Don't mention tango in northern Argentina. Here, the intoxicating local music and dance form chamamé rules the roost. Fusing elements of polka with native Guarani culture, its defining sound pairs accordion with guitar and double bass, while couples skip across the dance floor or men perform tapping solos called zapateos. The HQ of chamamé is the elegant city of Corrientes.
Brazil hogs the Carnival spotlight but Argentina is home to fantastic festivities too, but with fewer foreign tourists. The two best places to enjoy the experience are the northern cities of Corrientes and Gualeguaychu, which stage parades over several weekends – and are close enough to visit both to compare floats, costumes and sound levels!
Argentina's dining pleasures extend way beyond prairie barbecues. If you're in Buenos Aires, seek out its acclaimed 'Closed Doors' (Puertas Cerradas) dining clubs – many at chefs' homes. Get a city map and book hotspots like the upscale Paladar, cosy La Cocina Discreta or hip Casa Saltshaker. Reservations essential - and expect to eat late!
Salta boasts Argentina’s best preserved colonial architecture outside of Buenos Aires. This glorious backdrop is brought to life by its famed folk music performances, while the region’s indigenous past – dating back to Inca times and beyond – is explored in its Archaeological and Ethnic Pajcha Museums. Even today, it has a less “European” feel than the rest of the country. Salta is also the start point for the precipitous 'Train to the Clouds' climbing to 4,200m.
One of the most gorgeous expressions of sensuality you can do in public, the Argentine tango is as much state of being as dance – with music that blends passion with longing. Buenos Aires has various milongas (dance halls) to watch experts or show off your own dips and flicks. Salon Canning, Confiteria Ideal and La Catedral are top spots.
Bordering Brazil, Iguazu Falls are the planet's greatest cascades, a sweep of around 275 falls plunging into a jungle-ringed foaming cauldron. Gaze from walkways down the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat), take a drenching boat trip under a fall, then explore jungle trails snaking into surrounding national parks. Some nationals need visas to enter Brazil – check beforehand.
Patagonia would be a unique and wonderful country all by itself. Iconic sealife throngs its long coast: albatross and penguins; whales and elephant seals. Inland, lonely steppes mix with jewel-like lakes, glacial peaks and dazzling salt-flats. Rustic mining and ranch towns complement 19th century Welsh settlements like Gaiman and Dolovon for characterful human presence.
Argentine Malbec is justly renowned as one of the world's oenophile treats, but the country produces a wide range of superb wines, with some of the best from vineyards that count among the world's highest. Mendoza is the most famous region, but also seek out Salta and Jujuy, San Juan and La Rioja, plus Patagonian sparkling wine.
The vastness of neighbouring Brazil may make Argentina look relatively small on the map – but it's actually 11 times bigger than the UK! So don't be tempted to try and cram in too much in a whirl of planes, trains and wheels. Pick and choose, and let a slower pace really let you take in Argentina's magnificence.
Argentina has lured tourists with dirt cheap prices since its spectacular 2001 economic crash. However, further uncertainty in 2014 has plunged the peso into crisis again. Crazy inflation means prices fluctuate daily. Restaurants chalk up menus to avoid reprinting them each month, and some have refused to take advance bookings as they have no idea how much a meal will be worth in a month’s time. One solution? Pay in US dollars.
Eva Duarte rose from humble beginnings and championed Argentina's poor. Respect. But 'Evita' and hubby Juan Peron also ruled with an iron fist, using those poor as leverage on power.
Gaucho rodeos are a draw for some visitors to Argentina, based on their role as a showcase for 'traditional' skills seen as a stirring part of cowboy culture. But 'traditional' doesn't necessarily mean 'good'. There is plenty of evidence that animals suffer greatly during many rodeo events – and we believe that isn't a part of responsible tourism.
Never refer to Las Islas Malvinas as 'The Falklands'