Argentina is the world’s eighth largest country and one of the most popular places to visit in South America – whether you are backpacking the continent or just on a short, budget holiday. From the café culture of Buenos Aires to the natural beauty of the Iguazu Waterfalls and the Perito Moreno glacier, Argentina has something to offer visitors of all kinds. Some of the world’s most dramatic scenery can be found here in the Patagonian Stepp, the Andes, and the lush Lake District. It is also often viewed as the most cosmopolitan and European country in the region. Take your time exploring – the vast landscape takes time to get to and is worth all the distractions you’ll find along the way. This travel guide to Argentina will help you plan your trip to the land of steak, wine, and mountains! In 1816, the United Provinces of the Rio Plata declared their independence from Spain. After Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay went their separate ways, the area that remained became Argentina. The country’s population and culture were heavily shaped by immigrants from throughout Europe, with Italy and Spain providing the largest percentage of newcomers from 1860 to 1930. Up until about the mid-20th century, much of Argentina’s history was dominated by periods of internal political conflict between Federalists and Unitarians and between civilian and military factions. Second in South America only to Brazil in size and population, Argentina is a plain, rising from the Atlantic to the Chilean border and the towering Andes peaks. Aconcagua (22,834 ft, 6,960 m) is the highest peak in the world outside Asia. Argentina is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay on the north, and by Uruguay and Brazil on the east. The northern area is the swampy and partly wooded Gran Chaco, bordering Bolivia and Paraguay. South of that are the rolling, fertile Pampas, which are rich in agriculture and sheep- and cattle-grazing and support most of the population. Further south is Patagonia, a region of cool, arid steppes with some wooded and fertile sections. Argentina’s cultural and culinary traditions, natural beauty and diversity, as well as its business opportunities attract several hundred thousand U.S. citizen visitors each year. Buenos Aires, other large cities, as well as some rural destinations, have well-developed tourist facilities and services, including many four- and five-star hotels. The quality of tourist facilities in smaller towns outside the capital varies. Argentina’s magnificent landscapes create memorable backdrops for amazing experiences. Wine lovers can sample world-class Malbecs at Mendoza’s high-altitude vineyards with Andes Mountain views; adventure seekers revel in the colorful canyons of the Northwest; and nature lovers marvel at the thundering torrents of Iguazú Falls. In Patagonia, top-notch outdoor activities beckon, from scaling translucent glaciers to spotting penguins and whales. Urban adventures also await in Buenos Aires, with its thriving foodie scene, chic shopping districts, and vibrant nightlife.