Argentina


Argentina destinations

about Beautiful, defiant and intense, Argentina seduces with its streetside tango, wafting grills, fútbol (soccer), gaucho culture and the mighty Andes. It's one formidable cocktail of wanderlust.

City Life

Arriving in Buenos Aires is like jumping aboard a moving train. The modern metropolis whizzes by, alive with street life from busy sidewalk cafes, to hush parks carpeted in purple jacaranda blooms in springtime. Stylish porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) savor public life – whether it's sharing mate (a tea-like beverage) on Sunday in the park or gelato under handsome early-20th-century stone facades. There are heaps of bookstores, creative boutiques and gourmet eats. Buenos Aires isn't the only stunner – Córdoba, Salta, Mendoza and Bariloche each have their unique personalities and unforgettable attractions, so don't miss them.

Natural Wonders

From mighty Iguazú Falls in the subtropical north to the thunderous, crackling advance of the Glaciar Perito Moreno in the south, Argentina is home to a vast natural wonderland. Diversity is a big part of it. The country that boasts the Andes’ highest snowbound peaks is also home to rich wetlands, rust-hued desert, deep-blue lakes, lichen-clad Valdivian forests and Patagonia's arid steppes. Wildlife comes in spectacular variety, from penguins and flamingos to capybaras, giant anteaters, whales, guanaco herds and more. In this vast country, stunning sights abound and big adventure awaits.

Food & Drink

Satisfying that carnal craving for flame-charred steak isn’t hard to do in the land that has perfected the art of grilling. Parrillas (grill houses) are ubiquitous, offering up any cut you can imagine, alongside sausages and grilled vegetables. Thin, bubbly pizzas and homemade pastas also play central roles, thanks to Argentina's proud Italian heritage. But there's more. Buenos Aires fads are fun and fast-changing, bringing gourmet world cuisine to both upscale restaurants and the shady cobblestone neighborhoods. Grab a table, uncork a bottle of malbec, and the night is yours.

Argentine Culture

Cultural activities abound here. Tango is possibly Argentina’s greatest contribution to the outside world. The steamy dance has been described as ‘making love in the vertical position.’ And what about fútbol (soccer)? Argentines are passionately devoted to this sport and, if you're a fan, chanting and stomping alongside other stadium fanatics should definitely be in your plans. Add a distinctive Argentine take on literature, cinema, music and arts, and you have a rich, edgy culture – part Latin American and part European – that you can’t help but fall in love with.

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Buenos Aires combines faded European grandeur with Latin passion. Sexy and alive, this beautiful city gets under your skin.

Steak, Wine & Ice Cream

BA's food scene is increasingly dynamic, but for many travelers it's the city's carnivorous pleasures that shine. Satisfying a craving for juicy steaks isn't hard to do in the land that has perfected grilling wonderfully flavorful sides of beef, washed down with a generous glass of malbec or bonarda. Parrillas (steakhouses) sit on practically every corner and will offer up myriad cuts, from bife de chorizo (sirloin) to vacio (flank steak) to ojo de bife (rib eye). But leave room for ice cream, if you can – a late-night cone of dulce de leche (caramel) helado can't be topped.

Art & Architecture

Look closely: this city is beautiful. Sure, it might look like a concrete jungle from certain angles, but stroll through the streets, paying attention to the magnificent architecture around you, and you'll soon be won over. Grand French- and Italian-style palaces grab the limelight, but you'll see interesting architectural details in the buildings of even low-key, local barrios. These days the beauty of these traditional neighborhoods is further enhanced by colorful murals painted by artists involved in the city's vibrant street-art scene. For these talented individuals, the city is their canvas.

Nightlife

Take a disco nap, down some coffee and be prepared to stay up all night – this city doesn't sleep. Restaurants get going at 9pm, bars at midnight and clubs at 2am at the earliest; serious clubbers don't show up until 4am. And it's not just the young folk who head out on the town in this city; BA's diverse range of bars, clubs and live-music venues offers something for everyone, from DJs spinning electronica to live jazz sets. Just remember you'll be doing it all very late.

