Be welcome

The world's eighth largest country, Argentina makes up most of the southern half of South America. It stretches from a rather desolate volcanic landscape in the north through bread-basket flatlands to the windswept steppe of Patagonia and the archipelago of Tierra de Fuego.

It is a land of gauchos, tango, vineyards, steak and football (soccer), but little compares to the natural wonders that include dramatic waterfalls, breathtaking ice formations, snow-capped mountains and cobalt lakes.

Argentina is also a top destination for gay and lesbian tourists with welcoming scenes in the larger, socially liberal cities like Buenos Aires, which continually tops the list of LGBT-friendly cities. Travelers should, however, keep in mind that many Argentines in more rural areas are not yet as open minded, although LGBT rights in Argentina are some of the most advanced on the continent.

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1887, and homosexuals have served openly in the military since 2007. In 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America and 10th in the world to legalize gay marriage with complete equality. Within five years, over 10,000 same-sex couples tied the knot, establishing Argentina as a gay wedding meccay. By 2012, a ruling established the right of 18 and overs to choose their gender identity, with surgical and hormonal reassignment procedures covered by public and private health insurance.