I've decided to use this one page to cover all of our trip to Argentina, starting with our first stop, Buenos Aires.  Our third stop was at a place called Puerto Madryn (our second stop was in Uruguay which has it's very own page), and our forth was Cape Horn, and fifth was at a place at the very bottom of the world called Ushuaia (it's also on the bottom of this page).

I hope you enjoy our adventures as much as we did in having them...


The Argentine Republic is the second largest country in South America, constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires. It is the eighth-largest country in the world by land area and the largest among Spanish-speaking nations, though Mexico, Colombia and Spain are more populous.

Argentina's continental area is between the Andes mountain range in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. It borders Paraguay and Bolivia to the north, Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast, and Chile to the west and south. Argentine claims over Antarctica, as well as overlapping claims made by Chile and the United Kingdom, are suspended by the Antarctic Treaty of 1961. Argentina also claims the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which are administered by the United Kingdom as British Overseas Territories.

Buenos Aires: Translated: "Good Air"

Buenos Aires increased its political power and influence because of this, and became the region's chief port. In 1776, the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata was created over some former territories of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Buenos Aires was chosen as its capital, and the previous reliance on contraband evolved into a flourishing commerce with Spain.

What a great city this is.  Fantastic steaks (the ONE we ordered was at least 2 1/2 pounds and you could cut it with your fork...EIGHT DOLLARS!) and you can TANGO all night.  Dinner isn't even thought about until 10PM or later and the Tango dance halls party all night long (Photo Right).  But before I can tell you any more about the city one has to discuss it's most famous resident or for that matter, Argentina's best known heroine.

Eva Perón; She is still bigger than life...

In 1946, General Juan Perón was elected president, creating a big tent political movement referred to as "Peronism." His popular wife, Evita, played a central political role until her death in 1952, mostly through the Eva Perón Foundation and the Peronist Women's Party.

Immediately after Evita's death, Eva's husband Juan Peron paid physician Pedro Ara $100,000 to embalm Eva's body. Ara cosmetically restored her cancer-ridden form and replaced her bodily fluids with glycerine to preserve her organs and tissues. The whole process took two to three years.

Meanwhile, Peron began construction on a monument to Evita Above left and right). It was to be bigger than the Statue of Liberty. The top of the monument would feature a man representing one of Eva's descamisados. Eva's body would be displayed in a glass coffin at the base of the monument.

Before Juan Peron could complete his grand plans for Eva, however, he was overthrown in a military coup in 1955. He escaped to Spain, leaving Eva's body in Argentina. During Perón's tenure, wages and working conditions improved appreciably, unionization was fostered, strategic industries and services were nationalized, import substitution industrialization and urban development were prioritized over the agrarian sector. Here is a photo of her grave and the "avenue" situated in the graveyard she rests in. There is more MUCH more about this woman but this is enough space dedicated to her. She is 20' down in a special tomb to thwart grave robbers.

Our hotel was at the Five Star Sheraton located in downtown Buenos Aries overlooking one of the busiest 12 lane city streets I've ever seen (Avenida del Libertador Above right).  The taxi cabs are yellow and black in color and are everywhere.  It looked live a hive of angry bumble bees outside our hotel room. Traffic jams are equal to the worst of New York, London or Paris.

  We decided to take the grand tour of Buenos Aries.  we visited the graveyard of Eva Peron (it really is something to see, the graveyard is built like a miniature city). We took a train trip (San Isidro)  through the better parts of Buenos Aires and then a trip via boat up the Parana River, which is a very interesting river. 

Buenos Aires architecture reminds me very much of the architecture of Europe.  Paris and Germany come to mind.  Their influence is seen everywhere especially downtown where the larger buildings are.   We visited the  must-see Tigre area while we were in Buenos Aires.  We took a very  picturesque ride along the Rio de la Plata on the coastal Tren de la Costa train to visit the extraordinary ecological area of the Parana River delta. The luxurious homes and attractive coastline of this lovely area are only 18 miles (30km) north of Buenos Aires.

