For first-timers, the big sights are Buenos Aires, Iguazú Falls, and Patagonia’s Moreno Glacier. Since most will arrive in Buenos Aires, this simplifies logistics, but great distances mean that flying to Iguazú and Patagonia is unavoidable.Destination:Activities:
Buenos Aires is the starting point—and the flashpoint—of Argentine history. Time has transformed, if not erased, the colonial quarters of Monserrat and San Telmo, but it’s the epic of independence, the era of immigration and excess, the populism of the Peróns, and the ruthless 1976–1983 dictatorship that helped create contemporary Argentina.Destination:Activities:
Early Argentine art is derivative, but today’s Buenos Aires is the heart of a vigorous contemporary painting, sculpture, and multimedia scene. The city has only a handful of late colonial constructions around the Plaza de Mayo.
Argentina’s finest colonial art and architecture survives in the northwest, on an axis that runs south from Jujuy and Salta through Tucumán and Córdoba. Contrasting with Mesopotamia’s verdant subtropical vegetation, bright red sandstone blocks distinguish Mesopotamia’s colonial Jesuit missions; Guaraní artisans crafted the elaborate adornments.Destination:Activities:
Visitors who can’t make it out of Buenos Aires will find wine bars where they can sample the country’s best, and restaurants around the country carry a broad selection.
But true aficionados should spend at least a week in and around Mendoza—not nearly enough time to visit all the 100-plus wineries around the provincial capital.Destination:Activities:
In its nearly 3 million square kilometers, Argentina offers an astonishing diversity of natural environments. The real can’t-miss is the Esteros del Iberá marshes, in Corrientes Province, where the colorful subtropical birds, reptiles, and mammals are reason enough to visit Argentina for a week or more.
Arrive at Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini (Ezeiza) and transfer to a Buenos Aires hotel. Visit main historic sites.Destination:Activities:
Colloquially known as the “Plaza de Protestas,” the Plaza de Mayo has often played center stage in Argentine history. The Peróns, in particular, used it for spectacle, convoking hundreds of thousands of descamisados (shirtless ones), their fervent underclass disciples.
Internationally, the plaza gained fame for some of its smallest gatherings ever. From the late 1970s, the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo marched silently around the Pirámide de Mayo, its small central obelisk, every Thursday afternoon to demand the return of their adult children kidnapped by the military and paramilitary gangs. Most of the disappeared died at their captors’ hands, but the mothers brought Argentina’s shame to world attention.Destination:Activities:
One of Buenos Aires’s most quietly traditional places, Café Tortoni (Avenida de Mayo 825, tel. 011/4342-4328, www.cafetortoni.com.ar) has made no concessions to the 21st century and only a few to the 20th: Upholstered chairs and marble tables stand among sturdy columns beneath a ceiling punctuated by stained-glass vitraux, the wallpaper looks original between the stained wooden trim, and walls are decorated with pictures, portraits, and filete, the traditional porteño sign-painter’s calligraphy.Destination:Activities:
As Calle Florida became an elegant shopping district in the late 19th century, Francisco Seeber and Emilio Bunge were the main shareholders in the proposed Bon Marché Argentino, inspired by Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II. Unfortunately, their French investors backed out, but Seeber resurrected the project by 1894 as the Galería Florida.Destination:Activities:
Possibly the continent’s most important performing arts venue, the ornate Colón (1908) reopened in 2010—though it is not yet ready for opera. Even as work proceeded, it managed to offer top-tier international opera, ballet, and symphonic performers, as well as first-rate local talent in opera, ballet, and symphony in alternative venues.Destination:Activities:
Six days a week, Plaza Dorrego is a quiet shady square where porteños sip cortados and nibble lunches from nearby cafés. On weekends, though, it swarms with Argentine and foreign visitors who stroll among dozens of antiques stalls at the Feria de San Pedro Telmo, the most famous and colorful of the capital’s numerous street fairs. Items range from antique soda siphons to brightly painted filete plaques with piropos (aphorisms), oversized antique radios, and many other items.Destination:Activities:
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