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From Buenos Aires to Mendoza and beyond
Source: Travel Pulse
By: Violet Baron
Known for its excellent beef, fine wines, rousing dance and vibrant culture, Argentina stands out among its South American neighbors. Indeed, Argentinians have a lifestyle that is as singularly unique as it is classically South American.
The style in much of the country is distinctly European, which is apparent in the grand city architecture of Buenos Aires reminiscent of Paris, the influence of Italian cuisine and the stately, poised manner with which Argentinians carry themselves. Buenos Aires itself is a cultural center that radiates out to the edges of the country.
Some things are truly native to Argentina, including asado, the artfully cooked beef with a tender pink center, and the many meticulously developed wines from Mendoza, which are by turns delicate and powerful. Likewise, the distinct trills and slides of the country’s native Spanish speakers cannot be mistaken for any other region of the world.
Visitors will still find remnants of the tumult of the previous century’s repressive leadership, but they’ll also experience the famous tango, which brings with it a certain sadness and nostalgia for what the country’s many immigrants left behind. Indeed, Argentina is alive with the fires of many cultures and it remains a vibrant destination that welcomes tourism. Here are some recommendations on what’s hot, what to see, where to stay, where to dine and how to get around.
What’s Hot: Wine, city and natural attractions abound in Argentina. For example, the Mendoza region east of the country’s center is set to see a huge amount of development in the next few years, especially in luxury and hospitality industries in San Rafael. The town’s goal is to become a center for wine lovers around the world. Indeed, many ex-pats interested in wine are building comfortable homes alongside the Algodon hotel in San Rafael.
Elsewhere, cosmopolitan Buenos Aires continues to be a top destination where visitors can see new trends in fashion, food, art and music, or simply sit at a hip café in Palermo Soho and watch the beat of the streets.
Must-See Attractions: Tango shows abound in Buenos Aires, and so the trick is to decide which is the right one for you. Two main categories exist for the sensual dance: the “show” tango, where professionals perform the dance in characteristic fishnet stockings, silky dresses and fedoras, and the “street tango,” where travelers visit one of the many milongas (tango places) to watch from the wings or join in. Beginners beware: find a spot designated for the uninitiated or risk rejection by impatient porteños (locals) who have come to dance.
Café de los Angelitos is the classic spot for an Argentinian dinner and a tango show, and guests pay for the high-end experience. You can also try Esquina Homero Manzi or Viejo Almacen for more budget-friendly but quality tango shows.
The Mendoza wine country is rich with wineries eager to display their products with visitors. The Algodon Wine Estates in San Rafael offers a tasting at the property’s restaurant, Chez Gaston, with whites, rosés and reds all available for guests.
Where to Stay: San Rafael’s Algodon Wine Estates offers accommodations in the foothills of the Sierra Pintada Mountains surrounded by brilliant green vineyards and an 18-hole golf course. Guests can tour the property by bike or on horseback at no cost, or relax on a lounge chair by the small outdoor pool. The small terraces by each of the eight guestrooms also have lounge chairs and small tables, and rooms have wood-burning stoves.
Algodon Mansion in Buenos Aires, the chic and sophisticated sister property to the San Rafael hotel, features wines from the San Rafael estate in its ground-floor bar and restaurant. The property also has palatial rooms with king-size beds, a highly attentive and helpful hotel concierge staff, personal butler service, deep curved bathtubs with light effects and whirlpool, and large showers. Guests can enjoy the top-floor spa with a well-trained masseuse and rooftop pool.
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