When moving to Argentina for a yearlong exchange, I expected a bustling city like Buenos Aires or Córdoba. Instead, I landed in a humid little town up North, separated from the nearest city by fifty miles of palm trees. Little did I know this would make my experience all the more special.
Mendoza can be divided in three wine-making regions: Maipú, Lujan de Cuyo and Valle de Uco. The latter is said to produce the best wines on the most beautiful grounds, with the snowcapped Andes peaks towering out over the vineyards. After visiting four wineries in Mendoza, I would have to agree.
Other than producing delicious wine, Argentinean provinces La Rioja and San Juan are known for two remarkable parks. Ischigualasto and Talampaya National Park contain a unique fossil record of the Triassic Period, often called the Age of the Dinosaurs. The desert area also hosts the annual Dakar Rally.
The provinces of Salta and Jujuy are home to some of the most scenic drives in Argentina. We picked colonial Salta as a base to explore the northwest’s dramatic landscapes. Let it all sink in with a glass of Torrontés in wine-heaven Cafayate.
Iguazú National Park comprises hundreds of waterfalls, right on the border of Argentina and Brazil. The views from both countries are entirely different, making a visit of each side imperative. A clear winner came out of our trip, which we continued South to the ruins of San Ignacio Miní.
Five years after my AFS exchange in Argentina, I showed my parents why I fell in love with this country. We started our trip with an eventful passage through Buenos Aires. Midnight fireworks, tourist traps, passionate tango and ingenious robbery were all part of the introductory program.