Argentina what to see

Travel to Argentina: here are 8 must-see places

Argentina is a huge country: from north to south it stretches 3360 kilometers and is the eighth largest country in the world. Just to give you an idea, it is 10 times the size of Italy and it takes days and days to cross it from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, to Salta, the northernmost point on the border with Bolivia, along the legendary Ruta Nacionál 40. For this very reason it offers very diverse landscapes. If you don’t have a lot of time, you have to choose what to see in Argentina. Consider ranging from the hottest desert to the coldest glaciers, from contemporary, culture-rich cities to the land of wine, passing through rivers, lakes, mountains and trekking in the most remote places. Making an itinerary, to be enjoyed at leisure, takes at least three weeks. Ideally, you should focus on only a few places you want to visit. You can also combine your trip with Chile or Bolivia. In this article I recommend 8 places to see in Argentina

1) What to see in Argentina: The capital Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is usually the arrival point to start your trip to Argentina and deserves at least three nights, perhaps a couple of nights out and one night back, before leaving this wonderful country. Argentina for me represents one of the most magical places I have ever visited, perhaps because it is the first country I visited alone in South America.

All this is to say that it is a safe country, as well as the capital city, which you can explore with confidence. Don’t miss neighborhoods such as La Boca, a colorful historic neighborhood famous for La Bombonera stadium; Sant’Elmo, a central neighborhood where you can stroll on Sundays when there is a market; the elegant Recoleta, where you’ll visit the cemetery; and then have a drink and dinner in Palermo, the hipster neighborhood. I wrote a whole article dedicated to Buenos Aires and you can read it here.

Julián Amé Buenos Aires

2) Iguazú Falls

We are talking about 275 waterfalls, which are located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, so you can visit them from both countries in one trip. Iguazú Falls are among the largest in the world and occupy an area of 7.65 kilometers, which for waterfalls is a lot.

They reach a height of 70 meters, so imagine how powerful they are. I recommend you take at least two days, to visit both sides. The Argentine side is the one that will take you the most time because it is the largest area and therefore you will need a full day.

While for the Brazilian side, which is actually the more scenic one because you will be able to better understand the immensity of the falls, you will only need an afternoon. They can be reached by bus and you can visit them in several ways: with a guide, by rubber boat, on foot and by helicopter. It is an extremely touristy place, so the earlier you wake up, the better, although there are night tours, to see the falls by moonlight, which are truly spectacular. Remember your passport and raincoat.

Muhammed Ballan The Iguazú Falls

3) Must-see places in Argentina: El Perito Moreno Glacier.

This glacier is one of the most active glaciers in the world, stretching 250 kilometers (250 miles) and is just one of the glaciers that is home to Los Glaciares Park. Perito Moreno is the most famous because it is the most spectacular to view from different angles. You can take a picture from the footbridge in front of the glacier, which is the cheapest and very scenic option. You can also book a boat trip, or see it up close through a kayak excursion. The most beautiful (and also the most expensive) activity is glacier trekking.

Felipe Randolfi El Perito Moreno

It is perhaps the least ethical, according to some, but it is interesting mainly because of the level of preparation of the guides, who are tireless and tell you the history of the glacier and other useful information. To visit Perito Moreno, you can sleep in the nearby town of El Calafate, which offers many options for fine dining and entertainment in the evening. I recommend spending at least two nights so as not to do everything in a hurry. I put below the link to book a hike to Perito Moreno because this is an activity you cannot do on your own, unless you just want to go directly to the National Park by renting a car and walking along the boardwalk.

4) Things to see in Argentina: Mendoza, the city of wine.

When you say Mendoza, you immediately think of Malbec, the typical Argentine red wine, to go with Asado, the Argentine barbecue. In fact, the city itself is not that attractive, at least in my opinion, except for a must-visit place called La Central Vermuteria, where to drink vermouth, a drink that corresponds to Martini in our country, although there are many brands that are less famous than Martini and definitely better. Vermouth is a flavored wine made from herbs and spices, very famous in Argentina.

I recommend staying at least a couple of nights in Mendoza and getting lost in the wineries. There are several options: you can take guided tours, which are ideal for those who want to learn about the world of wine. While for the more experienced, I recommend selecting wineries you are interested in, booking a tour or tasting and perhaps spending the night there for those who offer this option. You could in fact have a tasting, dine at the winery and sleep in the countryside, waking up among the vineyards. If you don’t know which wineries to choose, ask locals and consider that there are very large and organized wineries for travelers.

Maja Petric, Mendoza

5) Visit Argentina: Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.

Perhaps Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places in Argentina, perhaps because it is the southernmost city in the world, perhaps because you see shipments to Antarctica leaving from the port., which seem to be going to nowhere, perhaps because sailing the Beagle Channel on one side you see Argentina and Chile on the other, perhaps because there are penguins, sea lions and whales. You’ll want to fly to Ushuaia and devote a few days to this city that seems a bit out of this world, and maybe it is.

Luuk Wouters Ushuaia

Not to be missed: the excursion to discover the Beagle Channel and from the boat you will be able to spot penguins, I also recommend a tour around the town, which is scenic, have a pint in one of the iconic pubs and feel a bit like a sailor and dine in one of the typical restaurants with crab dishes, and finally I recommend reserving a day to go on a trek to discover enchanted lakes and glaciers. There are routes for everyone, and you can choose more or less difficult routes. Here is a link where you can book your excursion aboard the catamaran.

