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Introducing Tucumán

Baking hot, energetic and brash, (San Miguel de) Tucumán, the cradle of Argentine independence, is the nation’s fifth-largest city and feels like it, with a metropolitan bustle that can come as quite a shock after the more genteel provincial capitals elsewhere in the northwest. You may not like it at first, but don’t be put off. This isn’t the usual patter: Tucumán really rewards time spent getting to know it. You may find you prefer it at night, when the fumes and heat of the day have lulled, and the cafes and bars come to life.

Tucumán’s blue-collar feel and a down-to-earth quality is complemented by a lively cultural scene, and its cafe-bars, bookstores, art exhibitions and traditional peñas put it a step ahead of its serene neighbors. Less advanced is the courtship behavior of the average tucumano (inhabitant of Tucumán) – women can expect higher-than-usual numbers of piropos (flirtatious remarks) here.