The Rough Guide to Argentina


The Rough Guide to Argentina is the definitive travel guide to this epic country, with in-depth coverage of its vibrant cities, rich culture, and staggeringly diverse scenery. Discover shimmering mountain lakes, beautiful valleys, and majestic glaciers; ride with gauchos; get seduced by tango; savor the world's finest steak; watch a Superclásico football match; or pick up the trail of Bruce Chatwin across Patagonia's dramatic ice fields.

Lively accounts, clear maps, and stunning...

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The Rough Guide to Argentina

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The Rough Guide to Argentina is the definitive travel guide to this epic country, with in-depth coverage of its vibrant cities, rich culture, and staggeringly diverse scenery. Discover shimmering mountain lakes, beautiful valleys, and majestic glaciers; ride with gauchos; get seduced by tango; savor the world's finest steak; watch a Superclásico football match; or pick up the trail of Bruce Chatwin across Patagonia's dramatic ice fields.

Lively accounts, clear maps, and stunning photography throughout bring Argentina's attractions to life, from the thunderous Iguazú Falls and ravishing capital, Buenos Aires, to Mendoza's celebrated vineyards and the wild and isolated snow-capped peaks of Tierra del Fuego. With easy-to-use maps, reliable transport advice, inspiring itineraries, and expert reviews of the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and shops for all budgets, this indispensable guide will ensure that you don't miss a thing.

Make the most of your time with The Rough Guide to Argentina.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Danny Aeberhard, Andrew Benson, and Lucy Phillips have successfully collaborated to produce a definitive travel guide to Argentina. Indeed, The Rough Guide To Argentina features coverage of all the attractions of Buenos Aires; vivid accounts of spectacular and varied landscapes ranging from the jungles of Misiones to the windswept vistas of Ushuaia (the world's southernmost town); comprehensive reviews of the best places for every budget level to stay, eat, and drink; and background information on Argentinean history and culture. The comprehensive and "user friendly" text is profusely illustrated with color photography and more than seventy maps. If you are planning a trip to Argentina, start your travel planning with a copy of The Rough Guide To Argentina!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781409363958
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/30/2013
  • Series: Rough Guide to... Series
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 337,113
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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Read an Excerpt

