Argentina is one of the most charming countries in the world; it has everything from its colorful capital city of Buenos Aires, nicknamed the ‘Paris of Latin America’, through to the stunning natural landscapes of Patagonia.
The whales stop in calm waters of Peninsula Valdes with their calves on their journey further south. They are there from late October to December, giving you a small window of opportunity to go and see them.
A recommendable company offering boat tours is Botazzi. They were respectful of the whales by not going too close. However, the whales will come up to the boat, and you may find yourself up close and personal with the mothers and their young. The whole experience is awe inspiring, as you will not only see these elegant creatures swimming and deep diving, but you'll also experience their mystical songs which they use to communicate to each other and their young.
At the same time of the year, on the beaches of Peninsula Valdes, you can also go and watch the orca whales and seals. As the water here is so nutrient both of these come in to feed. The sea lions come in to feed on the fish and the orca’s come in to feed on the seals.
Warning: As a spectator, the feeding of the orca's is part of the brutal side of nature, so keep in mind that it may not be for everyone.
The Festival de Tradition (Gaucho Festival) is a local event that is held yearly, where Gauchos (cowboys) compete against each other and show off their incredible riding skills. Usually it is on during 10 – 11 November, although it can vary due to the weather.
The Festival is held behind the Gaucho Museum which pays homage to the Gauchos and the part they play in the countries history. The museum is also worth stopping in to visit.
You can catch the bus up to San Antonia de Aerco from Buenos Aires, the event itself is free. It is recommended to bring a hat and seating is minimal so be prepared to find a spot to sit on the grass under shady tree.
If you would like to either book at tour, or visit a local working farm this local tour company Aerco Tradicion can organize it for you, if you need help.
The Polo in Argentina is the best in the world. All the world's top players are Argentine and normally play abroad, yet they all come home to play in the Argentine Open held each November/ December.
In other countries Polo is a rather extravagant affair, here in Argentina it is pretty laid back. You do not need to wear a hat or suit, unless you want to. There are two ticket options, the stands which are more expensive or the normal seated area. The event is spread over 4 weekends; tickets are easily purchased at the gate before the game.
National Polo Association Argentina lists the latest information on the dates and teams.
The grave of Evita can be found in Recoleta cemetery which in itself is worth visiting, the tombstones and statues are works of art and no money or wealth has been spared. In comparison Evita’s grave is almost modest. If you are not sure where to find it, one of the staff can guide you, or you can simply follow the crowd.
Visiting a authentic Milonga is an experience not to be missed, and be prepared for a late night as most clubs do not get busy until at least 1-2 am at night. If you can dance, get a feel for the place, see who is dancing and mingle or wait to be asked.
If however, you do not want to be asked to dance, do not make any eye contact; it may be read as an invitation and before you know it you may find yourself in the middle of the dance floor.
An old-school Milonga can be an incredibly serious affair with a list of political tango etiquette that needs to be followed, which can be intimidating for a newcomer. If you would prefer to attend a more light-hearted club, try Tango Queer. The music is more modern, the etiquette is much more flexible and the roles can be reversed. You are welcome to dance with friends, and the style of the dance can be improvised.
Nothing is more ingrained in the Argentina culture than their love of meat, wine and a good Asado (BBQ). The best place to experience this is at a country ranch called an Estancia. There are a host of great Estancias to choose from, many of them a stone's throw from Buenos Aires. A tour guide, or the Estancia itself can help to arrange transport if needed.
For the full ranch experience choose one that also offers a gaucho (cowboy) display, so you can see their incredible horsemanship in action.
Unless you are going skiing the best time to visit Patagonia is from October to March, when the mountains are clear in view as the lakes and the hiking trails are open. It is the ideal spot for fishing, hiking and nature enthusiasts. Every hotel and restaurant has a stunning view, and it is often described as the Switzerland of the Latin America - which may explain the many chocolate shops.
One recommended drive is through the area of the Seven Lakes, known to be one of the most scenic routes in the Southern hemisphere. Each lake is a different color and holds its own magic.
There are many pockets of Buenos Aires worth exploring, yet the best day of the week is Sunday and the place to be is San Telmo’s market. It is a hub of the most creative market stalls, retro to classical designs and antique shops.
There is an entertaining array of street performers, bands and mimes. While the day winds down in style at San Temlo square. Where you can grab a bit to eat and watch the tango dancers show off their moves under the stars until the late hours of the night.
Yes, one of the best things to do in Argentina is also to leave Argentine, and you will not be alone. Buenos Aires can be a busy hustling bustling city and the Buquebus (Ferry)is an easy, quick way to escape the city for a day to Colonia de Sacremento in Uruguay.
Colonia is a quaint historic Portuguese style town, with its colorful buildings, antiquated cars and antique shops it will make you feel like you have traveled back in time. You can sit out on the harbor, enjoying the boats and watch the world float on by.
Iguazu Water falls are one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world and surrounded by a lush green forest filled with butterflies. There are many tours taking you from one side of the other, that you can use a local tour company to organize for you or organize yourself.
Do keep in mind that some countries may need a visa to get into Brazil, sometimes this can be organized locally however if you want to visit both sides, it is worth checking before you go.
Be sure to check the state of the falls before going, there are times of year that the falls are almost completely dry, and as you head into summer they will be incredibly busy.
A visit to the two neighborhoods with more character of Buenos Aires. You will learn and sense the old times of the city at San Telmo and then you will feel the passion for Tango and football alongside a Boca Juniors' fan like me exploring a proud neighborhood that is also a Republic and the home of the mythical stadium "La Bombonera".