5 Amazing Places to Visit When Teaching in Argentina
Argentina is a country of so many contrasts and diverse landscapes that it makes it a tricky task to choose the five best places to visit. Ask an Argentinian and they will tell you that you need a decade or two to see everything. It’s a vast country with so much to offer that it makes it the perfect destination to settle in, teach English and experience a different way of life. You’ll have the chance to begin to understand and appreciate this fascinating country, its various colourful cultures and its passionate, warm and friendly people.
1. Iguazú Falls
Iguazú in the northeast of Argentina is completely different to anywhere else in the country. A 24-hour coach journey from the capital city and you’ll find youself in this tropical and jungly region, green and lush with vegetation. The Iguazú waterfalls are mighty and impressive, made up of over two hundred falls, with the biggest attraction being La Garganta del Diablo. From the Argentinian side, you are able to appreciate the power and immensity of the water as you look down from the top of the falls. They are set within a huge National Park with monkeys and tropical birds, and many walking trails and boat trips along the rivers and even to the foot of the falls. Iguazú also spreads over into Brazil and Paraguay, however most will agree that the best experience is in Argentina.
2. Buenos Aires
An obvious choice perhaps, but a trip to Argentina would certainly be lacking without visiting the country’s capital city. Argentinians often refer to ‘the capital’ and ‘the rest of Argentina’, as if they are two separate lands. Indeed, the people of Buenos Aires, los porteños, have their own distinct culture, manerisms, and even, way of speaking. For a beginner, their Spanish may take some getting used to! However, there are plenty of Spanish courses available to get you going and you’ll find the best opportunities for getting an English-teaching job.
Buenos Aires is divided into various districts, all with their unique flavour. The main plaza, Plaza de Mayo, is at the centre of the city. Here, you’ll find the President’s Casa Rosada and other important public buildings. Nearby, you can visit the neighbourhood of San Telmo, a historic bohemian place with trendy cafes and restaurants serving Argentinian’s famous cuts of steak and delicious wine. San Telmo is most well-known for its flea markets, which sell all manner of things, including some beautiful antiques.You will often come across buskers, tango dancers and other performances on the streets making it a very vibrant place. Another great district to visit is La Boca, famous for its football club but also its colourful artistic houses along El Caminato. Another must-see is the Teatro Colón, a magnificent theatre that is well-worth a tour.
3. Valles Calchaquies
Set in the northeast of Argentina spread over the regions of Salta, Jujuy, Tucuman and Catamarca, the Valles Calchaquies is a dry cactus-covered mountainous land. Base yourself in the beautiful colonial city of Salta (where native English teachers are in demand!), and from there, you can visit this striking landscape. Amongst the vibrant multi-coloured mountains and rocks, lay a series of humble indegenous villages. There, you’ll discover their old folkloric traditions, gaucho roots and the magic of the Andean culture. Cachí, Tilcara, Humahuaca are amongst a few of the villages worth visiting for their stunning views and beautiful walks in the mountains. Although more remote, the mountaintop town of Iruya is definitely worth a couple of nights stay for its even more spectacular views and tranquil way of life. Finally, make a trip to Cafayate for a relaxing weekend cycling around the charming vineyards and tasting the delicious wines.
4. Los Glaciares National Park, Patagonia
Patagonia is a vast land in the southern part of Argentina. It’s so immense that its difficult to describe and do it justice. Although not so easy to find English-teaching jobs, it’s definitely a place to travel to during your long summer holidays as a teacher. Perhaps the most popular and beautiful place to visit is Los Glaciares National Park, which is home to many natural wonders. Amongst them is the spectacular Perrito Moreno ice cap. Here, you can experience the thunderous boom of huge sections of ice falling and crashing into the water. In the north of the park are magnificent mountains, such as Mount Fitzroy, which are incredible places for hiking. Not far from Los Glaciares park are the quaint towns of El Calafate and El Chaltén, which are popular tourist spots to base your stay and explore the surroundings.
5. Puerto Madryn, Patagonia
Finally, on the opposite side of Patagonia on the east coast of Argentina, you’ll find Puerto Madryn and the Welsh settlement towns. The port town of Puerto Madryn is a fantastic place for whale watching tours, particularly between July and September. Nearby, you can also visit some of the largest penguin colonies on earth and you can make trips to Península Valdés, a superb reserve for marine and bird life. The town of Puerto Madryn was orginally colonised by Welsh settlers, and many towns in the region, particularly Gaiman, have preserved their Welsh roots and language. Be sure to visit one of the many Welsh tea rooms and relax with some tea and scones. How delightful!
By Ellena Heywood
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