You can ride with gauchos
Argentinian cowboys wear actual chaps, drink Mate tea so bitter it makes you gurn, raise and wrestle cattle, and at night sing folk songs about love and loss. Gauchos traditionally were seen as nomads and outlaws but grew to be respected as freedom fighters in the mid-16th century. Traditions vary in pampas in different parts of the country, with Salta’s gauchos some of the most revered. “So seldom would he dismount that he stood severely bowlegged and had a crabbed gait,” describes the website GoGauchos.com of one.
Chris Moss recommends visiting the estancia El Ombú de Areco near Buenos Aires in November, when a week-long Fiesta Nacional de la Tradición is staged, which sees gauchos from all over Argentina ride into town, grill whole cows for dinner and show off their dressage.
Take one of the world’s best drives
A drive through the multi-coloured valley of the Quebrada de Humahuaca is one of the world’s most spectacular. Aside from views of rainbow-striped and wind-shaped rock formations, sights along the route, which has been used over the past 10,000 years as a crucial passage for the transport of people and ideas from the high Andean lands to the plains, include a cave cathedral with impressive acoustics where local musicians play.
one of the world’s most beautiful bookshops
This astounding shop interior has to be one of the world’s most glamorous, especially considering it ires is a bookshop set in a former theatre, the Teatro Gran Splendid, which originally opened in May 1919.
If you can get your head out of one of its thousands of books (and we’re sure that you can) red velvet curtains hang over a stage at one end, while the ornate stalls on the upper levels contain elaborately-lit shelves.
You can have a more glamorous coffee break
There are a handful of grand coffee houses along the wide boulevards of Buenos Aires but “Cafe Tortoni” is one of the best, dating from 1858. It has perfect pastries and a cavernous interior with marvellous decorative glass ceilings.
Climb South America’s highest peak
The highest mountain outside of Asia, at 22,841 feet, Aconcagua is the second highest of the Seven Summits and can be climbed by those with know-how, even without roped mountaineering experience.
Walk among angels
Romantic, ageing, Recoleta Cemetery in one of Buenos Aires’ most middle-class suburbs is where Eva Perón is buried, but is an atmospheric place for a stroll in any event. Free guided tours in English, Tuesday and Thursday at 11am.
Feast on grilled meat
Argentina is famous for its high-quality, doorstop-sized steaks and there is nowhere better to try one than in a parrillada restaurant where you select a slab of meat still sizzling off a parrilla grill set at your table in front of you. As well as familiar steak cuts like lomo and bife de chorizo, locals like to load up their grills with “vaccio” (juicy flank) and “morcilla” (fat black pudding sausages) – while delving into impossibly chewy plates of melted provolone cheese. Delicious.
Test your relationship
Tango is one of Portenos’ biggest passions and tourists are encouraged to book themselves into one of many classes held in Buenos Aires. Be warned though, the “dance of love” is tricky to master and it is said a couple’s aptitude at getting in sync with each other is a microcosm of the relationship.