At the beach in Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

By Norbert Figueroa, an experienced architect, travel writer, long-term budget traveler, and photographer with over 13 years of travel experience in over 139 countries and counting. @globotreks

GloboTreks is reader-supported through affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support! – Norbert

Argentina, the land of silver, is a fascinating country that promises to captivate your senses. From the vibrant streets of Buenos Aires to the remote mountain villages, every corner of this nation is full of excitement and adventure.

Whether you are interested in tango music, the outdoors, delicious steak, or football, Argentina has something for everyone to indulge in.

Argentina is a melting pot of culture, history, tradition, and flavor. It’s the perfect place to eat your way across the country.

However, the towering Andes Mountains and evergreen Iguazu Falls make it a nature lover’s paradise. Simply put, Argentina’s diversity ensures there’s something for every taste.

Argentinean Flag

From its colorful culture and delicious cuisine to its breathtaking natural wonders, Argentina is undoubtedly a bucket-list destination.

These fun facts about Argentina might inspire you to look for the cheapest airfare, pack your bags, and head to this fascinating country.

1. Argentina is the Second Largest Country in South America

Argentina covers a vast landscape that stretches over 1,068,296 square miles, making it the eighth-largest country in the world. It is the second-largest nation in South America after Brazil and has a population of over 46 million people.

A large majority of Argentines speak Spanish, the official language, making it the third-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico and Colombia.

Even though Spanish is the official language, there are many indigenous languages spoken in Argentina, like Quechua, Guaraní, Aymara, and more. But also interesting is that Italian is the second most spoken language in Argentina!

Mount Aconcagua in Argentina

2. Argentina Has the Highest Mountain Peak in the Western Hemisphere

Mount Aconcagua is not only the highest point in Argentina but also the highest mountain peak in the entire Western Hemisphere. Located in the Andes mountain range that stretches across many South American countries, it stands over 22,831 ft (6,962 m) above sea level and is a popular destination for mountaineers around the world.

The mountain is not just a paradise for rock climbers but also for hikers and nature enthusiasts who want to experience the stunning natural beauty of the Andes.

It is surrounded by diverse landscapes, from the arid desert at its base to snowy peaks at the summit. This allows an array of the world’s flora, like yareta and goat horn, to flourish.

3. Buenos Aires Has the Largest Mosque in Latin America

The King Fahd Islamic Cultural Centre is the largest mosque in Latin America, located in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It was constructed with the support of the Saudi Arabian government and officially inaugurated in 2000.

The mosque serves as a place of worship for the city’s Muslim community and can accommodate over 1500 worshippers.

It includes a library, classrooms, and a cultural center for promoting Islamic culture and education. The center is open to visitors of all backgrounds and beliefs, making it a valuable resource for the wider community.

If you can’t visit this establishment, there are over ten recognized mosques across Argentina, five of which are in Buenos Aires.

4. Argentina’s Official National Sport is El Pato

Although football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Argentina, the official national sport is a unique and lesser-known game called El Pato.

Did you even imagine that the national sport of Argentina was El Pato?!

This thrilling sport is a mix of polo, basketball, and horseback riding, where players on horseback attempt to land a rubber ball in a floating basket or goal.

The game is a symbol of Argentina’s rich cultural heritage and its love for equestrian sports. With every El Pato match, the crowds are filled with excitement and the players with determination, making it an unforgettable experience.

Football match in Argentina

5. Football is the Most Popular Sport in South America

Even though it is not the national sport, football is by far the most beloved sport in Argentina. It is seen as a cultural icon and a source of national pride. The Argentine Football Association was founded in 1893, making it one of the oldest in the world.

The country has a long-standing history with the sport and holds the honor of having won the FIFA World Cup three times (1978, 1986, and 2022). It has also produced some of the world’s most renowned players, including football legends Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.

6. Argentine Beef is World Famous

Argentina is a major exporter of quality beef and is highly regarded internationally. Their steaks are considered to be some of the best in the world.

Cattle are raised on the lush grasslands of la Pampa and are free to roam and graze. This means the cattle produce meat rich in flavor and truly a cut above the rest.

The beef is often used in traditional dishes such as Asado (barbecue) and empanadas. A guided gastronomical dinner in Buenos Aires is perfect for foodies looking to indulge in a full Argentine culinary experience.

Buenos Aires Avenida 9 de Julio in Argentina

7. Buenos Aires Has the Widest Street in the World

Buenos Aires, the bustling capital of Argentina, boasts the title of having the widest street in the world. The grand Avenida 9 de Julio is named after the country’s Day of Independence, celebrated on the 9th of July.

