Adventure Travel Argentina
Explore Easter Island, Buenos Aires, Atacama, Iguazza Falls
Article by Lyn Taylor
7323 miles and 13 hours on a direct Qantas flight from Sydney is all that separates you from Buenos Aires, Argentina. A long flight may be pleasantly interrupted by a stop over in Easter Island. It is one of the most isolated islands in the world but 1200 years ago a double-hulled canoe filled with seafarers from a distant culture landed upon its shores. Over the centuries that followed a remarkable society developed in isolation on the island. For reasons still unknown they began carving giant statues out of volcanic rock.
These monuments, known, as “moai” are some of the most incredible ancient relics ever discovered. The people of Easter Island called themselves the Rapa Nui. Where did they come from and why did they disappear? Science has learned much about the enigma of Easter Island and has put to rest some of the more bizarre theories, but questions and controversies remain.
Buenos Aires - Argentina
You will be greeted by a magnificent city that looks very much like Paris, Rome, London or Madrid, with huge skyscrapers and noisy traffic, vibrant nightlife and lots of restaurants and shops.
But, as you start to walk down the streets of Buenos Aires a new world will slowly appear in front of your eyes and senses, very different to the big and crowded city that greeted you upon your arrival.
Buenos Aires is the land of the mythical tango music. Few things in this world can match the beautiful sound of a bandoneon playing its ethereal melody and the grace of a tango dancer moving sensuously around his partner. This is the land where the echoes of Evita are still heard in May Square; the land of Diego Maradona and Jorge Luis Borges; of Little Italy and Boca Juniors; the land of fancy cafès on every corner and the land that Pavarotti and many others loved deeply without knowing exactly why.
Beautiful as it is, Buenos Aires is just a small portion of a very large country, fifteen times the size of the United Kingdom.
Tango - Argentina Soul
Few things in this world can compare with the beauty of music. It has been part of our lives since the beginning of time and will continue to be for as long as there are human beings on this earth.
Particularly fond of music myself I like to think that I was able to develop a reasonably good musical taste. An “Eclectic” I could say I am, which means that I listen to Verdi, Mozart, Mascagni together with Benny Goodman, Christopher Cross, Paul McCartney, Abba and Ravi Shankar, remember him?
Why? Tango is music, but also a dance - a form of poetry and a tool for seduction. It has no match in the world. You may find some of its passion in the Spanish Flamenco. You can find some of its beauty and sadness in blues, but once you listen to a Tango melody you realise that nothing really compares to it.
This music is embedded in the cobbles of the streets. In the old port, la Boca. it lives in the smell of the honeysuckle and the warm evenings under the vines. It lives in the radio of a taxi and at the table of an old cafeteria while talking with a friend. And it lives in the mystical magic of a bandoneon chanting its notes under the moonlight.
The music came from Argentina and became famous at the beginning of the last century. From its humble birth in brothels it ended up at the most distinguished scenarios in Paris and New York.
To everyone’s amazement, Tango attracts the interest of people from all around the world now more than ever before. People like Robert Duvall developed an incredible passion for this music (and got married with a local tango dancer, by the way) and he spends part of his life in this city, now in love not only with the music but with other aspects of our life as well.
An approach to Tango could start with a visit to one of the many excellent Tango shows available in the city - very good food, wine and live music. This is, nowadays, almost a rule for any visitor touching down in Buenos Aires.
But, if you are looking for a closer approach, then you need to attend a Milonga. Milonga is, in simple words, a place for the gathering of local Tango fans. Something very much like the Flamenco Tablaos in Madrid.
Milongas are not fancy places created for wealthy visitors and they do not offer superb meals and wines. However, these are the places that someone looking for the real thing should not miss. A “Milonga” can be located in a church basement, a cafeteria, a club and in any other place - from basic halls to luxurious saloons with incredible old fashioned architecture.
The evening usually starts with a very simple meal, perhaps empanadas and vino tinto (meat pies and red wine) and just the music playing in the background.
