At Escapeartist we specialize and practice in a field that requires us to “play it safe.” Let’s face it, where investment is concerned, our clients and friends would not give us a second look if we were casually and callously dishing out investment advice and recommendations without first performing our due diligence and verifying that our advice was sound. Sure, all investment comes with some inherent risk. …that is actually true of anything in life. However, with experience, and knowledge, and sound management principles, risk can be minimized. Even so, there are certain things—certain activities—that are so outside the realm of the norm, so contrary to what a rational, sane individual would consider doing that most of us would never even give it ANY consideration.
So, how is it that I find myself standing on the edge of this precipice, a chill wind blowing through my hair, staring vacuously over the edge at the seemingly ravenous sharp and jagged teeth-like rocks nearly a thousand feet below, whetted by the frothing white-water “saliva” of this hungry river canyon? Rigged only with a helmet, warm clothing, and a “specialized” parachute strapped to my back, I am supposed to jump. This is the “sport” called BASE Jumping. Who came up with this idea! …was it some crazed suicidal maniac who strapped on the chute just in case he happened to change his mind on the way down? That cannot be too far from the truth, as nobody in their right mind would ever consider doing such a thing “just for fun!” While my mind is saying, “Jump, jump,” (that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? …just jump!) my body is pulling out all the stops and throwing up all the barriers—doing everything in its power—to ignore the orders my obviously confused and deranged mind is sending it. …there is no longer any question where the word “extreme” in extreme sports comes from! Being a person who is ruled a bit more by my heart than I am by my head, I did not jump on this day. …not on this day or on any other day! It wasn’t so much a decision of the heart as it was that I just knew that my heart would quit working altogether if I did jump! …not an attractive option. So, self-preservation prevailed and I lived to write another day.
While it is not so easy to explain or describe what it is that would motivate an individual to be a participant in such an “extreme” sport, it IS clear why Argentina has become one of the most sought after locations in the world for “enjoying” this kind of activity—GEOGRAPHY! …or, in real estate parlance, Location, Location, Location! Argentina is a land of amazing geographical diversity. It is a land of harsh extremes and vivid contrasts. The kinds of contrasts and the kinds of extremes that provide the ideal environment for the extreme sport enthusiast.
Argentina is a land that is home not only to the highest point in the western hemisphere (Mount Aconcagua, 6,960 m/22,834’), but also to the lowest point (Laguna del Carbón, -105 m/-344’). With climate zones ranging from sub-tropical to sub-polar, it is a land that is home to both the hottest (120.4 °F at Villa Maria ) and coldest (−38.2 °F at Valle de los Patos Superior, San Juan) temperatures in South America. It is a land that can produce high winds, from the cool Pampero Winds of Patagonia and the Pampas to the hot, dry, 80 mile per hour Zonda winds of west-central Argentina, to the Sudestada winds with its accompanying torrential rain and coastal flooding.
Argentina is a land of dust storms and snowstorms and blizzards. It is a land of raging rivers, thunderous waterfalls, tranquil lakes, and the often unpredictable southern Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans. It possesses dramatic beach cliffs, stunning mountain precipices, frigid crystalline glaciers, hot, arid deserts, rich, fertile grasslands and lush tropical jungle. And most importantly, it is a land with a young and adventurous population, ready, willing, able—and desirous—of living life to its fullest. With such contrasts, with such diversity, with such welcoming warmth, Argentina is perfect for extreme sports and the extreme sports enthusiast!
So what really is an “extreme sport?” According to topendsports.com, “An Extreme Sport is any sport featuring speed, height, danger, a high level of physical exertion, highly specialized gear, or spectacular stunts.” With new extreme sports or variations on existing extreme sports being created all the time, the list of extreme sports seems to be nearly endless, a constant work in progress. And with the amazing variety of topography and geography and sheer unimaginable beauty, there is no better place to indulge in the thrill and excitement of extreme sports than in Argentina.
