Argentina has more variety than any country has a right to. A gap year here takes you from the urban flash and Latin spirit of Buenos Aires to the desolate beauty of Patagonia, via volcanoes, waterfalls, mountains and lakes. Everything here is dramatic, larger than life, and totally unforgettable, from the geography to the food: no one does steak like the Argentineans.
Argentina’s great southern expanse, Patagonia, is one of the ultimate adventure travel destinations, a wilderness of mythic proportions ending in the barren Tierra del Fuego, the nearest to the end of the world you’d want to go. On the way is the Lake District, all mountains and glaciers and endless sky almost made for hiking or riding, and also the home of Argentinasaurus, the largest dinosaur ever discovered. Argentina also has Iguazu Falls, a breathtaking complex of waterfalls on the border with Brazil, volcanoes and hot springs, and coasts where whales, penguins and seals bask.
Argentina’s recent economic troubles have made it affordable, so it’s a good time for student travellers. It’s also safe and friendly, whether you travel out in the wilderness or in the cities. Along with the wide open spaces and elemental splendour, there’s Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan capital of tango, fashion and world-class football, or the history, art and colonial architecture of Cordoba.
For those wishing to contribute to this beautiful country, there are plenty of opportunities for volunteer work in Argentina. These vary from youth outreach programmes dealing with street kids to helping artists market their work in Buenos Aires, and many come with Spanish tuition.