Argentina has many sites that could claim the title of natural wonders of the world: the majestic waterfalls of Iguazú, the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier, whose towering sixty-metre walls calve icebergs into the lake below, fascinating whale colonies off the Península Valdés, or the quintessential Argentine mountain holiday-resort of Bariloche ­ indeed Patagonia and the south in general. Yet many of the country's most noteworthy sights are also its least known, such as the Esteros del Iberà, a huge reserve of swamps and floating islands offering unforgettably close-up encounters with cayman, monkeys, capybara and hundreds of brightly plumed birds; or Antofagasta de la Sierra, an amazingly remote village close to the biggest crater on the Earth's surface, set amid frozen lagoons mottled pink with flamingos; or Laguna Diamante, a high-altitude lake reflecting a wondrous volcano straight out of a Japanese woodcut. In any case, weather conditions and the sheer size of the country will rule out any attempt to see every corner or even all the main destinations. If you do want to see each region ­ broadly corresponding to our ten chapters ­ air travel will be the only way of fitting them in, unless time is no object. But climatic restraints make it far more sensible and rewarding to concentrate on a particular section of the country, and that's where the excellent network of long-distance buses comes into its own. Other than if you¹re visiting Argentina as part of a South American tour, Buenos Aires is likely to be your point of entry, as it has the country¹s only bona fide international airport. Only inveterate city-haters will resist the capital's charm. Not a place for museum fans ­ though several of the city's art collections are certainly worth a visit ­ BA is one of the world's greatest urban experiences, with its intriguing blend of French-style architecture and a vernacular style that includes houses painted in the colours of a legendary football team. From the city, also Argentina's unrivalled transport hub, the various regions fan out to the north, west and south.
Due north stretches El Litoral, a region of subtropical riverine landscapes sharing borders with Brazil and Paraguay. Here are the photogenic Iguazú waterfalls, and the much-visited Jesuit Missions whose once noble ruins are crumbling into the tangled jungle, with the notable exception of well-preserved San Ignacio Miní set among manicured parkland. Immediately to the west of El Litoral stretches the Chaco, one of Argentina¹s most infrequently visited regions, a place for those with a dogged interest in wildlife, especially birdlife and endangered species of mammals; but be prepared for often fiercely hot conditions, a poor tourist infrastructure and a long wait if you want to see some of its rarer denizens. Tucked away in the country's landlocked Northwest, the historic cradle of present-day Argentina, bordering on Bolivia and northern Chile, is the polychrome Quebrada del Toro which can be viewed in comfort from the Tren a los Nubes, one of the world's highest railways. Even more colourful is the much photographed Quebrada de Humahuaca, a fabulous gorge winding up to the oxygen-starved Altiplano, where llamas and their wild relatives graze on straw-like pastures. In the Valles Calchaqúes, a series of stunningly beautiful valleys, high-altitude vineyards produce the delightfully flowery torrontés wine.
West and immediately south of Buenos Aires is pampa, pampa and more pampa. This is where you'll still glimpse signs of the traditional gaucho culture, most famously celebrated in the charming town of San Antonio de Areco. Here, too, you'll find some of the classiest estancias, offering a combination of understated luxury and horseback adventure activities. On the Atlantic coast are a string of fun beach resorts, including long-standing favourite Mar del Plata. While the farther west you go, the larger the Central Sierras loom on the horizon: the mild climate and bucolic woodlands of these ancient mountains have attracted Argentine tourists since the late nineteenth century, and within reach of Córdoba, the country's vibrant second city, are some of the oldest resorts on the continent. Both the city and its hinterland contain some wonderful colonial architecture, including the well-preserved Jesuit estancias of Alta Gracia and Santa Catalina. In the Cuyo, farther west still, with the highest Andean peaks as a splendid backdrop, you can discover one of Argentina's most enjoyable cities, the regional capital of Mendoza, also the country's wine capital. From here, the scenic Alta Montaña route climbs steeply to the Chilean border, passing Cerro Aconcagua, now well-established as a dream challenge for mountaineers from around the world. Just to the south, Las Leñas is a winter resort where a lot of skiers end up on the pages of the continent's glamour magazines, but the nearby black-and-red lava-wastes of La Payunia, one of the country's hidden jewels, are all but overlooked. Likewise, San Juan and La Rioja provinces are relatively uncharted territory, but their marvellous mountain-and-valley landscapes will reward exploration, along with their less known but often outstanding wineries. Their star attractions are a brace of parks: Parque Nacional Talampaya, with its giant red cliffs seen on many a poster, and the nearby Parque Provincial Ischigualasto, usually known the Valle de la Luna on account of its intriguing moonscapes.
Whereas neighbouring Chile takes up a mere sliver of the continent's Southern Cone, Argentina, like a greedy bedfellow hogging the blankets, has the lion's share of the wild, sparsely populated expanses of Patagonia and the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. These are lands of seemingly endless arid steppe hemmed in for the most part by the southern leg of the Andes, a series of volcanoes, craggy peaks and deep glacial lakes. An almost unbroken chain of national parks along these Patagonian and Fuegian cordilleras make for some of the best trekking anywhere on the planet. Certainly include the savage granite peaks of the Fitz Roy sector of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in your itinerary but also the less frequently visited monkey-puzzle forests of Parque Nacional Lanín or the trail network of Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. These regions exert an irresistible lure on many visitors, and in addition to the fabulous scenery, they offer excellent opportunities for fly-fishing and adventurous horse-riding, with the famous sheep estancias as a base. For wildlife enthusiasts the Peninsula Valdés is a must-see: famous above all else as a breeding ground for southern right whales, it and the nearby coast also sustain enormous colonies of elephant seals, penguins and sea-lions. If you have a historical bent, you may like to trace the region¹s associations with early seafarers such as Magellan and Drake in the Bahía San Juliàn or Fitzroy and Darwin in the beautiful Beagle Channel off Ushuaia.
Ancestors of the Tehuelche, one of the many remarkable indigenous cultures wiped out after the Europeans arrived, painted the wonderful collage of handprints and animal scenes that adorn the walls of the Cueva de las Manos Pintadas in Santa Cruz Province. Finally, you might like to track down the legacy of outlaws like Butch Cassidy who lived near Cholila, or of the Welsh settlers whose influence can still be felt in communities like Gaiman and Trevelin.