As spiked-online.com states, “There is a new extreme sport born almost every week, each seemingly more bizarre and dangerous than the last.” And if it is not a new sport, it is an off-shoot of an existing one. If it is not an off-shoot of an existing one, then it is taking the existing one to a new, even more insane level of danger and excitement. Like a junkie chasing their high, many extreme sports participants are constantly having to “up their fix” to achieve and maintain the adrenaline rush they have come to expect.
It use to be that extreme sports meant sports such as surfing, skate boarding, mountain biking, sky diving, scuba diving, and the like. By today’s standards, these all seem pretty tame. In a world where the level of enjoyment and pleasure in an activity is measured not by the drops of adrenaline coursing through your veins, but by the pints, one is required to continually push the limits. …black coffee just doesn’t cut it anymore. Now you need a quadruple triple espresso heavily laced with some kind of super surgery sweetener to get that “extra boost.” …and there seems to be no end to this quest for the next great adrenaline rush—this need to push the limits just a little bit further.
That extreme sports are dangerous goes without saying. But when one considers that this is a group of sports where the whole objective is to see how far you can push the limits without actually “crashing and burning,” the injuries (and worse!) are actually quite minimal. Like our “investment” comparison, it appears that with a bit of knowledge and experience, and one would think a WHOLE lot of common sense, risk of injury can be minimized. Overall, extreme sports are said to be not nearly as dangerous as they appear, with Nicholas Heyworth of Sports England pointing out that, “Statistically, the most dangerous sport is horse riding.”
As mentioned, Argentina’s place in the extreme sports arena is one of geography, topography, and, in some instances, climate. Couple those things with a youthful, exuberant, and adventurous population, and you have the perfect recipe for thrills and excitement to confound your imagination and beyond! Additionally, travelers beware; remember that is easy to get cajoled into doing things we wouldn’t otherwise do when we are visiting new places! …so please do not throw caution completely to the wind! At Escapeartist, we love the notion that ‘what happens in Argentina stays in Argentina,’ but we certainly don’t wish for that to be in the mortal sense!
Just a few of the extreme and adventure sports that can be enjoyed in Argentina are extreme trekking, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking and canoeing, sailing, car sailing, mountaineering, cave and volcano exploration, base jumping, base climbing, free climbing, dog sledding, coastering, scuba and skin diving, snow skiing, water skiing, hang gliding, four-wheeler and off-road motorcycles, zip-lining and “Tirolesa”, waveboarding, windsurfing, kite surfing, sand boarding, horseback riding, car sailing, parachuting, paragliding, parasailing, gliding, parkour, bungee jumping, surfing, snowboarding, mountain boarding, rappelling, wakeboarding, 4-wheel drive expeditions, canyoning, off-road racing, ice climbing and glacier exploration, orienteering, et al. You can even grab your paintball gear and go paintball gunning in the rugged mountain terrain. With such amazing geographical diversity, the extreme sports and adventure travel opportunities in Argentina are limited only by one’s imagination…..and courage!
So, whether you are a seasoned professional seeking the ultimate BASE climbing or mountaineering challenge of tackling the Cerro Torre, or maybe you are just an adventurous tourist wanting to sample the excitement and dramatic vistas of the Juramento River zip-lines, or perhaps you are looking for something more “tame,” but still memorable and unique such as dog sledding through the Patagonian forest…Argentina possesses the diversity AND the opportunities to meet and exceed any interest you might have.
Looking for a truly unique experience? …try “Car Sailing” either on the beautiful beaches at Rada Tilly near Comodoro Rivadavia or on the lunar-like landscape of the “Barreal” near its namesake town, El Barreal. Sail Cars, Wind Cars, or Land Yachts, as they are referred to, are basically a fuselage with two rear wheels and a single front wheel for steering, having an aluminum mast and utilizing a sail to achieve great speeds. …with the wind blowing through your hair, it is an enjoyable, refreshing, and exciting activity; one you are not likely to encounter in many other places!
A little more adventurous and looking for some real physical activity? …visit San Carlos de Bariloche and give “Canyoning” a try. Canyoning is an extreme sport for the physically fit combining climbing, hiking, rappelling, swimming in deep pools and rapids and traversing rugged canyons. It is more of a “team” sport usually done with a group and requiring a helmet, rigging harness, rope, and a neoprene suit. …you will encounter beautiful, rugged scenery and you will definitely get a good workout!
