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15 Absolute BEST Places to Visit in Argentina

15 Absolute BEST Places to Visit in Argentina

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So, you’re planning a trip to Argentina? Excellent choice – it’s one of my favorite countries in the world! This diverse nation has something for every type of traveler, from vibrant, bustling cities, breathtaking national parks, and incredible wildlife to plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities, like hiking, whitewater rafting, and kayaking! 

Argentina is massive, (it’s the 8th largest country in the world), so knowing where to visit before you go is essential. Just how much of this gorgeous destination you get to see will depend on the time you have.

If you have a week, you could explore Buenos Aires (THE best city in Latin America, in my opinion) and then, go hiking/adventuring through the wild, rugged landscapes of Patagonia. With more time (two weeks plus), you’ll be able to go whale watching in Puerto Madryn, wine tasting in Mendoza, and get up close to one of the most famous waterfalls in the world – Iguazu Falls!

That’s looking like one bucket-list-worthy itinerary, and would you believe there are many more hidden gems just waiting to be explored in Argentina? In fact, you could easily spend a year traveling through this gorgeous country and still not see it all. 

So, let’s check out the 15 best places to visit in Argentina together. As you’ll find out, each destination in Argentina is so different, but I just know after reading this blog you’ll fall in love with them all like we did!

Getting Around Argentina

The Fin del Mundo train or Train at the end of the world in Ushuaia
The Fin del Mundo train in Ushuaia is a very popular mode of transport!

Argentina is a massive country, so before you get there, you need to think about how you’re going to get from A to B.

Bus

In our opinion, the bus is the most convenient way to get around Argentina. Even though a bus journey will take longer than a train or domestic flight, it’s a reliable, safe, and cheap option. The best way to book a bus journey in Argentina is with BusBud, as it shows you all the routes and companies available and is super easy to use! 

Bus services in Argentina are excellent and are a good transport option, especially for getting from Buenos Aires to places like Puerto Madryn and Mendoza and from Salta to Mendoza. There are loads of private bus companies in operation here, but most only focus on one specific region. However, Via TAC operates across the country.

For longer journeys, you can opt for a luxury experience called Coche cama, Ejecutivo, or Pullman, and these have comfortable, fully reclinable sites, onboard toilets, and often a stewardess that serves you snacks and hot meals (these are included in your ticket price!). Semi-cama tickets are another luxurious but cheaper option, and these have semi-reclinable sites and onboard toilets. 

Another popular option is to book a shuttle service via Bookaway. These are essentially a minivan that typically goes directly from A to B and are a slightly more luxurious option. Bookaway also shows options to book bus trips if you want to grab tickets that way.

Car Rental

If you have a bigger budget and want to go off the beaten path, then renting a car in Argentina is a fantastic option, as it gives you freedom. The roads in Argentina are generally well-maintained. However, Patagonia is a tricky area as the mountainous landscape means roads are winding, narrow, and not in the best overall condition. In areas like Bariloche and Salta, the roads are better maintained. And, of course, Buenos Aires’ roads are in good condition. However, traffic here can be a nightmare at peak times.

We always use Discover Cars for our car rentals no matter where we are in the world. It lets you filter companies by their rating, which means that you can rest assured you’re booking with a reputable company.

We will add that if you plan to drive your rental car through the Patagonia region, keep in mind that the roads here tend to be in bad condition due to the mountainous terrain. Some car rental companies offer minimal breakdown assistance in this region, so, be sure to check that out before booking with them.

Train

Train routes through Argentina are scarce and are not a very reliable transport option. The railways are in poor condition, and there are only a handful of long-distance services, all in the Buenos Aires province. And although this is a cheaper option than using a private bus company, it’s not as safe!

So, in short, we don’t recommend train travel in Argentina. The exceptions are the tourist trains here, such as the Tren del Fin del Mundo and the Tren a las Nubes, one of the highest railways in the world!