We made a stopover at the San Isidro station (above Left) to visit its great shopping area (this is where I got my favorite belt from), When we finished shopping we jumped back on the train for the  ride to Tigre and then we hopped on a boat on the Parana River.  If you like nature, this is where it’s at its best.  One of the places I enjoyed was the Isla Martin Garcia which is a short ferry trip from Tigre and only 1.2 miles off the Uruguayan coast (that's how close you are to Uruguay).

It's a park-like island and has an all-in-one historical monument, nature reserve and recreational retreat. One of the features of the little island is the densely forested area.  On another note, the island was used as a prison camp (hosting four ex-presidents, One of their houses is above, encased in glass) and a strategic observation point to guard against smugglers and protect the approaches to rivers in the area.

Sculptures abound as do parks all over Buenos Aires.  Art is everywhere in this beautiful city.  

Buenos Aires sprawls.  And it has it's share of barrios that stick out like sore thumbs.  But all in all the people of the city seem to be a happy bunch. 

We didn't see any problems anywhere we were but we were pretty well insulated and, as always, we are very aware of our immediate surroundings.

We were out late at night to Tango clubs (the folks here don't even think about having dinner until 2300 hrs and then tango the night away).  How these folks, both young and old, ever get-up in the morning and go to work is a puzzle to me.  I could do it when I was young and so could Lois but now...No way.

The following photos are of some of the slums we saw and they are as bad as anything we've seen anywhere in South America. Fact is, the walls built around these "compounds" are very reminiscent of what we've seen in Asia.

As I said before, Buenos Aires is a city filled with art and they have their very own section of town.  This is what the main drag looks like.

mmediately after Evita's death, Eva's husband Juan Peron paid physician Pedro Ara $100,000 to embalm Eva's body. Ara cosmetically restored her cancer-ridden form and replaced her bodily fluids with glycerine to preserve her organs and tissues. The whole process took two to three years.

Meanwhile, Peron began construction on a monument to Evita. It was to be bigger than the Statue of Liberty. The top of the monument would feature a man representing one of Eva's descamisados. Eva's body would be displayed in a glass coffin at the base of the monument.

Before Juan Peron could complete his grand plans for Eva, however, he was overthrown in a military coup in 1955. He escaped to Spain, leaving Eva's body in Argentina.

Read more at Suite101: What Happened to Eva Peron's Body?: The Fascinating Story of the Eva Peron Corpse http://modern-latin-american-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/what-happened-to-eva-perons-body#ixzz0vHpOah9Q


Puerto Madryn

Our stop in Puerto Madryn was interesting but the trip down the coast to where the penguin rookeries were was BORING!  There is nothing but desert!  But lets first deal with the port city of Puerto Madryn.  

Puerto Madryn is the gateway to the Península Valdés, a wildlife sanctuary for birds and marine species, including rheas, oystercatchers, flamingos, egrets, whales, sea elephants, sea lions, Magellan penguins, cormorants, petrels and many other species of wildlife.

In addition, Puerto Madryn has an interesting history. Long after Spanish explorers landed, this area was also settled by Welsh colonists who left Great Britain seeking autonomy for their culture and language. The original settlers came ashore in July 1865 and named their first settlement Port Madryn in honor of Baron Madryn of Wales. Over time, the colonists spread and founded other towns, maintaining their language, customs and architectural styles.

While other cities in the province retain much of their Welsh heritage, in Puerto Madryn, only the street names remain.

Península Valdés

Another characteristic of the region is the contrast between the green of the Patagonia plateau, with its tones of brownish green and gray, and the green-blue of the sea seen at the base of the giant cliffs that show the last of the steps of the valley. From there on, beaches of soft sand and gravel slopes get gently into the sea.

