If you’re planning to visit Argentina as a tourist, to realize an internship or to participate in a working holiday program, you’ll want to integrate yourself into your surroundings as much as possible.
This short post highlights some of the most typical activities you can partake in when visiting Argentina ⇀ for those looking for a more authentic Argentine experience.
Sign up for the cowboy experience
Dotted across the expansive country plains of Argentina are hundreds of “estancias,” a kind of North American ranch, inhabited by local farmers and agriculturalists of many kinds. Opportunities to sign up to working holidays on an Argentine estancia abound and Connecting Worlds has the information and expertise required to help anyone who might be interested.
Argentina’s “gauchos” (ranch owners, farmers, cowboys) are vital to the economic stability of the country, as Argentina is famous for its production of wheat, soya and beef, amongst other lesser-known products, such as popping corn. Most estancias allow visitors to stay for a night or two, paying room and board as though staying in a bed and breakfast.
While many people visit Argentina to experience the hustle and bustle and creativity of Buenos Aires, there’s a lot to be understood about Argentina by visiting an estancia and spending a fair amount of time living and working in the Argentine countryside. Customs and traditions which might be less visible to the foreign eye in the capital are on display for all to see in rural areas, which is why a visit to the country is a particular experience that shouldn’t be left off of anyone’s to-do-list.
Make the Malbec your choice of red
The Argentine Malbec was voted Best Wine of 2014 and it deserves the title. It’s difficult to go wrong with an Argentine Malbec. The grape used to produce this particular type of wine never fails. A glass of red, to accompany a hearty portion of beef steak, is the perfect way to dine every evening of the week in Argentina.
Merendar with Mate
The verb “to merendar” in English roughly translates to “to have a snack.” Argentines take their “merienda” during the late afternoon, normally at the end of a working day, but perhaps a little earlier on the weekends.
A typical merienda would include medialunas (croissants) and a selection of facturas (sweet pastries) for those with a sweet tooth, but perhaps toast or breads for those who prefer a savoury diet. Mate is the hot beverage which most Argentines prepare to accompany the food at this time of day.
Mate, a kind of tea, is served in a special kind of cup (called “mate”), a thermos of relatively-hot water to pour over the “yerba” ⇀ the tea-like substance ⇀ and a metal straw (called “bombilla) which acts as a filter to avoid the ingestion of the yerba leaves. Full of mateina, a kind of caffeine, it will give you lots of energy to enjoy the rest of your evening. It can be taken with sugar or without, but the most traditional version is “amargo,” without sugar.
And when visiting Buenos Aires in particular, try to include the following…
Get up and Tango
You don’t have to dance tango to enjoy it whilst in Buenos Aires. There are plenty of tango shows to go and watch, or you can visit one of the tango dance halls (milongas) in the evening, reserve table and watch locals dance the night away for free. You might even be tempted to get up and have a go yourself under these circumstances and there’s no better way to learn to tango than to dance with local “tangueros” who have been dancing the tango all their lives.
Two of the most interesting places to watch and participate in tango classes and tango milongas in La Catedral, in Almagro, and La Viruta, in Palermo.
It’s coffee time
Coffee culture is huge in Buenos Aires. One of the best ways to relax with friends is to make a trip to the coffee shop part of your daily routine. Argentina’s capital is full of coffee shops.
It seems as though there’s at least one coffee shop, every couple of blocks, on average. Some of these cafes are chains, some are independently-owned establishments and others fall into the category of “cafes notables,” which means they’ve been around for so long that they’re now considered to be a place of local interest and tradition.
One of the most famous of the cafe notables is called Café Tortoni, located in the center of the city, close to Plaza de Mayo and La Casa Rosada (Presidential Quarters). There are lots of places to sip on a tasty coffee, at any time of day or night, in Buenos Aires and it can be a lot of fun to go from coffee shop to coffee shop, asking to be served a different kind of coffee each time.
If you are looking for Immersion programs or Responsible Tours in Argentina, visit our official website
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