Tango

BA's famous dance is possibly the city's greatest contribution to the outside world, a steamy strut that's been described as 'making love in the vertical position'. Folklore says it began in the bordellos of long-ago Buenos Aires, when men waiting for their 'ladies' passed time by dancing among themselves. Today, glamorized tango shows are supremely entertaining with their grand feats of athleticism. You'll also find endless venues for perfecting your moves, from milongas (dance salons) to dance schools. Be aware that some people become addicted – and can spend a lifetime perfecting this sensual dance.

Sights

Ever since Juan de Garay came ashore from his ship in 1580, founding Buenos Aires for the second time, the area that is now Plaza de Mayo has been Buenos Aires' symbolic and political heart. The city's key institutions – political (the Casa Rosada), economic and religious – remain in the same location to this day; naturally you'll find some of the city's best museums and important historical sights in this area, with further key political buildings lying on the other side of super wide Av 9 de Julio.

To the south, the neighborhoods of San Telmo and La Boca have color and grit as well as some cutting-edge art galleries and atmospheric streets and plazas. The docks of La Boca were abandoned in favor of Puerto Madero, a relatively new neighborhood with a couple of museums and a nature reserve nearby.

The flavor changes as you go north to Retiro and Recoleta, past the vast mansions built by Argentina's elite at the peak of the country's wealth, to the equally elaborate tombs in Recoleta Cemetery they commissioned to house them in death. Continue north and you'll reach Palermo, where the main sights surround the neighborhood's green parks.

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Sleeping

Buenos Aires may be the city that never sleeps – but really, who doesn't need a bit of rest once in a while? You'll find a wide range of places to rest your head here, from hostels to boutique hotels, guesthouses, rental apartments and international five-star hotels. Just remember to book ahead – or pay in cash – for the best deals.

Entertainment

The entertainment scene in Buenos Aires has always been lively, but there was an outburst of creative energy in the decade following the economic crisis of 2001. Filmmakers began producing quality works on shoestring budgets, troupes performed in new avant-garde theaters and live-music groups played in more mainstream venues. Today nearly every neighborhood offers great entertainment options.

Eating

Argentines take barbecuing to heights you cannot imagine. Their best pizzas and pastas vie with those of New York and Naples. They make fabulously tasty wines and impossibly delectable ice cream. And ethnic cuisine is rampant in Buenos Aires. In fact, you’ll eat so well here that you’ll need to power-walk between lunch and dinner to work off the excess calories.

Drinking & Nightlife

Buenos Aires’ nightlife is legendary. What else could you expect from a country where dinner rarely starts before 10pm? In some neighborhoods, finding a good sports bar, classy cocktail lounge, atmospheric old cafe or upscale wine bar is as easy as walking down the street. And dancers will be in heaven, as BA boasts spectacular nightclubs showcasing top-drawer DJs.

Shopping

Buenos Aires is laced with shopping streets lined with clothing and shoe stores, leather shops and nearly everything else you can think of. Large shopping malls are modern and family-friendly, offering designer goods, food courts and even children's play areas. But perhaps the city's best shopping is in Palermo Viejo, where you'll find upscale boutiques. San Telmo is where antiques aficionados flock.

Travel with Children

For a megalopolis, BA is remarkably child-friendly. On sunny weekends Palermo’s parks bustle with families taking walks and picnicking, while shopping malls fill with strollers. Museums and theme parks are also popular destinations – and don't forget those fun street fairs!

LGBT Travellers

Despite the fact that Argentina is a Catholic country, Buenos Aires is one of the world's top gay destinations, with dedicated hostels and guesthouses, bars and nightclubs. In 2002 BA became the first Latin American city to legalize same-sex civil unions, and in July 2010 Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. Today the city is home to South America's largest gay pride parade.

