Sheer geographical scale, monumental natural wonders and a fiercely passionate people - Argentina truly is a force to be reckoned with.
Romance, drama a fascinating history and some of South America’s most impactful natural wonders – choosing how to experience Argentina can be quite a task. Stretching 3,650 km north to south, the diversity of habitats is astounding. Lush, butterfly-flecked rainforests envelop the incredible Iguazu Falls, ochre tones and piercing blue skies frame Salta and the great canyons of the north, while vast wetlands teem with wildlife… and we’re not even half way down yet. The Andes Mountains march the length of the country creating spectacular walking routes and icy scenes, while Mendoza provides the perfect vintage for you to toast it all with – salud!
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Top things to do in Argentina
There are many wonderful experiences to be had in this spectacular country. For further inspiration take a look at the trip ideas put together by our trusted local experts at the foot of this page, but in the meantime here are our top things to do in Argentina.
Fall in love with Buenos Aires
A city of sailors and poets, lost loves and all manner of upheavals, Buenos Aires has a melancholy heart and a vibrancy all its own. This is the kind of city where it’s a joy to get lost. Wander the different neighbourhoods taking in everything from Parisian-style architecture to street art. Visit Evita’s resting place in the famous La Recoleta Cemetery, take in the history of the Casa Rosada then meander through the cobbled streets of San Telmo into the historic heart of the city.
Stand in awe of Patagonia
From the sparkling lakes in the north to the dazzling glaciers of the south, this is a region where nature rules. Marvel at the awe-inspiring glaciers, hike through the Fitz Roy Mountains to frozen lakes or spot whales and orca off the Atlantic coast. At the continent’s icy tip you’ll find the evocatively named Tierra del Fuego - the Land of Fire. Whether you are an experienced adventurer or this is your first foray into the wild, Patagonia is perfect.
Sip your way through the winelands
Although Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer in the world, Argentines still manage to drink 90% of it. The most prolific and diverse wine region is Mendoza, where full-bodied Malbecs are the pick of the bunch. Basking under year-round sunshine in the fertile foothills of the Andes, Mendoza is the place to come for long alfresco lunches paired with wine tasting galore.
Discover the colours of the North
Argentina’s Andean Northwest has a rich and distinct culture along with some monumental landscapes to explore. The city of Salta is the gateway to the region, with its atmospheric street life, fabulous dining and late-night folk music scene. Beyond are a whole host of geographical wonders, including the incredible painted hills of Quebrada de Humahuaca and the bizarre rock formations of the Quebrada de Cafayate.
Contemplate the power of Iguazu Falls
This incredible display of some 300 waterfalls stretches nearly three kilometres, creating an unforgettable spectacle amidst a verdant tropical rainforest. The falling water creates little rainbows in the main gully, known as ‘The Devil’s Mouth’, and the spray that rises up from these thunderous falls can be seen for miles around.
Lesser-known things to do in Argentina
While there are many well-known things to do in Argentina, what about the lesser-known highlights? Our local experts have shared some of their top tips for where to go and what to do if you fancy a bit of an alternative Argentinian adventure.
Discover hiking heaven in El Chalten
Dramatic views of Mount Fitz Roy abound around the remote village of El Chalten. This is prime hiking country - from easy meanders to spot Alpine flowers and souring Andean condors, to more challenging hikes up to the snowline where you can marvel at the deep turquoise of a glacial lake or gaze on a distant glacier.
Encounter a capybara
The vast Iberá wetlands are home to an amazing array of animal and birdlife. Estancias on the perimeter of the national parkland make great bases, and as you head out to explore the waterways and marshland look out for giant anteaters, caiman and capybara – the world’s largest rodent!
Unearth Argentina's connection with whales and the Welsh
The coastline around Puerto Madryn is wild and rocky with a dry desert interior, none the less, this is where an intrepid group of Welsh settlers decided to make home in 1886. Welsh is still spoken in pockets of Patagonia and you can enjoy a Welsh tea in the local villages. The big draw of the area though is the marine wildlife of the nearby Peninsula Valdes. Southern Right Whales visit from October to March, along with seals, dolphins, orca and a whole host of birdlife.
