Welcome to Argentina
From the desert plains of the north, through the Andes Mountains and green pampas, and to the icy frontier of Patagonia, Argentina draws in travelers with its diverse geography. The obvious starting point is Buenos Aires, Argentina's free-spirited capital, where the old-school romance of the tango is offset by an electric nightlife scene, a passion for fútbol (soccer), and the meat-mad feasts on offer at parrillas (grill houses). From the capital, long distances and vast landscapes divide Argentina, so tours can help visitors cover more ground in one trip. Many visitors go west into the Pampas to ride horses with gauchos (cowboys), enjoy Malbec wine tasting amid the vineyards of Mendoza—650 miles (1,046 kilometers) from Buenos Aires—or head north, where boats dot the water under the UNESCO-listed Iguazú Falls, a good 15-hour drive away. Journeying south, travelers traverse the lake district of Bariloche and skirt the Andean border with Chile before hitting the wilderness of Patagonia. Stretching to Ushuaia—2,000 miles (3,218 kilometers) from Buenos Aires at South America's southernmost tip—Patagonia is a region defined by ice-capped mountains and shimmering glaciers, where penguins abound and touring ships glide beneath the gigantic icebergs of the Perito Moreno Glacier. In stark contrast to the south, arid desert, red rock canyons, and sweeping highlands hem in the northwestern cities of Salta and Jujuy. Still somewhat off the beaten track, travelers here can walk past gigantic cacti in Los Cardones National Park, marvel at Salta's glistening salt flats, and discover otherworldly rock formations at Ischigualasto Provincial Park.