Argentine men are more physically demonstrative than their North American and European counterparts, so behaviors such as kissing on the cheek in greeting or a vigorous embrace are considered innocuous even to those who express unease with homosexuals. Likewise, lesbians walking hand-in-hand should generally attract little attention.

Look out for the free map of local gay-friendly businesses, Circuitos Cortos BSAS Gay (www.mapabsasgay.com.ar). Good general websites are www.thegayguide.com.ar and www.nighttours.com/buenosaires.

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Sophisticated Salta is a favorite, engaging active minds with its outstanding museums and lighting romantic candles with its plazaside cafes and the live música folklórica of its vibrant peñas (folk-music clubs). It offers the facilities (and the traffic and noise) of a larger city, and aside from the morning gridlock, retains the comfortable pace of a smaller town that happens to have preserved more colonial architecture than most Argentine destinations.

Founded in 1582, it’s now the most touristed spot in northwest Argentina, and offers numerous accommodations options. The center bristles with tour agents: this is the place to get things organized for onward travel. A popular option is to hire a car here, hit the road and explore the wild northwest.

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Sleeping

Salta has dozens of hostels, some cleaner than others, and competition keeps prices low. Ditto for boutique hotels, of which there are a plethora. It's not hard to find a comfortable and stylish nest here.

Eating

It’s a toss-up between Salta and Tucumán for Argentina’s best empanadas. Locals debate the merits of fried (in an iron skillet – juicier) or baked (in a clay oven – tastier) offerings.

Drinking & Nightlife

Peñas are the classic Salta nighttime experience. The two blocks of Balcarce north of Alsina, and the surrounding streets, are the main zone for these and other nightlife. Bars and clubs around here follow the typical 'boom/bust/reopen with new name' pattern, so just follow your nose.

Peñas of Salta

Salta is famous Argentina-wide for its folklórica (folk music), which is far more national in scope than tango. A peña is a bar or social club where people eat, drink and gather to play and listen, traditionally in the form of an impromptu jam session.

These days, the Salta peña is quite a touristy experience, incorporating a dinner-show with CD sales and tour groups; nevertheless, it’s a great deal of fun. Traditional fare such as empanadas and red wine are served but most places offer a wider menu of regional dishes.

Peña heartland is Calle Balcarce, between Alsina and the train station. There are several here, along with other restaurants, bars and boliches (nightclubs) – it’s Salta’s main nightlife zone.

Shopping

An artisans market sets up every Sunday along Balcarce, stretching a couple of blocks south from the station. Av Alberdi is a walking street in the center of town popular with local families who enjoy shopping and snacking here on weekend evenings.

Travel with Children

Argentina has plenty to offer little ones, from dinosaur museums to beach resorts and plenty of outdoor activities to use up all that extra energy. With a culture that is very family-friendly, you’ll find Argentina makes a good, interesting and, yes, at times challenging, but fun, family destination.

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A busy port and adventure hub, Ushuaia is a sliver of steep streets and jumbled buildings below the snowcapped Martial Range. Here the Andes meets the famed Beagle Channel in a sharp skid, making way for the city before reaching a sea of lapping currents.

Ushuaia takes full advantage of its end-of-the-world status, and an increasing number of Antarctica-bound vessels call into its port. The town's mercantile hustle knows no irony: there's a souvenir shop named for Jimmy Button (a Fuegian native taken for show in England) and the ski center is named for the destructive invasive castor (beaver). That said, with a pint of the world’s southernmost microbrew in hand, you can happily plot the outdoor options: hiking, sailing, skiing, kayaking and even scuba diving.

Tierra del Fuego’s comparatively high wages draw Argentines from all over, and some locals lament the lack of urban planning and loss of small-town culture.

Sights

The tourist office distributes a free city-tour map with information on the historic houses around town.