Slowly the place becomes more and more crowded and your eyes begin to open wide to see the transformation taking place around you. People, like ghosts from other times, will take their places at the tables in preparation for what is to come. The noise and atmosphere builds as the moon begins to rise.
Shining Dancing Shoes
You start to notice the appearance of people. Men wearing immaculate suits; cufflinks, dancing shoes shining like mirrors, hair gel, perfectly pressed trousers and starched shirts, old fashioned jewelry such as fob watches with gold chains and rings, and women with wonderful (sometimes old fashioned) dresses, high heels, silk scarves, perfect hairdo, make up and perfume.
Suddenly, like obeying some unspoken order or signal, everybody starts to move to the dance floor and it seems as if a scene from some ancient time is taking shape in front of your eyes. It is easy to feel that you are in watching a ghostly picture. It can’t possibly be something from the present and yet it is there and you are part of it.
As couples start to dance you realize for the first time the expressions on their faces, the exquisite position of their hands, fingers and elbows and the seemingly distant look of their eyes. Bo dies barely touching but, even if you know nothing about Tango, you can sense that there is an unspoken language being exchanged between those dancers. You don’t know what they say but you feel their passion and sensuality as they move on the floor.
You might spend hours just looking at these people dance but at some point, sooner than later, you wish that you had the ability to do the same and be moving on the dancing floor yourself - and you can, of course, you can.
Famous Artists of Argentina
Jorge Luis Borges Famous Argentine writer, author of The Aleph, The Library of Babel
Adolfo Bioy Casares Argentine writer, author of The Invention of Morel, Diary of the War of the Pig
Victoria Ocampo Writer and intellectual, author of De Francesca à Beatrice
Carlos Gardel The most popular tango singer in Argentina.
Ernesto Sabato Writer, author of The Tunnel and About Heroes and Tombs
Julio Cortazar Writer, author of Hopscotch
Patagonia - Vast and Overwhelmingly Beautiful
Some of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the world are found in Patagonia, making this area a favorite one for visitors from all over the world.
In this tour we will venture beyond the usual tourist routes into dream-land landscapes where thundering cascades contrast with peaceful lakes and slow-moving glaciers, and soaring granite towers make way for mossy beech forests and lush lush jungle.
Physical grading: This trip is divided into two walking tours the first in Patagonia we will be hiking between 4-7 hours per day broken with sightseeing rest days in between and in Atacama it will be short walks at high altitude. So you will require a good level of fitness – this is adventure travel.
A three hour flight will take you to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, located on the Beagle Channel. Within the impressive framework made up of sea, forests, lakes and mountains, Ushuaia is a picturesque city with an important tourist services infrastructure.
Ushuaia offers unexplored untouched territories that invite visitors for adventure and discovery. Therefore, the main activities to be done in this privileged nook are related to nature. Some of them are hiking, horse riding, climbing and diving.
A short flight from Ushuaia will take you to El Calafate, where the Perito Moreno Glacier lies in middle of Lago Argentino. From there on, you will find several popular destinations in the region, such as Bariloche (the Argentine Switzerland), San Martin de los Andes and Esquel as well as many others.
Whales, Dolphins, Penguins and 275 Waterfalls
This place is surrounded by hills and dunes. The transparency of the calm deep waters and its varied fauna make it an ideal place for sub aquatic sports fans and lovers of scuba diving. For this reason Puerto Madryn is considered the Argentine capital of sub aquatic activities. Whale, dolphin and penguin reserves can be visited between September and April every year.
On the shores of the Atlantic Ocean lies Puerto Madryn, overlooking the blue waters of the Golfo Nuevo, where wind is music and silence accompanies the language of birds.
Atacama - Northern Argentina
Rainforests, Yunga Forests, Valleys, Ravines and High Plateau
A completely different story is the North region of Argentina. The provinces included in this area are Jujuy, Salta, Catamarca, Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, Chaco and Formosa. This corridor displays the wide diversity enveloping the North of Argentina: rainforests, yunga forests, valleys, ravines and the mythical high plateau, or puna, with the intermingled pre-Columbian cultures characteristic of the area.
