Argentina is a gorgeous and vast country, with many diverse regions. Here’s a little taste of Patagonia and Buenos Aires, dubbed “South America’s Paris”.
Our adventure into Argentina began by way of ferries and buses; the Cruce de los Lagos is an all-day expedition from Chile into the Argentine Patagonia, taking us through the lake district.
Arriving in Bariloche, I was immediately taken by the beauty of Patagonia. It’s the perfect place to escape from city life! I went on a horse-back riding excursion, taking in the fresh mountain air, rolling hills, jagged peaks of the Andes, and crystal clear lake water.
At lunch time, we were spoiled with two of Argentina’s most delicious treats: beef steak and dulce de leche. I have to say, you won’t get a better steak than an Argentinian one. It literally melted in my mouth! And words cannot express the dulce de leche; you’ll just have to try it for yourself.
The modern town of Bariloche actually looks more similar to the German architecture of Chile’s lake region, than more Spanish influenced Argentinian cities like Cordoba, Mendoza and Buenos Aires. It’s a lovely little town, full of tourist shops and is home to some delicious chocolate too! It reminded me of Whistler, BC, with its European look and laid-back atmosphere. Bariloche is also a very popular ski destination for South Americans.
From Bariloche, we flew to Buenos Aires. By far, this is one of the most amazing cities I have ever had the pleasure of visiting! It’s easy to see why Buenos Aires has been nick-named “South America’s Paris”.
With its stunning architecture and flair for entertainment, this city has it all. Although ultra-modern, Buenos Aires has maintained much of its Spanish colonial and baroque styled architecture.
One lovely example of this is the El Ateneo Bookstore. In the early 1900s, it was served as a theatre; in the late 1920s, it became a cinema. Today, it’s one of the city’s most popular bookstores. And you can see why; from its classic frescos, to its deep red crushed velvet stage curtain, talk about ambiance!
Buenos Aires is made up of many distinct neighbourhoods, or “barrios”. One of the most vibrant (although touristy) is La Boca. Historically, it was the area where European immigrants arrived by boat, to settle in Argentina. According to our local guide, the settlers painted the buildings with ship paint; ship paint was bold and vibrant, to ensure ships could be seen out at sea. This tradition has been maintained in the area.
La Boca is also known for its artistic side; the main streets in the area are lined with artists selling paintings, sculptures and other souvenirs and trinkets. But as you can see from this wall mural, what epitomizes this wonderful country is the Argentinian tango!
And you can’t visit Buenos Aires without testing out your tango skills. There are tons of tango shows all over the city; many of them include a lesson, dinner and tango show, performed by professionals. Be sure to make a night of it; Argentinians eat late and stay up even later!
Another must-visit barrio is La Recoleta; here, spend a couple of hours meandering through the La Recoleta Cemetery. Although it sounds a bit morbid, it’s definitely worth exploring! You’ll have an opportunity to see the famous Eva (Evita) Perón’s mausoleum, and many others, dating back hundreds of years.
There are guides available to walk you through or you can grab a map and explore on your own. If you’re visiting on a weekend, there’s also a local market just outside the cemetery gates to enjoy! Nearby, you can also see the monument built to commemorate Evita.
There are so many things to see and do in Buenos Aires. I recommend planning to spend at least 3 to 4 days (and if you can swing it, maybe even a week) there, to get a feel for the whole city.
Argentina was my favourite country in South America. I could go on and on, so if you have any questions, please ask away! I would love to share more with you.