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Why Argentina?

Argentina is the second biggest country in South America (after Brazil) and the eighth biggest in the World. It has a population of around 40 million people, more than a quarter of whom live in and around Buenos Aires, the capital. Outside BA, there are a few big cities, but once you get down south into Patagonia, things start getting a little lonelier. In the South, the population density is only about 1 person per square kilometre (if Manhattan had the same density, fewer than 50 people would live there!). Argentina is a bit like Australia in that most of the interesting bits are around the outside, with the inside being used for cattle ranching in the north and sheep in the south. It lies between the Atlantic Ocean and Chile and is about 5,000 km long.

Last year, the guide book Lonely Planet named it its number one tourist destination in the World. The reasons for this nomination are, mainly:

People - You will never find people so kind, considerate and polite. Nothing is too much for them to do for you. Wherever you go, you are treated as an important guest. Children are well behaved. Teenagers are interesting to talk to. Literacy rate is almost 100%. And everyone likes to have fun. People even say hello to you on the street.

Sea life - There is only a handful of towns south of Buenos Aires on the Atlantic coast and that means nobody to harass the animals. On land, there are huge colonies of penguins, seals, sea lions and elephant seals and at sea, whales, killer whales, dolphins and porpoises. And on a scale you wouldn't believe. And there are still hundreds of places where you can see all them which haven't been discovered by tour companies.

Bird and animal life - from the exotic species in the rain forests of the north east, to the extensive variety of birds in the swamps of the north; from the eagles and condors of the Andes region to skunks and armadillos of the desert; from the jaguars of the rain forest to the pumas of the pampas. Argentina has it all. And not in cages, but still in the wild for all visitors to see and enjoy.

Unspoilt nature - Argentina has almost a hundred national parks and protected areas. Virtually the whole of the Andes region is uncontaminated and has active volcanoes, towering mountains, endless forests (containing the famous Alerce tree many examples of which are more than 3,000 years old) with air so clean that old man's beard (whose presence signifies the purest quality of air) becomes so profuse that it is a fire risk, lakes containing the purest of waters, crashing glaciers which are still advancing, unspoilt and unpolluted rivers, deserts which stretch further than the eye can even imagine and skies so clear that you can see the white cloud of the Milky Way behind the every-day stars visible in less fortunate places. And Niagara Falls is like a child's dribble when set against the magnificence of Iguazu, which has to be heard to be believed.

Luxury - Argentina is a place where the rich are rich and the rest aren't. Its economy was originally built on agriculture and its politics on corruption. Lots of money slushing around meant good reasons for creating places where people could spend it. There are luxurious hotels in all the main cities, beautiful ranch houses in isolated areas, old-fashioned fishing lodges deep in the back country and restaurants in every nook and cranny. Something for everyone. And all serving the most amazing wines and the best meat anywhere.

Safety - Big cities anywhere can be dodgy in places, and Argentinean cities are no exception. But Argentina is so far away from anywhere that the terrorists haven't bothered. Any sort of fundamentalism is unknown. There are never cases of child abduction. And you can walk the streets at night without any concern for your safety. And everyone dotes on children - never a problem in this country getting a baby sitter!

Sport and adventure - Although the Argentineans haven't developed as a nation enough to enjoy cricket on a national scale, they enjoy and are pretty good at just about every other type of team and ball sport. They are a fit nation who enjoys the great outdoors. Their depressed currency (the peso) means that they have to, in the main, holiday at home. This means much development of facilities for hiking, mountaineering, ski-ing, rafting, mountain biking and many other outdoor pursuits, typically in the country's national parks and lonely places. And the fishing has no equal. The rivers of Patagonia were stocked with salmon and trout during the last century and they thrived in the unpolluted and wild conditions.

History - Virtually everywhere you go in Southern Argentina, the scenery you see hasn't changed in hundreds of thousands of years. Perhaps the odd hut has been added here and a sheep fence there, but the land has only been home to nomadic Tehuelche indians. Every day, a new dinosaur is discovered: in the last couple of years alone, Tyrannosaurus Rex has been made to look like a kitten by ever-growing new species uncovered. Fragments of petrified trees lie all over the landscape. Whole giant logs lie in places where only a handful of people have ever visited. Cave and rock paintings of the most amazing antiquity show even the presence of the fabled unicorn in the remote south. And stone age arrowheads and implements lie where they were dropped thousands of years before.

Investment opportunities - In 2001, the pesos was fixed to the dollar. The subsequent devaluation (now more than 3 to a dollar) robbed the local people of their ability to afford imported goods, but it suddenly reduced by two-thirds the cost of anything Argentinean to a foreigner. Many are now waking up to the investment opportunities in Argentina, especially in land and tourism-related areas.



Esquel - Chubut - Patagonia - Argentina - Email: info@welshpatagonia.com