In the summer months it's very hot during the day, temperatures rising up to 40 centigrade, but it always gets cool at night, so do not forget to bring a jacket, sweatshirt or sweater for these circumstances. Also remember that the closer we get to the polar circle of Antarctica, the less protected we are by the ozone layer, therefore the harming effects of the sun can be sensed clearly. So it's always better to bring with you, along with your swimsuit, your sunglasses and solar protection.

In winter, temperatures are low, though there's no snow since we are by the ocean (the great climate controller). There is much wind, so you have to bring not only warm clothes according to the season but also a good jacket, appropriate shoes and a cap. We were fortunate enough to visit Península Valdés, and the penguin rookeries.  It was great to walk among all these birds and see how they nest (they burrow into the dirt then line their nest with feathers, ect.  They give birth to either one chick or two and survival depends much on the weather conditions and sea conditions.



Cape Horn

The first time I ever saw Cape Horn was from the back of a C-130 aircraft with the ramp and door open with me peering down at 100 foot waves.  That’s right, 100 FOOT WAVES.  They looked like they were going to wash into the aircraft.  I guess I should  explain what I was doing there, tied down, looking at such a fearsome sight in such perilous conditions.  I was in the U.S. Air Force at the time and we were enroute to  McMurdo Station, Antarctica.  A ship was in distress off the coast of Cape Horn and we were asked to assist in the search and rescue operation.  The waves were reported by the Argentine Navy at 100 feet in height and wind speeds of 100 miles per hour.  We dropped down to 1000 feet, then to 500 feet and circled for about an hour but saw nothing save a U.S. Navy Destroyer bobbing around like a cork.  Now you saw it, now you don’t. It was AWSOME!!!

Years later, this trip became available and I seized upon it.  Vowing to ride out whatever weather the fearsome Cape Horn could offer, even if they had to chain me to the deck!  When we arrived at the Horn, the water was as flat as your kitchen table and the weather was partly cloudy and the wind at 15 knots. We didn’t sail around Cape Horn once…We did it three times and I got some great photos.  I even went through the "rounding the Horn" ceremony...

That was the COLDEST water I have EVER had poured over my head!!!

Here is a little history about Cape Horn.  

The Cape Horn  route around South America is one of the most dangerous nautical passages in the world. Both sailors and passengers fear it because of the many sailing mishaps that have occurred there.

Cape Horn was discovered because of commercial restrictions imposed by the Dutch East India Company early in the 17th Century. The East India Company’s charter forbade any other Dutch trading company from traveling to the East Indies using either the Straits of Magellan or the Cape of Good Hope.

A wealthy Dutch merchant, Isaac Le Maire, was convinced that there was another route around South America located south of the Straits of Magellan. The land south of the Straits of Magellan was Tierra Del Fuego. Most sailors at that time believed that that Tierra Del Fuego was another continent but Le Maire was convinced that it was just a large island and could therefore be rounded to the south. Also Sir Francis Drake, years earlier, reported sailing in open ocean far south of the Straits of Magellan. If an alternate route to the Straits of Magellan could be found then Le Maire could legally travel to the East Indies to establish trade without violating the East India Company charter.

Le Maire therefore obtained the services of an experienced navigator, Willem Schouten. He also formed a trading company known as the Goldseekers consisting of city leaders of the Dutch town of Hoorn. Money was raised for two ships, the Eendracht and the Hoorn, to find the new route.

In May 1615, the two ships began their expedition, sailing from England. Unfortunately, while the ships were outfitting in Patagonia, the Hoorn accidentally caught fire and was completely burned. The Eendracht continued on alone and in January 1616 it passed through a route south of the Straits of Magellan. This new route is now called Strait Of Le Maire. As the Eendracht passed through this strait, a high point on an island to the south was noted and named Cape Hoorn in honor of the town that raised funds for the expedition as well as for their recently lost ship. The English later changed this name to Cape Horn.


