For residents of the northern American continent, Argentina offers the possibility of enjoying two summers in the same year, but the country's great variety and elongated geography makes a visit in any season worthwhile. Patagonian destinations, such as the Moreno Glacier in Santa Cruz, are best to visit from December to February, when the weather's milder and more services are available. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Buenos Aires (the summer is hot and humid). Mendoza, Cordoba and the Lake District are all spectacular in autumn, when the leaves are fiery reds and yellows, the temperatures are comfortable and the crowds are thin.
Northern Argentina, including the Iguazu Falls in subtropical Misiones province, is also more pleasant in the southern hemisphere's winter or spring when heat and humidity are less oppressive. Ski season runs mid-June through mid-October, and the resorts are most crowded in July and August when every porteño (person from Buenos Aires) seems to be on the slopes.
When to Travel: Remember that in the southern hemisphere seasons are the opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. In general, the summer is the best time to visit Patagonia and the Southern Andes because of the mild temperatures and long days. Wintertime is recommended for travelling to the North and Northwest as rains are less frequent and tropical temperatures drop a few degrees. Autumn and spring are marvelous in Buenos Aires, Cuyo and the pre-mountain range areas of La Rioja and Catamarca.
Geography: Argentina's main characteristic is the enormous contrast between the immense eastern plains and the impressive Andes mountain range to the west. This is the frontier with Chile and boasts the highest peak in the Western hemisphere: the 6,959 m high Aconcagua.
From Jujuy to Tierra del Fuego, the Andes present marvelous contrasts: the Northwest plateaus, the lake region, the forests and glaciers in the Patagonia.
To the north, Chaco is a forested area linked to rivers Bermejo, Salado and Pilcomayo.
Between the Parana and Uruguay rivers, the Argentine Mesopotamia (provinces of Entre Rios, Corrientes and Misiones) is formed by low hills, where pools and marshlands evidence the ancient courses of these great rivers. In some places within the subtropical rain forest, there are fissures which provide such spectacular phenomena as the Iguazu Falls.
The Pampas, in the center of Argentina, is the largest and best-known area of plains. Agricultural and livestock activities are performed in this area, which includes the province of Buenos Aires, the northeast of La Pampa, the south of Cordoba and south of Santa Fe. To the south, the plains give way to small hills in Tandil and de la Ventana, and to the west, to the Cordoba hills.
Towards the south, from the Andes to the sea, there appear the sterile and stony plateaus of Patagonia, swept by the wind during most of the year. The Atlantic coast, lined with high cliffs, forms massive indentations like the Peninsula Valdes, with its spectacular and unique colonies of sea animals.