With the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup happening next month there is a huge focus on Brazil. Aside from the football, Rio’s white sandy beaches with the limestone peaked backdrop are about as picturesque as it gets, the music and culture probably more joyful than most places in the world and the vast Amazon jungle a paradise to be explored. But whilst Brazil has all of this, I always suggest to people that if they have to pick one South American country, they should choose Argentina.
Why Argentina? Mainly because there is more variety both in landscape and culture; Buenos Aires could be uplifted and planted in Europe, up North near Bolivia are scenes of cactus deserts worthy of any Western movie, at the border with Brazil and Paraguay by Igazu Falls is a tropical wonder, head west and you’ll discover some of the best wines in the world, a little south and you’re in ski resorts to rival those in Switzerland and finally right down the bottom you’ll be overcome with the awe-inspiring barren beauty of Patagonia and its pale blue glaciers. Argentina really does have it all. Plus it’s cheap. You’ll be paying about half of what you do in Australia (Brazil is about 2/3rds) and you’ll be getting quality accommodation and meals for your money.
I recommend taking about 5 weeks to discover Argentina. It is easy and affordable to fly between places to save time (and advised – from top to bottom it’s roughly the same as Darwin to Melbourne) but you can always choose to try the executive coach service if you want to watch the scenery slowly change. I took one from Buenos Aires to Bariloche (circa 24 hours) and the experience was nothing less than a first class seat on a plane.
Probably the only downside to Argentina is that you’ll need to pack for both the tropics and the snow as the climate varies so greatly between the north and the south. Save about 5 days for Buenos Aires at the end. I only had 3 days and feel that was a bit too short. There are fabulous restaurants and you’ll want to go shopping. Amazing leather shoes, bags, jackets…
All in all, Argentina is simply one great package of a country. Less time to get there than to Europe from Australia but all the benefits. Affordable, many things to do and see, great food and wine, lovely people and safe. Plus you get to practice your Spanish! To find out more about this amazing destination call us on +61 (08) 6382 5000.
Article by Nicola Billens
Nicola Billens is an experienced traveller, having visited all the continents (except Antarctica) over the last 20 years. She’s lived in France, England, Austria and New Zealand and spent many years and many dollars experiencing what this wonderful world has to offer.