From wine to wilderness - discovering the diverse destinations of Argentina
Argentina is known throughout the world as the home of tango and football fanaticism, while images of gauchos rearing beef cattle characterise the countryside. But this land, stretching along the Atlantic at the base of South America is far more than just meat, milonga and football madness. It is home to some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes and wildlife in the southern reaches of Patagonia, while the north has recently made an international name for its premium wines grown against a spectacular Andean backdrop. From the cultural capital of Buenos Aires with its park-lined plazas, historic architecture and alfresco dining, to the heart-pumping falls of Iguazu, Argentina offers more than meets the eye as a holiday destination.
East Argentina Buenos Aires, Pampas and Iguazu Falls
Buenos Aires - artistic neighbourhoods and Tango show
|Don’t miss a visit to La Boca, the city’s most colourful and artistic neighbourhood, where generations of immigrants have left their own, unique stamp on Buenos Aires.|
Begin your journey in Buenos Aires, the vibrant capital of Argentina. Considered South America’s most European city, its diverse neighbourhoods are still home to a distinctively latino atmosphere. Admire the impressive architecture of Plaza de Mayo, flanked by the Casa Rosada, City Hall and Metropolitan Cathedral, or visit Latin America’s most beautiful opera house, the Colon Theatre. From the exclusivity of La Recoleta with its world-renowned cemetery, to the tango-infused streets of San Telmo where bars and restaurants spill onto the pavement, Buenos Aires offers surprises around every corner. Don’t miss a visit to La Boca, the city’s most colourful and artistic neighbourhood, where generations of immigrants have left their own, unique stamp on Buenos Aires.
Iguazu - witness the spectacular waterfalls from both Argentina and Brazil sides
|Visiting Iguazu is testament to the power and beauty of nature with mist rising above the surrounding dense jungle while the thunder of water envelops the air.|
Straddling the borders of Argentina and Brazil is the spectacular Iguazu Falls - one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. During the rainy season around 450,000 cubic feet of water plunge over the cliffs every second into the river 80 metres below. Visiting Iguazu is testament to the power and beauty of nature with mist rising above the surrounding dense jungle while the thunder of water envelops the air. The Argentinian side has the majority of the falls which can be viewed from the trails which weave along the edge through dense forest teeming with bird and animal life. Take a boat over to Isla San Martin at the base of the roaring falls or experience the spray at Garganta del Diablo ('Devil’s Throat'), the most impressive of Iguazu’s falls. It is also possible to travel to the Brazilian side where more expansive views of Iguazu can be seen, allowing you to fully appreciate the immensity of this natural wonder.
North Argentina Salta, Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley, Humahuaca and Pucará ruins
Salta - visit the northern historic centre
|Salta is not only the launching point to explore the stunning landscapes which surround, but a city rich in historical architecture, monuments and museums.|
In the far north of the country, Salta is not only the launching point to explore the stunning landscapes which surround, but a city rich in historical architecture, monuments and museums. Visit the ornate San Francisco Church, San Bernardo Convent, or the Cathedral where Argentina’s patriotic hero, General Güemes was laid to rest. The Historical Museum of the North is home to an impressive collection of sacred art and insight into the lives of traditional Salta inhabitants, while the views from San Bernardo Hill offer panoramic views across the city. Salta is also a great place to purchase traditional and original handicrafts, such as leather goods, ceramics and ponchos, available from the large and lively Mercado Artesanal.
South of Salta - indulge in the wine-growing regions of Cafayate and magnificent red-rock canyons of Calchaquí Valley
|Wind and water erosion have carved impressive natural formations, such as the Quebrada de las Conchas (‘Shell’s Gorge’), Garganta del Diablo (‘Devil’s Throat’) and El Amfiteatro (‘the Amphitheatre’).|
Salta makes a perfect base for day trips into the surrounding region. Don’t miss a visit to the wine region of Cafayate to the south, famed for its Torrontes, with distinctive characteristics created by this high-altitude, arid environment. The nearby Calchaquí Valley is also dotted with wineries and backed by magnificent red-rock canyons. Wind and water erosion have carved impressive natural formations, such as the Quebrada de las Conchas ('Shell’s Gorge'), Garganta del Diablo ('Devil’s Throat') and El Amfiteatro ('the Amphitheatre') which feature within this spectacular region of valleys, rivers and gorges.
North of Salta - day trip to Pucará ruins, spectacular landscapes and villages around Humahuaca
|The journey north towards Humahuaca is equally impressive. The ancient ruins of Pucará explore the region’s pre-Incan history.|
The journey north towards Humahuaca is equally impressive, weaving through small towns and villages nestled within sweeping panoramas. Wander the historic squares or visit the churches and museums which reveal the history of Argentina’s north through relics and sacred artwork. The ancient ruins of Pucará explore the region’s pre-Incan history, while Soto Avendaño’s Independence Monument in Humahuaca pays tribute to the Northern Argentinian Army’s role in freeing the country from Spanish rule. In San Salvador de Jujuy don’t miss the beautiful Cathedral of St. Francis, home to important 18th Century artistic treasures, or the sculptures of controversial local, Lola Mora. En route there are expansive views across to La Paleta del Pintor ('Painter’s Palette') mountain, as well as Cerro de los Siete Colores ('Hill of Seven Colours') which provides a backdrop to the artisan-lined streets of Purmamarca.
