Rease Kirchner, a Tripper living Buenos Aires, shares with us 10 things not to be missed in Argentina.
1. Iguazú Falls These falls will make Niagra Falls look like a leaky faucet. It literally takes you an entire day to explore one side of these falls. They are mostly within Argentina near Misiones, but the beauty continues into Brazil. Argentina, however, has an excellent park with tons of trails that let you see these massive wonders of nature from all angles.
2. Empanadas Many bad translations will called them “meat filled pastries”, which sounds totally disgusting, but, I promise, they aren’t. The dough is either pizza like or sometimes flaky like a pastry but salty, both options are tasty. The fillings vary, the most popular ones being Carne (ground beef) , Jamón y queso (ham and cheese), Humita/Choclo (corn) and Pollo (chicken). Empanadas are both cheap and delicious, making them a must for any hungry traveler.3. The Andes Mountains Book a tour, hike, picnic- anything. Make sure you get up close and personal with these beautiful mountains. Even if you are not the outdoorsy type, you should try to do a hike so you can experience the views, they will take your breath away- literally. The altitude will get to you a bit but it’s completely worth it.
4. Wine Don’t let Europe claim all the wine glory- South America has some pretty choice options as well. Mendoza, Argentina is famous for Malbec wine, a red wine with a deep purple color and rich flavor. Make sure you go on a few wine tasting tours and bring a few bottles home.
5. Medialunas These pastries look like croissants, but don’t overlook them. They come in two varieties: grasa and manteca. Grasa means grease, making that variety a more savory food. Personally, I only have eyes (or a tummy) for medialunas de Manteca (butter), which are sticky-sweet and outrageously addicting. You can also get medialunas with chocolate, dulce de leche (see #9) and a wide variety of other fillings/toppings but the plain ones are plenty to satisfy me.
6. Ice Cream To be fair, I love ice cream in all places, in all seasons and at all times. However, South America has some pretty amazing ice cream. Their heladerías are generally artesian, meaning they make the flavors themselves resulting in incredibly fresh and satisfying options.
7. Ferias Ferias (sometimes called Ferias Americanas) are outdoor markets with booths for local craftsmen and artists. Every weekend these pop up all over the city. You can find anything from hand-made clothes to one of a kind art. Some things are cheap and others aren’t, but haggling is expected so have some fun, make some deals and bring home souvenirs that cannot be topped.
8. A Soccer Game Or should I say un partido de fútbol? This is the country of Maradona (don’t you dare mention Pelé!), 2 World Cup wins and some insanely intense fans. Fútbol is a part of life here; it’s hard to find a guy who doesn’t at least kick a ball around once a week. Even if you could care less about sports, the fans will infuse you with energy and you will have a blast.
9. Dulce de Leche This outrageously delicious sauce/spread is similar to caramel but exponentially better. It is usually much thicker than caramel and comes on basically everything including pastries, ice cream, fruit, etc. They also have dulce de leche flavored yogurt, ice cream and candies. You might end up just eating it right out of the jar and you would not be alone.
10. Bus Travel I know this one sounds weird, but trust me, bus travel in Argentina is pretty impressive. It’s cheap and not all that uncomfortable. They have several levels of comfort; the mid-range “semi-cama” (semi-bed) is fairly comfortable and reasonably priced. You can get basically anywhere within South America on a bus so you should really take advantage of the comprehensive and affordable system.
Rease Kirchner is a US Expat living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is bilingual and in love with traveling, writing and new cultures. She strives to stay young, live for what makes her happiest and maintain her borderline obsession with ice cream. Keep up with her at Travelated.com. Get to know her via her Tripping profile.