In part two of Laurel’s journey, she’s sharing five things not to miss in Argentina. Written by Laurel Delp and appearing in QUEST magazine.
Legendary as the city is, first-time visitors are always surprised by its diversity. First, don’t expect Spanish colonial architecture; once they’d overthrown the Spanish, Argentinians favored Belle Epoque French architecture. The city is full of charming neighborhoods, each with its own personality, and there are wonderful restaurants throughout. And yes, you can learn to tango. But Buenos Aires is so much more than a dance! Recoleta is where you’ll find almost all the five-star hotels, and the Palermo neighborhoods (SoHo, Hollywood) are full of trendy boutiques and cafes. In the historic San Telmo district, the Sunday flea market is world-famous. Whatever you do, don’t miss the alfajores, delicious sandwich-style cookies filled with chocolate, dulce de leche, and more.
In the northwest of Argentina, Salta is a bucolic but stunning province. Some call it Mendoza 30 years ago, with a possibly even more beautiful capital city. Relax in the hammam at the House of Jasmines Estancia de Charme. You can ride with gauchos, take a cooking lesson, visit villages known for their weaving and crafts, then take in the wine country around Cafayate, some 6,000 feet above sea level, where vineyards lie at the foot of spectacular mountains in rugged, rocky countryside. Cafayete is the source of the best Torrontés grapes. Appropriately, five-star Grace Cafayate’s spa specializes in grape and local salt-based treatments. A special wine country surprise is the James Turrell Museum at the Hess Family Wine Estates Colomé.
Southern Patagonia, The Glaciers
From El Calafate at the edge of Los Glaciares National Park, visit these awe-inspiring natural phenomena. You can view them by trekking across the ice, or from another perspective, by boat. Occasionally the advancing glacier at Perito Moreno sheds ice into Lake Argentino, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Northern Patagonia, The Lake District
If you want to be humbled by nature’s beauty and power, Patagonia is the place for you. The vast Patagonia region is radically different north and south. Visit San Carlos del Bariloche, the famed ski area with its alpine lodges, ride horses through a cattle ranch, hike, or go fishing on one of the azure lakes.
One of the world’s most magnificent falls, Iguazú on the border of Argentina and Brazil is second only in height to Victoria Falls and is the widest expanse of falls in existence. The area is a riot of birds and blossoms, and one of the great life experiences is heading into the falls by boat.