An extreme sport that is just as beautiful to enjoy watching as it is to enjoy doing is “Kite Surfing.” Kite surfing is basically the combining of paragliding and windsurfing, utilizing the wind to get greater loft and more speed. The beaches of Monte Hermoso, with its constant winds, has become the most popular place for this activity, the most popular sport practiced on the Argentinean coast. The colorful kites, or “croissants” as they are often referred to, and the amazing loft and speed that participants are able to achieve make for a dazzling display and create many photo opportunities for locals and tourists alike. It has become a favored spectator sport.
One particular area in Argentina that has become sort of an “amusement park” of extreme sports is Tinogasta in the Department of Catamarca. Tinogasta possesses everything that seems to intrigue, inspire, and excite the extreme sport and adventure enthusiast. From dormant volcanoes, to abandoned mines and natural caves, to beaconing rock faces, to glistening white sand dunes, Tinogasta really does seem to be a field of dreams for extreme sports activities.
Blessed by nearly constant winds, it is a hang gliders and paragliders heaven. Eclipsed only by popularity of the Balcarce Mountain Range near Balcarce for the “air” sports (paragliding, hang gliding, parasailing, etc.), Tinogasta reigns simply for the sheer variety of activities available in the region.
Referred to as the “Six-thousand,” or the “Los Seimiles,” Tinogasta is horizoned by more than a dozen mountain and volcanic summits reaching more than six-thousand meters towards the heavens. Both guided and unguided trekking—from simple day hikes to enjoy the beauty and the fresh air, to full-on exploratory expeditions of several days—have become very popular in the region, providing valued economic support for the locals.
Considered the nirvana for sand surfers, near to Tinogasta are the famed dunes of the Bolsón de Fiambalá, the highest sand dunes known. As Sandboard Magazine states, “Snow melts – waves go flat, but Sand NEVER Melts!!” The dunes at Bolson de Fiambala draw sandboard enthusiasts from around the world. Another relatively new sport, the only thing required for sand boarding are a board, a steep sandy slope, and the desire for fun and excitement. Sandboarding is gaining in popularity around the world and “the Fiambala” in Argentina is the place to go!
When thinking of extreme sports, many parents try to shield their children from exposure and participation for fear of serious injury or worse. But there are actually several extreme sports that are quite safe. …and remember, horseback riding is the most dangerous sport statistically, and most of us would not give second thought to our children going horseback riding! So consider making your vacation a true family time by participating in “something extreme” together. In Tinogasta, as well as several other regions in Argentina, Rappelling is a popular extreme sport and a great starting point for families wanting to share an experience together.
Rappelling encompasses all of the “extreme” of extreme sports—dizzying heights, a “puny” little rope to hold you (rated at a minimum of 2000 lbs!), and your mind working overtime to tell you that you shouldn’t be hanging off the edge of anything higher than the edge of your sofa or bed—with, under proper guidance and supervision, little of the inherent danger. The sport has become so refined that with quality rope, harnesses, carabiners, and other hardware—AND proper instruction— there is minimal chance of accident or injury. So be bold, be brave…”Man-up” for your son or daughter (or even your wife!) and go rappelling while in Argentina. …you will see this beautiful country from a whole other angle!
While it is our goal at IGA to minimize risk, life with zero risk is not “life” at all, but only isolation and mere existence. So we encourage you, do more than just exist! …reach out and grasp life! …reach out and grasp everything the beautiful country of Argentina has to offer! Be bold, be brave, and, with the dedicated guidance and advisory services of IGA, be informed. And do yourself (and maybe your family) a favor…..don’t end your exploration of Argentina without first having participated in at least one of the many extreme sport opportunities that are available.
If you would like more information on the extreme sports and adventure opportunities awaiting you and your family in Argentina, or if you would like specific information on visiting, living, and investing in Argentina, please CLICK HERE.