Ushuaia - The southernmost city in the world


Ushuaia has long been described as the southernmost city in the world. While there are settlements farther south, the only one of any notable size is Puerto Williams, Chile,

Ushuaia qualifies as a city, defined as a "center of population, commerce, and culture; a town of significant size and importance". Ushuaia has a fully functional hospital, an international airport, and primary and secondary schools, as well as institutions of higher learning. Its 64,000 residents enjoy an organized public transportation system and a functioning municipality, and its industrial sector, led by the Renacer Grundig electronics plant, is among the largest in Patagonia. Ushuaia also serves as the provincial capital of Tierra del Fuego.

The city tour can begin along the Coastal Avenue (Maipu), which borders the Beagle Channel. Along this avenue you will get to the Port of Ushuaia and the Nautical Club. At the end there is a catwalk that you must take in order to get to the peninsula where magnificent views of the city are guaranteed. This area shelters Bahía Encerrada, which gets frozen during winter and becomes a Skating rink.

Malvinas Argentinas street, boasts the historical Beban House and the reconstruction of the old town, a relic that recreates Ushuaia during the days of the pioneers.

On the opposite extreme of the city, along the main street (San Martin) up to its crossing with Yaganes St. you will reach the legendary Jail of the end of the world, now transformed into a museum (Museo del Presidio). A must visit, where there are even wax statues of the most famous criminals that were sent to that place.

This historical prison was shut down in 1947. Nowadays most of it still stands conserving its original state, with the cells used by the convicted, their stone walls and the bars and grids.

This jail is the symbol of Ushuaia's colonization. It began to be built in 1902 and was finished in 1920. The works were carried out by the prisoners themselves, and had 380 one-person cells.

The main reason for its existence was to lodge re-offenders, but it ended up with a mixture of the most dangerous criminals, thieves, political prisoners, members of the armed forces, etc.

Those prisoners with good behavior were rewarded with the chance of working outside the jail, or in the workshops. This was paid work, fact that enabled some of them to save some money for the moment they were released or to send it to their relatives outside. Among the workshops there were: press, photography, shoe repair, tailor, carpentry, bakery, medical service, pharmacy and so on, all of which gave Ushuaia's inhabitants the basic supplies in order to live. Otherwise they would depend on ships arriving to the port only once a month, or even less.

In this way Ushuaia's life was being built around this prison and along with it.

Another of Ushuaia's attractions. It's true name is "Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino", a.k.a. the Train of the End of the World which, along with the jail, constitutes an icon of the island.

This railway's history is, as almost everything in this city, linked to the prisoners of the mythical jail.

An elegant and antique formation of heated wagons, with wide windows and pulled by a steam locomotive, took us along a 8 Km. long tour departing from the End of World Station up to the Tierra del Fuego National Park Station. The round trip total time is 1 hour 40 minutes, approximate.

Tierra del Fuego National Park

The Tierra del Fuego National Park is the farthest south protected region of Argentina and the only national park that possesses maritime coasts, embracing a strip of land 6 km (3.75 mi) wide over the Beagle Channel. It was founded in 1960 and has a surface area of 63,000 hectares (151,200 acres).

As a member of the circuit of protected areas of the Andean Patagonia, the idea was to continue  protecting the land that belonged to the sub Antarctic forest. The park offers protection to representatives of 6 species of arboreal animals that have established themselves on the island and now pertain to these forests. It also shelters native fauna of the region and preserves ruins from a town of ancient yámana aborigines. You can find yourself in the Lapataia Bay among the remains of mussel shells and animal bones, which is evidence that the mussels constituted the animals' diet. You may even find some utensils or tools, all of which add to the interest of the area.

Four small mountain chains, that run from northwest to southeast, enclose deep, practically isolated valleys. On the maritime coast of the Beagle Channel -an irregular stretch of 6 km (3.75 mi) of woods-, you can distinguish the deep bay of Lapataia and countless other small bays and coves, whose beaches and banks serve as the ideal environment for the existence of maritime fauna.

Parts of the two main lakes, the Fagnano and the Roca, and other minor ones, sprinkle into the park area, which also embraces a stretch of the Olivia, Pipa, and Roca rivers. These rivers flow into the waters of Lake Roca in the Lapataia Bay.

