Published: December 2009/January 2010The Big Trip: Argentina

Argentina Uncorked

Glaciers, big peaks, balmy days, and vino. And right now, it’s all on sale.

Text by Claire Martin
Maps by Myra Klockenbrink

Crusted in snow and ice, Cerro Aconcagua shoots up from the fertile plains of the Mendoza province to an altitude of 22,835 feet. It’s a spectacular sight, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere towering over the finest wine-growing region in South America. The thing is, in Argentina, scenes like this are hardly out of the ordinary. The eighth largest country in the world is home to 47 major glaciers (including one that’s a whopping 30 miles long), the Patagonian steppe, and massive trout lurking in thousands of miles of rivers and streams. Naturally, you can’t see it all, even during the temperate months of an austral summer. Our advice: Spend a few days in Buenos Aires (most international flights come through here), then a few more in an adventure zone or two. While travelers won’t find the fire sale of 2002, Argentina is still budget-friendly, with a night in a high-end hotel costing around $150, a steak feast running no more than $30, and a great glass of wine as cheap as a soft drink.

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