Activities

In addition to boating, which can be undertaken year round, there's also scuba diving in the Beagle Channel, horseback riding, zip lining and rock climbing, making Ushuaia one of the top outdoor-adventure areas in southern Argentina.

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Sleeping

Reserve well ahead if you're planning a visit from January to early March. Check when booking for free arrival transfers. In winter, rates drop slightly and some places close, though visits at this time are becoming popular.

The Municipal Tourist Office has lists of B&Bs and cabañas (cabins). Hostels abound, all with kitchens and most with internet access. Rates typically drop 25% in low season (April to October).

Eating

Vegetarians and vegans, beware: Ushuaia is known for for its king crab cooked to perfection, its mouth-watering ceviche (cured raw fish) and its juicy lamb slow-grilled in traditional asado (barbecue) fashion. Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables are difficult to come across, although in the summer months of January and February it's easier to get your hands on local greens and herbs.

Drinking & Nightlife

Geographically competitive drinkers should note that the southernmost bar in the world is not actually here but on a Ukrainian research station in Antarctica.

Travel with Children

Argentina has plenty to offer little ones, from dinosaur museums to beach resorts and plenty of outdoor activities to use up all that extra energy. With a culture that is very family-friendly, you’ll find Argentina makes a good, interesting and, yes, at times challenging, but fun, family destination.

Travellers with Disabilities

Negotiating Argentina as a disabled traveler is not the easiest of tasks. Those in wheelchairs in particular will quickly realize that many cities’ narrow, busy and uneven sidewalks are difficult to negotiate. Crossing streets is also a problem, since not every corner has ramps (and those that exist are often in need of repair) and traffic can be ruthless when it comes to pedestrians and wheelchair users.

A few buses do have piso bajo – they ‘kneel’ and have extra-large spaces – but the Subte (subway) in Buenos Aires does not cater to the mobility-impaired.

International hotel chains often have wheelchair-accessible rooms, as do other less-fancy hotels. Some restaurants, tourist sights and public buildings have ramps, but bathrooms are not always wheelchair-accessible (in bigger cities, shopping malls are a good bet for these). In Buenos Aires, QRV Transportes Especiales offers private transportation and city tours in vans fully equipped for wheelchair users.

Other than the use of Braille on ATMs, little effort has been dedicated to bettering accessibility for the vision impaired. Stoplights are rarely equipped with sound alerts.

The Biblioteca Argentina Para Ciegos in Buenos Aires maintains a Braille collection of books in Spanish, as well as other resources. Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel. Also check out the following international organizations:

Flying Wheels Travel (www.flyingwheelstravel.com)

Mobility International USA (www.miusa.org)

Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (www.sath.org)

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A bustling city of wide, leafy avenues, atmospheric plazas and cosmopolitan cafes, Mendoza is a trap. Even if you’ve (foolishly) only given it a day or two on your itinerary, you’re likely to be captivated by the laid-back pace. Ostensibly it’s a desert town, though you wouldn’t know it – acequias (irrigation ditches) run beside the roads and glorious fountains adorn the plazas. Lively during the day, the city really comes into its own at night, when the bars and restaurants along Av Arístides overflow onto the sidewalks.

The name Mendoza is synonymous with wine, and this is the place to base yourself if you’re up for touring the vineyards, taking a few dozen bottles home or just looking for a good vintage to accompany the evening’s pizza. The city’s wide range of tour operators also makes it a great place to organize rafting, skiing and other adventures in the nearby Andes.

Activities

Once you’ve sucked down enough fine wine and tramped around the city, get into the Andes, Mendoza’s other claim to fame, for some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you’ll ever see. Numerous agencies organize climbing and trekking expeditions, rafting trips, mule trips and cycling trips.

Climbing & Mountaineering

Mendoza is famous for Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, but the majestic peak is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to climbing and mountaineering here. The nearby Cordón del Plata boasts several peaks topping out between 5000m and 6000m, and there are three important rock-climbing areas in the province: Los Arenales (near Tunuyán), El Salto (near Mendoza) and Chigüido (near Malargüe). Get in touch with Andes Vertical, recommended for beginning and experienced rock-climbers.

