Buenos Aires is buzzing, and 2018 is set to be lit. The Youth Olympics will take place in the Argentine capital in October next year, bringing an international crowd and putting Buenos Aires well and truly on the global map. The food scene in the city has also been growing steadily in recent years, so expect some delicious food festivals and gastronomic fare to explode on the scene in the year ahead.
Head for the hills in 2018 and go wild in and around the city of Cordoba in Cordoba province. One of the most scenic places in the country, Cordoba’s rolling hills are dotted with idyllic streams, rivers and gorges, perfect for the full immersive experience into nature. Check out the Agua de Oro, a picturesque river area in the Sierras Chicas with a campground and swimming hold, around 50km outside the city centre.
This small town is the cheese capital of Buenos Aires province. Located to the south of the capital, Tandil is a great place to spend a day or so exploring the town and also the hills that surround it. Visit one of the local oddities, Tandil’s famous “Unstable Rock”, a precariously balanced chunk of granite that defies gravity by teetering on the edge of, well, more rocks. It has to be seen to be believed.
Mar del Plata
Argentina’s most famous beach town should definitely be on your list in 2018. Home to some of the country’s best surfing spots, its very own international film festival and Argentina’s most well known design festival, Trimarchi, which gets bigger and more important every year – Mar del Plata is a fully fledged city along the coast which has everything you need to have a good time by the sea.
Often overlooked by travelers wanting to experience the imposing peaks of Patagonia, Salta city offers a different side of Argentina. One of the last bastions of Argentina’s indigenous peoples, Salta’s colonial charm and proximity to some of the most incredible landscapes and photogenic rock formations in the country makes it a jewel of the north. Check it out next year or regret it forever.
If you’re in the northeast, you would be silly not to head to the province of Jujuy and check out the dusty adobe oasis of Tilcara. Tilcara is one of the oldest settlements in Argentina, with archaeologists estimating it was inhabited more than 10,000 years ago. Tilcara is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, an incredible undulating landscape of colourful rock formations and one of the biggest attractions in the country.
There’s a reason that Iguazu is one of the most visited places in Argentina. The national park that surrounds the town is home to the Cataratas de Iguazu, or the Iguazu Falls, a collection of over 250 waterfalls that straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil – it will render any spectator slack-jawed. Go in 2018, or 2019, but make sure to go. Also, the long-awaited Awasi Iguazu hotel is set to open its doors next year, as good an excuse as any.
The tiny mountain enclave of El Chalten is getting slightly bigger every year, so visiting in 2018 is the perfect time to catch it in all its glory before it blows up and loses some of its rustic charm. The ideal spot for lovers of nature and life in general, El Chalten is home to some of Argentina’s most popular trekking and hiking spots, owing to its location in Patagonia and the presence of the famous Mount Fitz Roy, whose imposing form dominates practically every angle from the small village.
If you go to El Chalten you will surely pass through El Calafate, another big hitter on Argentina’s must-visit list. 2018 looks set to be another big year for this tourist hub, which is the jumping off point for Glaciers National Park, where you can see the famous Perito Moreno glacier up close, and even walk on top of it.
One of Argentina’s prettiest cities, Mendoza is the wine capital of the southern cone. The city is picture perfect, with luscious parks complete with lakes and endless acres of trees, all set against the stunning backdrop of the snow-capped Andes mountains. Head to Mendoza in March 2018 for the Harvest Festival, which dates back to 1936, and see the parades, taste incredible locally produced wine and partake in the week-long schedule of festivities and events.
The Uco Valley is a wine-producing region in Mendoza province, and it, along with Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo, is one of the premier viticultural areas in this part of the country. For the real Uco Valley experience, stay at Vines of Mendoza, a luxurious hotel, spa and vineyard, where you can pamper yourself with wine and treatments, because 2018 is all about self-love.
This hippy haven nestled in the Patagonian mountains should surely be on any list of places to visit in Argentina in the coming year. Hit up El Bolson in February for a truly rural retreat, and explore the region’s rivers, lakes and hiking trails to get your year off to a mellow start. Begin as you mean to go on.
One of the least visited parts of Argentina, this hidden gem is an oasis in Corrientes province, awash with backwaters, marshlands and a haven for wildlife big and small. The Ibera Wetlands is virgin territory, and if you want to get back to nature in 2018, this is the place to do it.
San Antonio de Areco
Hold your horses, because San Antonio de Areco is the promise land of the gaucho, the Argentine cowboy. Come and live out your Wild West dreams with the ranchers that live in this sleepy town full of saloons and old-timey vibes all year round. The Festival de Tradicion happens in November, when gauchos from all around the country descend on this village to show off the horse skills and get boozy in the sun with some potent potions straight from the farm.
San Martin de los Andes
This quaint town on the banks of Lake Lacar in Patagonia is another southern jewel, and can be visited in winter if you want to indulge in some skiing in the nearby resort of Chapelco in Lanin National Park, or during summer, when the beautiful weather and pristine landscapes attract hoards of outdoor lovers who come to lie on the banks of the lake or go hiking in the mountains around the town.