As the eighth-largest country in the world, Argentina boasts nearly every kind of environment, from glaciated mountain peaks and cacti-dotted deserts, to wildlife-dense swamplands and shrubby, arid steppes. Outdoor-fun-seekers will find their blissful adventures, beachcombers their warm stretches of sand and wine lovers their luscious vineyards.
The bigger cities, such as Buenos Aires and Córdoba, boast endless nightlife, entertainment, shopping and restaurants, along with doses of culture, such as excellent museums, tango dance halls and colonial history. Argentina offers pretty much everything you might be looking for in a destination, so choose your desires, set aside enough time to experience them all, and just take off!
Steaks & More
There are plenty of fine steak houses in Buenos Aires. But you’ll also find trendsetters banking on the latest international tendencies as well as ethnic restaurants serving up cuisines from China to the Middle East.
Burn the Midnight Oil
After dinner – which often ends after midnight on weekends – porteños (Buenos Aires residents) head out for a drink, then hit the nightclubs after 2am. Other events happen at a more ‘reasonable’ hour, but you get the idea – this city is nocturnal.
Ah, the tango. There’s no denying the attraction of this sexy dance. And BA boasts countless dance venues and classes, along with world-class competitions. Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to fall in love. It all started here.
The Pampas & the Atlantic Coast
Life’s a Beach
In January, coastal cities such as Mar del Plata, Pinamar and Necochea become heaving hubs of sun-bronzed Argentines lying on hot sands during the day and partying all night long.
This quintessential icon’s heyday was centuries ago, but today the culture is kept alive in San Antonio de Areco, where an annual festival celebrates gaucho life. You can also visit an estancia (ranch), where horseback riding, gaucho demonstrations and asados (barbecues) are highlights.
Hiking & Landscapes
The ancient, worn-down mountain ranges of the Pampas aren’t as spectacular as the youthful Andes. But around Sierra de la Ventana are some hikes offering dramatic views of surrounding landscapes – including one where you peek through a rock ‘window.’
Iguazú Falls & the Northeast
Wide Rivers, Mighty Iguazú
Towns and cities along the region’s two major rivers often boast great waterside strips for boating, strolling, eating and partying, while large fish attract anglers. Up north, Iguazú, the world’s most impressive waterfalls, will leave you in awe.
The Esteros del Iberá wetlands hold an astonishing wealth of creatures, including snapping caimans, colorful birdlife and roly-poly capybaras. A long hop north, Iguazú’s national park and jungle ecosystem is equally rich in distinct wildlife species.
Built by Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries, remote reducciones (missions) were created to educate, evangelize and protect local Guaraní populations. They flourished for about 150 years before the Jesuits' expulsion left the missions exposed to slave raids and colonization.
Salta & the Andean Northwest
The northwestern peoples witnessed the Inca; then the Spanish arrived. Centuries later, the ruins of cities remain, but the food, daily life and handicrafts speak of a persisting, living and changing culture.
The northwestern cities are Argentina’s oldest, and there’s an unmistakable time-honored feel to them. Venerable churches, stately facades and handsome plazas planted with lofty trees – together with the relaxed pace of life – give these places an ambience unlike any other.
Out & About
The Andes dominate the geography here and boast excellent climbing, walking and 4WD excursions. But there are also subtropical national parks replete with bird and animal life, and top-notch hang gliding and paragliding offer the opportunity to see how things look from above.
Córdoba & the Central Sierras
Oldies but Goodies
The Jesuit legacy in Córdoba extends beyond winemaking and higher education – they also constructed some fabulous buildings. Córdoba city boasts an entire block of well-preserved Jesuit architecture, and further examples are scattered around the province.
Bring on the Night
Catch an independent movie or a play, dance the night away or grab a few quiet drinks in a cozy bar – whatever you’re looking for, Córdoba’s young population and vibrant cultural scene make finding it a snap.
Take to the Skies
If you’ve ever even been vaguely tempted to try paragliding, this is the place to do it – the world-famous launch sites of La Cumbre and Merlo are home to scores of instructors offering tandem flights that will have you soaring with the condors.
Mendoza & the Central Andes
Hear It on the Grapevine
Get to the heart of Argentina’s magnificent wine culture by visiting the vineyards, talking to the winemakers and seeing how it all comes together, from planting the vine to tasting the final, delicious product.
Snowcapped year-round and dominating the horizon, the Andes are one of Argentina’s iconic images. Get up close and personal with them by climbing Aconcagua, the Americas’ highest peak, or hitting the slopes in Mendoza’s world-class ski resorts.
Wet & Wild
All that snowmelt from the Andes does more than just irrigate the grapevines. It also feeds a couple of rivers that gush down from the mountains, giving rafters the ride of their lives.
Bariloche & the Lake District
Get Out There
There’s always something to do in the Lake District, a true year-round destination. Powder hounds hit the slopes in season at the province’s top-notch ski resorts while the rest of the year the mountain trails, hikers’ refuges and expansive vistas make it a trekker’s paradise.
One of the joys of traveling through this region is discovering small alpine villages nestled in the forest, surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery – the perfect remedy for big-city blues.
Some truly huge animals used to roam these parts – including the world’s largest dinosaur and the world’s largest carnivore. The sites where they were discovered are open to the public to teach a humbling lesson in size.
Iconic hikes around Fitz Roy and Torres del Paine bring deserved fame to the trails of Patagonia. But if you have time, check out the millennial forests of Parque Nacional Los Alerces and the electric turquoise lakes of ultra-remote Parque Nacional Perito Moreno.
Wildlife on the Steppe
Abundant marine life makes the coast, and Península Valdés in particular, the hub for watching wildlife, but there’s also the subtle allure of Patagonia’s guanaco herds, soaring condors and ñandús that sprint across the steppe.
Riding on an estancia, driving RN 40, glacier chasing or just getting deep into the Andean wilderness: Patagonia is all about unfettered freedom and the allure of the unexpected.
Tierra del Fuego
Austral summer’s long days make for backpacking bliss. Alpine lagoons and snowy basins comprise an iconic Fuegian trek. For a quick dose of big nature, hit the enchanted forests of Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego.
You don’t have to round Cape Horn to find magic in these southern seas. Sail the Beagle Channel in search of marine life and indigenous ruins, boat through the Chilean fjords or paddle a sea kayak.
Brave a winter journey to the frozen ends of the earth. From June to October, snow makes Ushuaia adventure central. Whoosh down the slopes of Cerro Castor, ski cross-country or race across the snowdrifts driven by sled dogs. Crackling bonfires, seafood banquets and comfy lodges cap the day.
Food & Wine
A Beach for Every Taste
Beachside bliss wears many faces on Uruguay’s Atlantic coast: chasing the perfect surf break at La Pedrera, getting friendly with sea lions at Cabo Polonio or scanning the sands for international celebrities at Punta del Este.
Wide Open Skies
Uruguay’s gaucho soul lies in its vast interior landscapes. For a taste of traditional ranch life, spend a few nights on an estancia, riding horseback into an endless horizon by day and savoring the warmth of the fire and the brilliance of the stars by night.
Dinner's all Fired Up
Something’s always grilling in Uruguay. The classic parrillada (mixed grill) of steak, pork chops, chorizo and morcilla (blood sausage) is enough to make any carnivore swoon, especially when accompanied by a glass of tannat from one of the country’s up-and-coming wineries.