Plane

Domestic flights are a great way to get around Argentina quickly, but of course, flying will work out a lot more expensive than going by bus or train. Airlines like Aerolíneas Argentinas, Andes Líneas Aéreas, JetSmart Argentina, and Flybondi are the most popular airlines in Argentina. These airlines service major cities and tourist destinations like Buenos Aires, Bariloche, Cordoba, Santa Fe, and Neuquén.

Related Read: You may be wondering if Argentina is safe, and overall, we would say that yes, it’s a safe destination, but, there are some safety tips for South America that you should know first!

Best Time to Visit Argentina

Mountain backdrop on the highway in El Chalten, Argentina
A sunny day in El Chalten, look at all the snow on the mountain!

Argentina is a massive country, so deciding when to travel here depends on what destinations you want to visit.

In Buenos Aires, the warmest months are December, January, and February, and the average temperature during the summer period is 28°C (82°F). Summer is the peak tourist season, but if you’re planning more hikes or sightseeing than beach time, then spring or fall might be best. The winter months (from June to August) are much cooler with average daily temperatures of 15°C (59°F) and more rainfall.

For Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, the best months to travel here are from December to March. The average temperature at this time of year sits at 5°C (41°F), but the days are longer, meaning more time to pack in all the awesome activities here. The winter months in Patagonia (June-September) are extremely cold, and as a result, transport options here are limited, and many activities are put on pause.

For Salta and the majority of Northern Argentina, the best time to visit is from June to August, when temperatures average 20°C (68°F). That’s because the summer months (December to February) can be very hot here! During this cooler period, more rainfall leads to increased water volume at Iguazu Falls, meaning they’re at their most spectacular-looking. However, heavy rains can close many of the trails!

Best Places to Visit in Argentina

1. Buenos Aires

A famous street in the Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina
A famous street in the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires!
The Puente de la Mujer in Buenos Aires
The Puente de la Mujer in Buenos Aires

Before we visited Buenos Aires, we were told by many travelers that it was the best city in South America! That’s a bold statement, but after staying there for some time, I can confidently say that Buenos Aires is one of our favorite cities in the world!

Buenos Aires is the beating heart of Argentina, and it’s a must-add to your Argentina itinerary! As the country’s capital city and the largest one too (there are a whopping 48 neighborhoods, or “barrios” here), it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of fantastic restaurants and highly rated hotels in Buenos Aires.

As well, there are heaps of fun Buenos Aires sightseeing tours to choose from! In fact, there are so many great things to do here that we recommend spending a minimum of 3 days in Buenos Aires!

Honestly, you could spend years in this city and never get bored. Of the 48 neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, our favorite is La Boca, a former working-class Italian neighborhood that still retains that “Italian feel” today! It’s one of the city’s most popular places to visit as it’s so pretty, especially Caminito Street – think colorful houses, quirky cafes, and art galleries! It’s also one of the most famous tango spots in the city, so you’ll often see tango dancers performing on the cobbles here. 

A walking tour is an excellent way to get acquainted with La Boca, and Buenos Aires Free Walks offers a great tour of La Boca. You’ll come away having learned all about the neighborhood’s culture, history, and architecture. The tour ends with a trip to Maradona’s beloved Boca Juniors stadium (aka La Bombonera Stadium), one of the most iconic soccer stadiums in the world. It is said to have the most passionate atmosphere of any sporting stadium worldwide. This tour costs just $10 USD, which we think is great value!

Speaking of soccer, if you can, try to see a match at La Bombonera, which, if you’re a sports fan, will be a bucket-list-worthy experience. This particular tour is around two hours long and visits the famous museum in the stadium. You’ll learn the history of this important Argentine team and its accomplishments. As a matter of fact, you could make a whole day dedicated to soccer and visit the River Plate Museum, one of the largest sports museums in the world. If you didn’t know, River Plate is one of Argentina’s most successful soccer clubs.

Potatoe dishes at the Argentine Experience in Buenos Aires
So many flavors to try on the Argentine Experience dinner tour!

