be found within Argentina.

Argentina is also known for its fantastic eating – think thick, juicy steaks – and excellent wine, so be prepared to indulge your taste buds while traveling here. Pay a visit to the Mendoza Province, where you can hire a driver to take you on a tour of this wine country region and sample some of the country’s finest types of wine.

Shift gears entirely by visiting Puerto Madryn, where you can go whale-watching and really have a once-in-a-lifetime experience with nature by coming face-to-face with humpback whales. Here you will also have a chance to see a somewhat unexpected part of Argentina – once home to a thriving Welsh community, you’ll get a taste of the British Isles in South America.

Every backpacker wants to dip into a country’s hippie vibe, and Argentina has just the place: El Bolson, a small town that has a thrice-weekly artisanal market, and a carefree, wholesome, granola vibe that will give anyone their hippie fix.

Argentina is a convenient travel destination, at least as far as visas are concerned. No visa is required for entry for citizens of a number of nations, including the United States and United Kingdom. However, there is a reciprocity fee, based on the cost of visa applications for Argentinean citizens seeking to visit the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. These fees are quite high, varying from $75-$160 USD, depending on which country you are from.

Transportation-wise, it is quite easy to get in and out of Argentina, and you can travel via plane, car or boat between different countries. It is worth being aware that because of its size, traveling from one part of Argentina to another can cost up to several hundred American dollars, and this includes both buses and planes. It is a good idea to find a local who can help you book, to ensure that you get a fair price, rather than a rate that is jacked up for foreigners.

Argentina is also an excellent stop if you are planning to travel to Antarctica. From the tip of Argentina, you can board a tour ship to that most remote part of the world, and then recover in the warmth and sunshine upon your return.

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