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  • Photo: Kevin Raub

    The View from Rio De Janeiro: Previewing the World’s Biggest Football Tournament Finale

    It seems like only yesterday that Brazil defeated Croatia to kick off the world’s biggest football tournament and greatest month of nationalistic sport way back on June 12. Where did the time go? Brazil has proved itself a worthy host over the course of the last four weeks, putting to bed all of the pre-tournament panic that dominated news headlines for the two years leading up to this moment: The stadiums were gorgeous, the travel infrastructure didn’t collapse (in fact, it was efficiently glorious!) and the protests drifted off with a whimper after the tournament’s first week.

  • Bicycling through Mendoza’s Wine Country

    Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes, with the tallest peak on the continent, Mount Aconcagua, looming on the horizon, the vineyards surrounding Mendoza are a spectacular sight, even for those who don’t care for wine.

    The wine-growing regions around Mendoza city are clumped into three areas, the Uco Valley, the Luján region, and the Maipú region. Both the Uco and Luján areas are gorgeous and filled with wonderful vineyards, but since they are closest to the Andes and farthest away from Mendoza city, the best way to tour each of them is to hire a car service or take a bus tour.

  • Mate: The Argentine Tradition

    What coffee is to the U.S. and tea is to Britain, mate is to Argentina. Throughout southern South America—but especially in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay—the bitter beverage is consumed around the clock. It’s prepared by steeping the dried leaves of the yerba mate plant in a cup, usually made from a hollowed calabash gourd. Then the strong tea-like drink is sipped through a silver straw, which in Argentina is called a bombilla. Sugar or honey is sometimes added to cut down on the bitterness.

  • Photo: Gail

    Sweet Argentina

    Visitors to Argentina may notice that the country has something of a sweet tooth: Heladerías (ice cream shops) can be found on nearly every street corner in Buenos Aires, and most of the coffee for sale in supermarkets comes with sugar already added to the grounds. But no sweet treat is as popular or ubiquitous as dulce de leche, a caramelly concoction used as a spread for bread, as a filler for cookies and cakes, and as a flavor and add-on for ice cream.

  • Argentine Asados

    In a country famous for its steak, it’s no surprise that barbecues are a heralded event in Argentina. These “asados,” as barbecues here are called, are traditionally a family event and take place each week on Sundays. Generations gather in the afternoon and cook large amounts of different kinds of meat— everything from steaks, chicken, beef ribs, chorizo sausages, morcilla sausages, and, in Patagonia, lamb— over a large grill, which is usually set up outside, like a campfire pit or a stand-alone chimney. While the meat cooks throughout the afternoon, people nibble on charcuterie plates of cheese and sausage (in Argentina they are called “picadas”) and sip on red wine or cocktails of Coca-Cola and Fernet Branca, a bitter spirit made of herbs and spices. When the meat is ready, it’s often served with bread and simple salads; the classic Argentine salad is lettuce, tomato, and white onion, with a bit of olive oil and salt as dressing.

  • Photo: Jorge Gobbi

    Money in Argentina: The Easiest Ways to Pay

    Travelers might be surprised to discover that U.S. dollars are widely accepted as payment in Argentina. In fact, many hotels and tour companies offer slight discounts—sometimes up to 15%—if payment is made in the equivalent amount of U.S. dollars. If you plan on booking tours or accommodations ahead of time, be sure to check first to see if you can get a discount by paying in U.S. dollars. It’s also worth asking at restaurants, with cabdrivers and at markets. Lesson learned: Bring a generous amount of hard cash, in the form of U.S. dollars, and you may be able to bargain for discounts. What you don’t need that day you can keep in your hotel safe.

  • Feliz Navidad from Argentina

    Holiday season in Argentina officially begins with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception—or Inmaculada Concepción de María—a national holiday that’s celebrated each year on December 8.

    Most Argentines have the day off of work and spend it with family and friends, decorating Christmas trees and adorning their homes and apartments with holiday lights and red, white, and green wreaths.

  • Mar del Plata: Buenos Aires’ Beachside Escape

    As spring transitions into summer in Buenos Aires you can still enjoy the rainbow-hued rose gardens of Parque Tres de Febrero and the purple blossoms of the jacaranda trees along Avenida Independencia.

