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Argentina is sought-after by tourists for its wide-ranging activities and geographical diversity. From the sweeping Patagonian panoramas to vast pampa grasslands, the South American country is a perfect location for nature lovers and explorers alike.
The Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park just outside the town of El Calafate in the country’s southwest is notable for several reasons. One, it’s mesmerizing. Two, it’s one of few glaciers that grows rather than shrinks, expanding by up to two meters per day – you can even see parts of the towering 60-meter glacier crash down into the water as you’re standing there. Third, it is also said to hold the third-largest reserve of fresh water in the world. More information for visitors here.
Fitz Roy is the mountain to do in Argentina. Surrounded by glacial lakes, the stunning Andes peak outside El Chalten in southern Patagonia is a must-do for nature-lovers, photographers, mountain climbers, hikers and just about everyone else! More information here.
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Iguazu Falls in Argentina’s north lie in the midst of a rainforest linking the country with Brazil. The falls, which form part of the churning Iguazú river, are located in Iguazú National Park in Misiones, Argentina. Visitor information here.
Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi is an enormous protected area in the Bariloche area of Patagonia filled with lakes, wildlife and a dormant volcano, Mount Tronador. The sprawling reserve is a haven for hikers and nature-lovers alike. There are a number of mountain refugios, or rustic cabins, used by overnight trekkers; here’s a guide. After a few days out in the wild, head into the bustling city of Bariloche for a dose of civilization. The city is famous for its chocolate, craft beer and great skiing.
In Argentina’s northern province of Jujuy you have the dramatic Quebrada de Humahuaca, a gorge filled with colossal rock formations and dotted with indigenous Quechuan villages. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quebrada de Humahuaca is part of a major trade route called the Camino Inca that goes back some 10,000 years. Read all about it here.
Nope, not the Jules Verne book. This lighthouse is on the southern tip of Argentina proverbially referred to as “the end of the world.” The lighthouse’s official name is Les Eclaireurs (“The Scouts” in French), and you can reach it by way of short boat tours from Ushuaia to take in its stunning views. More information here.
The picturesque city of Córdoba, nestled at the base of the Sierras Chicas mountains on the Suquía River, draws tourists year-round, with many Argentine artists and nature-lovers calling it home. Famed for its Spanish colonialist architecture, the city boasts a vibrant cultural life. Here are some ideas of things to see and do while there.
Valle de la Luna, or Moon Valley (officially known as Parque Provincial Ischigualasto) is a large protected area containing unearthly rock formations and dinosaur remains. And we’re not talking just any dinosaur remains. Located in the arid northwestern province of San Juan, the valley reportedly holds the most complete known continental fossil record from the Triassic Period. More information here.
Synonymous with wine, the city of Mendoza is lush in many respects. A beautiful city flecked with art deco architecture and green plazas in north-central Argentina, tourists flock to the Mendoza valley year-round to tour wineries, known as bodegas, and deepen their appreciation of Argentina’s storied wine culture. Check out the country’s best wineries here. If the Mendoza’s on your itinerary, don’t miss Zuccardi winery, Dolium, Domaine St. Diego, or Bodega Vistalba. All are great.
OK, technically, the Marble Caves are in Chile, but they are so very close to the border with Argentina and so beautiful that they must be included! Located in a lake straddling the two countries, the caves were carved out of marble over thousands of years by water erosion, resulting in cathedral-like arcs. Paddling through them is an otherworldly experience; check out these photos. The lake can be accessed from the Argentinian side via Ruta 40, but you will have to formally cross the border into Chile to reach the caves. More information here.
All aboard for the train to the end of the world! This gauge steam railway in Tierra del Fuego offers breathtaking journeys in the country’s southernmost tip. Train schedules and more information here.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Talampaya National Park in the province of La Rioja offers everything from petroglyphs to condor sightings. The former are to be seen at the Talampaya Canyon, the latter really anywhere in the large high desert preserve, which neighbors the Valley of the Moon. You may also spot guanacos, maras, and foxes. Keep an eye out while you take in local flora at the park’s botanical garden. Talampaya National Park is huge, reportedly attracting 60,000 people a year, so plan your activities in advance.
The story goes that Walt Disney himself spent time in Bariloche’s wondrous myrtle forest to study up on Bambi, but there’s little evidence to actually support that. No matter though, the groves are certainly magical enough to have inspired the classic animation film. Located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park, the forest – officially known as Los Arrayanes National Park – is located just outside the town of Villa La Angostura in the Llao LLao peninsula near Victoria Island. More information here.
Famous for sightings of the rare southern right whales and their calves (go in June), the Valdés Peninsula on the Argentine coastline abounds with animal and sea life, home to elephant seals, penguins and sea lions. Located in Chubut province, the Reserva Faunística Península Valdés has the deepest salt marshes in South America and attracts some 80,000 visitors per year. More information here.