This colossal avenue spans a staggering 459 ft in width and accommodates 16 lanes of traffic. The street is home to historic buildings, monuments, and landmarks like the Obelisco, making it worth exploring when you visit Argentina.

Mate Tea

8. Argentina’s National Drink is Yerba Mate

The national drink of Argentina is yerba mate, a traditional South American caffeine-rich drink. It is made from dried leaves of the yerba mate herb and is drunk for its energizing and stimulating effects.

The aroma and taste of mate are unique and exquisite, with notes of earthiness and a subtle sweetness.

Sharing mate is a common ritual among friends and family, and it is often offered as a sign of hospitality and goodwill. The drink is a beloved part of Argentine culture and is a must-try for anyone visiting the country.

Maradona T-Shirt

9. Football Legend Maradona Inspired a Religion

The legendary football skills of Diego Maradona have inspired such devotion that a church was opened in his honor in 1998. The Church of Maradona is situated in Rosario and was created by a group of dedicated fans.

The church now has over 120,000 members and even has its own ten commandments, including naming your first son Diego and considering the ball sacred. The church is a testament to Maradona’s incredible talent and enduring impact on his loyal fans’ hearts.

If you need more proof of his popularity, he infamously scored the “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 Fifa World Cup. That famous goal helped his country win the world cup and will forever be remembered by members of this church and the world alike.

Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina

10. Iguazu Falls is the Largest Broken Waterfall in the World

Iguazu Falls is a natural wonder located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, offering beautiful views on both sides. With a total of 275 individual waterfalls spread over two miles, it is the largest broken waterfall in the world.

The Iguazu River feeds the falls, starting its journey high in the Andes and flowing through the lush subtropical rainforest before reaching the falls. It is home to a wide array of wildlife, including monkeys, toucans, and various species of butterflies.

11. The Southernmost City in the World is in Argentina

Ushuaia, located in Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, is considered the southernmost city in the world. Despite its remote location, the city is well-connected with regular flights from Buenos Aires and other major cities in South America.

The city is a popular destination for tourists seeking adventure and outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and fishing. It is known for its stunning natural landscapes, which include snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and forests.

It is also one of the major hubs for people to hop on cruises and expedition ships navigating the Atlantic Ocean and Drake Passage all the way to Antarctica.

If you visit between January and April, you’ll see the migration of hundreds of whales.

12. The World’s First Animated Feature Film Was Made in Argentina

Contrary to popular belief, Walt Disney did not create the first animated movie. Argentina holds this unique place in film history as the birthplace of the world’s first animated feature film.

The film “El Apóstol” (The Apostle) was directed by Quirino Cristiani and released in 1917. The movie tells the tale of a man who creates a robot to help him win the election.

The robot ends up becoming a dictator, which is a fitting commentary on the country’s turbulent political climate of the time.

Penguins in Ushuaia, Argentina

13. Argentina Has the World’s Largest Population of Magellanic Penguins

Argentina is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the largest population of Magellanic penguins in the world. These adorable birds rest along the country’s coast, particularly in the Patagonian region.

Visitors can witness the penguins in their natural habitat, waddling on the sandy beaches and swimming in the cool waters. Not only can you observe these birds up close, but you can also learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect them.

Argentina’s commitment to preserving its wildlife makes it a unique and memorable destination for any wildlife enthusiast.

Gauchos in Argentina

14. Cowboys are Called Gauchos in South America

Gauchos are the legendary nomadic cowboys of Argentina that have roamed the grasslands since the 1800s. Their tales of adventure and bravery have been woven into literature and folklore, making them a significant symbol of the country’s culture and history.

These folk figures are easily recognizable by their distinctive attire of traditional wool ponchos and wide-brimmed hats. For a glimpse into their way of life, you can take a gaucho day tour to one of the traditional ranches outside Buenos Aires.

15. Argentina is Known as the Land of Silver

Argentina’s name is derived from “Argentum,” the Latin word for silver. It has this name due to the large quantities of the precious metal discovered by a Spanish colony in the 16th Century.

After the country gained independence from Spain in 1816, the name stuck, and Argentina became one of the biggest producers and exporters of silver in the world.

Lionel Messi Shirt

16. There is a Law Against Naming a Child Messi

Football legend Lionel Messi led the Argentinian team to victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, inspiring millions worldwide. After Argentina won, a resident in Messi’s hometown of Rosario named his son after the soccer star.

Rosario’s government officials realized that many would follow suit and worried about “mass confusion” down the line if the name became too popular. So, they implemented a city-wide ban preventing parents from naming their kids Messi.

