Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world and the second largest in Latin America, behind Brazil, with a territory that extends for more than 4,000km (2,500mi) from the Drake Passage in the far south to beyond the Tropic of Capricorn in the north. In terms of population, with around 44 million inhabitants, Argentina is second only to Brazil, Mexico and Colombia among Latin American countries.
The capital and largest city of the nation, Buenos Aires, houses nearly a third of the national population in its metropolitan area. This is also, unsurprisingly, the main economic, cultural and touristic hub in the country. This is where the two major airports of Argentina are found: Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, located in the central area of the city, is dedicated mainly to meet the demand for domestic flights, but also offers some direct connections to neighboring countries, while Ezeiza Airport, responsible for the vast majority of international arrivals and departures, is located about 30km (19mi) south of the city center. Buenos Aires is the ideal place for a first contact with Argentina, offering great outdoor walks, excellent cuisine and the opportunity to experience the best tango worldwide. As a bonus, it faces the River Plate, just over an hour by ferry away from Colonia del Sacramento, one of the most attractive cities of Uruguay.
Located 700km (435mi) west of the capital, which translates into a 9 hour bus ride or just over an hour flight away, the second largest city of the country is a destination often overlooked by visitors. It is, however, prepared to surprise those who decide to flee away from commonplaces. Córdoba is a nice city of noticeable Jesuit influence located in the heart of the pampas and embraced by mountain ranges.
Continuing another almost 700km (435mi) westwards (same nine hours by bus or one hour by plane), and already in the desert region of the Cuyo, Mendoza is ready to welcome you. Although relatively large, Mendoza is a quiet place, with a compact center that consists of well-lined wooded streets that feature a unique irrigation system that brings melting water from the Andes and circulate it through open channels bordering the sidewalks. The Mendoza area is best known for being the main producer of wines in Argentina. Extremely hot in summer, the region has a pleasant climate during the rest of the year. During the winter season, the ski resort of Las Leñas, one of the best equipped in the southern hemisphere, can be visited 360km (200mi) to the south of the provincial capital. Alternatively, the border with Chile is just 200km (125mi) west of Mendoza.
Continuing towards the south of the country for 1,150km (715mi) since Mendoza, we arrive to a particularly charming area. The stretch between San Martin de los Andes and San Carlos de Bariloche, 190km (120mi) long, offers the opportunity to stroll among forests, lakes and volcanoes in the midst of a landscape that is continuously changing to the rhythm of the seasons.
From Bariloche, the path towards the south becomes more and more adventurous as it spans the legendary Route 40. 1,400km (890mi) ahead, already deep into Patagonian territory, the small town of El Calafate provides the necessary structure for a well-deserved break in the itinerary. Nearby, the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most easily accessible ice giants on this side of the planet, is waiting for you. For those who have come so far, it may probably make sense to continue all the way south to the "end of the line" in order to know the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is 870km (540mi) or, more conveniently, just over one hour flight away from El Calafate.
With a large variety of climates, landscapes and peoples, it is always a good time to visit some part of Argentina. Wandering through the interior of Patagonia during the winter can be somewhat depressing, but this is just a great time to enjoy the snow in the mountains. This is also when heat consents a truce in the center and north of the country. This is a good time to see the Jesuit Reductions and the Iguazu Falls in the triple border region with Brazil and Paraguay. Summer is the best time to visit the south of the country.
DESTINATIONS IN ARGENTINA: