10 Amazing Things to Do in Argentina
Last Updated on 11/10/2021
If you are looking for a year-round vacation destination to explore some beautiful landscapes of nature with the perfect blend of history, culture and lifestyle – welcome to Argentina! This spectacular country is ranked as one of the best countries to visit in South America with its significance in offering diverse geographical experiences to its visitors. Tourists could expect experiences ranging from day trips to the Atacama desert, hiking the Andes mountains, traversing the Valdivian rain forests, cliff diving in the Iguazu waterfalls or swimming in the deep blue ocean.
Apart from exploring the natural essence that you will be surrounded by, the city lovers can explore the cityscapes of Buenos Aires and add some pizazz to this Argentine tour by experiencing the energetic nightlife filled with tango dancing, hypnotic music and amazing cuisine with a bottle of vino from Mendoza. The streets of Argentina, especially in the capital city, are filled with European architecture, art and romantic boulevards that will make you fall in love with this experience over and over again. To get the best travel experience, let’s take you through some of the best things to do in Argentina!
Table of Contents
- 1 Fall in love with Buenos Aires
- 2 Mixing the old and the new at Córdoba
- 3 Experience the best of both worlds at Salta
- 4 Step into this beautiful village called Cafayate
- 5 Explore the magnificence of Puerto Iguazu
- 6 Cycle through beautiful Bodegas at Mendoza
- 7 A mix of serenity and adventure at Bariloche
- 8 Experience white wonderland in El Calafate
- 9 Admire wild marine life at Peninsula Valdes
- 10 Head to the end of the world through Ushuaia
Fall in love with Buenos Aires
Location (Buenos Aires)
This beautiful Argentine city feels more European than South American and is more commonly known as the “Paris of the South”. Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, has magnificent buildings with decorative architecture and the city has the perfect blend of modernity and history that you can explore. Before beginning the Argentine tour, your first glimpse will be of Buenos Aires and this is the best of both worlds.
With elegant boulevards, cafes, music and wine this will be a romantic experience that will steal your heart away. Within 1-3 days you can expect to cover a range of diverse experiences as Buenos Aires is known to be a city that never sleeps with tango music emanating from all corners, historical sites and museums to visit. Buenos Aires also offers its visitors great shopping experiences with plenty of cafes in every corner to try delicious local and international cuisines.
In one corner of this city, there is La Boca – a popular tourist attraction to be included in most city tours. This is one of the most picturesque and instagrammable places in Buenos with its colourful houses and street art. While you can snap plenty of vibrant photographs here, La Boca is also a memorial and a tribute to its struggling working class. For all our food lovers, Argentina is also very well-known for the best steak (and wine, but we’ll get to that), and that certainly earns a spot in your list of things to do in Argentina!
Mixing the old and the new at Córdoba
Córdoba is the second largest city in Argentina and yet another place to have a fulfilling experience with memories to take back home. You can stroll down to visit the town’s tourist destinations while immersing yourself in its culture and centuries – old history. But here’s the catch – rumour is that Córdoba is the perfect mix of the old and new and everything in between! Despite its significance for grand colonial history, architecture and arts & culture, this is a town that really knows how to have fun.
You can begin your city tour at the Central Square where many street performers entertain the crowd on a daily basis. Then head down to Nueva Córdoba to enjoy electro-tango infused nightlife till the sun rises and visit the hip bohemian neighbourhood in Güemes for some of the trendiest bars, cafes and restaurants in the area. This town is also the home of the Argentine Fernet and Coke so don’t forget to try this before heading out! You can learn more about its colonial history and culture by visiting the Evita Fine Arts Museum, Paseo de Las Artes, Cripta Jesuítica and the Jesuit Block.
The beautiful Córdoba is also a canvas of natural beauty with rivers, waterfalls and hills that makes it the perfect destination for road tripping, hiking or camping. If you are looking for beautiful sceneries, be sure to visit between November to April to experience warm splendour with vibrant hues. This is a town that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Also, don’t forget to visit the village of La Cumbre for a lovely horseback ride on the hills.
Experience the best of both worlds at Salta
Argentina has always been loved by its tourists for offering a myriad of different experiences culturally and geographically; and in Northern Argentina, Salta is one of the largest regions that gives you the best of both worlds. This is a beautiful valley surrounded by the Andes mountains with busy city life as well as countrysides consisting of soaring mountains and high altitudes with lush greenery.
Once you are in Salta city, get a taste of their gastronomical experience with torrontés white wine known for its aroma and smooth texture. The city is for all foodies, bar hoppers and history buffs (you will be surrounded by colonial architecture wherever you go). You can take a city tour and explore several locations like the Cathedral, the anthropology museum and the traditional market busy with crafters of the city. Salta is known for natural beauty, and for all our nature lovers, the countryside will be your favourite place to be. You can take a ride well-known as the ‘Train to the Clouds’ which is a 294-mile ride that runs 4000 metres above sea level and is full of scenic landscapes and breathtaking views.
If sightseeing is not for you, there are more exciting activities like white-water rafting, zip-lining and hiking at Salta. Some other popular tourist attractions include the snow-white salt flats known as Salinas Grandes that is the third largest in the world, the Atacama desert and the seven-coloured hill known as Quebrada de Humahuaca which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that must be visited at least once while you are in northern Argentina!
Step into this beautiful village called Cafayate
While the 3-hour drive from Salta to Cafayate will be the ultimate road trip in Northern Argentina, it is also one of the most scenic rides with breathtaking views of red-rock quebradas (mountains) surrounding you like a canvas painting. You could make a few stops to take photographs of the rock formations with dramatic hues of red and brown. This spectacular experience will be quite different to what you may see in popular cities like Buenos Aires and will be a wonderful surprise to see on your vacation.
After the road trip, you will arrive at a little village called Cafayate that has more beautiful sceneries and bodegas – miles and miles of vineyards with different wines and cuisines to try out. With a day trip to the busy side of the town – you can visit the grand cathedral that has stunning post-colonial architectural styles, the Mercado Artesanal market to shop for some high-quality hand made handicrafts and local artwork, and the museums to explore the historical significance of this beautiful town. The Central Plaza will be your go-to spot to wind down after a long trip with a glass of wine combined with endless landscape views of Cafayate.
Not only does this town serve stunning sceneries, but also textured white and red wines, like the fruity Torrontés and Cabernet Sauvignon. One thing that’s highly recommended is the wide range of ice creams made from different wines that are high in demand among tourists. Ice cream and wine?! It’s the perfect combo at Cafayate!
Explore the magnificence of Puerto Iguazu
Location (Puerto Iguazu)
This wonderful city in Northern Argentina has an interesting history, but Puerto Iguazu also has some of the most highly recommended tourist destinations like the Iguazu Falls and the Iguazu national park to name a few. If you would like to experience natural, lush beauty that will take your breath away, this would be the right place!
Begin the tour with a hike to the Iguazu national park that is a rainforest rich in wildlife and rare plants. This has been recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site and will be a sensory experience that must be witnessed at least once in your lifetime. This tour would be 3-5 hours long which will then lead to the magnificent Iguaza Falls of Argentina. This gigantic waterfall located at the border of Argentina and Brazil runs across the expanse of 3 kilometres and cascades down as 275 mini waterfalls. Looking at this majestic view will leave you breathless and make you feel like you are in paradise!
Apart from hiking through the national park, you can access the waterfall through an adventurous boat tour or a helicopter ride. The city of Iguazu will have much more to offer to its tourists, but don’t forget to witness these world wonders before you head on to others.
Cycle through beautiful Bodegas at Mendoza
Location (Mendoza Province)
Undoubtedly, this will be one of the favourite tours of all you wine lovers out there! Mendoza is a beautiful city that is world-famous as the wine region of South America and will be a great experience to add to your list of things to do in Argentina. Mendoza is an exotic city that fully comes alive at night with more tango music and dance steps to the beat. This is also one of the destinations that can be visited during summer and winter – and it would blow your mind just the same!
Famously known for its production of Malbec and Merlot wine, Mendoza will have the backdrop of the stunning Andes mountains with warm sunny weather, you can imagine why this would be called a wine lovers’ paradise. There will be many vineyards and bodegas (wineries) that offer tours and wine tastings with delicious cuisines to taste. We recommend taking a bike tour to cycle through the wineries while enjoying the warm weather and beautiful views, and of course, you can also purchase the best Argentine wine to take home with you.
Apart from the wine tastings, you can experience many other tourist activities in Mendoza like horseback riding near the mountain edge, paragliding over the mountains and deserts, whitewater rafting in Mendoza river, visiting the modern art museum at Plaza Independencia and many many more.
A mix of serenity and adventure at Bariloche
This tourist destination that was named the ‘Argentine Capital of Adventure Tourism’ in 2015 is highly recommended for all our adventure seekers. Located in the province of Rio Negro in the Patagonian region, this small town is more commonly known among the locals as the Switzerland of Argentina. For a place that is full of natural beauty and stunning panoramic mountain views, Bariloche is also famously known for its delicious chocolates and local brews that taste divine after a long day of hiking, as well as a beautiful little town covered with European architecture. Imagine this with the surrounding landscapes of the Andes mountains – total relaxation, guaranteed!
Bariloche is surrounded by mountains, lakes, waterfalls, volcanoes and glaciers which is why this is the perfect destination to visit if you are looking to spend some time outdoors. We recommend spending a few days here to enjoy the wide range of outdoor activities available that are popular in the area like hiking, kayaking, skiing and sailing. Other experiences like tasting world-class cuisines, getting an in-depth feel of the culture and history, relaxing picnics, city strolls amongst romantic boulevards and coffee shops are also among some of the things to do in beautiful Bariloche.
While you are in this picturesque mountain town, these are some itineraries you can add to a quick city tour; get to Calle Mitre to taste chocolates in any form, shape or flavour. Then you can burn some calories with a quick hike to the top of Cerro Campanario and enjoy breathtaking views (and some of the best sceneries) of the Nahuel Huapi and Moreno lakes along with some more amazing panoramic views. Next, visit Cerro Catedral to go for a round of skiing, and head down to the village at the base to enjoy some food and drinks. A trip to Lago Nahuel Huapi for a day of kayaking is also possible if you are ready to witness some serenity with amazing views of mountains, beaches and waterfalls. Bariloche – a place that will certainly fill your body, heart and soul.
Experience white wonderland in El Calafate
Location (El Calafate)
Another great addition to your bucket list could be the beautiful town of El Calafate. Also located in Southern Argentina, this is a small town that is a lovely place to rest and relax and offers a variety of different experiences to nature lovers in South America. However, if you are also a foodie, be sure to taste Cordero al Palo, the famous Roasted Lamb dish that is cooked over an open log fire for several hours, and you can explore some tourist destinations of El Calafate fully refreshed!
The town of El Calafate gives easy access to snow-covered mountain peaks that are two hours away from the centre of town – this is a natural phenomenon that is very different to the warm hues and sunny atmosphere experienced in the other regions of Argentina. You can visit the Los Glaciares National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage site where the gigantic iceberg, Perito Moreno Glacier is located. This is a 30km wide ice formation among 48 glaciers in the Argentinian Patagonia ice field. You can plan a trekking tour or a boat ride to get a closer look at one of the largest natural attractions to exist and you will be mind-blown by its enormity and grace.
Some of the other tours in the area include a tour to the Glaciarium that shares valuable information about the significance and formation of glaciers. If hiking, rafting or kayaking is what you have in mind, visit El Chalten in the Fitzroy mountain range. Once you are back in El Calafate town, you can visit a cattle ranch that is locally known as an Estancia to get a glimpse of real-life farming with beautiful views of the Andes mountain to fully experience the countryside of Patagonia and Southern Argentina!
Admire wild marine life at Peninsula Valdes
Location (Peninsula Valdes)
Located in Patagonia which is the southern region of South America, Peninsula Valdes is a coastal area that holds high significance for being a conservative land for marine mammals – recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for this reason. You will need to access the Peninsula through Puerto Madryn, a city in the Patagonian region. With sandy beaches and cold breeze rushing through, this would be the best place to experience Argentine wildlife in their natural habitat. Once you reach Puerto Madryn, be sure to visit the museum on a cliff that is known as EcoCentro – this is a three-storey tower in the shape of a lighthouse that also gives you breathtaking views of the ocean whilst educating its guests about the marine ecosystem with a hint of art.
There are also other activities surrounding this area in Patagonia such as biking, hiking, kayaking, windsurfing, or even scuba diving! You can go further down Peninsula Valdes on a boat ride to get a first-hand experience of dolphins, orcas, whales, sea lions, penguins and seals. This Peninsula has been globally recognised for preserving marine life and as an opportunity to observe these species in their natural habitat. Be sure to add this to your list of things to do in Argentina for an unforgettable experience!
Head to the end of the world through Ushuaia
This travel guide for Argentina wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a tour to the seventh continent, Antarctica. First, you will need to pay a visit to Peninsula Valdes in the Patagonia region that is the southernmost point of this wonderful country. From there you can visit Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. This small town offers the best experiences and access to the Antarctic continent. The cruises to Antarctica depart through the Beagle Channel and you will witness phenomenal landscapes with glaciers, icebergs, snow-peaked mountains and an abundance of wildlife in their natural habitats like penguins, seals, whales and seabirds. Be sure to visit during Summer (December to March) for a nice, warmer temperature.
Apart from cruising to Antarctica, Ushuaia is a great city with many more interesting places to visit even if it might not be at the top of your list of things to do in Argentina. You can traverse through many years of maritime history while enjoying the wildlife and enjoy excursions like hiking and skiing. One of the most popular landmarks in the town is the port known as the Beagle Channel that is the hub for all ships setting sail to Antarctica. Pick a spot nearby to dine while watching the ships sail in and out, and you can pick a hotel nearby where there are rooms available with this view. And what a view it is!
Next, you can visit the Tierra del Fuego National Park with stunning natural beauty filled with flora and fauna with an abundance of wildlife activity. This is the national park at the southernmost point in the world that is also known to be the ‘Mother of all national parks’ for its wilderness. Then you can visit Martillo Island to “walk with the penguins” and these cute waddling creatures are surprisingly comfortable around humans. Ushuaia offers many experiences, and although unpopular, will be one of the best destinations that you can visit to gather tons of memories that last a lifetime!
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