Travel ideas

Argentina vs. Brazil: Battle of the Latin American Heavyweights

Argentina vs. Brazil: Battle of the Latin American Heavyweights

They may have a long standing rivalry in football, but they also happen to be two of our favourite Latin American holiday destinations, so how do Argentina and Brazil measure up alongside each other off the football pitch?



Both Argentina and Brazil's cultures have been heavily influenced by their former colonisers, Spain and Portugal. Thanks to this, colonial architecture is still dominant throughout both countries. In Brazil visit Paraty, where horse-drawn carts still travel down cobbled streets lined with white stone houses; or in Argentina, head to Salta where you can find buildings dating back to 1582 when it was first founded.

These strong European influences are also apparent in other aspects of Brazilian and Argentinian culture, in particular in social customs and throughout the arts, such as in the dominance of the Roman Catholic faith in both countries, which in turn means strong family values are a big part of each culture. Brazil also has strong African and Indigenous American traditions within its culture, mostly evident in its music, dance and food, which help to create the colourful, vivacious culture that Brazil is so known for. In Argentina, the European influences come alongside a strong Latin American flair, which is perfectly encapsulated in their traditional dance, the Tango.

While both countries have fascinating cultures, the sheer variety and exuberance that has emerged from Brazil's melting pot of influences means it scores first. One-nil to Brazil.



As big foodies we like nothing more than sampling local delicacies while on holiday, and Brazil and Argentina are no exception. Brazil boasts fantastic coffee; the somewhat lethal spirit cachaça - a key ingredient in Brazil's national cocktail the Caipirinha; fantastic churrascarria (barbeque) restaurants and the delicious desert Brigadeiro (a sort of chocolate truffle).

Despite all this, Argentina comes out on top in the food stakes for us. Try fantastic steak cooked on an asado (the customary gaucho way of cooking meat slowly over a pit of hot coals), world-famous wine and, of course, the sensationally sweet dulce de leche.

In our books, this is a clear win for Argentina, making it one all.



As the two largest countries in South America, it's no surprise that the scenery in both Brazil and Argentina is incredibly diverse. Brazil boasts countless amazing beaches along its 4,500 miles of coastline, including the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches in Rio de Janeiro. Inland it is somewhat dominated by the dense Amazon rainforest, with its incredible biodiversity and undiscovered indigenous communities. Over in Argentina the vast, flat pampas in the centre and the dramatic glacier lakes and grassland steppes of Patagonia rule the roost.

As far as cities go, Rio surely has one of the greatest physical settings of any in the world, with the cityscape interspersed between forested mountains and beautiful beaches. Despite the fact that Buenos Aires also has to be up there as one of our favourite cities in the world, its colourful streets just can't quite compare to Rio's unique setting. To complicate things further, we can't leave out Iguassu/Iguacu Falls (depending which side of the border you're on). The word 'epic' is truly appropriate here, so epic in fact that both countries wanted a piece of it, and so the border between Argentina and Brazil runs down the middle - though Argentina does have the best views!

Both countries have trump cards to play in this category, but for the sheer variety of scenery found throughout the country, Argentina just about comes out on top here, making it 2-1 to Argentina.


Unmissable Experiences

In Argentina, spot a fantastic array of wildlife alongside the jaw-dropping scenery in Patagonia, including guanacos (relations of llamas) and even pumas if you're lucky. Just visiting Patagonia alone could be classed as an unmissable experience, but adding in riding, fly fishing or glacier trekking means you get even more out of this incredible landscape.

Coming out on top in terms of unmissable experiences in Brazil has to be the Rio Carnival, a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. But it doesn't end there, we could create an endless list of incredible experiences, including a helicopter tour over Rio, jaguar spotting in the Pantanal and hiking through forest-clad mountains spotting exotic birdlife.

So while each country has plenty of unmissable experiences to offer, we think Brazil might have the edge in this category, with the Rio Carnival as its goal scorer for perfectly encapsulating the life and soul of Brazil. 2-2.

It's almost impossible to come up with an overall winner, as these two fare pretty equally when matched against each other, so it looks like this one could go to penalties...