Rock formations in Talampaya national park.

©Philippe Widling/Getty Images

Catamarca & La Rioja

Often overlooked by travelers, these provinces are an adventure, rich in scenery and tradition. Both were home to important pre-Columbian cultures and consequently the region contains many important archaeological sites. The provinces rise westward into the Andes, with some of the country's most spectacular highland scenery, punctuated by ice-crusted volcanoes soaring above 19600ft (6000m), accessible by tour or 4WD. It's an utterly memorable landscape, and one you should not miss.

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