Why Argentina is becoming a major destination for avid sports lovers
Argentina may very well be the home turf of football champions Messi and Maradona as well as rugby or even polo tournaments. But it has also become a major attraction for extreme sports enthusiasts.
At five times the size of France, Argentina is 3,700 kilometres long and 1,400 kilometres wide, and divided into five major geographical zones – each with its own climate and unique terrain. The exceptional diversity of landscape on offer has turned it into a majestic playground for adventurous sports enthusiasts.
Here is a list of recommended activities in some of the country's most breathtaking spots.
Abseiling down the spectacular Iguazu Falls
The exquisite Iguazu Falls are a must-see for thrill seekers. Situated on the Brazilian border in the far northeast of the country, they are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and were used as a location in the film The Mission. The majestic beauty of the 275 individual waterfalls, the highest of which is 82 metres tall, makes it an ideal setting for extreme sports such as abseiling down the middle of the waterfalls or rafting down the Iguazu River to the iconic site of the 'Devil's Throat' canyon, which will be sure to steal your breath and capture your heart.
Ski touring and snowmobiling in Ushuaia
For those who are not afraid of the cold, why not head to the southern tip of the country to visit the mythical village of Ushuaia? There you will find a skiers' paradise, which is open all year round thanks to the sub-polar climate. Ushuaia is home to the most southern ski resort in the world; Cerro Castor is only 195 metres above sea level but the surrounding mountains quickly reach heights of over 1000 metres and offer 30 kilometres of steep slopes to descend. The French alpine ski teams regularly go there as part of their summer training. For those who like speed, why not learn to ride a snowmobile during the country's winter season? For all those adrenaline-seekers, do not miss out on the slopes of Tierra del Fuego where you will be guaranteed to find some of the best powder in the world!
Hiking and mountaineering on the glaciers of Patagonia
If you are looking for adventure, look no further than southern Patagonia. Grab your hiking boots and prepare yourself for an unforgettable 250-square kilometre trek across the Martial glacier or the Perito Moreno glacier through crevasses, waterfalls and rivers. Avid climbers will be blown away by the frozen walls of blue ice. These spectacular sites are also visible from the lakes along which they stretch and kayakers can expect an exceptional view of these 60-metre high glaciers. Be careful, however, not to get too close to the enormous chunks of ice that often come crashing down.
River rafting on the Mendoza Rapids
Climbing a 250-metre cliff
Climbing to the summit of Mount Aconcagua
Climbers should also head a little further west, towards the Chilean border, to the Andes' highest peak, Mount Aconcagua, at 6,962 metres. Treks up this 'stone wall' generally take place between December and February and are naturally very physically challenging but relatively accessible to less experienced climbers.
Trekking and mountain biking around the highest summit in America, Mount Aconcagua
Boasting the highest peak on the American continent, Mount Aconcagua can be enjoyed by both hikers and mountaineers thanks to its various picturesque trekking expeditions. Safety is paramount in this semi-desert region – home to a herd of llamas – where winds often reach 250 kilometres per hour. Mountain bikers will also find the perfect playground on its dusty slopes.
Paragliding and hang-gliding over the Andes
Surfing the sands on the Bolivian border
The northern town of Abra Pampa on the Bolivian border is the perfect place for snowboarders to discover sandboarding or surf the sands on the slopes of Cerro Huancar.
It goes without saying that no matter where you choose to visit or what activities you choose to indulge in, Argentina's unspoiled landscapes will offer a truly unique and unforgettable experience.