Argentina is one of the jewels in the Latin American crown. A vast country stretching 3,500 kilometres from the Bolivian border in the north to Ushuaia and the gateway to Antarctica in the south, it is a place that offers some of the most impressive natural wonders anywhere on earth. It has a world-class tourist infrastructure, with arguably the best cuisine on the continent, and it is safe. But its not just that that makes a trip to Argentina feel so special. The country simply has a redoubtable spirit unlike any other in the region, and nowhere is that more evident than in its lively capital, Buenos Aires.
If Argentina is one of the jewels in the Latin American crown, so the cosmopolitan Buenos Aires is one of the standout cities of the continent. Many gateway cities are just that, and you’re best off getting in and getting out, but not the Argentine capital; this is a destination in its own right that ideally requires at least 3 days to truly explore. A place where the elegance of old Europe crashes against the colourful coast of Latin America, Buenos Aires is a beautiful city, with elegant and impressive architecture, relaxing parks and some great sites. Must see locations include the colourful Bocca district, famous for its brightly painted homes, San Telmo, renowned for its antique market and strange curiosity shops, Palermo, home to some of the city’s most stylish restaurants, hotel and bars, and the smart district of Recoleta, most well-known for its famous cemetery, the final resting place of among others Argentina’s most famous daughter, Eva Peron.
From here heading north the first place you’ll be tempted to visit is one of the country’s many natural wonders… the famous Iguazu Falls.
From here, working our way anti clockwise around the country you’ll come to Corrientes and the Iberia wetlands. Although not commonly visited by international travellers, we at Wild Frontiers love this place and run many trips to the atmospheric estancias where we have fun playing at being gauchos.
From here you come to Cordoba, the country’s second largest city. This is a region known for the pretty Andean foothills into which you can ride or walk.
Next up is the famous wine region of Mendoza. Anyone interested in gastronomy trips should spend at least 3 days here, where, staying at one of the locally-run boutique wineries you can enjoy some world class dining. But Mendoza isn’t only about cuisine… it is also the gateway to hikes up the America’s highest mountain, Aconcagua, and some good horse rides into the low Andes.
Heading north of here is the spectacular coloured mountain desert region of Salta, and the northern routes into Chile and the Atacama Desert, or heading further east you’ll next come to San Martin de los Andes, where you’ll find some wonderful mountain scenery with a few great estancias again offering some great riding, and fishing, experiences this time into the higher Andes.
Now heading south, the next location you’ll come to is one of the countries major highlights, the lake district of Bariloche. Here you can enjoy all manner of activities, from riding and cycling, to kayaking and abseiling, or just relaxing with a nice picnic on one of the regions many lakes.
Heading south on highway 40, passed the fossilised remains of the world’s largest dinosaur, and the famous painted hands at Cueva de las Manos, you come to FitzRoy National Park before hitting one of the most impressive areas on the continent, El Calafate, and the regions wide open steppes and famous glaciers that here crash down into the lakes. There are many such glaciers but perhaps the most famous is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Puerto Moreno glacier.
To the east of the country is Puerto Valdez, from which between October to March the Orca whales can be spotted, and in the very south is Ushuaia, and the gateway to Antarctica. At Wild Frontiers we have relationships with some of the best Antarctic explorer vessels.
Argentina is a huge country and unless you are lucky enough to have a month to travel you are unlikely to see it all in one visit. The important thing is to work out what you’d like to see most, and then let us help you work out the best way to do it.
Although Argentina may not have the level indigenous cultural traditions that Bolivia and Peru enjoy; although it might not have the beaches, colour and sheer razzmatazz that Brazil can boast, Argentina does have a plethora of sites and experiences with which to seduce the visitor. With its dramatic Patagonian steppes, its extraordinary glaciers, its colourful mountains and deserts, its lakes and its coast, Argentina’s landscapes are second to none. Its wildlife is impressive and varied, its cuisine is world class and in its cultured, cosmopolitan capital city, it has one of the most fun metropolises anywhere on the planet.