The food in Buenos Aires is top-notch, so if you’re a foodie like me, I highly recommend this interactive dining experience! On this Argentine experience tour, not only do you learn how to make local specialties like alfajores (shortbread-like cookies) and empanadas, but you’ll also get to taste some excellent local wines and discover how to pair them with your dishes. It’s $98 USD or you can upgrade to the mixology option and learn how to make wine-based cocktails for an extra $32 USD. It’s definitely one of the best tours in Buenos Aires!

As you may know, Tango is an iconic part of Argentine culture, and there’s no better place to see this passionate performance than at Teatro Piazzolla. This stunning theater is located in the city center, just five minutes from the Plaza de Mayo. Alternatively, each weeknight, there’s a tango show in the basement of Café Tortoni. It’s without a doubt, one of the best tango shows in Buenos Aires. The show starts at 8 pm, and tickets cost around $13 USD. 

2. Mendoza

Winery with mountain backdrop in Mendoza, Argentina
The views took our breath away!

This next Argentinian gem is for all you wine lovers reading! Mendoza is the most popular wine region in the whole country – would you believe that about 70% of Argentina’s wine comes from here?

So, as you can guess, a wine tour is an absolute MUST for your time in Mendoza. But this city is also a great stopover for outdoor lovers as Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, is nearby. It is a popular hiking route with experienced hikers and keep in mind it will take an average of 12 days to reach the summit!

Mendoza has a fascinating history as it was settled by Spanish settlers from Chile and was part of Chile’s territory until the mid-1800s. It’s situated on Ruta Nacional 7, a major road that connects Buenos Aires with Santiago, Chile, so as you can see, despite its remote location, it’s easy to get to! 

Seeing as you’re in the middle of wine country, a wine tour in Mendoza is likely the first thing you’ll be doing. Some of the top wineries here include Trapiche, El Enemigo, and Casa Vigil! Not only is a wine tour a great way to taste some epic wine, but it’s also a great way to see the stunning scenery! 

This all-day luxury wine tour is 8 hours long and includes stops at a few different local wineries (FYI, this tour goes to different wineries on different days) and a gourmet lunch. This highly-rated (we can vouch that it’s great because it’s the tour we did) includes hotel pick-up and drop-off. It also has a limit of just eight people, allowing for a more personalized experience. This relaxing wine tour costs $170 USD when booked online, and depending on what day you do it, you might head into Lujan de Cuyo or Uco Valley.

Another one of the best things to do in Mendoza that sticks with the relaxation theme, the Cacheuta Hot Springs, or Thermas de Cacheuta, looks like it has sprung from the pages of a travel brochure. And while the hot springs are the piece de resistance here, there’s also a lazy river, wave pool, kids’ water park, and tons of indoor and outdoor pools to enjoy. When I visited, I did this tranquil spa day experience, which included transportation from Mendoza, and it truly allowed me to relax!

You’re probably not going to be surprised to hear this, but there is a National Museum of Wine in Mendoza. Depending on the day, you can take a guided tour or even participate in a tasting. Sometimes, you’ll have free rein to walk around and explore the museum at your own pace. 

If beer is your beverage of choice, you’re in luck, as Chachingo Craft Beer is located near the Universidad de Mendoza. They run budget-friendly happy hours, and while here, you must try the calamari paired with their honey beer!

3. Puerto Iguazu (Iguazu Falls)

Just one of the hundreds of individual waterfalls at Iguazu Falls
Just one of the hundreds of waterfalls at Iguazu Falls!
Boat tour heads to the bottom of Iguazu falls
A boat tour heads to the bottom of Iguazu Falls!

The world-famous Iguazu Falls are located on the border of Argentina and Brazil. In fact, 80% of the falls are on the Argentinian side, and 20% are on the Brazilian side.

Impressively, the falls span 2.7 km (1.7 miles) in length, and the tallest drop on the falls (called the Devil’s Throat) measures a whopping 82 meters (269 feet!) If you’re still not astounded, remember that the Iguazu Falls are taller than Niagara Falls and wider than Victoria Falls!

