Argentina – Larger than Life!


Did you know that Argentina is the size of India? Not many people do, but it’s only because most maps you see are done to an old-fashioned projection so that it gets all ‘squashed’ down towards the equator. Argentina is one loo-ong country and it can be hard for people coming from rather smaller places to adjust to the scale of the place. And it’s not just the country itself: holidays in Argentina are packed with natural wonders that seem determined to remind you of just how small and insignificant you are – in a good way, of course!

Things begin in the capital, Buenos Aires, where visitors drive along the world’s broadest street (Avenida 9 de Julio) and gasp at the enormous Obelisk in the central Plaza. Buenos Aires itself is massive, with a population of around 14 million people, and if you’re coming from somewhere rather smaller, the buzz and hustle of a city this size can be a bit much, but in fact porteños (as people from Buenos Aires are called) are pretty chilled-out people and you can always find a quiet café to relax in. And after all, it’s only the second biggest city in South America…
Argentinians and Brazilians aren’t always the best of friends (their football rivalry is arguably the biggest of any national rivalry and is much more visceral than something small like England vs Germany…) but they do just about manage to share the enormous Iguazu Falls. This gigantic series of waterfalls, which forms part of the border between the two countries, is one of South America’s most amazing sights, and something you simply have to see if you are on holiday in Argentina or Brazil. Most people will say that the Brazilian side gives the best views, but it’s the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls which impresses at a much more basic level. Here, a walkway takes you right up to the base of the huge “Devil’s Throat” cascade which stretches for 150m and towers 82m above you. The relentless pounding of thousands of gallons per second of water hitting the rocks just metres away from you, literally leaves you breathless as the very air is shaken from your lungs. It’s a tremendously impressive experience and you can’t help coming away from it in awe of the power of this natural wonder.
Argentina is also home to South America’s highest mountain, Aconcagua. At 6,960m this monster peak is bigger than anything outside the Himalayas too – it’s the biggest in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. Despite its huge elevation, however, it’s actually a non-technical climb, meaning that anyone who’s in good physical shape can have a go at climbing it as part of their Argentina holiday. The youngest person to manage it was only 10, and the oldest was 87, so who are you to chicken out? Although there’s no definitive proof, it’s also widely believed that the Incas managed to climb it, and they weren’t exactly wearing Gore-tex and carrying oxygen masks back in those days…
The Himalayas have a tendency to steal all the mountain superlatives, and the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentinian Patagonia also isn’t the largest in the world, but it IS the biggest in South America, and the league tables rather go out of your head as you gaze out upon this prehistoric mammoth of an ice-field. The best way to see it is to take a boat out onto Lake Argentina and sail right up to the glacier face. As it towers 80m above you, and stretches right from horizon to horizon, you have to be a big person not to feel very small indeed. It’s undeniably beautiful, however, and when the sun starts to go down and the oranges and pinks are refracted into the blues of the glacier, it’s one of those memories of your holidays in Argentina that will stay with you for a long, long time.
And if you’re feeling hungry after all these natural wonders, it’s worth remembering that Argentina is also home to some of the biggest steaks in the world as well! It also produces more red wine in a year than Australia and California put together, so you certainly won’t be going thirsty…

Author Bio: Dan Clarke works for Real Argentina Holidays who specialise in tailor-made holidays in Argentina, whether you want to dance all night in Buenos Aires or do some trekking in Patagonia.

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