The eighth largest country in the world, bordering five countries and stretching from the windswept lands of Tierra del Fuego in the South to the tropical Atlantic Forest in the North, the nation of Argentina is truly vast.

Rich in cultural heritage, breathtaking natural beauty and a diverse range of landscapes, Argentina is, according to well known travel expert and journalist Chris Moss, “probably the easiest “soft” introduction to Latin America”, thanks to its “combination of European and mestizo social and cultural mores, its range of latitudes – tropical to temperate to sup-polar – and topographical diversity”.

In a feature recently published in British newspaper The Telegraph, Chris outlines how best to tackle this fascinating country in the perfect holiday, putting together a carefully curated fortnight-long itinerary that captures the essence of this vibrant nation.

The trip features Buenos Aires, Argentina’s famously cosmopolitan capital, before taking visitors North to Iguazú Falls and then East to the Andes.

History and gastronomy are the guiding principles, with the very best places to stay and eat recommended along the way.

Awasi Iguazu is one of Chris’ suggested hotels – 14 private villas built in to the forest canopy

After “ten longish holidays and you might claim to sort of know” Argentina, Chris notes. But for those unable to spare ten separate trips, “…the key is to choose half a dozen stops, mix up the topography, cuisines and cultures, and spend some time on the road to get some sense of the sheer scale of things”.

Travel around the country is straight forward and, whilst Argentina offers some fascinating cities such as Córdoba, or the wine capital of Mendoza, “the landscapes are the main attraction outside the capital. Don’t rush through them”.

The tour begins and ends with the “heady and energetic” capital Buenos Aires and “combines classic experiences with less obvious stops”.

The first couple of days are spent in exploring the capital, whilst days three and four take visitors into The Pampas, vast stretches of open grasslands interspersed with forests and rivers. Visitors then move on to Mendoza to explore Argentina’s famous wine country, before the tour continues to the Andes before heading North to Iguazu Falls and the Iberá Wetlands.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

The remarkable Iguazú Falls is arguably one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.  Located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, this UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises no less than 275 separate waterfalls spanning a wide horse-shoe shaped gorge on the Iguazú River.

“The memorable backdrop of the 1986 film The Mission”, explains Chris, “[the Falls] are formed by a huge cataract in the rocks on the Argentina/Brazil border, where the Río Iguazú plummets 270 feet down to the Río Parana, South America’s second longest river”.

Chris’ suggested hotel whilst staying in the Iguazu area is luxury Relais & Chateaux lodge Awasi Iguazú, which offers a perfect base from which to discover the stunning natural beauty and rich culture of the region.

Awasi visitors can access different sections of the falls from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides. The Argentine side allows close-up views of many of the individual cascades and a series of walkways and viewpoints enable visitors to get right up to the waterfalls, including the spectacular Devil’s Throat, San Martín and Two Sisters falls.

The Brazilian side provides panoramic views and a broader perspective. As Chris notes, “when the high river is in spate they seem to merge into one great cliff-edge tsunami”. The lush, green, subtropical jungle around the falls is home to coati, toucans, butterflies and monkeys, whilst anteaters, tapirs, jaguars and ocelots prowl the wider area.

Wildlife spotting – Our guides know the best places to try you luck with the local animals. Iguazu is a birdwatcher’s paradise, but many more animals can be seen in the lush rainforest.

Awasi Iguazu is made up of 14 spacious, secluded and impeccably appointed private villas, built on stilts overlooking the forest canopy to merge seamlessly with the surrounding environment.

Each villa has its own plunge pool, outdoor terrace and luxurious furnishings – a welcome respite towards the end of a two week trip.

The three Relais & Chateaux Awasi lodges – the sister properties are in Chile’s Torres del Paine in Patagonia, and San Pedro in the Atacama Desert – are well known for producing excellent, high end gastronomy, with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients each influenced by their own sense of place.

Awasi Patagonia is situated on a private reserve overlooking the iconic Torres del Paine

As Chris Moss explains, guests always “enjoy a superb dinner at Awasi”. Guests are welcome to make the most of a fantastically well-stocked, open bar, and Chris believes that guests should make a point of sampling the local gin, Principe de los Apostoles, infused with yerba maté tea.

Awasi offers an exceptional personalized service with an attention to detail that is second to none.

Each villa comes complete with its own private guide and 4×4 vehicle, enabling the lodge to offer “a full menu of bespoke activities” that are tailored to guests’ preferences. “Take off for a forest walk, an easy bike ride or a river trip to the hidden Yasi Waterfall” writes Chris.

The natural spa at Awasi Iguazu

Other excursions include birdwatching expeditions, boat trips along the Iguazú River, spending time with the local indigenous communities, or making the most of the natural spa, before returning to the comfort and luxury of the lodge.