Being in social isolation doesn't stop us from dreaming of all the places we'd like to visit; in fact now we've got even more time to daydream. Escape on a virtual vacation to bring a little piece of Argentina to your living room.

Massive, jutting landforms, the rhythm of feet against worn floorboards and cobblestones, the contrast of restrained colonial architecture and sprawling Patagonian steppes, the evocative scents of roasting asado, burnt sugar, and smoke – so much in Argentina is a little larger than life. 

From the chilly fringes of Tierra Del Fuego to the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, there's a lot of adventure to be had in Argentina, and no shortage of colors, flavors, and sensations to take in. But thanks to its rich blend of cinema, literature, food, and music, it's easy to tide yourself over with a taste of Argentinian culture at home until the next time you can travel to this one-of-a-kind destination.

500px Photo ID: 31293479 - La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2007.
Tango dancers in La Boca, Buenos Aires © Irene Sekulic / 500px

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Best Movies

Documentary and biopics:
Un tango mas (2015): Two of Argentina's most famous tango dancers, Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, retrace their real-life romance and later heartbreak in this documentary punctuated with powerful dance numbers.
El Potro: Unstoppable (2018): Based on the life of Argentinian pop sensation Rodrigo "El Potro" Bueno, this biopic gives a glimpse into the world of cuarteto, a music genre baked into the culture of Córdoba.

Comedy: 
Wild Tales (2015):
These six darkly comic vignettes feature some of Argentina's most-beloved actors in roles exploring vengeance, rage, and what happens when people are pushed to the limits of social convention.
Waiting for the Hearse (1985): A cult classic black comedy based on a popular play, Esperando la carroza follows a family's fraught relationships as they bicker over who will care for their aging matriarch.

La Historia Oficial Year 1985 Director Luis Puenzo
Luis Puenzo directed this film just two years after its setting at the tail end of of the Dirty War © Photo 12 / Alamy Stock Photo

Drama:
The Official Story (1985): This Oscar-winning drama delves into the painful history of Argentina's military dictatorship in the 1980s through the tale of a high school history teacher whose adopted daughter may be an orphan of the desaparecido.
The Distinguished Citizen (2016): A Nobel-winning novelist returns from Europe to his Argentinian hometown to receive a new prize, and is forced to reckon with both place and his past.
Intimate Stories (2002): A classic, beautifully shot road movie shows three protagonists trying to reach the city of San Julian, each for their own reasons. It's easy to see why this understated film won a prize from the San Sebastian International Film Festival, just on the landscapes alone.
The Tenth Man (2016): Set in Buenos Aires' 11th district (el Once) follows a man named Ariel as he returns from New York to reconnect with his father – and the Jewish neighborhood of his youth.

Listen

Cuarteto Cordobes:

Tango Argentino:

Best Literature

Nonfiction and anthologies:
The Argentina Reader edited by Gabriela Nouzeilles: 
A lovingly curated collection of essays, poems, short stories, journalism, diary entries, photos, fine art, and even songs and comics manages to capture the breadth of nearly a century of culture, history, and contradictions in Argentina, including many marginalized voices, often overlooked in traditional histories.
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin: This classic of travel literature has been giving foreigners a sense of Patagonia's vast landscape since 1977, with vivid descriptions of the author's forays into the Argentine wilderness over a six month period.
Patagonia: A Cultural History by Chris MossPatagonia looms large in the collective imagination, thanks to its dramatic geography and the romance of outlaws and gauchos. Chris Moss explores the region's long history, and the numerous stories that add up to Patagonia's epic mythos.

