If you are arriving in Argentina by air to Buenos Aires, your aeroplane will curve lazily over the muddy waters of the River Plate, and where they meet the flat and fertile pampas you’ll see rise up a city of brash skyscrapers and wide avenues, glistening in the sun. Welcome to one of the breadbaskets of the world, a country of immense natural resources, generous appetites and sometimes melancholy character, marked by the chants of the football crowds and the street corner music and poetry of the tango. Many of those you meet in your first hours in Argentina will tell you that the crisis (social, political, ethical, perhaps in the national football team, there is always some kind of a crisis going on) is at its worst point. Take what they say with a pinch of salt. While the country has its share of problems, Argentina and the Argentines keep bouncing back. The steaks (try bife de chorizo) are likely to be larger and more tender than any you have tasted before, your hosts will be welcoming, charming and friendly, and you will be seduced by its capital, the âParis of Latin America.
Argentina is a dynamic Latin American country with a strong European feel to it. The map doesnât tell you how large this country really is, or how spectacular are its landscapes. From the roar of the Iguazú Falls in the northeast down to the majestic splendour of the Andean lakes and glaciers in the far south, there are many Argentina tours to be followed in between, exploring forests, pampas, deserts, and the vastness of Patagonia. To let this country get under your skin, have a look at our unique Argentina tours:
– Buenos Aires, Iguazú Falls & Rural Argentina Experience: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Salta province (North-West)
– Rural Argentina Experience: Salta province (North-West)
– The Incredible Argentina & Chile Adventure: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Salta, Quebrada de Humahuaca, Crossing the Andes Mountain Range, Atacama Desert, Valparaiso and Santiago
– Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia Tour: Buenos Aires, Peninsula Valdes, Punta Tombo, Ushuaia, El Calafate (Perito Moreno Glacier), Bariloche and Torres del Paine (Chile).
– Chile & Argentina Lake District Tour: Bariloche, Lanin, San Martin de los Andes (Argentina), Curarrehue, Pucon, Valparaiso, Santiago (Chile), Mendoza (Argentina)
Our Rural Argentina Experience in Salta and the Cachaquies Valley was recently featured in The Guardian. You can
– Read the article Homestays in Argentina: how ethical holidays are protecting a way of life
– Watch the audio slideshow Traditional music in Argentina’s wild north west; and
– See the stunning photo gallery Crossing the Andes by bus: one of the world’s greatest journeys â in pictures
To start creating your ideal, tailor-made tour to Argentina, please complete and send this form. Our Argentinean partner will be in touch shortly:
Rural community ecotourism in Salta
One of the most important elements of this rural travel experience in Argentina, is the co-operative ‘Red de Turismo Campesino’ (Rural Tourism Network, website only in Spanish) in the Calchaquíes valleys of Salta. They provide visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to soak up a new culture, share the lives of the locals and enjoy being a guest in their homes.
To improve the livelihoods of local people and provide the opportunity for an authentic cultural dialogue, these rural communities have opened their homes up to accommodate tourists and visitors who wish to learn more about the local community and the people within it. Part of the income received from these eco-friendly trips benefits the host families directly while the rest is invested in a common fund which benefits the whole community.
Accommodation: There are several farms in the valleys offering holiday accommodation to visitors, each of which has between one and three double bedrooms that are specially allocated to guests. Beds, mattress, blankets and bathrooms have all been renewed recently or otherwise improved in order to guarantee a pleasant and comfortable stay for visitors. The capacity of each house varies between 2 to 4 guests, with 6 being the absolute maximum.
Food: Traditional Andean dishes are cooked by family members as a part of the tailor-made experience. Guests have the opportunity to join in with the family and prepare the meal or opt instead to relax and observe the cooking process. Visitors are also invited to join the family during their farming activities, which include growing various seeds, fruits and vegetables. Don’t miss out on their delicious Andean cuisine made from fresh, local ingredients and also take the time to discover their different organic wine making techniques.
