A melting pot of different cultures and landscapes, Argentina is one of Latin America's most diverse countries both geographically and culturally, as modern sophistication meets unique traditions. One trip can encompass the jungle cascades of Iguazu in the north all the way through to the Ice fields and windswept peaks of southern Patagonia, via the fervour and passion alive on the streets of Buenos Aires. There is a style of trip to suit all types of traveller in Argentina with luxurious and relaxing tours showcasing stunning landscapes and fine wines, to adventurous and active itineraries trekking over advancing glaciers.
All journeys though involve time in what is almost certainly Latin America's most interesting capital city, Buenos Aires. European and Latin cultures collide to create a city coined the 'Paris of the Americas', and both architecturally and socially this is particularly fitting. Whether it is football, Tango, juicy steaks or enjoying the Porteño café culture it is a city with an infectious energy and with so many different barrios to explore all with their own identity it requires a few days of attention.
Patagonia to the south represents a large portion of the country. National Parks make up lots of the areas surrounding the main tourist bases in the Bariloche and the lake district region as well as further down around El Calafate and the village of El Chaltén for some excellent day walks and trails. The Perito Moreno glacier as well as the iconic Fitz Roy range along with the spectacular scenery around the Lago Nahuel Huapi are the highlights of the region, whilst there is also the option to cross the border into Chile. Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia, mark the end of the South American continent and the opportunity to ride the 'end of the world' train, navigate the Beagle channel or take on numerous active excursions in the National Park. From here there are also departures to Antarctica or alternatives through the southern fjords.
For wildlife the northern Atlantic coast of Patagonia and particularly the Peninsula Valdes is one the prime locations. In season from June through to December right whales visit the area and at certain times can even be spotted from the shore. Away from Patagonia the swamps and bogs of Iberá are the second largest wetlands in the world, and home to over 350 species of birds as well as a good selection of other fauna such as capybara, caiman and anacondas. Further north of the wetlands are the iconic Iguazu falls. The largest waterfall system in the world is one of the continents most impressive natural features and best visited over two days with time to appreciate the power and roar of the water from both the Brazilian and Argentinian viewpoints.
The north western Andean regions of Argentina and the areas surrounding Salta have more in common with puna highland neighbours Bolivia than cosmopolitan Buenos Aires meanwhile. The landscapes vary from dramatic rock formations to authentic adobe villages and from vast barren salt flats to fertile wine valleys. Most famed for its white Torrontes grape, Cafayate south of Salta sits on the northern sector of the Ruta 40 road. An epic journey on through stunning mountain scenery eventually leads to the city of Mendoza and the heartland of Argentinian red wines for which the country is synonymous in viticulture circles. These eastern Andean foothills are home to the Maipú and Luján valleys and offer up a spectacular setting for tasting some vintage Argentine produce.
For a similarly relaxed and luxurious section of a holiday, countryside lodges or estancias in the Pampas are Argentina's answer to a more conventional 'beach break' you might find elsewhere in Latin America. With traditional home cooked food, fine wines and only a very small number of people to share the pool with you can either use a stay on a ranch to unwind, or busy yourself with the numerous authentic experiences on offer, from cooking classes to horse riding. There are trails to explore for all levels of rider, whilst some properties now even offer Polo as an activity for those keen to try one of Argentina's more unusual sports.