Since you're unlikely to flit from region to region, you could probably manage to visit every part of the country at the optimal time of year. Roughly falling in September to November, the Argentine spring is perfect just about everywhere except parts of the south, where icy gales may blow, while autumn (March and April) is great for the wine-harvest in the Cuyo and the red and orange hues of the beeches down south. Above all, you're best off not being in the far south in the coldest months(April­Oct), or in the Chaco and some lowland parts of the northwest in the height of summer (Dec­Feb). On the other hand, summer's the only time to climb the highest Andean peaks and the most reliable time of year to head for Tierra del Fuego. Buenos Aires can get unbearably hot and sticky in midsummer and may come across as somewhat bleak in midwinter (July and Aug) ­ though that's when you should aim to be in the skiing resorts. A final point to bear in mind: the national holidays are roughly January, Easter and July, when transport and accommodation can get booked up and many resorts are packed out.

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Table of Contents


Getting there from the US and Canada
Getting there from the UK and the rest of Europe
Getting there from Australia and New Zealand
Red tape and visas
Information and maps
Costs, money and banks
Getting around
Eating and drinking
Post, phones and email
The media
Opening hours, public holidays and festivals
Crime and personal safety
Disabled travellers
Outdoor pursuits
Spectator sports
National parks and reserves
Work and study

Plaza de Mayo
La City
Avenida de Mayo
Avenida Corrientes
Puerto Madero
San Telmo
La Boca
Costanera Sur
Vicente López
San Isidro
Colonia del Sacramento

La Plata
The Interbalnearia
Mar del Plata
San Antonio de Areco
San Miguel del Monte
Bahía Blanca
Sierra de la Ventana
Santa Rosa

Camino de la Historia
Punilla Valley
Calamuchita Valley
San Luis

Santa Fe
Parque Nacional El Palmar
Reserva Natural del Iberá
Jesuit Missions
Iguazu Falls

Parque Nacional Chaco
Parque Nacional Copo
Parque Nacional Río Pilcomayo
Reserva Natural Formosa

Quebrada del Toro
San Antonio de los Cobres
San Salvador de Jujuy
Quebrada de Humahuaca
Parque Nacional Calilegua
Parque Nacional Baritu
Valles Calchaquíes
San Miguel de Tucuman
Santiago del Estero
Termas de Río Hondo
San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca

Alta Montana
San Rafael
Las Lenas
San Juan
Parque Provincial Ischigualasto
Parque Nacional Talampaya
Valle de Calingasta
Valle de Iglesia
La Rioja

Parque Nacional Laguna Blanca
Parque Nacional Lanín
San Martín de los Andes
Lago Lacar
Lago Traful
Parque Nacional los Arrayanes
Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi
El Bolsón
Parque Nacional Lago Puelo
Parque Nacional Los Alerces

Puerto Madryn
Península Valdés
Trelew and the Welsh villages
Perito Moreno
Parque Nacional Perito Moreno
El Chalten
El Calafate
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Punta Arenas
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine

Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego
Río Grande

Wildlife and the environment
Painting and sculpture

Chapter divisions map
Buenos Aires and around
Barrios of Buenos Aires
The "Subte"
Central Buenos Aires
La Boca and Parque Lezama
Barrio Norte
Belgrano and Colegiales
Tigra and the Parana Delta
Colonia del Sacramento
The Atlantic coast and the pampa
La Plata
Villa Gesell
Mar del Plata
Necochea and Quequen
Bahía Blanca
Sierra de la Ventana
Santa Rosa
The Central sierras
Córdoba microcentro
San Luis
El Litoral
Santa Fe
Puerto Iguazú and around
Puerto Iguazú
Foz do Iguaçu
The Gran Chaco
Parque Nacional Río
The Northwest
Salta microcentro
Salta and Jujuy provinces
Santiago del Estero
Catamarca, Santiago del Estero and Tucuman provinces
Mendoza, San Juan and la Rioja
Mendoza province
Mendoza microcentro
Alta Montana
San Rafael
San Juan and La Rioja
San Juan
La Rioja
Neuquén and the Patagonian Lake District
Parque Nacional Lanín
Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi
Around Parque Nacional
Los Alerces Patagonia
Puerto Madryn
Península Valdes
Parque Nacional Perito Moreno
El Calafate and Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Tierra del Fuego
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego

