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Yet many of the country's most noteworthy sights are also its least known, such as the Esteros del Ibera , a huge reserve of swamps and floating islands offering unforgettably close-up encounters with cayman, monkeys, capybara and hundreds of brightly plumed birds; or Antofagasta de la Sierra , an amazingly remote village close to the biggest crater on the Earth's surface, set amid frozen lagoons mottled pink with flamingos; or Laguna Diamante , a high-altitude lake reflecting a wondrous volcano straight out of a Japanese woodcut.
In any case, weather conditions and the sheer size of the country will rule out any attempt to see every corner or even all the main destinations. If you do want to see each region, air travel will be the only way of fitting them in, unless time is no object. But climatic restraints make it far more sensible and rewarding to concentrate on a particular section of the country, and that's where the excellent network of long-distance buses comes into its own.
Other than if you're visiting Argentina as part of a South American tour, Buenos Aires is likely to be your point of entry, as it has the country's only bona fide international airport. Only inveterate city-haters will resist the capital's charm. Not a place for museum fans - though several of the city's art collections are certainly worth a visit - BA is one of the world's greatest urban experiences, with its intriguing blend of French-style architecture and a vernacular style that includes houses painted in the colours of a legendary football team.
From the city, also Argentina's unrivalled transport hub, the various regions fan out to the north, west and south. Due north stretches El Litoral , a region of subtropical riverine landscapes sharing borders with Brazil and Paraguay. Here are the photogenic Iguazu waterfalls, and the much-visited Jesuit Missions whose once noble ruins are crumbling into the tangled jungle, with the notable exception of well-preserved San Ignacio Mini set among manicured parkland.
Immediately to the west of El Litoral stretches the Chaco , one of Argentina's most infrequently visited regions, a place for those with a dogged interest in wildlife , especially birdlife and endangered species of mammals; but be prepared for often fiercely hot conditions, a poor tourist infrastructure and a long wait if you want to see some of its rarer denizens.