Argentina spreads through almost the whole southern part of South America, only sharing a little land on the west coast with Chile. It is Argentina - the world's eighth largest country, the home for some of the world's loftiest mountains, wide deserts, stunning waterfalls, and unique glaciers.
Here we introduce you 18 interesting facts about Argentina with a section of links to exciting adventures in Argentina, such as climbing Aconcagua, as well as more detailed pages on its mountain ranges as well as individual peaks.
1. Argentina means silver, and if you ever have looked at the periodic table you have probably gotten that its meaning comes from a Latin word argentum. The name first came about due to a rumour that spread in Spain in the 16th century that this land had so much silver that there even was a full mountain of it.
2. You are going to be either impressed or disappointed by this one - political parties in Argentina own their own brands of beers!
3. The first human to be born in Antarctica was Argentinean. In 1977, the country decided to send a pregnant woman to Antarctica in order to gain a part of the continent.
4. Mount Aconcagua has an elevation of 6,962 m (22,841 ft) and is not only the loftiest mountain in Argentina, but it is also the tallest in both of the Americas. There is a common belief amongst mountaineers that Mount Aconcagua is the highest non-technical climb on the planet, which basically means that it can be climbed not only by the professionals.
5. We all know that dinosaurs were giant! Well, the largest of them all lived on the soil of Argentina as the fossils of the Argentinosaurus have been found in the country. In fact, Argentina has been a paradise for archaeologists specializing in dinosaurs as there has been a significant number of discoveries there, for example, the Eoraptor, the oldest predator dinosaur ever found, was discovered in Argentina at the end of the 20th century.
6. Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil is probably one of the most famous and most visited landmarks in the whole South America. These falls are often compared to the Niagara Falls on the border of Canada and the United States or the Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. It stretches for 2,7 km (1,7 mi) in which it has 275 falls.
7. Tierra del Fuego, also known as the Land of Fire, is the most southern point in South America. The land of fire is often called the end of the world, but each visitor here gets unique outdoor experiences as there are many possibilities to go glacier and iceberg watching, to hike mountains and forests. However, probably the most popular activity here is to observe shipwrecks along the coastline.
8. Patagonia is considered to be the must in Argentina as it astonishes with its dramatic landscapes. It is a 1,043,076 sq km (402,733 sq mi) wide, located in the Andes in Argentina and Chile and it is so massive that it spans through almost a half of each country.
9. The most famous area in Argentinean Patagonia is the south region of the Los Glaciares National Park. This national park is unique due to the fact that it is one of the few places where glaciers still grow instead of shrinking, they also move around very quickly, approximately 2 m (6,5 ft) per day!
10. The most passionate dance – the tango – is also Argentina’s baby. The dance originated from slaughterhouse district in Buenos Aires and before it spread all around the world it was first danced by prostitutes and had mostly demonstrated seduction. In addition, others believe that it was first performed by men and when two men performed a dance together, it represented a duel.
11. The Andes go all the way down on the border between Argentina and Chile. This mountain range is the second highest in the world and it stretches for 7,000 km (4,300 mi), making it the longest continental mountain range in the world.
12. In Argentina, or more precisely, on the border of Chile and Argentina, both the highest historically active volcano and the tallest active volcano reside. The first – Llullaillaco is 6,739 m (22,109 ft) high which had its last eruption in 1877. The second – Ojos del Salado is taller, it reaches an elevation of 6,887 m (22,595 ft), but even though it is still active, there has not been any eruption in historic times.
13. You can find pretty impressive animal species in Argentina too. It is a home for the nine-banded armadillo, which can only have quadruplets of the same sex. The loudest animals on earth live here – the howler monkeys and the giant anteater, with their 2 ft long tongues, also have inhabited the country.
14. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field located both in Argentina and partially in Chile is the second biggest ice field of such kind on the planet. It is 355 km (220 mi) long and 48 km (30 mi) wide and it has the third largest fresh water reserve in the world - the Glacier Perito Moreno.
15. 472 million years ago planet Earth grew its first plant – the liverwort. Fossils of this highly resistant plant have been discovered in Argentina and are the oldest of its kind.
16. Aconcagua was first conquered by Matthias Zurbriggen from Switzerland in 1897. On the other hand, there has been much proof that Incas successfully climbed many high mountains in the Andes, in fact, mummified remains have been found at the elevation of 17,060 feet on the sub-peak of the mountain, in 1982.
17. On the border of Argentina and Chile stand the Monte Fitz Roy - 3,405 m (11,171 ft). Even though it is not at the highest of the elevations in the world, most of the mountaineers agree that it is one of the most technically strenuous climbing routes on Earth. It was first climbed by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone, in 1952.
18. Finally, Argentineans are proud to own the Cave of Hands, the oldest proof of ancient people living in Argentina, located in west Patagonia. The cave features paintings as old as 9,370 years. It gets its name from the fact that the majority of the paintings are of hands, and what is pretty strange, the larger number of the hands are left.