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March 14th, 2014

Argentina: a beginner's guide

Chris Moss picks from the thundering Iguazú Falls, the glacial landscapes of Patagonia and sleepless Buenos Aires to select the highlights of a country at the dawn of its bicentenary.

Top 5 attractions

The Iguazú Falls – on the border with Brazil, but closer and louder on the Argentinian side. Colonial, sunny Salta and the wine region around Cafayate. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, a Unesco World Heritage Site and home to the immense, ever-expanding (until it collapses) Perito Moreno Glacier. The Iberá wetlands, for spotting caiman, capybara and the elusive maned wolf. The pampas and their estancias, where you can find your inner gaucho on horseback or in a hammock.
Best city
Buenos Aires: romantic, frantic and schizophrenic (as you would expect of one of the world centres of psychoanalysis), the capital is indisputably one of the most exciting cities in Latin America.
How will Argentina be celebrating independence?
The refurbished Teatro Colón opera house – built for the centennial – is scheduled to reopen in time for May 25 2010; Argentina is also planning to stage theatrical and dance events along the Avenida de Mayo from April 25 and a live concert at the Obelisk on the evening of May 24.
Souvenir to buy
A poster of Carlos Gardel, the “Bing Crosby of tango”, and one of his CDs – both will evoke the golden age of tango and of Buenos Aires.
Quirky Argentina
The Scottish taught the Argentinians how to play football. At the end of the first official season, in 1891, the champions were St Andrew’s and the runners-up the Old Caledonians.
Read
‘San Martín’ by John Lynch. The first full English-language biography of José de San Martín in more than half a century.

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