Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. With a population of nearly 16 millionalmost half of the population of all of Argentinathe sprawling metropolis has to find a way to house everybody. In true Central American fashion, they do so in style. Pictured here is Caminito, a street in the La Boca neighborhood that has retained some European flavor brought over by its early residents from Genoa, Italy.
The city is an eclectic incorporation of European flair and saucy Spanish glamour; offering up a frenzied platter of culture for the jump-in-head-first type of traveler. There's always the seductively elegant nightlife Buenos Aires is known for, but with shopping, dining, and outdoor activities to top it off with.
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Like its signature dance, the tango, Buenos Aires moves to its own sexy beat and is fast becoming a haven for artists, expats, and fashionistas. In fact, many refer to this capital city as the Paris of South America because of its renowned contribution to fine arts, music, and dance.
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Nothing embodies Argentina more than a jammy glass of Malbec and a platter of grilled steak at the local parrilla; a restaurant serving meat that has been grilled over hot coals.
Adjacent to a poplar-lined river in Jujuy, Argentina, is the small village of Purmamarca. Man-made culture and natural beauty intertwine here to create a wealth of adventures. The quaint village hosts a daily craft market where local craftsmen sell their intricate and colorful goodsclothes, rugs, and jewelry.
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The beautiful weather makes Purmamarca a year-round destination, free of winter's snarls and the oppressive heat of summer. Looming in the background of the village is the Hill of Seven Colors, a geologic rainbow of minerals formed more than 65 million years ago.
On the eastern side of Argentina's section of the Andes is Mendoza Province, a tranquil land of rolling foothills and high plains. Most notable for the outlying vineyards, Mendoza is responsible for nearly two-thirds of the country's wine production.
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The geographic region of Patagonia lies on the border of Argentina and Chile. Within that region is the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the second-largest ice field in the world. It's in this area that Monte Fitz Roy resides, an ultimate outdoor experience for dedicated climbers. Come prepared as the weather is often fickle; some climbers wait for weeks to get in on a good weather spell compatible with their climb.
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Tierra del Fuego, a scattering of islands separated from Patagonia by the Strait of Magellan, struck fear into the hearts of early sailors thanks to treacherous waters offshore and otherworldly volcanic activity on land. Now, to trekkers and kayakers, it's an unexplored wilderness with plenty of opportunity for adventure. Birders can glimpse two of the world's largest flying species (condors in the mountain regions and albatross in the coastal areas), while any hardy soul can head to Tierra del Fuego National Park, the southernmost national park in the world.
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Within the Southern Patagonian Ice Field is Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the second-largest national park in Argentina and houses 47 massive glaciers. The starting point for most tourists is the village of El Calafate, a small community located on the outskirts of Lake Argentino. The residents here often have to share space with the flamingos that build homes in the lake's water.
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The Puerto Moreno Glacier holds the distinction of being one of only three Patagonian glaciers that are growing, a phenomenon that has many glaciologists stumped. It is estimated that the glacier swells at a pace of up to seven feet per day, but as large chunks are constantly falling off the outer rim, this growth is not easily measured.
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In the southwest region of Argentina is Talampaya National Park, a land of surreal formationsa result of the powerful forces of wind and water erosion, even more attainable with the heat of the oppressive desert sun. Preserved on many of the park's cave and canyon walls are pictograms and petroglylphs of ancient indigenous settlements.
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One of the most visited sites in Argentina is the waterfalls of Iguazu. Located on the border of Brazil and Argentina along the Iguazu River, dividing the river between the upper and lower sections, the falls are created by a fault line that shifted the water depths, forming dramatic cliffs that the water cascades over today. The falls, and its surrounding national park, are a photographer's dream.
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The distance from Argentina's northern tip to Tierra del Fuego spans 2,263 miles. And the scope of experiences you can find here is no less grand, ranging from the cosmopolitan bustle of Buenos Aires to the tropical jungles and pounding falls of Iguazu waterfalls, or the thunderous splash of icebergs in Los Glaciares National Park. Whether you've come to browse the quiet towns of the Lake District or dance the night away in a smoky, low-lit Argentine tango bar, your trip to the Southern Hemisphere won't disappoint.