8 Great Places to Visit in Argentina

Buenos Aires is a great city, but Argentina is a great country, and it would be a shame if you lived here and didn’t see all that it has to offer. And so without further ado, here are 8 places in Argentina you absolutely must visit.

Iguazú Falls

People come from all over the world to see what is perhaps Argentina’s star natural attraction: the mighty Iguazú Falls. Made up of some 275 individual waterfalls and cascades, the park in which they’re located has an amazingly comprehensive and well-maintained set of catwalks that allow you get right up close and personal with the vast sprays of water.

At the heart of the site is a semicircular waterfall called ‘the Devil’s Throat.’ These falls are 80 meters high and a massive 2,700 meters in diameter, and because of the excellent catwalks, you can stand right over their edge in perfect safety.

Iguazú Falls receive about 1 million visitors a year and have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984.

Awesome. So where are they? The falls are located in the far north of Argentina, right on Argentina’s border with Brazil. The nearest town to the falls, Puerto Iguazú, is a short flight or a very long bus ride from Buenos Aires.

But wait, there’s more. If you have the time, a trip across the border to the Brazilian side of the falls is highly recommended. Why? Well firstly because the falls themselves are so impressive that it’s worth getting a different perspective on them. While you feel the falls better from the Argentine side, where you can literally reach out and touch them, you see the falls better from Brazil, because from there you can see the entire panorama at once.

Another reason to cross the border is to visit the fabulous Bird Park, located right across the road from the entrance to the Brazilian side of the falls. For more information, see here.

If you decide that you want to go to the Brazilian side of the falls keep in mind though that while it’s only a short and inexpensive shuttle ride from Puerto Iguazú, some people need a visa to enter Brazil, and this includes citizens of the United States and of Australia. Getting a one-day-only Brazilian visa in Puerto Iguazú is fast – they can do it overnight – but it will cost you (check the amount online as it’s subject to change).

Read our more detailed Guide to Iguazù Falls.

Perito Moreno Glacier

From one water-based attraction to another! This one is frozen, but still there are some similarities with Iguazú Falls because like the falls, Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares National Park is very well served by an extensive system of catwalks that allow you to get very close to the face of this breathtakingly massive river of ice. Clearly catwalks are something that Argentina does very well!

Perito Moreno glacier is located in Southern Patagonia. It’s a chunk of ice 250 km2 (97 sq mi) in area and 30 km (19 mi) in length. It’s one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in the Andes, which (by the way) holds in its icy grasp the world’s third-largest store of fresh water.

There isn’t a whole lot to do at Perito Moreno glacier except walk around and get different angles on the ice, but it’s such an impressive sight that doing so is actually a fun way to spend half a day or so. If you’re lucky and patient you might see the glacier calving, which is very cool, and there are also short boat trips out into the lake that the glacier flows into if you want to get even closer to it.

Perito Moreno glacier is a short shuttle ride from the city of El Calafate, itself about a three hour flight from Buenos Aires. El Calafate is a nice enough place, on a windswept hillside beside a lake, but it doesn’t really offer much beyond its proximity to Perito Moreno. However from El Calafate it’s possible to get a bus 220 km north to the village of El Chaltén, which you can read more about…right now!

El Chaltén

El Chaltén is one of Argentina’s lesser-known tourism spots. That’s probably because it’s fairly inaccessible – it has no airport, and the fastest way to get there is a slow 3½ hr bus ride on unsealed roads from El Calafate.

El Chaltén was built in 1985 as a way of helping to secure a disputed border with Chile. Today however it’s raison d’être is solely tourism: it’s located at the northern end of Los Glaciares National Park near the mountains Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, making it a hotspot for hikers, climbers, mountaineers and anyone who just wants to enjoy the ridiculously amazing scenery.

The most popular thing to do in the El Chaltén area is hike or climb Cerro Fitz Roy, but there are more hiking opportunities than you can shake a stick at, so bring your walking boots (and poles, don’t forget the poles). Some say that the mountains and glaciers here are the equal of those in Torres del Paine national park across the border in Chile, plus they’re more accessible, and having been to both I have to agree.

There are plenty of places to stay in El Chaltén (and more being built all the time), but it can be pricey, so do your homework and book ahead if you’re on a budget.

