The Argentinian part of the region includes the stunning provinces of Chubut, Rio Negro and Santa Cruz, amongst others. Tourism grew to be a vital part of the economy only in the second half of the twentieth century. The area was originally a secluded backpacking destination but these days it attracts some upmarket tourists, adventure and activity holiday goers and also cruise passengers who are visiting Antarctica or rounding Cape Horn.
Tourist attractions in the scenic area include the Argentine Lake District, the Valdes Peninsula, Perito Moreno glacier and Torres Del Paine national park. The influx of tourism has developed new local markets for traditional crafts like textiles, handicrafts, preserves and confectionery. These are also now being exported.
Thanks to the increase in visitors, foreigners are buying up huge areas of land to develop prestigious properties on. The area's largest land owner, a local, has developed new methods for the sheep rearing industry and has also plowed money into the economy by sponsoring museums and community amenities. This is a somewhat controversial issue though owing to their treatment of the local community.
Fashionable at eating establishments are game foods like deer and boar. Lamb is actually the customary meat. The lamb is typically cooked for a few hours over an open fire. Argentine gastronomy comprises of scrumptious grilled meats and pastas. Emphasis is placed on making use of the local ingredients.
In some areas there is an Alpine tradition that includes chocolate bars, tea rooms and fondue restaurants. Dulce de leche is a popular caramel type of sauce that is used on many desserts. A bitter tea, that is drunk often, is called mate. Varying ingredients can be added to the tea like lemon, sugar and cinnamon.
There is so much to do in the area. It offers some amazing whale-watching in Puerto Madryn. The best time to catch a glimpse is between June and December. The mountains are undoubtedly prime climbing, hiking and horseback riding locations. There is a dinosaur walking route in the northwest. Some insist that it is here that the skeletons of the largest dinosaurs ever can be found.
A World Heritage Site, the Cave of the Hands dates from 7370 BC. Free guided walks are given hourly. The awesome glaciers in the southern sector can be thrilling to look at. They are 30km long, 60km high and 5km wide. The country is said to be a diving capital with fascinating shipwrecks and sea life to be seen. Windsurfing and kayaking is also popular and many clubs offer lessons during high season. Argentina Patagonia adventure travel really does have something for everyone.
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