Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world. “The first people in Argentina were the Indians of the Americas. They were thought to have descended from Asia, crossing the Bering Strait from Siberia in prehistoric times” (Gofen, p.17). “The first Spaniard to land in Argentina was explorer Juan Diaz de Solis in 1516. He sailed into the Rio de la Plata estuary and claimed the land for Spain”(Argentina, p.1).
Argentineans enjoy a climate that favors outdoor activities throughout the year. The camp, hunt, fish, hike, rock climb, ski, sail, windsurf, cycle, tennis, and golf. They take seaside vacations on the Atlantic coast and inland vacations in resort areas such as Bariloche. They also like all team sports, their most favorite being soccer, known as full. The English brought this game to Argentina in the last century. Among national teams, a passionate rivalry exists between Argentina and Brazil. More than 100,000 fans will turn to watch a game between the two countries.
Prices start at $12
Prices start at $11
Prices start at $10
Vegetation varies greatly throughout the country. The scrublands produce mainly dwarf shrubs, while the rainforests support giant cedar and laurel trees. Quebracho trees, from which tannin extracted, are native to Mesopotamia. The wildlife is typically South American, with llamas, monkeys, jaguars, armadillos and many snakes. Birdlife includes toucans, hummingbirds, parrots and the ostrich-like rheas. Fish, including piranhas, abound in the many streams, and there are sea lions off the coast. Pigs, introduced by European settlers, are to be found wild in Patagonia.
Argentina is alive with festivals, or fiestas. Their colorful processions brighten the landscape from one end of the country to the other. Many different groups of people express their artistic, musical, and culinary creativity through festival celebrations. Argentinean festivals reflect the spiritual traditions of both native Indian religions and Christianity. Festivals and holidays may involve religious pilgrimages, feasts, parades, dancing, and even gaucho competitions on horseback. Most of the competitors in gaucho events are descendants of gauchos. They use traditional old costumes and saddles for the contest.
Carnival occurs at the same time as similar celebrations among Roman Catholics all over the world, including the Mardi Gras in the United States. The celebration of Carnival in Argentina is especially vigorous in the northern part of the country. Business comes to a halt as costumed Argentineans dance in the streets. Carnival festivities usually begin on the weekend before Ash Wednesday, which most often falls in February. The celebrations are mixed with Indian traditions in the northeast.
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