Oh, one last thing: DO NOT spend time in El Chaltén without devoting at least one night to dinner and a sampling of the in-house beers at La Cerveceria Brew Pub & Resto. Some of the best beer in Argentina and the food is spectacular too!

Mendoza Province

Mendoza = wine. The very dry, very sunny Mendoza region is close to perfect for wine cultivation, particularly as the Río Mendoza (formed in the Andes) provides all the necessary water for irrigation.

Unsurprisingly then, the best thing to do in Mendoza Province is tour the many excellent wineries, some of which are world-famous. Organized bus tours are readily available, but the best way to do it is to hire a private car with a knowledgeable driver and get a personalized itinerary. The region is most famous for its Malbec, but other wines produced in Mendoza Province include Torrontes, Semillon, Syrah and Tempranillo.

So that’s the Mendoza region. What about the city of Mendoza? Argentina’s fourth largest city is a pleasant town with broad, tree-lined avenues and a very nice central plaza. Should you tire of wine, it’s a good base camp for skiing at Los Penitentes, Los Molles and Las Leñas, for rafting on the Río Mendoza, and for hiking or climbing nearby Aconcagua, which is the highest mountain in the Andes and indeed the highest mountain in the world outside Asia.

Bariloche

They do make it easy for you in Argentina: Mendoza is where you go for wine, and San Carlos de Bariloche (much more commonly known as just Bariloche) is where you go for snow. Another Patagonian destination, it’s a beautiful Argentine town with a Swiss-German twist.

First the skiing: Catedral Alta Patagonia is a ski resort located about an hour from Bariloche (you can get a cheap bus there). It has 40 lifts and over 100 km of marked trails for your carving pleasure. Look up and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and the odd Andean Condor as well. From 15 September until 15 October is generally regarded as the best time to go.

And if you don’t want to ski, or you’re there at another time of the year? Never fear, because Bariloche brings you not only skiing but also mind-blowing Swiss chocolate, rafting, camping, climbing and hiking, with a side order of sailing, swimming and fantastic fishing in the nearby lake.

Also, should you tire of all of that, there’s the famous Road of the Seven Lakes. This is the popular name given to Route 234, the road between San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura in Neuquén Province. It’s a 107 km dirt road that crosses two national parks and brings you beautiful views over several lakes. Hire a car and drive it from end to end or take a tour bus from Bariloche; either way it’s unmissable.

Quebrada de Humahuaca

Places like Iguazú Falls, Perito Moreno glacier, Bariloche and Mendoza are firmly on the tourist radar in Argentina. But here’s somewhere equally fabulous that’s not: the Quebrada de Humahuaca in the far north-west of the country, in the Province of Jujuy.

So what is a ‘quebrada’ anyway? Good question. A quebrada is a ravine, and the Quebrada de Humahuaca is a ravine 150 km long and over two thousand meters above sea level, located not far from Argentina’s border with its northern neighbor, Bolivia. It is spectacular due to its rock formations and its incredible multicolored hills, which truly must be seen to be believed.

The largest city and main jumping-off point for exploring this area is Salta. Salta boasts some good hostels, plenty of tourist and car rental agencies and a nice central plaza, but it’s not a place you should plan to stay for more than a couple of nights. The real gems are the small towns located near Salta (such as Tilcara, Cachi, Cafayate and Humahuaca) and the landscapes in and around them. They’re best explored by car, but if you don’t have a car and don’t want to hire one, stay in Cafayate and do a tour of the nearby viewpoints from there.

The one absolutely unmissable sight in the area is the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of the Seven Colors) which provides a backdrop of amazing beauty for the little village of Purmamarca. The seven colors are: light orange (composed of red clay, mud and sand); white (lime rock); brown, purple and violet (lead and calcium); red (clay and iron); green (copper oxide); brown (rock and manganese), and yellow (sulfur).

Puerto Madryn

Puerto Madryn is yet another tourism destination in Argentine Patagonia. Its three draw cards are: watching Southern Right Whale in the Gulfo Nuevo (best in September and October); trips 180 km south to see the Magellanic penguin colony in the Punta Tombo Natural Protected Area, and excursions onto Península Valdés, a wildlife sanctuary for birds and marine species.