6) San Carlos De Bariloche, Argentina’s Switzerland.

Despite being much further north in the country, Bariloche is still part of Patagonia. I got there by bus from El Chaltén and it took me 25 hours to get there. It is considered the Switzerland of Argentina, for its landscapes, with lakes and mountains, which are none other than the mythical Andes, chocolate production, cold weather, ski facilities, order and organization, in short always to be somewhere in the Alps in Europe.

Bariloche is one of those places where you should spend at least a week, to take your time visiting the seven lakes and to visit Mount Tronador, an extinct volcano on the border between Chile and Argentina. Speaking of Chile, you can cross the border via lake. In Bariloche you can choose from a plethora of trails and activities. It is one of the most beloved places for cyclists.

Delfina Iacub San Carlos de Bariloche

7) El Chaltén and Mount Fitz Roy

Another place to visit in Argentina is El Chaltén. This tiny village in Patagonia, consisting mainly of one street, is a wonderful and unmissable place for mountain lovers. In the winter it has just over 400 inhabitants, but in the summer it populates with tourists and trekking, ski mountaineering, and climbing enthusiasts, reaching over 3,000 visitors. Put like that, it sounds like only the most passionate and trained people go there. But in fact, the great thing about El Chaltén is that you can go for nice long walks, even almost exclusively on the plains, and you don’t need much of a workout.

Why go to El Chaltén

The main reason for going to El Chaltén is to make a day trek to the Laguna de Los Tres, from which you can see Mount Fitz Roy. It is a mountain 3406 meters above sea level, which since 1952 has seen many climbers climb to the summit with more or less luck, given the difficulty and also the much wind that blows incessantly in Patagonia.

For us trekkers, it is a hike of about 25 kilometers, for a total of eight hours, round trip. The last kilometer is all uphill, across huge stones. You will be rewarded by the view: an enchanted blue-green lake and Mount Fitz Roy.

Diary of a long journey: Argentina

Argentina is perhaps the country I carry most in my heart. Because my journey really began in Buenos Aires. To conclude many months later in Bogota. When I look back, it seems to me that at that airport in South America, there landed a little girl. Many years ago. A little more naive, totally unaware of what would happen next. And he was amazed at everything. Read the full article on Substack, it’s in Italian and in English.

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What else to do in El Chaltén

Another, decidedly quieter hike, for a total of 18 kilometers, much of it on the plains, is the one that leads to Laguna Torre, from which to admire, another very famous peak, especially for professional climbers: Cerro Torre.

Otherwise, I recommend that you devote yourself to good food. Although the village is really small, it boasts many bars and restaurants, where you can eat well and drink better. So you definitely won’t be bored; I recommend spending a couple of nights in El Chaltén. I enjoyed it so much and met so many nice people from all over the world that I stayed there for a couple of weeks. In my experience, Patagonia is frequented by interesting travelers, perhaps because it is a somewhat difficult, as well as expensive, destination.

You can reach El Chaltén in three hours by bus from El Calafate, the town from which to explore the Perito Moreno Glacier, which also has an airport. So you can land directly in El Calafate for your Patagonia vacation and then get around by buses, which are really convenient and offer excellent service, several times a day.

Aldo Marttinen, Laguna De Los Tres

8) Skip, La Linda

If you are still wondering what to see in Argentina, I recommend you also consider Salta, which represents the northernmost city in the country. One usually associates the trip with the province of the same name, and the province of Jujuy is an ideal base from which to set out to discover a decidedly warmer and more desert-like landscape than you will see in Patagonia. It is an equally fascinating place, but very different. You will quickly realize that the population is also different, both physically and in terms of mannerisms, you feel less of the Italian and Spanish influence and it almost feels like you are in another state.

Salta is located close to Bolivia, in fact it may also be the ideal place to trespass and visit the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia’s famous salt desert. The special feature of this area is that you can see the mountain from the 7 and 14 colors. The rock formations of these mountains over the years (we are talking geological eras) have become colorful, resulting in a spectacular effect.

What to do in and around Salta

These mountains can be seen on a day trip from Salta, which spending a night in Tilcara or Purmamarca, which are very quaint villages whose time seems to have stood still, then with all these colors, the heat, the slow blowing wind, the alpaca sweaters hanging from the stalls, the women wearing traditional clothes, it feels a little bit like Bolivia and a little bit like Peru.

Hector Ramon Perez, Salta

I also recommend it because the local cuisine is completely different from anything you’ve tried so far and there is a major use of corn, in all the dishes. In addition to visiting the Quebrada de Purmamarca, you can see Salinas Grandes, which are huge salt flats, over 4 thousand meters high, so the advice is to chew incessantly on coca leaves during this excursion.

Final considerations

As you may have gathered from this article, Argentina is a huge country and if you have a couple of weeks to spare, you will have to make focused choices and you will have to choose what to see in Argentina and what to keep for next time. For example, I would do a trip dedicated to Patagonia and a different trip dedicated to the north of the country, perhaps with a stop in Brazil or Bolivia. Consider that the distances are immense, so if you are short on time my advice is to move by plane.

It is not necessary to book all flights in advance, as there are many options, However, it is also true that in peak season, Argentina is particularly crowded not only with foreign tourists, but also with local travelers who cannot afford to leave the country given inflation or who simply want to visit their own land.

Photo Credits: Unsplash

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