Explore chocolate box Bariloche and the lake district
The charming alpine town of Bariloche in the Andean foothills is a great base for skiing and summer hiking, biking, and riding around the region’s island-dotted lakes and snowy peaks. Explore picturesque lakes and fuel your adventures in the town’s many well-stocked chocolate shops.
When is the best time to visit Argentina?
The climate in Argentina ranges from subtropical to subpolar, so the best time to visit depends heavily on where you would like to go. The north has hot, humid summers and dry, mild winters; the central regions are hot and sometimes stormy in summer, cool in winter; the south has warm summers and cold winters with some snowfall at higher elevations. The central coastline and the Río de la Plata estuary, which includes Buenos Aires, are best avoided from May until August, when the rains are heavy. If you’re in the wine-growing Cuyo region or the western Pampas, pack layers for variable temperatures. A hot, dry wind - The Zonda - occasionally roars down from Andean heights, blowing for several hours, and can be followed by temperature drops.
Interesting facts about Argentina
Argentina is a vast and fascinating country. But did you know any of our top three facts about it?
- In 2016, Argentina topped the charts globally for red meat consumption per capita, and came second in the world for beef consumption per capita, after neighbouring Uruguay.
- Around 37% of the Argentine population is of Italian descent. Argentina’s ethnic groups include a large percentage (almost 68%) of people of European descent, around 28% with Amerindian ancestry, and the remaining 4% divided between African and Asian ancestry.
- Since 1970, thirteen zeros have been knocked off the value of the Argentinean currency to keep up with inflation.
Insider tips from our trusted local experts
Being local, our experts have an extensive knowledge of the secrets to experiencing the 'real' India. Here are a few of their top tips - ask them for other recommendations when you enquire to ensure you have the most in-depth experience whilst on holiday!
Go behind closed doors…
"Experience some truly creative cuisine in one of Buenos Aires’ Closed Door Restaurants. Intimate supper-club style set-ups, often housed in people’s homes allow the creative juices of the capital’s innovative chefs to flow. We especially recommend Ocho Once. "
"The famous San Telmo Market in Buenos Aires is a must-see, but for a different experience head to the local weekend flea market in Parque Centenario, Villa Crespo. Here you’ll find a colourful mix of characters and a jumble of antique stalls, bric-a-brac and artisanal makers and designers selling their wares."
Find your sweet spot…
"Argentinians really do have a sweet tooth (have you tried Dulce de Leche?). With its French and Italian influences Argentina has picked the best of Europe’s sweet treats and perfected the art of making them. Tuck into sublime Italian gelato and decadent sweet pastries known as Facturas."
Pass the ‘Mate’…
"Drinking mate, a strong, caffeinated herbal infusion, is a way of life in Argentina. You’ll often see people walking around with flask under arm and a mate gourd or cup with a metal straw to drink from. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but if someone offers you a drink, it means they’d like to chat a while."
What to read before you go to Argentina
If you're looking for something to get you in the mood before you set off on your travels to Argentina, we've gathered a list of our favourite books to inspire you.
'In Patagonia' by Bruce Chatwin
Renowned British travel writer Bruce Chatwin explores seventies Patagonia through a series of short anecdotes and historical insights – a true classic which shot Chatwin to fame.
'The Tango Singer' by Tomás Eloy Martínez
Written by one of Argentina’s most celebrated journalists and authors, this fictional novel charts the story of a New York student in search of an elusive tango singer. The book is at once a homage to the writer Borges, and a glimpse into Buenos Aires’ scintillating tango scene.
'Hard Times in Buenos Aires' by Miranda France
A fun and accessible portrait of Buenos Aires in the troubled nineties. Written by a British foreign correspondent it captures life in the city with all its quirks and flaws intact.
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