Iguazu Falls is not only one of the most recognizable natural wonders in the world, but it’s also appeared in several well-known Hollywood movies such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Miami Vice

As we said, Iguazu Falls straddles the border between Brazil and Argentina, and it’s pretty easy to access both sides of the falls. Puerto Iguazú is the main town on the Argentine side, and it takes around 20 minutes to get to the falls from Puerto Iguazú in a taxi, or you can hop on a bus from the main bus terminal, which takes around 35 minutes and costs approximately $8 USD.

While Foz do Iguaçu is the name of the town on the Brazilian side. I will say that the Brazilian side offers the best viewpoint of the Iguazu Falls, but on the Argentinian side, you can get much closer to the falls and there are many more boardwalks around the falls to explore. 

If you do want to cross the border into Brazil, you’ll want to have your passport as you’ll need an entry stamp. The most convenient way to cross the border is on an organized tour like this one, as the local buses don’t automatically stop at checkpoints, which could land you in trouble! 

As I mentioned, the Devil’s Throat is the tallest section of the falls, and you can get to it from the Argentinian side. There’s an open-air train that operates every 15-20 minutes, and this takes you to the start of a short walking trail into Devil’s Throat. You can catch the train from the Argentina Visitors’ Center or the Cataratas station in the middle of the park. 

For the closest you can get to the falls, this jet boat and jungle safari combo tour is full of adventures. The thrilling boat ride takes you through the rapids and even right under the cascading water of the falls! The safari portion gives you access to the trails for a chance to go off-roading in the jungle. It’s only $103 USD to reserve a spot and remember to bring a change of clothes!

Or if you want a flexible tour, i.e., you want to go at your own pace, then this private full-day tour is a great option. Because it’s a private tour, the itinerary can be tailored to suit your needs, and you can even add a boat ride to go under the waterfalls if you wish! It will set you back around $82 USD per person for two people plus an additional $100 USD to add on the one-hour boat ride which we loved!

Instead of staying in Puerto Iguazú (our recommendation), some tourists visit Iguazu Falls on a tour from Buenos Aires and if you’re short on time, this day trip tour is a great option. In addition to a guide, this tour includes return airfare to Buenos Aires, all transfers, and even admission to the falls. Everything is handled from when you’re picked up to when you’re dropped off again. Booking online costs $730 USD per person based on two people booking and is totally worth it if you’re looking for an unforgettable day trip from Buenos Aires!

Related Read: If you do plan to visit Brazil, don’t miss visiting the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro! You can scuba dive, take a tour, and of course see the famous Christ de Redeemer Statue!

4. Puerto Madryn

Watching whales from the shores of Puerto Madryn
Watching whales from the shores of Puerto Madryn!

Puerto Madryn is a gorgeous coastal town located between Buenos Aires and Rio Gallegos. Known as THE place in Argentina to go whale watching because of its unique location in the middle of one of the largest whale breeding bays in the world.

In fact, here, you don’t need to be on a boat to see these magnificent creatures as you can watch whales swimming with their young ones close to the shore.

As you can guess, whale watching is the most popular thing to do in Puerto Madryn, and provided you visit at the right time of year (between June and mid-December), you are almost guaranteed to see them! On a whale-watching tour from Puerto Madryn, you’re likely to see either (or both!) the southern right whale and the orca (also known as the killer whale). Would you believe the bay surrounding Puerto Madryn is home to no less than 2,000 southern right whales during peak whale watching season?

Orcas are a little less common here. But if you visit in October and November, you have a much higher chance, as orcas often come to the shore to feed on elephant seals during these months. 

This full-day tour takes you out to nearby Peninsula Valdes where you’ll stop at a lookout point for 360-degree views and a walk through an interpretive center to learn about local wildlife. Then it’s a chance to see them in real life! You can add on a 2-hour whale watching cruise. The magical part of this adventure is once the captain spots whales and cuts the engine. Often these creatures will swim closer to check out the boat – so have your camera ready! The tour is $223 USD when booked in advance and includes the whale watching cruise and hotel transportation.