Puerto Madryn was originally settled by Welsh colonists, and the area retains some links with Wales. This is best seen in Gaiman, the nearby ‘Welsh town’ which conserves the architecture, traditions and (somewhat bizarrely) language of the Welsh settlers. The main thing to do there is to visit a tea house for a famous ‘Welsh Tea’ (tea + scones, cakes etc.).

Puerto Madryn is located either a short flight or an ass-crippling, mind-numbing 17 hr bus ride from Buenos Aires.

El Bolsón

El Bolsón is a very likeable town of about 15,000 people that’s located about 2 hrs south of Bariloche. It’s surrounded by snowcapped mountains and, like Bariloche, offers plenty of outdoors activities, such as fishing, trekking, rafting, climbing and skiing.

So: mountains and outdoor activities. Are they why you should visit El Bolsón? No! The real reason to visit El Bolsón is that it’s Argentina’s hippy HQ! It is staunchly non-nuclear (unlike Bariloche, which has an atomic energy center) and is currently fighting the establishment of a gold mine that has been proposed for a nearby site. Then there are the drum circles, naked children frolicking in the grass, organic jams and preserves, folk music, incense (hmm or is that marijuana?) and lots of local produce like cheese, smoked trout, ice cream and chocolate.

Best of all is the outdoor artisanal fair held in El Bolsón’s central plaza not once, not twice, but three times per week (on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). It’s the most famous artisanal fair in the entire country and a great place to buy local handicrafts and locally produced food.

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44 Responses to “8 Great Places to Visit in Argentina”

  1. Delfina says:

    Great article, I have yet to visit Mendoza, Puerto Madryn and El Bolsón… but… can I suggest two more??? Esteros del Iberá in Provincia de Corrientes, and Saltos de Moconá, in Misiones.

  2. Andi says:

    Fantastic suggestions!!! I can’t believe I’ve been to Argentina 7X and on that list I’ve only been to Iguazu. I need to visit more of the country for sure.

  3. Allison says:

    I have been to every place on this list except Puerto Madryn, and after living in BA for 4 years I am leaving at the end of this year and plan to get there before I go. I have heard that its wonderful!

  4. Ryan says:

    Great list! We’ve done Iguazu, Mendoza and Quebrada de Humahuaca and were feeling pretty good about ourselves, but now we’ll have to stay much longer! oh well… ;)

    I’m also a fan of the drive between Salta city and Cafayate… gorgeous scenery.

  5. Roger says:

    Nowhere in Salta?? I could write a list of 10 amazing places just in Salta, but there’s not one in your list. El Bolson isn’t worth visiting at all, although teh drive from Bariloche is lovely. Otherwise everywhere mentioned is great.

    Also San Juan & La Rioja are well worth checking out. Look at http://www.flydriveargentina.com for ideas!

  6. Karen says:

    Hello,

    Great information. I am thinking of relocating to San Raphael, Mendoza. How long did you stay there? And how was the city?

    Thanks!

    Karen

  7. Vale Golden says:

    I would also suggest Cordoba during Spring or Autumn. It really Worth it!

  8. Fernando says:

    Those are great places to visit. I would suggest another one: Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego

  9. Mariel says:

    Córdoba is another beautiful state to visit! There you’ve got the river to visit. I recommend Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, which is a gorgeous city. Also Villa General Belgrano and La Cumbrecita.

  10. Maurizio says:

    I am from Brazil and I have been in all this places and really it is a very nice coutry. Perito Moreno is The best spots in the world are in Argentina.

  11. jasmin says:

    Argentina is so amazing and relaxing

  12. bobby says:

    other great places to go are argentina wineries and cerro torre and valley of the moon and the talampaya

  13. Matias says:

    Visit in Summer Mar del Plata city! The most complet city in Argentina!

  14. hi says:

    i love these places.

  15. bellatrix/loki says:

    hey!!! great ifo!!! i needed all the info for my big report due on Monday!!! thank you alot!!!!!

  16. christy says:

    i had found out alot of information on this website! thank you!!