The Park possesses six excursion trails: Pampa Alta Trail, Costera Trail, and Las Lengas Trail, paths that allow you to reach the bay areas of the park and the hills, from which you can see the beautiful view of the Beagle Channel and the mountain chain of Tierra del Fuego.

Typical Upscale Housing                         Typical Worker Housing                    Typical Worker Neighborhood

This is our Tour Bus                       These are Black & White Cormorants    View of the Beagle Channel


Climate of Argentina

The generally temperate climate ranges from subtropical in the north to subpolar in the far south. The north is characterized by very hot, humid summers with mild drier winters, and is subject to periodic droughts. Central Argentina has hot summers with thunderstorms (western Argentina produces some of the world's largest hail), and cool winters. The southern regions have warm summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall, especially in mountainous zones. Higher elevations at all latitudes experience cooler conditions.

The hottest and coldest temperature extremes recorded in South America have occurred in Argentina. A record high temperature of 49.1 °C (120.4 °F), was recorded at Villa María, Córdoba, on 2 January 1920. The lowest temperature recorded was −39 °C (−38.2 °F) at Valle de los Patos Superior, San Juan, on 17 July 1972.

Major wind currents include the cool Pampero Winds blowing on the flat plains of Patagonia and the Pampas; following the cold front, warm currents blow from the north in middle and late winter, creating mild conditions. The Zonda, a hot dry wind, affects west-central Argentina. Squeezed of all moisture during the 6,000 m (19,685 ft) descent from the Andes, Zonda winds can blow for hours with gusts up to 120 km/h (75 mph), fueling wildfires and causing damage; when the Zonda blows (June–November), snowstorms and blizzard (viento blanco) conditions usually affect higher elevations.

The total surface area (excluding the Antarctic claim) is 2,766,891.2 km2 (1,068,302.7 sq mi), of which 30,200 km2 (11,700 sq mi) (1.1%) is water. Argentina is about 3,900 km (2,400 mi) long from north to south, and 1,400 km (870 mi) from east to west (maximum values). There are four major regions: the fertile central plains of the Pampas, source of Argentina's agricultural wealth; the flat to rolling, oil-rich southern plateau of Patagonia including Tierra del Fuego; the subtropical northern flats of the Gran Chaco, and the rugged Andes mountain range along the western border with Chile.

The highest point above sea level is in Mendoza province at Cerro Aconcagua (6,962 m (22,841 ft)), also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemisphere. The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in Santa Cruz province, -105 m (−344 ft) below sea level. This is also the lowest point in South America. The geographic center of the country is in south-central La Pampa province. The easternmost continental point is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones, (Argentina's easternmost continental point)) the westernmost in the Mariano Moreno Range in Santa Cruz province (Argentina's westernmost point). The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province, (Argentina's northernmost point)) and the southernmost is Cape San Pío in Tierra del Fuego. (Argentina's southernmost point)

The major rivers are the Paraná (the largest), the Pilcomayo, Paraguay, Bermejo, Colorado, Río Negro, Salado and the Uruguay. The Paraná and the Uruguay join to form the Río de la Plata estuary, before reaching the Atlantic. Regionally important rivers are the Atuel and Mendoza in the homonymous province, the Chubut in Patagonia, the Río Grande in Jujuy and the San Francisco River in Salta.


Formerly stable prices and exchange rates were disrupted, however: the peso lost about 70% of its value from early 1948 to early 1950, and inflation reached 50% in 1951. Foreign policy became more isolationist, straining U.S.-Argentine relations. Perón intensified censorship as well as repression: 110 publications were shuttered, and numerous opposition figures were imprisoned and tortured. Advancing a personality cult, Perón rid himself of many important and capable advisers, while promoting patronage. A violent coup, which bombarded the Casa Rosada and its surroundings killing many, deposed him in 1955. He fled into exile, eventually residing in Spain.

Now the peso is stable again and inflation is under control.





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