17. Argentina Once Had Five Presidents in Ten Days

The Argentine Republic has seen its fair share of political turmoil. Starting on the 21st of December, 2001, the country saw a period of unprecedented instability when five different presidents took office in just ten days.

This resulted from a constitutional and economic crisis that led to widespread protests and political upheaval in Buenos Aires.

The five presidents during this chaotic time were Fernando de la Rúa, Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, Eduardo Duhalde, Ramón Puerta, and Eduardo Camaño. After the dust settled, Eduardo Duhalde was elected as the new president and held office until May 2003.

18. Argentina’s Civil War Lasted Almost 8 Years

Argentina’s Civil War, also known as the Argentine War of Independence, lasted from 1810 to 1818. This 8-year-long conflict was the country’s struggle to gain independence from the Spanish Empire and its colonial rule.

The war resulted in the formation of a new nation with Buenos Aires as its capital and was the beginning of a new era for Argentina.

The events are remembered through national holidays and monuments that serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made for the country’s freedom.

Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina

19. Argentina Has One of the Most Pristine Lakes in the World

Laguna del Carbón is a glacial salt lake in the Patagonian region of Argentina. It is considered to be one of the most pristine lakes in the world due to its remote location and lack of human development around it.

What’s also interesting is that it is the lowest point in Argentina at -345 ft (-105 m) below sea level – which also makes it the lowest point in all of the Western Hemisphere.

As part of the Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the lake is fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, giving it crystal-clear, sparkling water. The lake’s natural beauty and the rugged landscape make it a truly unique and unforgettable destination.

You can even see the iconic pink flamingos dancing in the lake’s water.

Pope Francis of Argentina

20. Pope Francis Worked as a Bouncer in Buenos Aires

Pope Francis is the current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was born in Buenos Aires in 1936 and was ordained as a priest in 1969. In 2013, he made history by being the first Latin American Pope and the firstborn in the Southern Hemisphere.

One of the most interesting facts about Pope Francis is that he worked as a bouncer at a nightclub in his younger days. He took this job, as well as a janitorial position, to pay for his studies.

Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina

21. Argentina Attracts Visitors With its Spectacular Glacier

The Perito Moreno Glacier is a natural wonder that attracts visitors from across the globe to Argentina. The glacier is unique as it is one of the only glaciers in the world that is still growing while most are shrinking.

Covering an area of almost 97 square miles, the glacier’s towering ice walls and crystal-clear blue ice is a majestic sight. Its rugged surrounding terrain makes it a popular destination for trekking, hiking, and adventure.

Although the Perito Moreno is the most popular, there are actually over 300 glaciers across Argentina. There are over 40 glaciers in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, making it the perfect icy vacation.

If that’s not enough, the iconic Fits Roy mountain range is a delightful backdrop for some unforgettable photos. Speaking of, when you pack your bags, get a travel case for your camera, and make special memories in this amazing country.

22. Argentina and the United Kingdom Both Claim the Same Islands

The Falkland Islands, known as Islas Malvinas in Spanish, is a remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, situated about 300 miles off the coast of Argentina. The islands have been a source of historical and geopolitical contention between Argentina and the United Kingdom.

In 1982, a conflict erupted when Argentine forces invaded the Falklands (expressing sovereignty claims due to its proximity to the southern part of South America and Argentina), leading to a short-lived but intense war with British forces, ultimately resulting in the UK reclaiming control.

The Falklands have a small population, mainly of British descent, engaged in sheep farming and fishing activities – which is one of the main economic drivers on the islands.

The ongoing sovereignty dispute has diplomatic implications, with Argentina maintaining its claim to the islands (even having it written in its current National Constitution from 1994).

At the same time, the Falkland Islanders express a strong desire to remain a British Overseas Territory. This complex history continues to shape international relations in the region.

23. Argentina was the First Country in the Americas to Recognize Same-sex Marriage

In Argentina, same-sex marriage has been legal since July 15, 2010, marking a significant milestone in LGBTQ+ rights. The country became the first in the Americas to embrace marriage equality, reflecting a progressive stance on social issues.

This legal breakthrough resulted from years of activism, with the LGBTQ+ community and allies advocating for equal rights. The Argentine Congress passed a historic bill granting same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt children, challenging traditional norms and fostering inclusivity.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in Argentina has since served as a beacon of progress for LGBTQ+ rights across the region. Its neighboring country, Brazil, followed Argentina’s steps in 2013, and to this day, 11+ countries recognize this inclusivity – accounting for 85% of the America’s population. Still, more to go!

21 Fun Facts About Argentina That Might Surprise You!
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