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Argentina is a vast country. It measures 5000km by 1500km and, even without the titanic wedge of Antarctica that the authorities are wont to include in the national territory, it ranks as the world's eighth largest state, immediately behind India. Thanks to its longitudinal position, standing between the Tropic of Cancer and the most southerly reaches of the planet's landmass, the country encompasses a staggering diversity of climates and landscapes. The mainland points down like a massive stalactite on the map, from the hot and humid jungles of its northeast and the bone-dry highland steppes of its northwest down through windswept Patagonia to the end-of-the-world archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, a territory that is shared with Chile. Across the broad midriff stretch Argentina's most archetypal landscapes: the mostly flat pampas grazed by millions of cattle ­ subtly beautiful scenery formed by horizon-to-horizon plains interspersed with low sierras, and punctuated by small agricultural towns, the odd ranch and countless clumps of pampas grass. These wide open spaces are among the country's best assets ­ despite its mammoth area its population of 33 million weighs in at far less than Spain's. This is a land with huge swaths still waiting to be explored let alone settled.
Like Chile to its west ­ with which it shares 5000km of grandiose Andean cordillera, several of whose colossal peaks exceed 6000m ­ Argentina is, for the most part, less obviously exotic than its neighbours to the north, and its inhabitants will readily (and rightly) tell you how great an influence Europe has been on their nation. It was once said that Argentina is actually the most American of all European countries, but even that clever maxim is wide of the mark. It's a country with a very special character all of its own, distilled into the national ideal of Argentinidad ­ an elusive identity the country's Utopian thinkers and practical doers have never agreed upon. Undoubtedly, the people of Argentina suffer from, but also encourage to an extent, some of the world's most sweeping generalizations, based mainly on the typical Porteño, or native of Buenos Aires. They suffer from a bad press in the rest of the continent, but you're bound to be wowed by their spontaneous curiosity and intense passion for so many things. On this score there's a lot of truth in the clichés ­ their passions are dominated by the national religion of football, politics and living life in the fast lane (literally, when it comes to driving) ­ but not everyone dances the tango, or is obsessed with Evita, or gallops around on a horse, gaucho-style. Whether thanks to their beauty, sense of humour or other charms, the locals will help to make any trip to the country memorable.
So aside from the people, why visit Argentina? First, because the huge metropolis of Buenos Aires, home to two-fifths of the population, is one of the most exciting, charming and fascinating of all South American capitals. It's an immensely enjoyable place just to wander about, stopping off for an espresso or an ice cream, or people-watching, or shopping, or simply soaking up the unique atmosphere. Its many barrios, or neighbourhoods, are startlingly different, some decadently old-fashioned, others thrustingly modern, but all of them oozing character. Added to that, Buenos Aires is the country's gastronomic mecca and boasts a frenzied nightlife that makes it one of the world¹s great round-the-clock cities. Elsewhere, cities aren't exactly the main draw, with the exception of beautiful Salta in the northwest, the beguiling river-port of Rosario ­ birthplace of Che Guevara ­ and Ushuaia which, in addition to being the world¹s most southerly city, happens to enjoy a fabulous setting on the evocatively named Tierra del Fuego.
Wildlife and adventure in the extensive outback are the real attractions outside of the capital. By hopping on a plane it's feasible to spot howler monkeys and toucans in their jungle habitat in the morning, and watch the antics of penguins tobogganing off dark rocks into the icy South Atlantic in the afternoon. There are hundreds of bird species ­ including the majestic condor and three varieties of flamingo ­ plus pumas, armadillos, llamas, foxes and tapirs to be found in the country's forests, mountainsides and the dizzying heights of the altiplano or puna. Lush tea-plantations and parched salt-flats, palm groves and icebergs, plus the world¹s mightiest waterfalls are just some of the sights that will catch you unawares if you were expecting Argentina to be one big cattle-ranch. Furthermore, dozens of these vital biosystems are protected by a pioneering network of national and provincial parks and reserves, staffed by remarkably motivated rangers.
As for getting around and seeing these wonders, you can generally rely on a well-developed infrastructure inherited from decades of domestic tourism. And the challenge of reaching those areas off the beaten track is more than compensated by the exhilarating feeling of getting away from it all that comes from, say, not passing another vehicle all day long. Hotels are often much of a muchness, but a special treat ­ and not excessively expensive by any means ­ are the beautiful ranches, known as estancias ­ or fincas in the north ­ that have been converted into luxury accommodation. In most areas, you'll be able to rely on the services of top-notch tour operators, who will not only show you the sights but also fix you up with all kinds of adventure activities: horse-riding, trekking, white-water rafting, kayaking, skiing, hang-gliding, along with more relaxing pursuits such as wine-tasting, bird-watching or photography safaris. While some visitors prefer to whiz about the country using an airpass, others like to enjoy the astounding scenery, magnificent wildlife and sensation of remoteness at a much slower pace. Argentina is so huge and varied that it¹s hard to take it all in in one go ­ don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to return to explore the areas you didn't get to see the first time around.
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