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Explore Argentina indoors and outcomment (0)

November 13, 2008

By Carrie Brown McWhorter

Though North American travelers seeking a summer vacation in December might find Argentina a great destination, the country’s vast land area offers a variety of tourist destinations that can be enjoyed any time of the year.

In 2006, more than 270,000 American citizens visited Argentina and the country’s popularity as a tourist destination is on the rise. U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter Argentina, but no visa is required for visits up to 90 days for tourism and business. Argentina’s currency is the peso, and though few hotels and restaurants accept U.S. dollars, MasterCard and Visa are commonly accepted.

Since Argentina lies in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere — an important fact to remember when planning a trip. Argentina’s summer months are December to February, and winter comes June to September. Regardless of the season, however, the country’s climate and natural beauty appeal to many travelers’ interests.

Buenos Aires
As the country’s capital and largest city, Buenos Aires is a popular tourist attraction. With architecture reminiscent of Barcelona, Paris and Rome and distinctive neighborhoods throughout, the city boasts both a European feel and its own unique character. Visitors can take a variety of tours to experience the highlights of Buenos Aires, including night tours of the city, excursions to soccer matches and even an Argentine Tango Tour.

After a day of sightseeing, a hungry tourist can enjoy dinner in one of Buenos Aires’ many restaurants. In both restaurants and homes, dinner is usually served around 10 p.m., and throughout the country, restaurants are known for the quality of the meat they serve. Though prices in the city have increased in the past year, diners can still get a steak dinner for about $10 (U.S.) and a double scoop of ice cream for less than $2 (U.S.).

Buenos Aires has a lot to offer shoppers. Retailers boast the luxuries of London, Rome and Tokyo but at a fraction of the cost. Quality leather goods, fur, wine and antiques round out the shopping experience.

Known as the “land of wonders,” the region of Patagonia covers much of southern Argentina. With a diversity of flora and fauna, outdoor sports and sightseeing reign in Patagonia.

The city of Bariloche sits in the heart of the Lake Region and offers visitors scenic mountain views, magnificent lakes and sports such as skiing, golfing, hiking, biking and whitewater rafting.

To the east, Peninsula Valdes, also known as Atlantic Patagonia, sits on Argentina’s Atlantic coast. Cliffs and rocky reefs mark the coastline and wildlife dominates the area, especially in October and November. Coastal beaches and waters are home to penguins, sea lions, whales and marine birds.

In southern Patagonia, visitors can see the Perito Moreno Glacier, a 15-story wall of ice against a turquoise backdrop of snow-capped mountains. One of the largest in the region, the Perito Moreno Glacier grows in size every day.

The southern tip of Argentina, Tierra del Fuego, is home to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. The area also offers close access to the Antarctic, along with its beautiful landscapes, historic ocean channels and penguin colonies.

Iguazu Waterfall

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, the Iguazu Waterfall is located on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Tours are offered for viewing the falls, and on the Argentinian side, walking trails and boat tours are available. In addition to views of the waterfall, the Iguazu National Park and the jungle surrounding the park give visitors an opportunity to see birds and animals in their native habitats.

From the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic coastline, the plains of the Pampas to the subtropical Chaco, Argentina is a land exploding with natural beauty and wonderful cities. Ready to start planning your visit to Argentina? Get started at these Web sites: travel.state.gov, artourism.com, allaboutar.com, lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/argentina/ or justargentina.org/argentina/explore-argentina.asp.

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