Argentina occupies most of the southern cone of South America between the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Chile on the west; Bolivia and Paraguay on the north; and Brazil, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. The Andes run the length of western Argentina. The pampa, lush, rolling grassland plains, stretch from the Chaco plains in the north to the Colorado River in the south, and from the Andes in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east. Patagonia, an arid, windswept area south of the Colorado River, supports some grazing land and is rich in coal and oil deposits.
Although huge herds of cattle and Gauchos, traditional cowboys, are still found in Argentina, the country is becoming increasingly urban. Remnants of the native Inca civilization of its past still exist but are now largely overshadowed by the European culture of the many immigrants who have made their home there.
The make-up of the Argentine population is overwhelmingly of European extraction. The vast majority of people live in urban areas and 40 percent live in cities of 100,000 or more. There is a large middle class and almost a third of the population is under 15 years of age.
The prevailing feeling, especially in Buenos Aires, is young, progressive and cosmopolitan. Argentineans are proud of their economic success and improved social status and work hard to perpetuate the trend for the future of their children.
The Capital, Buenos Aires, has a decidedly European feeling, much like Madrid, and is one of the world's great cities. It has been referred to as the Paris of South America. Most of the expatriates in Argentina live in and around Buenos Aires.
The city proper has a population of over two million. However, when its outlying neighborhoods are included, Buenos Aires is a sprawling city of 13 million residents, covering 120 sq.km. It is 160 km/100 mi. from the Atlantic coast, situated on the Río de la Plata. About 3 million live in the city proper, while another 10 million residents live in the surrounding metro area.
Argentina has a wide range of climates: cold, dry, and windy in Patagonia; hot and tropical in the northeast; and mild and temperate in the pampas. The eastern part of the country tends to remain humid for much of the year, due to the proximity of the ocean and the rivers.
Seasons are the reverse of those in North America and Europe. Summer, which is from December through February, can be oppressively hot and humid in Buenos Aires. In the Argentine winter, June, July, and August, temperatures sometimes fall below freezing in Buenos Aires, although it rarely snows in the area. Spring and fall are very pleasant. Precipitation is spread fairly evenly throughout the year.