Places to visit in Argentina
Stretching more than 3,500km from north to south, Argentina offers a staggering variety of landscapes from remote desert in the north to a barren and windswept icy wilderness in the far south, and from the lush jungles around Iguazu to the picture perfect lakes and mountains of the centre. Dotted around are a number of delightful towns, wonderfully family-friendly bases from which to explore the Great Outdoors.
Here are a few of our favourite places to visit in Argentina. However there are many more, so do please contact us to discuss further possibilities.
Buenos Aires is the city of Tango, Maradona and Evita. It is also known as the Paris of South-America, made up of 40 different neighborhoods, the so-called ´barrios´, which all have their own character. In the neighborhood of La Boca, for example, you come upon the rich Italian culture of its inhabitants where artists’ ateliers and brightly coloured houses jostle for space around the famous Boca Junior’s Stadium. In San Telmo you can find the real Argentinean culture with tango dancing in the streets and many antique stores. Recoleta has a French feel, with elegant houses, good restaurants and a beautiful and famous cemetery where you will find the mausoleum of Eva Peron. Palermo is an upcoming neighbourhood with many designer shops and grand green parks.
Buenos Aires is a destination in its own right and any holiday should involve at least three nights here. Indulge in a street food tour, take a tango class, canoe the waterways of the Parana Delta or take a day trip to a traditional estancia outside the city.
These world-famous waterfalls are an absolute highlight and all ages will be wowed by their strength and dramatic setting. Children will love the safari boat trip which runs through the canyons and takes you right underneath (you WILL get wet). Or splash the cash on a helicopter flight over the falls.
On the Brazilian side, a trail takes you to visit the bottom of the falls with a view to the horseshoe-shaped Devil’s Throat, and on the Argentinian side, the most rudimentary track, ‘Wild’, will take you to the top with a spectacular view.
But Iguazu is so much more than just an impressive deluge of water. There is lots of wildlife in the Iguazu Falls National Park and children will just love the ‘backstage experience’ at the bird park surrounded by hummingbirds, butterflies, caiman and boas.
El Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier
El Calafate is beautifully situated on the Patagonian altiplano, along the azure Lago Argentino. The village, also known as the ‘Capital of the Glaciers’, is the starting point to visit its best known highlight – the Perito Moreno Glacier. The glacier is a 250 km square ice formation, over 30km in length. The mouth of the glacier is over 5km wide and has a height of 75m. This breathtaking beauty was declared a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO.
You can enjoy the spectacle from both a boat cruise and an exciting ice trek (min age 10yrs). El Calafate is also the base from where you can head out into the remote Patagonian steppe and enjoy the salubrious surroundings of boutique estancias or working ranches. Ride out with the gauchos and absorb the stunning glacial mountain scenery, far from civilisation.
From Calafate you can also easily hop across the border and head to Chile’s Torres del Paine – please see our Best of Argentina and Chile itinerary for further ideas.
El Chalten and Los Glaciares National Park
El Chaltén is situated in Los Glaciares National Park, a landscape that combines the magic of glaciers, hidden lagoons, estancias, Lake Viedma, and the magnetic presence of Mount Fitz Roy. This mountain, with its unmistakable majestic silhouette, rises above the town which has been declared the national ‘Hiking Capital’. There is a huge variety of activities enjoyed by walkers and climbers and the beauty of its location is that most of the trekking routes start right from town following well-signed trails. Tackle the challenging Cerro Fitzroy or Laguna de los Tres routes or meander easier paths to the stunning view point of Mirador de los Condors. Throughout you are surrounded by the spectacular panorama of Laguna Torre, the Fitz Roy River, the Upsala and Moyano glaciers and Torre mountain range.
Bariloche and the Lake District
San Carlos de Bariloche boasts an enviable location, surrounded by towering mountain peaks, glistening lakes and lush alerce forests. The famous Nahuel Huapi National Park is right on its doorstep. Here you can climb a volcano, kayak, mountain bike, paddle board, white water raft or splash beneath a waterfall (be warned, this is glacial water). Options to use chair lifts and cable cars make peaks easily accessible for little legs and the whole town has a very family-friendly feel with its chocolate and ice-cream shops.