Known worldwide due to its magnificent natural sceneries and the settlements where time seems to have stopped, this area gives travelers the possibility to travel back to the times of Hispanic colonization. Buildings from those days can still be seen in cities like Salta or San Miguel de Tucuman.
Excursions such as the Train to the Clouds present the Puna with a strong contrast against the eternal snow on the Andes Mountain Range. The Humahuaca Ravine, surrounded by multicolored mounts and slopes covered in cardons, offers tourists unforgettable moments of beholding.
Tapestries, textiles made with fine threads, sheep, llama or alpaca wool ponchos, gold and silver works and baskets made of vegetal fiber are some of the typical crafts visitors can purchase in the area.
Another attraction of singular beauty and color are the popular festivals, during which Pagan rituals are held to honour Pacha Mama - "mother earth" - and you can sample delicious regional dishes.
For the European traveler a place of particular interest is the Cuyo Region, an area comparable to the lower Californian Valley. There, situated at the foot of The Andes, Diaguitas and Calchaquí people have long inhabited the regions of northwest Argentina. When the Spanish arrived here in the 16th century they found a fascinating and mysterious world with a developed culture they did not know how to value. Centuries later the remains of these cultures inspire wonder and respect.
Founded in 1582, Salta is a fascinating traditional Spanish city rich in folklore, music and handcrafts. South of the city, we explore historical places such as Quilmes ruins, a spectacular fortification. The region is a semi-desert dramatically cut by valleys and gorges of red sandstones. You may see eagles, guanacos or condors as we walk in places like Los Cardones National Park. The road north traces an ancient trade route to the Humahuaca Valley where we visit pre-Hispanic fortress and the village of Iruya, opened only a few years ago to tourism. Beautiful scenery through valleys and over the high altitude plateau makes the return drive to Salta a memorable one.
Mendoza and Tunuyán Rivers
This incredible oasis grows fruits and vegetables due to the presence of the Mendoza and Tunuyán Rivers. The climate of the region is mild though the mountains provide a certain degree of aridity. In the city, there is the beautiful sight of streets flanked by trees, squares and parks linked by a web of irrigation ditches which are 500 km long that waters the whole area allowing city planning even in arid zones.
This is a starting point to enjoy adventure travel and high mountain sports like skiing or rafting.
In the surroundings of Mendoza City, interesting places and towns can be visited: Ruins of San Francisco Church, Maipú, El Challao, Villavicencio Thermal Resort, Cacheuta, Potrerillos and Vallecitos.
The very well known "Ruta de los Vinos" (Route of the Wines) deserves a special mention. Tourists can visit ancient cellars and taste excellent wines which are product of carefully chosen grapes. It is said that Argentine red wines together with Chilean white wines are amongst the best in the world. Perhaps this might be the opportunity for you to find out.
Iguaza Waterfalls - Argentina Adventure Travel
Second to Patagonia, the Iguazu Waterfalls is another destination that should not be missed. Situated in the northeast of Argentina, Puerto Iguazu City is the city that borders on Brazil and Paraguay through the concourse of Parana and Iguazu Rivers. It has the most spectacular forest and water that has ever existed on Earth - the imposing Iguazu Falls, that in Guaraní language means "Big waters". Among the most popular activities are the excursions to Iguazu National Park – Natural Heritage to Humanity by UNESCO - visiting 275 waterfalls and getting to know the exotic flora and fauna of the place.
If ever you decide to give Argentina an opportunity, we are sure that you will come back.
Contact Lyn Taylor’s Adventure Travel for price and trip notes
More from Lyn Taylor’s Adventure Travel for Women, Couples, Families and Seniors
Women's Only Treasure of China Tour
Tibet Women’s Travel Adventure
Gokyo Ri - An Alternative View Of Mount Everest
Hiking Amidst the Beauty of the Himalayan Mountains
Adventure Travel for Seniors - Himalayas Trek
Adventure Travel Galapagos Islands
Mum and Daughter Nepal Adventure