Argentina offers a wide variety of experiences, from tango shows in Buenos Aires to hearing the rumble of a ice cracking across a Patagonian glacier. It’s a vast country and it’s tough to nail down exactly what to see and do, so here’s our roundup of five of our favorite places to explore. Feeling inspired to hit the road? Check out a full listing of our Argentina trips here. Each tour can be customized to suit your needs and we work directly with local, certified tour operators. ¡Buen viaje!
Argentina’s capital mixes Latin passion with European charm. It’s a sexy mix of urban energy, grand architecture and vibrant neighborhoods. Plus, it’s got an amazing food and wine scene. Historic Plaza Major, the city’s main plaza, is lined with grand structures including the Metropolitan Cathedral and Casa Rosado (Pink House), where Eva Peron famously addressed her supporters from its balcony. At its center is the Pirámide de Mayo, a white obelisk built for the first anniversary of Argentina’s independence from Spain.The trendy neighborhood of San Telmo is perennially popular for its colonial architecture, restaurant-lined cobblestone streets and antique shops. Try to hit the San Telmo Sunday Fair, where local artisans, antique sellers and food trucks line the streets The neighborhood is filled with buzzy Parillas (steakhouses) where you’ll be tempted by an overwhelming choice of cuts and superb quality meats. Wash it down with a velvety Malbec.San Telmo is also considered the birthplace of tango–the city’s intense, sultry strut, and a significant part of the Argentinian culture. Visit a milonga, a traditional dance salon where locals glide through the night, take in a tango show or sign up for a tango lesson and try out the smooth moves yourself.
Credit: Margo Brodowicz
Patagonia’s Perito Moreno Glacier
Have you ever heard the deep, cavernous rumble of a glacier breaking into pieces? You will at Patagonia‘s Perito Moreno Glacier, a colossal mass of ice extending 250 square kilometers (96 square miles). Located in the UNESCO-designated Los Glaciares National Park, there are a number of ways to experience it. Walkways extend out to the ice shelf and offer panoramic views of the massive glacier and mountain peaks beyond. Or you can ponder its deep blue crevices and shimmering white ice on a boat safari. The vessels float right up to its edge, and when you get up close, the glacier looms above you like a skyscraper made of ice. Feeling adventurous? Take a guided mini-trekking tour and hike across the top of the glacier past small lagoons, deep crevasses and ice formations.
Credit: Agustin Lautaro
Desert Landscapes & Salt Flats Around Salta
Argentina’s arid north is one of the country’s best kept secrets and is among South America’s most extraordinary landscapes. At its epicenter is Salta, a handsome city filled with impressive colonial architecture and lively restaurants. It’s an excellent base to explore the region. Don’t miss the teleferico (cable car) that whisks you to the top of Cerro San Bernardo, a hill overlooking the city, for sweeping views of the surrounding area. From Salta you can also visit the vast, 520 square kilometer (150 square meter) Salinas Grandes salt flats. It’s full of intense colors, with piercing blue skies in sharp contrast to the white expanse of crystal salt stretching as far as the eye can see. Or head out to the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a desert valley most famous for the Hill of Seven Colors, where a rainbow of multicolored stone is awash with wide stripes of dusty red and pink, mustard yellow, matte copper and deep purple stone.
Credit: Julia Caesar
With a whopping 275 waterfalls stretching 2700 meters (1.7 miles) across the Iguazu River, this UNESCO-designated natural wonder is a stupendous sight. Iguazu means ‘big water’ in the local indigenous language and the vast swath of semi-circular falls span the border of Argentina and Brazil. About 75% of the falls are located in Argentina, but it’s worth checking it out both sides. From the Argentinian side, take a boat ride under the plunging water and access trails that take you right up to the falls. You’ll get so close, you’ll get wet from the water spray. The trails take you right into the its most famous section, the Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo), where three enormous falls converge in one spot. Over on the Brazilian side it’s all about views. Walkways crisscross the river and offer a multitude of panoramic shots of the tumbling falls and views of the Devil’s Throat from a different angle. You’re still close enough to feel the damp spray, but you won’t get soaked.
Outdoor Adventure & Chocolate in Bariloche
San Carlos de Bariloche is a chalet-lined village and the adventure center of Argentina. Outdoor activities dominate here with hiking and skiing in the nearby mountains, bike trails weaving through verdant forests and glacier-fed lakes begging you to paddle-board its waters. One of Argentina’s most visited national park, Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, is a short drive away and is home to the area’s famous lake, Lago Nahuel Huapi. You can stroll along the lake shores or kayak its waters with views of the snow-kissed Andes. Bariloche is also the chocolate capital of Argentina, so after your day of adventure indulge in the sweet stuff in one of the chocolate shops lining the main road, Bartolome Mitre.