Vacations, we wish they never end… We have the time of our lives exploring new places and meeting interesting people and, when it’s time to go home, we want to take a little bit of that experience with us. So, if you have plans to visit a country in South America that is known for great meat, amazing sceneries and rich history, do you know which are the best items to take back home?
Take a look at our selection of some of the most representative souvenirs of Argentina. Because you won’t just want to bring any ol’ item home with you - make sure you get a meaningful little piece or token of Argentina!
1. Leather items
It is no wonder that Argentina is known for its leather since it is one of the world’s biggest producers of meat. With more than 200 tanneries, they have a fabulous production of high quality and durable cow, sheep and goat leather goods such as jackets, shoes and hand bags. It is a true paradise if you love shopping.
While looking for that perfect item to take home, it is important to pay attention to be sure that you are spending your money on the real thing - check the lining, zippers, seams and use your nose to identify real leather. Since some shops sell both real leather and more affordable imitations, make sure to look for a label that specifies which type of material it is.
2. Malbec wine
While its origins are French, Argentina today is rightly celebrated as one of the best producers of Malbec wine in the world. Thanks to the altitude and climate in the region, close to the Andes mountains, Argentina’s wine country is capable of producing vigorous and opulent wine. Argentina is currently the leading producer of Malbec in the world.
The production of other varieties such as Syrah or Cabernet is strong, but Malbec is Argentina’s flagship.
If there is one Argentinian habit that puzzles foreigners the most, it would be Mate. A popular drink similar to tea that is poured into a gourd and shared using the same straw, it is a symbol of friendship and family. Argentinians will share a mate will everyone: colleagues in the office, students in universities, acquaintances on public spaces or anyone who wants to. They are delighted to introduce tourists to it.
If after giving it a try, you don’t think you enjoy it (keep in mind that it has lots of benefits, specially in being a healthier substitute to coffee), you can still take home a gourd and straw, “Mate y Bombilla” (the groud has the same name as the drink), since there lots of different techniques and beautiful shapes that make for nice ornaments.
The ultimate souvenir for Argentinians is the Alfajor, since different recipes can be found all round the country. If you leave town you will probably hear the phrase “¡Traé Alfajores” (Bring Alfajores!) from your friends, as it is a tradition to bring something back from the place you have traveled to share with your loved ones.
The basic recipe is a sort of dulce de leche (milk jam, another Argentinian wonder) sandwich covered in chocolate, but the fillings and the outside of it can vary. There can be with one layer of filling or two, although the traditional version is the simplest. Besides being great souvenirs, they are also commonly available for snacking on all through the day.
5. Soccer jerseys
You might have heard that it is a Catholic country, but Argentina’s true religion is “fúbol” (soccer/football). As the birthplace of two legends of this sport (Diego Armando Maradona and Lionel Messi) and with many talents playing in elite teams abroad, it is also a factory of enthusiastic fans who follow over 3,000 registered teams.
Attending a match is a must if you are visiting at the right season, and one of the best ways to enjoy the spirit of the sport that heat the crowds in Argentina is with a jersey. The Argentine National Selection one is made by Adidas and can be found in many retail shops but if you want a more affordable option you can get one of lower quality in any souvenir store. Wear it with caution: you might scream at the top of your lungs every time your team scores a goal, as the Argentinian fans do.
6. Silver items
The name of this country comes from Argentum, the Latin word for silver. This metal has deep roots in the history of these lands, and the silversmiths that still ply the trade have kept almost 400-year-old manual techniques to create unique and beautiful items.
Silver can be found in delicate jewelry, key chains, boxes and many different products that are decorated with love and passion. If you want to kill two birds with the same stone and you have the money to spend, you can even get a silver mate gourd.
7. Tango CDs and DVDs
One of this country’s most incredible contributions to the world is tango music. A sound that goes straight into your soul and expresses the sorrows and stories of heartfelt spirits, it is something that is inextricably linked to this amazing land and its great people.
As all music genres, tango has changed and evolved from its original sound, but is still etched deep in the hearts of locals in Buenos Aires. Whether you have placed your feet at a milonga to dance to this unique music or you just want to take something home to remind you of your trip, you can never go wrong with a tango CD.
8. Northern textiles
Colorful patterns that seem to mirror the beautiful landscape of the North of Argentina carry antique techniques and tell the story of the people who make them. These are not just fabrics, but a living tradition that has been carried though generations.
Made often with alpaca wool or vegetable fibers, many products are made by the people in the North and represent their identity: from shirts, hats, purses to aguayos that can be used as rugs or blankets. Whatever you choose will be a unique memory of one of the most beautiful regions in Argentina.
9. Regional music instruments
Along with tango, folk in Argentina (or “folclore”) is the music that represents the country. Apart from the sound and rhythm, the main difference is that floclore spread throughout the whole territory, while tango remained in Buenos Aires.
Folclore is the music that gauchos and locals play and dance to, and it has many genres, like zamba, chamamé, chacarera or carnavalito, each one from a particular province or region. So, as you travel by different provinces you will hear many different sounds and the instruments that play them will change as well.
In that spirit, a regional musical instrument is the perfect way to take the spirit of the region that you visit with you. Whether you learn how to play them or you take them only as a memento of your trip, it will be an authentic piece of your journey in Argentina.
10. Borges books
One of the greatest minds that has ever lived, author Jorge Luis Borges is a synonym of the best of Argentina. An incredible poet, essayist, and short-story writer, his works have influenced many around the world and have become classics of 20th-century world literature.
With many references to the city of Buenos Aires, mythology and history, reading Borges is one of the best things you can do as a traveler in Argentina, and as a human being.