Juicy steak, fine red wine, and plenty of Gauchos – Argentina is a fantastic destination for those after a Latin America adventure. Our resident Argentina expert Ceri gives her top tips and wacky facts about this vibrant country…
1. Buenos Aires
There is no better time spent in Argentina than in Buenos Aires itself if you are actually only going for 2 days to this vibrant and entertaining city. But if you are visiting for longer or maybe for the second time, I can highly recommend the oldest colonial town of Uruguay: Colonia del Sacramento, it’s only one hour by boat across the water from Buenos Aires. It’s famous for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site, it’s a romantic, pretty town by the water and also a plus: you’ll get an extra stamp in your passport. Just book your boat tickets in advance with Buquebus and take a taxi to the harbour in Buenos Aires.
2. Talk it out
The amount of psychologists in Buenos Aires is very high, about one for every thirty people, and is the highest in the world after New York. It’s perfectly normal to go to the psychologist and Argentineans just really like to get to know themselves better and improve their lives. There is even a barrio (neighbourhood) in Palermo which is called Villa Freud because it has so many psychologists and there is even a Sigi bar referring to the father of psychoanalysis.
3. Get social
You will probably find yourself as one of the first people to enter the restaurant for dinner because restaurants open quite late around 9pm. As soon as the first Argentinean comes in and chooses from the 20 empty tables in the room they will probably sit right next to you as Argentineans are really sociable. Because they eat quite late, around 10/11pm, they don’t really have heavy breakfast, a cup of tea or coffee is usually enough to keep them going till lunch.
You might find yourself looking down at your empty, opened hand after popping to the shop and finding some sweets, as the cashiers sometimes fail to return your 1 and 2 centavos (penny) back. This is because of problems with the availability of change throughout the country.
5. Welsh connection
The most important Welsh colony settled in the province of Chubut in 1865. For a long time the generations living here still spoke Welsh. Just an hour away from Trelew is the quintessential Welsh village of Gaiman, where time seems to have stood still. You can easily spend a couple of hours here strolling among the ivy-trellised buildings, dainty tea houses and the giant tea pot outside Ty Te Caerdydd. It’s best to visit the area in the early afternoon, as most of the tea houses are open only during British tea time, around 2pm. If you book the Peninsula Valdes tour with us we can easily fit in a Punta Tombo for you, you just need an extra night!
6. Grisly Tales
The first fingerprint identification in forensic investigation was done in Argentina in 1892 when two children were murdered in a small town. After the police found bloody finger prints on the door handle a smart detective trialled a fingerprint classification system developed earlier that year in Argentina. The grisly details: after they compared the bloody fingerprints to the mother’s she promptly confessed to have murdered her own children so that her boyfriend, who didn’t like kids, would marry her.
7. Che Guevara
Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a doctor from Argentina, was a major figure in the Cuban revolution after he met Fidel Castro in Mexico City. He was determined to overturn the capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States after he saw poverty and hunger when travelling through South America as a student.
8. Mama Mia!
98% of the population living in Argentina can trace their roots to Europe, mainly from Italians and Spaniards. 60% of the total population have some degree of Italian descent, hence the food being very much influenced by the Italian cuisine.
9. Ice trekking
One of my personal favourite things to do in Argentina is the mini trek over the ice in Calafate. Everyone probably books up both the boat trip and the trip to the platform to see the Perito Moreno from all possible angles, so by booking the mini-trek you really do something different. You put on your crampons and explore the ice by walking over it – eeks! But no worries, it’s done by professional guides and the ice is so thick nothing can actually happen. If you book this trip with us you have to book it before you go as otherwise you will have to pay cancellation fees for the trip to the Perito Moreno already booked.
10. Visit World’s End
If you are travelling to the end of the world, Ushuaia, which is quite special anyway, I would recommend posting a postcard to yourself! It’s just a funny little souvenir with a stamp from the end of the world to remind yourself you were there! Also try the King Crab fresh from the sea, there are plenty of restaurants to choose but Chico’s has excellent king crab and other sea food.