Activities: You can take guided walks along the valleys through the croplands and vineyards, whilst enjoying magnificent Salta landscapes along the way. From growing onions and cattle breeding to horse-riding and the development of ceramic adobe craftsmanship, these communities offer travellers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy genuine rural life in the valley. For more detailed information on the activities that will be on offer, get in touch with us and we’ll let you know what to expect.
This trip is recommended for those who are looking for a mutually respectful and authentic cultural exchange with the rural communities in Salta; it is also a chance to interact with the spectacular natural environment. The activities available on the trip are not physically challenging and distances are short, to ensure everyone is able to join in and enjoy them.
- The ‘Red de Turismo Campesino’ of Salta, Argentina is an active member of the Argentine Network of Rural Community Tourism (website only in Spanish)
- The initiative won the ‘Citizen Fund of Argentina’ award; with a cash prize that has helped it cover expenses and strengthen and enhance its tourism plan.
- The co-operative and network that is hosting you is self-managed by 50 rural families from the Salta region in the North of Argentina.
- The families work within the framework of fair-trade, responsible tourism and cooperative labour with a local identity.
- They have designed a rota system within which each family has equal opportunities to provide services and sell their handicrafts to tourists, so that the benefits from tourism are equally distributed within the network.
- The cooperative aims to make tourism a complementary activity which allows them to improve their livelihoods whilst preserving their traditional lifestyle.
First founded in 1536 by Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza under the name of ‘City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds’ Buenos Aires is one of the top 20 cities in the world. A dynamic metropolis serving as home to around 3 million people (but if you count ‘Greater Buenos Aires’ that number goes up to 10 million) it has just about everything: wide sunlit avenues, tango and football, the tree-lined parks of Palermo, bright lights and restaurants, late night bookshops, high fashion and mass culture. Built on waves of Spanish and Italian emigration, Buenos Aires is an international melting pot, with Scottish, Norwegian, Polish, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Greek, Czech, German, Croatian, Dutch, Russian, Serbian, English, and Bulgarian influences. It is also one of the largest Jewish cities in the Americas, second only to New York. (Source : Wikipedia)
Iguazú means “great waters” in the language of the native guaranies who inhabited the region before Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca discovered their existence for the Western world in 1541. Located 20 km from the Argentine city of Puerto Iguazú, the Falls thunder down across the frontiers of Argentina and Brazil. The river travels 1200 km on a basalt plateau, gathering speed and power as hundreds of smaller rivers join its course before it reaches the cliff on the geological faultline. Its 5000 m3/sec flow abruptly drops from a height of 70 to 90 meters – it is a spectacular sight to behold, no less than 275 waterfalls in a horseshoe formation that Mother Nature has generously provided for our enjoyment.
In order to protect the falls, the forest and the whole surrounding ecosystem, these areas were classified as a National Park on both sides of the border, before being included in the World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (1984 and 1986). The predominant humidity favours the growth of a large amount of vegetation, food that is available for a wide variety of wildlife: 450 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, reptiles, fish, insects and butterflies inhabit this ecosystem.
A train was built within the Park to facilitate the transfer of visitors from one area to another with minimum impact on the environment. It runs only at 20km/hour to avoid disturbing or hitting animals, and is powered by LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to prevent pollution.
Day-trip from Buenos Aires: Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay)
This site was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its historical value. The Portuguese settled in Nova Colonia do Santissimo Sacramento in 1680 and the Spanish occupied it in 1777 after several failed attempts. After 1818 Colonia came under the rule of Portugal again, until the independence of Uruguay in 1828. Today it is a pleasure to walk through its narrow stone streets, where you can see a fusion of architectural styles: Portuguese, Spanish and post-colonial, and also enjoy the sandy beaches on the shores of the River Plate. Read more on Wikitravel.
We can also include a journey along the mythical Ruta 40, as well as wine tours in Mendoza, and gaucho estancia experiences near Buenos Aires or Salta.