500px Photo ID: 180201631 - Coming back from some late afternoon shooting in Los Glaciares in Patagonia we were held up by a herd of sheep being driven across the road by several gauchos and their sheep dogs.  It was a major hold-up to funnel the hundreds
Gaucho on horseback with sheepdogs during sunset in Los Glaciares © Barbara Mierau-Klein / 500px

Fiction:
My Father's Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain by Patrico Pron: A semi-autobiographical novel follows a young writer who must grapple with his father's past upon returning home – and in doing so, reckons with his family's role in the darker chapters of Argentina's political history.
Friends of Mine by Angela Pradelli: The reader has the opportunity to trail four ordinary Argentine women through their daily lives in Buenos Aires, and share in their reminiscences and reflections on their long-standing friendships.
Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges: No introduction to Argentinian culture would be complete without Borges, whose short stories, poems, and essays put Buenos Aires on the literary map alongside London, Dublin, and New York. Blending magical realism, philosophy, and a multitude of genres, Borges' work is a world in and of itself.
The Gaucho Martin Fierro by Jose HernandezWhat Owen Wister did for the American western when he wrote The Virginian – the first true novel of the genre – Jose Hernandez did for Argentina's cowboys in this epic poem. Part fiery political protest, part ode to the Argentine frontier, Hernandez cemented the gaucho as an integral part of independent Argentina's identity and influenced generations of writers, filmmakers, and even comic artists from Borges to Thomas Pynchon. 

Best Podcasts

The Argentina Project: A podcast out of the Wilson Center's Latin America Program in Washington, DC, with insights on Argentine politics and economics informed by non-partisan policy experts. Past topics include political involvement by young Argentines, neo-Peronism, female entrepreneurship, and Chinese engagement in Latin America.

Argentina Electronica: Brush up on your Spanish and delve into the contemporary EDM scene in Argentina with this podcast hosted by DJs, tour managers, and producers who are steeped in the genre not only in South America, but in European clubs as well. 

Food

Cheap, flaky empanadas packed with flavorful beef, emerald-hued chimichurris brightened with lemon,  smoky, slow-grilled barbecue and roasted fruit desserts, boldly assertive wines – Argentina's most famous dishes and vintages often take no prisoners. But it's a humble dish called locro which truly exemplifies Argentine cuisine.

This stew – studded with hominy, squash, beans and tender chunks of veal, pork, chorizo or tripe – is popular throughout South America, and is rooted in indigenous Andean foodways. But come May 25, when Argentina celebrates its independence from Spain, locro is everywhere, served as a celebratory national dish. You can slow-cook your own version using this recipe.

Best Videos

Drinks

Throughout the day, Argentines enjoy thermoses and gourds full of mate – an energizing herbal tea indigenous to South America. But when the sun goes down and it's time for a drink with a different type of kick, you might want to fix yourself a Fernet con Coca, aka a Fernet and Coke.

Like neighboring Chile, Argentines got a taste for Fernet from Italian immigrants who made their way to South America – such a taste, in fact, that Argentina is still the only country outside of Italy to manufacture the herbaceous liquor. Rather than mixing Fernet with wine and pineapple ice cream, however, like you do to make a Chilean terremoto, Argentines keep it simple by adding 2oz of Fernet-Branca to a highball of Coca-Cola.

Cultural Highlights

Juan Carlos Copes y Maria Nieves, Buenos Aires 1974

Seven Fires with Francis Mallmann

A stroll in Cordoba

Epic Landscapes

Quebrada de Humahuaca

Glaciar Perito Moreno

Tierra Del Fuego

Shop Online

Do some online browsing with these online sources for Argentine goods (please note there may be some delays or restrictions due to COVID-19).

shutterstockRF_264745514.jpg
Traditional yerba mate tea popular in Latin America © Aneta_Gu/Shutterstock

Le Bas - beautifully designed leather goods from a small, women-run studio in Buenos Aires
Amigo Foods - imported mate, as well as mate-making accessories like bombillas, azuceras, and hierberas. Amigo Foods also stocks a variety of Argentine treats like alfajor cookies, coffee, jarred chimichurri, aji picante, and salsa criolla, and dulce de leche.
Guyonthemountain - silkscreen prints of Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, two iconic mountains on the border between Argentina and Chile.

You might also like: 

Iberá National Park: Northeast Argentina's wetland wonderland
Top 10 Argentina experiences for first-timers
A perfect week in Tierra del Fuego
Alternative museums to visit in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires' best scoop: an Argentine ice cream taste-off

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