Mounds of meat, tango dancers in the street and nightlife that never sleeps - there are enough reasons to lure visitors to Buenos Aires. However, while visitors could get lost in the barrios and cultural city sites to fill a hundred vacations, it is worth travelling beyond city limits. There is an entire country out there to explore. For visitors craving more of Argentina (or nearby Uruguay), these six day trips are sure to thrill - while still having visitors back for a late-night steak dinner.
San Antonio de Areco
It would be a shame to visit Argentina and not get a taste of their gaucho (cowboy) culture - outside of noshing on a juicy steak. San Antonio de Areco allows visitors to immerse themselves in the tradition on its ranch lands just two hours outside of Buenos Aires. Visitors can explore the 18th-century colonial town that is overflowing with history-rich architecture and artisans workshops or get right out with the guachos at Estancia La Bamba. This ranch invites visitors to show off their horsemanship, or lack thereof, in the open grasslands as well as provides horse riding and cattle herding demonstrations, fishing and generous steak dinners. For visitors that just can't get enough of the guacho life, Estancia La Bamba is just one of many ranches that welcome visitors outside of San Antonio de Areco as well as Buenos Aires.
Colonia Del Sacramento
It's hard to imagine that just a short ferry ride across the Rio de la Planta can transplant visitors away from the hectic city life of Buenos Aires as well as into another country. A day trip to Colonia Del Sacramento does just that. Founded in 1680, Colonia is Uruguay's oldest city. However, it is far from being a modern cosmopolitan behemoth like other old cities. Instead, this UNESCO World Heritage Site features a stunning mix of stone ruins and brightly-painted colonial buildings. Take the time to walk the cobblestone streets and take a peek at the handmade crafts.
As the Parana River winds its way towards the Atlantic, it managed to spring a few leaks. These shallow channels create an ever-changing landscape of wetlands and creeks that make up the Parana Delta. As this massive delta gets near the forested islands that are home to the town of Tigre, the coffee-coloured waters become a water lover's paradise. Visitors can tour remote islands that were turned into spa resorts, canoe or kayak the sediment-filled waters or simply enjoy the stunning town of Tigre. Although popular with ecotourists and Buenos Aires locals that need a vacation away from it all, Tigre remains small, yet still cultural and exciting.
Although it takes a bit of a bus ride to get there, Mendoza, with its tree-lined avenues perched at the foot of the Andes, is worth the trip. The early European immigrants that settled in Mendoza saw this beautiful landscape not only for its abundant farmland, but for its potential for viniculture. Over the years, the wine that has flowed from this city has grown its reputation as one of the most beautiful wine cities in the world. Visitors can sample the fruits of local vineyards in restaurants or numerous tasting rooms, but it would be a waste not to visit the vineyards in person to learn about their unique cultivation processes as well as to take in the landscape at its best.
Although not a big-name tourist destination nor quite as beautiful as Mendoza, Rosario vies with La Plata for the label of Argentina's second largest city. Rosario is a port city situated along the massive Parana River. It may boast a population of over a million, but Rosarinos are much more laid back in nature and outdoorsy than the portenos from Buenos Aires. One activity that visitors must undertake while in Rosario is strolling the 15-kilometre long riverfront boardwalk that showcases some of the city's best sights as well as the river along the way.
For another ferry trip into Uruguay, why not take a trip to its capital? Although the three hour ferry ride is no quick trip like the hop to Colonia Del Sacramento, it is a worthy visit. Uruguay's capital city hugs the eastern bank of the Rio de la Plata and even before making it to shore its massive coastal promenade is sure to take your breath away. Its fine beaches, restaurants and numerous parks are always hailed as being akin to the sunny sophistications of Mediterranean villages. Further inland, more materialist visitors can partake in glitzy shopping avenues that are nestled among the city's towering skyscrapers. These modern marvels are balanced with the beautiful colonial architecture that occupies the historic old city quarter. Regardless of what visitors expect from a trip to Montevideo, the city delivers.
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