  17. gordon says:

    Hi All,

    I had a great time in Argentina and in addition to the places listed hear I can strongly recommend going to Salta in the northwest. This is a wonderful little city with the added benefit that you can hire a car and follow the old railway line up the mountain to incredible altitude and then drive across the flat salt lake plain. At the end of this you will be a short way from one of the highest points its possible to drive on earth. The road then comes down the mountain very quickly and I can recommend staying in Purmamarca with its seven colour hills. This is the best village to stay in for the renown multicoloured cliffs of the area. It really has to be seen to be believed. You may consider going to the cloud forest reserve also but you will need a good four wheel drive for this.

    Wonderful country and people, cant wait to go back.

    G.D, UK.

  18. maria says:

    hello i am from argentina, i recommend visiting the iguazu falls (argentina-brazil) and carilo in buenos aires in the summer (woods, sea, quiet and exclusive), and as for the places named here, id say you specifically go to calafate (glacier), cafayate in salta and mendoza.

  19. wow argentina is z bomb… deh tun up bad!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Alejandra says:

    Hi! I must recomend USHUAIA, in TIerra del Fuego. It os a lovly place and also its called FIN DEL MUNDO. Guys youre gonna love this place and take the most beautiful photos in your life.
    Cheers!

  21. Sarah Nicole says:

    Awesome
    this helped me on a Spanish project!

  22. Sarah and Gracie says:

    This helped on a Spanish project!!!

    :)

  23. Montana-Grace says:

    I love this. This helped me with my Spanish project a bunch. <3

  24. person says:

    thanks this helped me in social studies !!!

  25. joel says:

    hey im going to buenos aires argentina for the first time im from new york city im looking forward im traveling
    in may 18 to the 29 what places i need to go place any advices i rent a car for 5 days the gas prices is hight any one can tell me thank u

  26. meli says:

    Glad to hear all this! I´m Argentinian! You forgot to come to my city, CORDOBA! as beautiful as the other destinations! I invite you to visit my home city. Our current POPE has worked a lot here with the jesuits!

  27. Lola says:

    I want to go sooooo bad.

  28. jasmine says:

    this is great info for argintina. i have a peport do in a cuple of weeks and this really helps my so thankz. and the 8 places are so beautiful i wish i could go :)

  29. German says:

    I also recommend: Ushuaia (the end of the world); Mar del Plata (where the rocks meet the sea); La Plata (the tallest Cathedral of the Americas and the best football stadium in South America); Córdoba (the second largest city in Argentina, with lots of colonial buildings and villages surrounded by hills and lakes); San Martín de Los Andes (lake Lacar and a beautiful village); Esquel (Parque Nacional Los Alerces); Buenos Aires city; small towns in Buenos Aires provice (visit an Estancia!).

  30. Africa79 says:

    Helps a lot with Projects!

  31. Rowena says:

    Great photos…makes me want to go back all over again!

  32. Julian says:

    I recently visited Cordoba, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires. I loved Cordoba. It has beautiful jesuit chapels, the nightlife is amazing and the architecture is really beautiful. Villa General Belgrano and La Cumbrecita are two beautiful towns really worth seeing. I visited Coronda, a small town near Santa Fe, and they have beautiful strawberry fields and an amazing view of the Parana River. Buenos Aires is, as you already know, breathtaking. I really recommend Cordoba and Santa Fe.

  33. Amina says:

    And of course, Carrera lake, in Santa Cruz!! A must-go-to destination!!

  34. Tara says:

    I have a project to do and these places have a lot of very great and helpful information. i wish i could visit though.

  35. lilo says:

    I would not recommend Bariloche, but the nearby town San Martín de los Andes.

    Also, some of the towns in the coast of Buenos Aires. Not for the beach, but for the city gazing itself, like Pinamar or Carilo. Take a gaze:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEHASLZLxcA

  36. pancho says:

    this will help me in my Social Studies project thank you
    :)

  37. Eugenia says:

    It seems to be such a great country with such incredible sights!
    I would very much like to visit it!

  38. Lovely photo of El Chalten!
    I reckon, Argentina requires at least 3 weeks to get a good overview of it…

  39. SZ says:

    How safe is the country? We’d like to do it for our honeymoon but security is holding us back. We’d like to include Brasil as well and perhaps Peru and Venezuela

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