The Alpine city of Bariloche and its surrounding areas are some of the most incredible places in Patagonia, Argentina. Located in the Lake District, this quaint city plays host to skiiers in the winter, but in summer it is a veritable smorgasbord of all things outdoorsy. Camp, hike, bike, kayak and swim if you’re brave enough to chance the icy waters of the glacial lakes. In summer, temperatures are high during the day and cool at night, so you get the best of both worlds.
Located in the picturesque setting of the Andean foothills, Mendoza city is known for its pristine urban landscaping, with pretty parks and tree-lined streets in abundance, while Mendoza province is famed for its internationally renowned wine production, specifically Argentine Malbec. Mendoza is the perfect summer retreat and has something for everyone: wine tastings in lush vineyards, mountain climbing, white water rafting and leisurely bike rides around the city or wine country.
Wildlife lovers rejoice, Puerto Madryn is the place for you. One of the best places in Argentina to see a host of creatures both native and migratory, Puerto Madryn is home to one of the world’s largest colonies of Magellanic penguins and also provides a mating ground for the incredible Southern Right Whale. Come in December for your chance to catch the tail end of mating season, when you can take a boat to go whale watching in the Valdes Peninsula.
Perfect for visiting in the summer when the temperatures in this southern Patagonian tourist town have heated up sufficiently, El Calafate is the jumping off point for some of Patagonia’s most famous attractions, namely Glaciers National Park and the world famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Spend a couple of days exploring the park and walking around this cute town, which has a host of delicious restaurants and great craft beer breweries to keep you satisfied after a hard day out on the glacier.
Just a three hour drive from El Calafate is the tiny mountain enclave of El Chalten. El Chalten might be small, but it is surrounded by mighty granite peaks, the Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. Waterfalls, forests, rivers and precarious mountain valleys can all be seen and experienced in this outdoor haven, and there are plenty of treks, long and short, for all levels of experience, to keep you busy over the course of a few days.
Punta del Este
Punta del Este in Uruguay is a favoured haunt of Argentines in the summer, and you might be surprised to notice more Argentines than Uruguayans in this hedonistic paradise. Punta del Este is something of a Miami of the Southern Cone, where the bold and beautiful and the rich and famous like to head to party on New Year’s Eve. If you’re not keen on Punta’s glamorous side, it’s also a good surf spot, and you will see lots of surfers hitting the waves as they road trip around Uruguay’s rugged coastline.
Cabo Polonio could well be described as the polar opposite of Punta del Este. Located a few hours past Montevideo on Uruguay’s Atlantic Coast, this tiny, exposed settlement is situated on a wild promontory that juts out into the ocean, and is a haven for hippies and bohemians who come here for the relaxed vibe and the stunning scenery. Located in a natural reserve, it is something of a mission to make it to Cabo Polonio, but it is worth the trek. But if you’re not feeling up for it, head to Punta del Diablo up the road, a bigger but similar beach town on the coast.