Pick up a copy of Maricio Fernandez’ full-color route guide (Spanish only), Escaladas en Mendoza, at Inka Expediciones. For up-to-date information and a list of recommended guides, contact the Asociación Argentina de Guías de Montaña. Trekking Travel Expediciones offers several multiday routes into the mountains, usually involving horseback riding.

For climbing and hiking equipment, both rental and purchase, visit Chamonix.

Skiing & Snowboarding

When there's snow, Los Penitentes has the best skiing near Mendoza, although further south, Las Leñas has arguably the best skiing in South America. For standard ski and snowboard equipment rental, try Limite Vertical or any of the shops along Av Las Heras. In high season, all offer packages with either skis, boots and poles (AR$230), or snowboards and boots (AR$280). Most rent gloves, jackets and tire chains, as well. If you’re an intermediate or advanced skier, Argentina Ski Tours can set you up with much better equipment and runs highly recommended full-service ski tours to both mountains.

White-Water Rafting

The major rivers are the Mendoza and the Diamante and Atuel, near San Rafael. Most agencies offer half-day descents (from AR$420) and multiday expeditions. Transport is extra. Well-regarded Argentina Rafting operates a base in Potrerillos, and you can book trips at its Mendoza office.

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Sleeping

Several international chains have nice upscale outposts, including a downtown Sheraton and the colonial-style Park Hyatt. Any hotel on or within a block of Av Aristides Villanueva (these are mostly hostels) should only be considered by those not bothered by noise. Note that hotel prices rise from January to March. Home-sharing services are more and more popular. Luján de Cuyo and Chacras de Coria are less urban options, still close to the city.

Eating

Some of Mendoza’s best restaurants, often with outdoor seating and lively young crowds, are along Av Arístides Villanueva, the western extension of Av Colón. West of Plaza Independencia, Av Sarmiento is lined with the city’s most traditional, albeit touristy, parrillas (steak restaurants), while east of the plaza along the Sarmiento peatonal (pedestrian street), you’ll find numerous sidewalk cafes with outdoor seating. Belgrano, between Gutirrez and Zapata, is another good stretch of restaurants.

Top Tips

If you want to bring your own bottle of vino into a restaurant, most have a corkage fee (look for 'no incluye descorche' on the menu) of around AR$170.

Tap water is safe to drink. It comes from the same source – Andean snowmelt or mountain springs – as bottled water. However, most restaurants in Mendoza do not provide it. Even upon asking, they tend to be resistant. Be persistent and you'll save big pesos.

To save money at lunch, go with the plato del día which usually includes a side and drink along with the entree, usually a small piece of meat.

Drinking & Nightlife

For a great night on the town, walk down Av Arístides Villanueva, where it’s bar after bar; in summer entire blocks fill with tables and people enjoying the night. On the other side of town is the Alameda, which is grungier and less salubrious, though you might be able to catch some live music. Wine is available everywhere in Mendoza (right down to gas stations).

Nightclubs

Finding a dance floor generally means abandoning downtown for one of two areas: the northwest suburb of El Challao, or Chacras de Coria, along the RP 82 in the southern outskirts. The former is reached by bus 115 from Av Sarmiento. Chacras de Coria, a better choice, is reached from the stop on La Rioja between Catamarca and Garibaldi by taking bus 10, interno 19, or from the corner of 25 de Mayo and Rivadavia by taking bus 10, interno 15. In both cases simply asking the driver for los boliches (the nightclubs) is enough to find the right stop.

The nightclubs in both El Challao and Chacras de Coria are all right next to each other, and you can walk along to take your pick from the ever-changing array. Most don't get going until very late, which presents problems getting back to hotels in the city.

Many visitors to Mendoza (and mendocinos for that matter) find the effort involved getting to these places far outweighs the fun they have there, often opting for the smaller bars along Av Arístides Villanueva and the Tajamar.

