The country can be divided into four major parts: the Andes to the west (with arid basins, grape-filled foothills, glacial mountains and the Lake District), the fertile lowland north (with subtropical rainforests), the central Pampas (a flat mix of humid and dry expanses) and Patagonia (a combination of pastoral steppes and glacial regions).
More than twenty national parks preserve large areas of these varied environments and protect wildlife (much of it unique) such as the caiman (or yacaré), puma, guanaco (a lowland relative of the upper-Andean llama), rhea (similar to an ostrich), Andean condor, flamingo, various marine mammals and seabirds such as Magellanic penguins.
Argentina's culture has been greatly affected by its immigrant population, mostly European. Their influence contributed to the demise of pre-Columbian cultures, resulting in the lack of a dominant indigenous population. Buenos Aires is a big melting pot of all of these cultures and has been receiving immigration from other Latin American countries, mainly from Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Today, the principal remaining indigenous peoples are the Quechua of the northwest, and the Mapuche in Patagonia. Other marginal groups include the Matacos and Tobas in the Chaco and some northeastern cities.
Argentina's climate ranges from subtropical in the north to humid and steamy in the center, and cold in the temperate south. The country's great variety and elongated geography can make a visit in any season worthwhile. Buenos Aires' urban attractions, for example, transcend the seasons, but Patagonian destinations, such as the Moreno Glacier in Santa Cruz, are best to visit in the summer months (December to February). The Iguazú Falls in subtropical Misiones province are best in the southern hemisphere's winter or spring when heat and humidity are less oppressive. The winter months (mid-June to late September) also offer the opportunity to go skiing.
Buenos Aires’ climate is mostly moderate and relatively humid. Winter temperature never fall below zero and summers can be hot.
- El Tigre: This is a river that flows into the Rio de la Plata delta close to Buenos Aires. This is a great place to enjoy the river, the sun and the islands close-by. Various river tours leave from a shared port and take tourists through the maze of rivers and islands that compose the Tigre River Delta. Close by are a fruit market and antiques market, that abound with articles of fine craftsmanship using different wood types or wicker.
- The Mataderos market: Buenos Aires holds its “criollo” Sundays at the traditional Mataderos market where the “countryside” meets the “city”. A visit can afford a look around the antiques market (antiques in wood, silver, copper, knitwear, etc.), observations of the popular traditions and the Folklore festivals where and dance and music inspire cowboys to show off their skills. This is the ideal place to get to know the habits and traditions of the Argentine cowboy (or “gaucho” as they call them) and his widely reputed horse riding skills.
Argentine estancias - not very far from the city of Buenos Aires, lies the Pampa, an area of open plains that contains many estancias (enormous farms), where tourism gets a rural and ecological twist.
You can decide to spend the day enjoying the parks, swimming pools, horseback rides, walks, tasting typical regional products and meals (among which the traditional “asado”), or simply spend a long weekend relaxing and taking in the fresh rural air.
The different regions in Argentina offer you an extremely wide choice of trips, excursions, treks, etc.
- Northwest: Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán
- Northeast: río Uruguay, Rosario, Santa Fé, Paraná, Misiones
- East: San Juan, Mendoza, Neuquen, Río Negro
- Las Pampas: Provincia de Buenos Aires
- Central Mountains: Córdoba, San Luis
- Patagonia: Puerto Madryn, Península Valdés, Santa Cruz
- Fireland: Ushuaia, Cape Horn (Chile).
Long-distance buses are fast and comfortable; some even provide on-board meal services. Most fares are relatively cheap by international standards, but prices fluctuate.
Private operators have assumed control of the formerly state-owned railways, but have shown little interest in providing passenger service except on the very efficient commuter lines in and around Buenos Aires. One surviving train line connects Buenos Aires and Bahía Blanca on the coast. One rather slow train line now connects Buenos Aires with the province of Formosa in the north. Another new line connects the Atlantic coast with San Martín de los Andes.
Air - International flights arrive at Ezeiza, about 40 minutes (45 Pesos taxi ride) from downtown Buenos Aires. Domestic arrivals land at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, 10 minutes from downtown (by taxi, about 10 Pesos).
There are currently two major national airlines. Prices vary by season and in some cases are higher for foreigners. The average domestic round-trip will cost you anywhere between US$100 and US$300. Flying from the extreme north to the south takes 5 hours or more. Flights should be booked locally. One-way trips are possible.
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