But there’s more than just whales to see in Puerto Madryn. You may even see the largest seal in the world – the elephant seal. These seals can grow to be as big as 4,000 kg (8,818 lbs) and as long as 4 meters (13 feet)! You can also swim with sea lions from Puerto Madryn. I’ve had the chance to be in the water with sea lions before and it’s a lot of fun! They are super curious about you and swim really close – some were even bumping into my legs! This specific tour will set you back about $120 USD. 

About a 3-hour drive from Puerto Madryn will have you at Punta Tombo, which is home to over one million penguins! It is the largest penguin colony in South America. And when you’re here, you’ll get to walk along boardwalks as penguins wander on either side of you. You can either rent a car to go on your own, or you can join an organized day tour from Puerto Madryn.

5. Peninsula Valdes

A Right Whale in Peninsula Valdes Argentina
A right whale in Peninsula Valdes!

I briefly mentioned Peninsula Valdes earlier, but it deserves its own section as one of the best places to visit in Argentina! Especially if you’re a wildlife lover, this is a must-see as the area is home to seals, sea lions, penguins, orcas, and the native guanaco (similar to a llama!).

It’s a little over 104 km (65 miles) from Puerto Madryn to this wildlife mecca. As a matter of fact, Peninsula Valdes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s known across the world as a significant breeding ground for the endangered southern right whale as well as southern sea lions and southern elephant seals!

The best way to see this unique place is on a guided tour, such as this full-day Penninsula Valdes Tour, which stops at several scenic viewpoints on the peninsula to see wildlife and has the option to add on whale watching – which we highly recommend if you traveled all the way here!

Your starts off on a high with a visit to the Carlos Ameghino Isthmus Center, where you’ll learn about the local fauna and geology of the peninsula. Next, those who have opted to add on whale watching will head out on a boat with an experienced guide to search for these giants of the ocean. While the others will set off by road to see wild native land animals such as guanacos, foxes, maras (a Patagonian hare), skunks, and armadillos. 

At the last stop of this excellent tour, the whole group gets back together again to visit Caleta Valdes (our favorite stop of the tour). Here, we stopped at a beach where elephant seals mate and wait for their fur to shed before heading back to the ocean for a few months.

Afterward, it was time to see one of my favorite animals up close – penguins! We got the opportunity to get within 1 meter (3 feet) of these beautiful animals and see them tending to their nests! Prices start at approximately $111 USD per person, but if you want to add on whale watching, it will cost $223 per person. It’s a popular tour that can sell out, so make sure to reserve your spot online here!

Related Read: You can also swim with the relative of the whale, the whale shark! I put together a detailed guide on swimming with whale sharks in Cabo, Mexico that you may be interested to read!

6. Mar del Plata

As Argentina’s most popular beach resort, it makes sense that we’d include this beachy gem on our list of the best places to visit in Argentina! Mar del Plata boasts over 16 km (10 miles) of golden sand beaches like the family-friendly La Perla, Playa Grande, a popular surf beach, and the chic Faro Beach.

Nestled on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Mar del Plata is 404 km (251 miles) from Buenos Aires.

But, of all the beaches in Mar del Plata, my favorite is Varese Beach. It’s super-pretty and is centrally located near the Torreón del Monje, one of the city’s most famous monuments! It’s situated within an artificial bay, so the waves here aren’t too strong, so it’s ideal for swimming and surfing. You can hire tents and parasols as conveniently, there are two shops on the beach.

When you’ve had enough beach time, venture back into the city itself to explore its many museums and cathedrals. Your first stop should be Plaza San Marín to see the 19th Century Basilica of Saints Peter and Cecilia. This mesmerizing neo-gothic style cathedral seems to be the “poster child” for the city as you’ll find it on many Mar del Plata postcards. It’s free to visit, and if you time it right, you may be able to catch a mass here.