West Argentina Mendoza and Bariloche
Mendoza - tour the cellar door of world famous wineries
|From small, boutique wineries to large, industrial operations, Mendoza is the place in Argentina to enhance your wine knowledge in beautiful vineyards backed by the spectacular Andes.|
Mendoza has become synonymous with Argentina’s famed malbecs and this wine-growing region near the Chilean border is the perfect place to indulge and relax for a few days. The city itself is home to excellent galleries and museums, including the Histórico General San Martín, exploring the life of this Argentinian national hero, while the surrounding countryside is swathed in vineyards. Spend a day or few tasting the wines which have made this Argentina’s premier viticulture region, and sample some of the fine produce that has emerged alongside the industry. From small, boutique wineries to large, industrial operations, Mendoza is the place in Argentina to enhance your wine knowledge in beautiful vineyards backed by the spectacular Andes.
Bariloche - take in the lake and mountain panoramas of famous ski resorts
|Bariloche’s stunning landscapes are matched only by its chocolate boutiques and micro-breweries which offer well-deserved indulgence at the end of a long day exploring the region.|
San Carlos de Bariloche is like a small slice of Switzerland within the mountainous terrain of Argentina’s Rio Negro Province. Surrounded by turquoise lakes and forested slopes, Bariloche’s stunning landscapes are matched only by its chocolate boutiques and micro-breweries which offer well-deserved indulgence at the end of a long day exploring the region. There are plenty of easy treks to panoramic viewpoints where you can soak up the scenery, as well as an historic steam train which takes you from Bariloche deep into the Patagonian steppe. For adventure seekers there is white water rafting in nearby rivers, or take to the skies paragliding for a bird-eye view. Don’t miss Nahuel Huapi National Park (translating as ‘Island of the Tiger’ in the indigenous Mapuche language) where trails traversing this dramatic protected area can be explored on horseback or foot.
South Argentina Los Glaciares National Park, Perito Moreno, Ushuaia, Peninsula Valdes and Punta tombo
Los Glaciares National Park - witness Perito Moreno glacier landscapes and trek around El Chaltén
|Meander the boardwalks along the face of this iconic blue-hued glacier or take a boat trip to its base to watch as huge masses of ice carve spectacularly into Lago Argentino.|
Stretching to the southernmost tip of Argentina, Patagonia is a land of extreme landscapes where unique wildlife brave the harsh conditions alongside glacier-fed lakes and towering peaks. For outdoor enthusiasts the trekking and mountaineering challenges are endless, while geological wonders such as the Perito Moreno Glacier have been made easily accessible. Meander the boardwalks along the face of this iconic blue-hued glacier or take a boat trip to its base to watch as huge masses of ice carve spectacularly into Lago Argentino. For those who want to venture further into Los Glaciares National Park, the trails which depart from El Chaltén in the north explore unforgettable landscapes, backed by the towering Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy.
Ushuaia- visit the End of the World or hike at Tierra del Fuego National Park
|Take the Fin del Mundo (‘End of the World’) train into Tierra del Fuego National Park where countless hiking trails allow you to traverse this remote and rugged terrain.|
Seemingly at the end of the Earth lies Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city within the Tierra del Fuego (‘Land of Fire’) archipelago. The city is famed as the launching point for Antarctic expeditions, but boat and kayak trips into the waters of the Beagle Channel allow you to visit rocky outcrops home to communities of penguins and sea lions, while whales and dolphins are also often spotted. Hike to the Glacier Martial for sweeping views back across the city and the Beagle Channel, or take the Fin del Mundo (‘End of the World’) train into Tierra del Fuego National Park where countless hiking trails allow you to traverse this remote and rugged terrain.
Peninsula Valdes and Punta tombo- whale watching, wildlife spotting, visit penguins colonies and seal lions colonies
|Most famous for its playful colonies of Magellanic Penguins, Punta Tombo is also home to an abundant bird life, including sea cormorants, rheas, as well as the llama-like guanaco.|
Wildlife enthusiasts should not miss Peninsula Valdes and Punta Tombo on Patagonia’s east coast. Most famous for its playful colonies of Magellanic Penguins, Punta Tombo is also home to an abundant bird life, including sea cormorants, rheas, as well as the llama-like guanaco. Peninsula Valdes to the north is a refuge for large numbers of elephant seals and sea lions which can be seen lumbering along the shores. The surrounding waters offer an important breeding ground for southern right whales which are frequently spotted, while orcas are known to come close into the shoreline to feed on young seals. In addition, the mara, a guinea-pig like animal endemic to Argentina, maintains one of its few territories on Peninsula Valdes.
Touring through a diverse Argentina
Whether you are a nature lover, keen to experience new landscapes and unique wildlife, or a culture-seeker ready to immerse yourself in the people, places and history that have made South America what it is today, Argentina will not disappoint. It is a country where indigenous and European cultures have blended to form the sophisticated, exuberant and fun-loving porteños of Buenos Aires, while the resilient people of the country continue to develop the industries of the land. From sampling some of the world’s finest wines to witnessing the immense forces of nature at work, Argentina’s diversity will satisfy even the most seasoned of travellers.