Head off on horse-back through the Patagonian Pampas beneath the glaciers of Mount Tronador on a gaucho-led riding excursion. Or those looking for a more boutique Lake District experience might like to consider nearby Villa La Angostura. Situated on the famous Seven Lakes Route, this picturesque lakeshore village offers a wealth of luxury hotels and restaurants from which to enjoy the cuisine this region is renowned for.
Salta, Cafayate and Purmamarca
North West Argentina is a wild land of soaring volcanoes, tropical forests and fertile valleys, home to dusty pre-Hispanic and colonial settlements. This is Argentina off the beaten track with boutique vineyards, traditional ranch lifestyles, iconic train rides and a fascinating cultural past. Perhaps its most dramatic highlight is the bewildering geology of the many coloured mountains which surround Salta, Cafayate and Purmamarca. Inspired but these stunning landscapes, North West Argentina is home to many artists practising a unique blend of styles, adding an interesting cultural addition to the outdoor activities one can enjoy here. Horse-ride through sand dunes, bike between wineries, hike the Seven Colours Mountain and take a walk with llamas!
World famous for its wineries, Mendoza has a breathtaking setting beneath the high Andes. Along with the inevitable wine tours (or why not simply stay in one of the elegant vineyard estates to fully enjoy the local Malbec?) there are numerous outdoor activities to enjoy here including white water rafting, canoeing, mountain biking and trekking. For the ultimate hike, older and highly experienced climbing families might consider tackling mighty Aconcagua, at 6962m, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. Talk to Helene Cooper, Stubborn Mule’s very own Aconcagua summiteer, if this appeals.
The Ibera Wetlands is a vast expanse of untouched wilderness, more than twice the size of the Everglades. It provides a fantastic destination for wildlife-lovers with over 300 different types of birds, 35 varieties of reptile, 85 mammal and dozens of amphibious species, so there should be plenty here to keep all ages excited. With a limited number of traditional estancias dotted throughout the plains, a stay here will make for a hugely scenic and rewarding wildlife experience. Enjoy horse rides, canoe trips, walking trails, boat rides and spot the capybaras, giant anteaters, caiman, anacondas, howler monkeys, jabirus, rheas and toucans that reside here. It is a fantastic place for some ‘down time’ – swing in that hammock, watch the parrots flit overhead and stop worrying if your iphone is charging. Time to switch off…
Dramatic cliffs, hidden bays, vast beaches and a rich marine life make the Valdes Peninsula a great addition to any trip to Argentina. Nesting shorebirds and sea lions populate the area year round. Between June and December, Southern Right whales and orcas come to visit and from September to March, Magellanic penguins make this area their home. Thus an extension here can be added on to either a summer or winter itinerary although please be advised of the distances involved for a relatively short trip. Enjoy windswept walks along coastal paths and marine wildlife cruises all year round on this wild and rugged coastline.
End of the World
Tierra del Fuego is known as the Ends of the Earth. From here the next stop is Antarctica…. The backdrop to this remote outpost are the spectacular glaciers, snow-capped mountains, glistening lakes and sub-Antarctic rainforest of the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Take a cruise on the famous Beagle Channel to view the penguin colonies. Learn about the history of the original Yamana Indian people. Trek and kayak through this pristine environment and enjoy watching the Southern Cross appear in a night sky brilliantly clear from any light pollution.
An extension to Ushuaia can easily be add on to any family holiday to Argentina. Or you can use it as a starting point for an austral cruise linking your trip up through the Chilean Fjords.
From Buenos Aires you can take a short 1hr transfer by high speed ferry to the gorgeous colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. Enjoy a walking tour of this historic World Heritage site before returning to Argentina or take the longer transfer (2hrs) to the bustling capital city of Montevideo. Or why not head deeper into the Uruguayan countryside with a stay in a rural eco-estancia.
Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.
Argentina in pictures
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