What are the Best places to visit in Argentina that come to your mind when you picture your trip to Argentina? Buenos Aires? Patagonia? The Iguazu falls?
All excellent – but we’re only scratching the surface
Before we jump in — and you start adding destinations to your dream itinerary — a word of caution
How much you can probably fit in depends on how much time you’ll have in Argentina. It’s tempting to put slightly too many things on your must-see list, but I definitely recommend doing a few things thoroughly, rather than exhausting yourself dashing from place to place. Argentina is a big country and in many cases going from one place means huge distances and a time!
There’s always room for discussion when it comes to the “must-sees” of any country, but for almost everyone, there are some “non-negotiables.”
Let’s start with Buenos Aires. The “Paris of South America” shortly after the end of the Second World War, Argentina was believed to be the sixth most prosperous country in the world, and in Parisian salons, people were said to be as “rich as an Argentine”. It was one of the southern hemisphere’s great cultural capitals: dance, music, art – they all came to Buenos Aires. Today Buenos Aires, is one of the most fascinating cities in the world, even those who claim to not like cities come away shocked by the Buenos Aires surprisingly beauty, neoclassical architecture and design, wide avenues and cosmopolitan atmosphere…. and who can forget the fabulous steak? The first class boutiques, sidewalk cafés, and luscious green spaces give the city an European feel that blends with the Latino spirit.…I am sure you will love the Paris of South America!
Even one day in Buenos Aires can be unforgettable, but you’ll want at least two or three nights here, ideally three to four or more.
For me, a day and a night (at least) in the Buenos Aires countryside, the “Pampas” is an absolute must.
The whole Estancia Experience really rounds out your Argentine experience. Visiting San Antonio de Arecco to live a one day experience on the Gaucho’s Land, Argentine traditions and local craftsmen and Fine Arts. There’s nothing like enjoying lunch at a typical Pulperia with local wine and spend the night at a premium ranch of the area.
From here, I’m going to divide destinations by what matters to you: nature and adventure, history and culture, fishing, bird watching, and of course, culinary experiences!
Best places to visit in Argentina: an Active Trip
Hikers from all over the world make the long journey to Patagonia for some of the best trekking on the planet. The terrain is simply world-class: stunning granite spires, expansive glaciers, thick forests, and wide-open plains. Visiting the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier and hiking on the ice itself, then head north to El Chaltén, the “National Capital of Trekking.” The hikes are demanding, but easily manageable to fit people with some trekking experience.
Lakes & Villages: Argentina Lake District has plenty to discover. Visitors can combine adventure activities with scenic drives, other more chilled-out explorations and great food and wine. The views are stunning, tall forests, expansive mountain lakes, there are photo opportunities at every turn.
Best places to visit in Argentina: Culture & local atmosphere
Argentina is a cultural melting pot, with Buenos Aires having a distinctly European flavor and Patagonia a Scandinavian hue. That is why the Northwest can be so satisfying to visit as it is definitely 100% South American
Visiting the north of Argentina, Salta city, Cafayate, Quebrada de Humahuaca, ensures that you truly experience the rich indigenous culture of this beautiful region with its strong strain of Spanish colonialism. Grandiose architecture sits well with excellent local food, washed down with delicious wines. The regional handicrafts are as colorful as the landscapes, and the people are Argentina’s friendliest.
Best places to visit in Argentina: Wildlife & Bird Watching
Iguazu ranks alongside Niagara and Victoria Falls as one of the world’s great waterfalls. There are 275 separate waterfalls running along the border with neighboring Brazil. The falls are shared by Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil), which are both designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Brazil has around 20% of the falls, whereas the Argentina side makes up almost 80%.
The abundant flora and fauna of the surrounding tropical forest includes some 500 species of butterfly, 400 birds and 2,000 plants which flourish in the nearby tropical forest, with orchids growing next to pines, bamboo next to palms, and mosses beside lianas and colorful begonias
Capybaras are a squeaking, loveable feature of the Argentinian wetlands. Take a trip to the Ibera Wetlands, Argentina’s answer to the Pantanal, to see them.
Puerto Madryn in Patagonia is a wildlife lover’s paradise, Few places in the world offer the possibility to observe in their natural environment so many animals: right whales, elephant seals, sea lions, orcas, penguins, and numerous species of birds and fish.
Best places to visit in Argentina: Expedition Cruises
Ushuaia, The city of the End of the World, is the port for Patagonia Expedition Cruises and Antarctica Cruises.
Best places to visit in Argentina: Argentina Wineland
Wine is the eternal companion of food, so for those food and wine lovers, Mendoza Wine Country is world renowned for its exquisite wineries, Malbecs, and foods. Explore the best of what Mendoza wine lands have to offer and discover their own unique flavor and personality, world-class wines, a bounty of culinary treasures and breath-taking scenery.
Enjoy the ancestral flavors of the Quebrada de Humahuaca and take the highest Wine Tour of the world, reaching Cafayate, land of the Torrontés wine, where you can relive history through its estates, vineyards, and wineries.
Take cooking classes with local chefs and savor the delicious regional food, tasting the Argentinean wine varieties, in the company of local cooks and expert winemakers who will teach you about their main features;
Best places to visit in Argentina: Fly Fishing
The lake district became famous many years ago as one of the best fly fishing destinations in the world. The best fly fishing lodges in Argentina are located in this area.
Best places to visit in Argentina: More great off-the-beaten-path destinations
There are so many other worthwhile places to visit, and here is a couple we love to suggest.
Natural Paradise, marine and terrestrial of unparalleled beauty. This hidden nook of Patagonia is a place to be discovered with all five senses. Enjoy the magnificent white sand beaches and crystalline waters and the incredible amount of birds and mammals, the full expression of the algae industry and the story of the town; visit a typical Patagonia Estancia and take part of the rural labors; visit Aristizabal lighthouse and Isla de Los Pingüinos (Penguin Island). Walks, Mountain Bike, horses, and kayaks are part of the proposal this incredible place has to offer.
Ischigualasto-Talampaya Natural Parks
Get ready for a surrealistic experience. Walking on the moon with normal gravity and no spacesuit! These two contiguous parks, extending over 275,300 ha in the desert region are located in the northern part of central Argentina, contain the most complete continental fossil record known from the Triassic Period. It’s one of a kind of experience to understand the prehistory of Earth and dinosaurs.
Saltos de Mocona
A geological fault in the bed of the Río Uruguay divides the river lengthwise and water spills over the shelf between the two sections, creating a waterfall some 3km long and up to 15m high. The falls aren’t always visible; if the river is high, you’re out of luck. The gateway to the falls is El Soberbio, an interesting and orderly town that is a service center for a lush agricultural area growing tobacco, citronella, and manioc. It has a short, pretty riverfront with views across the Río Uruguay.
Of course, this is just a partial list. But if you’re planning a long trip to Argentina, we can help you design your itinerary. Watch for my next post, with some tips on unique and memorable travel experiences in Argentina.
Founder and operations director at Across Argentina