Entertainment

Unfortunately, Mendoza is not the city for tango. But check tourist offices or museums for a copy of La Guía, a monthly publication with entertainment listings. Los Andes, the daily rag, also has a good entertainment section. For everything from live music to stand-up comedy, check the program at the Centro Cultural Tajamar. The main theater in town is Teatro Independencia, with Teatro Quintanilla a distant second; Nave Cultural, north of the center, also occasionally hosts performances.

Shopping

Av Las Heras is lined with souvenir shops, leather shops, chocolate stores and all sorts of places to pick up cheap Argentine trinkets. Items made of carpincho (spotted tanned hide of the capybara, a large rodent) are uniquely Argentine and sold in many of the stores.

Specialty wine stores stock fine wines, have staff who speak at least a little English and can pack your bottles for shipping. Locally produced olive oil is another fine souvenir.

Orientation

Strictly speaking, the provincial capital proper is a relatively small area with a population of only about 120,000, but the inclusion of the departments of Las Heras, Guaymallén and Godoy Cruz, along with nearby Maipú and Luján de Cuyo, swells the population of Gran Mendoza (Greater Mendoza) to a little over one million. Mendoza lies only 340km northwest of Santiago (Chile) via the Los Libertadores border complex.

The city’s five central plazas (in part, intended as places of refuge in case of an earthquake) are arranged like the five-roll on a die, with Plaza Independencia in the middle and four smaller plazas lying two blocks from each of its corners. Be sure to see the beautifully tiled Plaza España.

Av San Martín is the main thoroughfare, crossing the city from north to south, and Av Las Heras is the principal commercial street.

A good place to orient yourself is the Terraza Mirador, which is the rooftop terrace at City Hall, offering panoramic views of the city and the surrounding area.

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It’s an old guidebook cliché, but Córdoba really is a fascinating mix of old and new. Where else will you find DJs spinning electro-tango in crowded student bars next to 17th-century Jesuit ruins?

Despite being a whopping 715km away from Buenos Aires, Córdoba is anything but a provincial backwater – in 2006 the city was awarded the hefty designation of Cultural Capital of the Americas, and the title fit like a glove. Four excellent municipal galleries – dedicated to emerging, contemporary, classical and fine art respectively – are within easy walking distance of each other and the city center.

Sights

Centro

Downtown Córdoba is a treasure trove of colonial buildings and other historical monuments.

Nueva Córdoba & Güemes

Before the northwestern neighborhoods of Chateau Carreras and Cerro de las Rosas lured the city’s elite to their peaceful hillsides, Nueva Córdoba to the south of Centro was the realm of the cordobés aristocracy. It’s now popular with students, which explains the proliferation of brick high-rise apartment buildings. Still, a stroll past the stately old residences that line the wide Av H Yrigoyen reveals the area’s aristocratic past.

Once a strictly working-class neighborhood, Güemes to the southwest of Centro is now known for the hopping bar scene, eclectic antique stores and artisan shops that line the main drag of Belgrano, between Rodríguez and Laprida. Its weekend Feria Artesanal Paseo de las Artes, one of the country’s best, teems with antique vendors, arts and crafts and a healthy dose of Córdoba’s hippies. It’s within the same block as the Museo Iberoamericano de Artesanías, which houses beautiful crafts from throughout South America. A good route back to the city center is along La Cañada, an acacia-lined stone canal with arched bridges.

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Sleeping

Hotels on and around Plaza San Martín make exploring the center a cinch, but you’ll have to walk several blocks for dinner and nightlife. Staying in hotels along La Cañada and in Nueva Córdoba, on the other hand, means going out to dinner and hitting the bars is a simple matter of walking down the street.

Eating

While parrillas (steak houses) rule the roost in Córdoba's dining scene, there's been a boom in gastropub and resto-bar openings, mostly scattered around Güemes. Vegetarian-friendly options are on the rise too, and touches of global fusion are being added to menus.

