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From tropical jungle and remote desert in the north to stunning glaciers, alpine forests and the lure of Antarctic in the south, Argentina abounds in some of the most varied natural attractions in the world. Throw in the cultural appeal of indigenous traditions and a melting pot of influences, and myriad experiences await.
As a lively cosmopolitan capital bursting with theatre, art, music, tango and sport and excellent connections to the rest of the country, Buenos Aires makes a perfect base for your adventures and home from home during your stay. Here are just some of the highlights to experience throughout Argentina, reachable with multiple daily flights from Buenos Aires’ three airports: Jorge Newbery, Ezeiza and El Palomar.
Feel the spray and let your mouth fall open wide as you witness the sight of 1,756m3 of water per second roar over the border from Brazil into Argentina. Taller than the Niagara Falls and more than twice as wide, at 1.7 miles across, the Iguazu Falls is the biggest system of waterfalls in the world. The sheer visceral spectacle of the falls amid their lush jungle setting, populated with parrots, monkeys and other wildlife, has led to them being voted one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Don a poncho and saddle up for adventure. Argentina’s North-West is a land of fascinating microclimates, dusty roads watched by llamas and cacti, folk traditions and beautiful colours. In the provinces of Salta and Jujuy, step out onto vast salt flats, count every shade of the rainbow in the Hill of Seven Colours, and immerse yourself in Inca history at the Pucará de Tilcara.
Argentina’s biggest wine region centres on Mendoza, where most of the country’s famed malbec reds wines are produced in sun drenched vineyards beneath the shadow of Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. Head out on a bicycle tour of the vineyards (careful how much you drink!), stay at exclusive winery spas, or get an adrenaline rush with outdoor pursuits such as rafting on the Mendoza River.
Argentina’s lake district in the northwestern part of Patagonia is a land of picture-perfect glacial waters surrounded by lush forests and jagged peaks. Alpine-influenced towns like San Martín de los Andes offer excellent cuisine and chocolate treats amid the stunning national parks Nahuel Huapi, Los Alerces and Lanín. Ski season (mid-June to early October) centres on Cerro Catedral, just 20km from the city of Bariloche.
The world’s largest population of right whales comes to breed on the Valdés Peninsula in Patagonia between May and December each year, with September being the month of most activity, the population of whales in the area reaching up to 2,000. Outside of whale season you can find plenty of other wildlife including Magellanic penguins, killer whales, sea lions, elephant seals, and dolphins. And after the excitement of this contact with nature, you can relax over a cup of tea in the tea rooms of the Welsh colonies in Trelew and Gaiman.
Fed by the southern Patagonian ice field, the 250 km2 Perito Moreno is the best known of Patagonia’s many glaciers, nestled at the base of the andes close to the town of El Calafate. Enjoy marvelous views of this natural wonder, or for the more adventurous, make a trek on the surface of the ice itself, then warm up in the cosy bars and restaurants back in town.
Less than four hours from from Buenos Aires by air, Ushuaia, Argentina’s southernmost city, is the jumping off point for the Antarctic. It’s the closest city on Earth to the white continent and the starting point for cruises and expeditions to this ultimate frontier, and also a fascinating destination worth a visit itself. Set out on treks in the Tierra de Fuego National Park, where sea, snow and subantarctic forest combine to create a stunningly unique landscape, wonder at scenes admired by Charles Darwin on the Beagle Channel, and discover the history of the city at the end of the Earth.
For excursions closer to the city, see day trips from Buenos Aires.