    Signs of the city’s scorching summer are starting to arrive. Last week in Buenos Aires, temperatures rocketed up to 86 F (about 30°C). That’s causing many Buenos Aires locals, or porteños (as residents of this port city are known), to start daydreaming about escaping the city heat to the beach.

  • Salta: Argentina’s Red-Rock Capital

    Founded in 1582 by Spanish conquistadors, Salta is one of the oldest remaining settlements in all of Argentina. The city’s rich history is evident on nearly every corner, from the Pepto-Bismol pink, 19th-century Catedral Basílica de Salta in the main plaza, to the rows of colonial houses fanning out beyond.

  • The Rooftop of the Andes: Cerro Aconcagua

    Looming over the picturesque vineyards of Mendoza in northwest Argentina, Cerro Aconcagua tops out at 22,841 feet. That makes it the tallest mountain in the world outside of Asia, bigger than Mount McKinley or Kilimanjaro. Only the Himalaya are higher. Best of all, Aconcagua is an easy day trip outside the wine-region hub of Mendoza.

  • Argentina’s Icy World Wonder

    Covering more than 97 square miles—about the size of 50 U.S. football fields—Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most incredible sights in all of South America. But what makes seeing this massive spectacle in person so thrilling is that the ice does not stand still. Perito Moreno is one of the few glaciers on Earth that is advancing, not retreating.

  • Visiting Iguazu Falls National Park

    At 269 feet high, 490 feet wide, and 2,300 feet long, the horseshoe-shaped Devil’s Throat waterfall provides an undeniably impressive spectacle. But what really makes this cascade worth visiting is what’s nearby. For in Iguazu Falls National Park, in northeastern Argentina,
    Devil’s Throat is just one of more than 260 waterfalls visitors can see. Every one of the waterfalls is cloaked in palm trees and thick jungle, with resident toucans, capuchin monkeys, and a rainbow-spectrum of butterflies.

  • Oktoberfest in Córdoba

    If Argentina is associated with any one beverage, it’s usually wine, not beer. But many families in Argentina trace their roots back to Germany, and nowhere is that heritage more evident than in the massive Oktoberfest celebration each spring in Villa General Belgrano, a picturesque town in the province of Córdoba.

  • Polo in Argentina

    Polo has long been the favored pastime of Argentina’s elite, and for years, there were few opportunities for visitors to experience the sport themselves. In Argentina, polo is usually played mainly at exclusive members’ only clubs, and the few tournaments each year can be expensive to attend.

    But recently one polo club, located on a picturesque estancia about an hour’s drive outside the center of Buenos Aires, opened itself up to non-member visitors for daylong excursions. The program is simply called Argentina Polo Day.

  • The Best Slope Side Experiences in the Country

    From the Andean peaks near Mendoza to the snow-capped ranges around Ushuaia, at South America’s very southern tip, Argentina is packed with enough mountains to satisfy even the most enthusiastic skiers. And right now is the best time to go: Late July is the very heart of Argentina’s snow-skiing season, which typically begins in June and runs through August.

  • Marathons and Races Across the Country

    Last year, more than 7,000 runners crossed the finish line of the Buenos Aires Marathon and set a record for the biggest running race in the history of the nation. This year, on October 7, the city is aiming to break that record yet again. If the countless marathon fliers papering the capital right now are any indication, this year’s race may very well be its largest yet.

  • Shipping Wine 101: How to bring home your sipping souvenirs

    Argentina’s red Malbecs and white Torrontes have been winning acclaim for years, and these days, oenophiles the world over are coming to the country in droves to sample its wines firsthand. If you like vino, then including a stop on your itinerary at Mendoza (for Malbecs), Salta (for Torrontes), or one of Argentina’s other wine-region destinations is a no-brainer. What’s not so simple, however, is figuring out how to get the bottles you buy back home with you. The simple “Oh, let’s just Google it!” solution yields all kinds of confusing, conflicting information, and even the friendliest vineyard staffers with the best of intentions usually can’t explain all the specific rules.

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