Drinking & Nightlife

Córdoba's nightlife divides itself into distinct scenes. All the bright young things barhop in Nueva Córdoba – a walk along Rondeau between Avs H Yrigoyen and Chacabuco after midnight gives you a choice of dozens of bars, mostly playing laid-back (or ribcage-rattling) electronic music. Avenida Ambrosio Olmos, connected to Plaza España, also has a long strip of clubs for night owls.

Güemes

For a slightly older crowd and a more laid-back scene, check out the bars in Güemes, a barrio that has exploded in recent years along its blocks, on its rooftops and inside its courtyards. A former working-class neighborhood, Güemes is now Córdoba's nexus for nightlife action with an edge.

Abasto

Across the river to the north on Blvd Las Heras between Roque Sáenz Peña and Juan B Justo (the area known locally as Abasto) are Córdoba's discos and nightclubs. Go for a walk along here and you’ll probably pick up free passes to some, if not all, of them.

Zona Norte

The area around Tejeda street in Córdoba's Zona Norte has boomed in the last couple of years, attracting a well-heeled crowd to its chic bars and restaurants; you'll need to catch a taxi there and back as it's pretty far out.

Shopping

Antique stores line Calle Belgrano in Güemes, where there is also a Feria Artesanal Paseo de las Artes, one of the country’s best artisans markets; its focal point is the corner of Achaval Rodríguez street. You’ll find Argentine handicrafts at several stores downtown.

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Birthplace of the Argentine flag as well as two of the nation's most famous exports, Che Guevara and Lionel Messi, Rosario is still an important river port but has done a great job of regenerating its center. The derelict buildings of the long costanera have been converted into galleries, restaurants and skate parks, and river beaches and islands buzz with life in summer. The center – a curious mishmash of stunning early-20th-century buildings overshadowed by ugly apartments – has a comfortable, lived-in feel, and the down-to-earth rosarinos (people from Rosario) are a delight.

Sights

Many of Rosario's main attractions are found along the costanera and around the Parque Independencia, an expansive green space just south of the center where locals come to hang out and picnic, sip mate (a tea-like beverage) and play football.

Though you can’t enter, you may want to check out the apartment building that is the Casa Natal de 'Che' Guevara, where the newborn Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara had his first home.

Entertainment

There are regular tango events in Rosario; grab the monthly listings booklet from the tourist office and check www.rosarioturismo.com

Sports

Rosario has two rival fútbol teams with several league titles between them. Newell’s Old Boys plays in red and black at Estadio Marcelo Bielsa and has a long, proud history of producing great Argentine players. Rosario Central plays in blue-and-yellow stripes at Estadio ‘El Gigante de Arroyito’. Buy tickets from the stadiums from two hours before the match.

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Sleeping

There are dozens of hostels, but they're often block-booked by government workers. There's also a herd of average midrange hotels. Prices generally drop midweek.

Eating

Central Rosario seems empty come suppertime. That’s because half the city is out on Av Carlos Pellegrini. Between Buenos Aires and Moreno there’s a vast number of family-friendly eateries, including barn-like parrillas (steak restaurants), dozens of pizza places, buffets, bars and excellent ice-creameries. Just stroll along and take your pick. Most places have street terraces.

For meals outside standard times, check out the city's many classic cafes.

Drinking & Nightlife

Rosario has a great number of restobares, which function as hybrid cafes and bars and generally serve a fairly standard selection of snacks and plates. Many are good for a morning coffee, an evening glass of wine – or anything in between.

Feature: Pichincha

Between Oroño and Francia, and north of Urquiza, the barrio of Pichincha is the city's most interesting for nightlife. The leafy streets and wide pavements make it seem a sleepy suburb by day, but at night every corner seems to have a quirky bar or hipster restaurant. The city's best boliches (nightclubs) are also found here.

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