Diversity and contrasts. Two words that define perfectly well this great South American country; the eighth largest in the world. In its vast territory encompasses habitats and environments so diverse such as the Pampas's grasslands, the vast Patagonian steppes, the dense tropical rainforests, the enormous Ibera Marshlands, the cloud forests or "Yungas", the Altiplano or Andean Plateau, the extensive Andean Range (with the highest peak on the Western Hemisphere: Mt. Aconcagua - 6,962 m - 22,841 ft.-), subtropical palm groves, the large Patagonian ice cap, and the South Atlantic coasts, for mentioning some of them.
These array of habitats host an extraordinary biodiversity, that requires more than 1000 species of birds, 320 of mammals, almost 10.000 species of vascular plants and large numbers of reptiles, insects and freshwater fish. Jaguars, toucans, penguins, Andean condors, caimans, howler monkeys, more than 30 species of hummingbirds, southern elephant seals, right whales, sealions, guanacos, greater rheas, horneros, trogons, seriemas, rheas, tapirs, pumas and 3 species of flamingos are only part of its incredible wildlife.
An important and increasing network of national parks and provincial, municipal and private parks and reserves help to protect the different habitats and the wildlife of Argentina, including areas of singular beauty. Many of these areas have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
But Argentina also means cultural heritage. Long time before the arrival of the Spaniards numerous cultures (many of them really advanced) inhabited the different corners of our territory, including the late arrival of the Incas at 1480, whose southern empire required the northwest of Argentina. We can admire their strong heritage and spirituality in countless settlements, towns, fortresses, ceremonial sites and stunning petroglyphs and B.C. cave paintings. Many communities and native groups still keep their ancient cultures and traditions; it is possible to learn about them visiting their towns and participating in their festivities and popular celebrations and of course enjoying their traditional meals in the different corners of this vast country of superlatives. Go to ecoregions map