When to Visit
The best time to visit Argentina is in the spring, which runs from September 21 to December 21. This is when Argentines come out of hibernation after the not-so-long winter, and both city and country come alive once more. The difference in energy between the different seasons all over the country is really miraculous. Apart from winter skiing in Bariloche, pretty much the whole country battens down its hatches and catches up on its reading until spring comes, with climbing temperatures that lack the stifling humidity of summer. Whether you are in the city, out on the pampa (the flat grasslands that pervade Argentina) or in the mountains of Patagonia, spring is the ultimate season in which to visit the Southern Cone. November is a particular highlight, as people and plants have already eased into spring during September and October; when November comes, so do the blossoming trees (jacarandas in particular), wildlife migration and parties, and a whole host of festivals and events around the country.
Where to Go
The choices are endless. Fancy spending some time in the metropolis of Buenos Aires before it gets too hot to handle? The capital is at its best in October and November, before everyone starts to stress out over wrapping up the year. It is likely that you will arrive in Buenos Aires anyway, so take a few days to explore the city on foot and discover the different neighbourhoods. If hiking and trekking are your bag, head over to the countryside around the interior city of Cordoba and drive the route of the sierras, where you will come into contact with idyllic rivers, hills and hiking trails, as well as some wacky and mystical sites that are perfect for road-trippers.
If you’re itching to get to Patagonia, head to the lakes district and visit the Alpine city of Bariloche as well as the quaint Patagonian hippy town of El Bolson and the outdoorsy paradises of San Martin de los Andes and Villa la Angostura. Wildlife lovers can head to the Valdes Peninsula to see the penguin colony and to watch the incredible southern right whales come to mate in the bay. The southern Patagonian regions of El Chalten and Ushuaia are better left for summer or autumn, as this is when the leaves start to change colour and the real delights of this area can be experienced.
What to Do
Many people choose to stay in either the Palermo or San Telmo neighbourhoods, which is great for giving you a taste of both of the livelier areas of the city. If you are looking for somewhere a bit more local, why not stay in Villa Crespo or Chacarita, which are neighbourhoods slightly more off the beaten path and in close proximity to the busy Palermos Soho and Hollywood. Airbnbs in Buenos Aires are plentiful and affordable and you will get to experience life behind the facades of the enchanting architecture in the residential areas. Walk the city on foot and visit the Recoleta cemetery, rent a bike and head down to the Reserva Ecologica on the coast, check out the weekly drum circle at the Bomba del Tiempo and if you have a spare day to kill, take the train out to the river delta at Tigre and catch the water taxi around the islands.
Start your Cordobese adventure from the city and check out the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Jesuit block. Then head to Parque Sarmiento and check out the Evita Fine Arts Museum and Caraffa Fine Arts Museum. It is best to rent a car so that you can fully experience the amazing countryside around the city, in particular the magical Uritorco Hill, the quaint town of Capilla del Monte and the San Marcos Sierras. The trails and hikes in the hills around Cordoba are best walked in spring, when the temperatures are perfect for being out and about all day.
Mendoza can be stiflingly hot in the summer, so hit the Andean city in spring when the parks that proliferate in this picturesque city are in full bloom. Head out to the wineries and stay in the Salentein Bodega for some of the best wine and food in the region, all to be enjoyed against the incredible backdrop of the Andes mountain range. For the adventurers out there, it’s just about hot enough to venture into the Mendoza River, so tackle the rapids on a white-water rafting expedition. For those who prefer to take it easy, head to the thermal baths, where you can relax in the waters full of revitalising minerals.
While Bariloche is a skiers’ paradise in winter, in spring it becomes one of the best places to take in the breathtaking landscapes of Patagonia. Its tourism infrastructure allows visitors to enjoy this Alpine town and its surroundings all year long. Like Cordoba, it is best to rent a car so that you can explore this beautiful part of the country at your own pace. Bariloche and the lakes that encircle it provide ample opportunity to hike, trek, bike, horse ride and camp, and an unmissable activity is to head out to Victoria Island and check out the beautiful nature that it is renowned for. Also, don’t forget to eat some chocolate – Bariloche is famous for it.
Puerto Madryn comes alive in spring. This is the season when a mass migration of wildlife to the south Atlantic sees penguins, sea lions, elephant seals and the incredible southern right whale come to the shores of the Valdes Peninsula to mate. Walk with the penguins in the biggest penguin colony in South America, or take a boat out to go whale watching. No doubt you will also spot lots of other native flora and fauna as you explore the region.