For the best view of the city, head to the Torre Tanque in the Stella Maris neighborhood, a medieval-style water storage tower that supplies water to the city. The tower is 88 meters (289 feet) tall and has been declared a National Historic Architectural Monument. Here, you can do a free guided tour (in Spanish only!) and learn all about the importance of the tower and its history and climb to the viewpoint, which is 74 meters (243 feet) tall, to see the best panoramic view of the city.

Next, head over to the Juan Carlos Castagnino Municipal Museum of Art. At first glance, the exterior of the building looks very French with its exposed wooden beams, but actually, this type of architecture was very common in the early 20th Century when it was built. Inside, it is just as exciting, with a permanent exhibition on the customs of the first holidaymakers who came to Mar del Plata, as well as works on display by Argentinean artists such as Berni, Castagnino, and Soldi. And the best part is that admission is free!

7. Bariloche

Bailey hikes through the snow on Cerro Tronador near Bariloche, Argentina
Bailey hikes through the snow on Cerro Tronador!
enjoying the scenery while kayaking in Bariloche, Argentina
Kayaking in Bariloche! Photo credit: Andemita

San Carlos de Bariloche, more commonly known as Bariloche, is one of the best places to visit in Argentina if you love getting out and exploring the great outdoors. There are heaps of scenic hiking trails nearby as well as world-class ski hills and gorgeous lakes that you can swim in, like Nahuel Huapi Lake. In fact, this outdoorsy town welcomes over a million visitors every year! 

It is located in the Patagonia region and spread across Argentina and Chile. It’s surrounded by the majestic Andes Mountains and is a quick 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires. 

If you’re visiting in the winter and you enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or simply drinking delicious hot chocolate in the lodge, you must check out Cerro Otto, one of the most popular ski hills in Argentina!

But it’s also a great place to come in the summer, as there are beautiful hiking trails, ziplining adventures, and, treetop playground adventures. Plus, the views from the cable car on Cerro Otto are breathtaking, and you can ride it in any season! It’s a 12-minute ride to the top as it climbs up a whopping 2,100 meters (6,890 feet)! Be sure to have your camera on hand for this experience and grab a ticket before you leave! 

Next up is one of the best and most scenic road trips in Argentina – the Road of the Seven Lakes, an awe-inspiring stretch of road that passes by seven absolutely stunning lakes: Espejo, Correntoso, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner, Hermoso, and Machonico – hence the name. So, if you have a rental car, we strongly advise you to take this road trip. Plan for about 3.5 hours each way from Bariloche to San Martín de Los Andes which is the last stop on the road.

If you’d rather leave the driving to someone else, this guided tour from Bariloche is a great option so you can focus on the scenery and not the navigation! It’s 9 hours long including free time in the cute mountain town of San Martín de los Andes and costs just $74 USD per person for an English guide or cheaper for a tour in Spanish.

A couple kiss on Cerro Tronador, Argentina
Sunset up on Cerro Tronador!

And now let’s introduce you to one of our favorite hikes in South America, Cerro Tronador. Although less popular than other hikes in Bariloche, the entire experience to us was bucket-list-worthy! Along the way, you’ll pass by rivers, lakes, and glaciers.

The hike we did from Pampa Linda to the base of Cerro Tronador, is 14 km (8.7 miles) long, and it took us about 4.5 hours. It starts in a lush forest, and from there, you’ll climb steeply up the mountain, which is quite a challenge! The hike back down the mountain was much easier! 

The Cerro Tronador hike begins 90 km (56 miles) outside Bariloche in Nahuel Huapi National Park. The best way to get to this hike is with a rental car, on a 2-hour shuttle bus ride that leaves Bariloche in the early morning, or take a guided tour. Keep in mind you may need to pay the national park entrance fee (which is typically around the equivalent of $18 USD) as some tours don’t include it in their price.

Back in the city of Bariloche itself, take some time to wander along the very pretty Mitre Street, an old stone street that’s lined with shops (including the best chocolate shops!), hotels, and restaurants. End your time in Bariloche with a delicious meal at Punto Panorámico, which is about a 30-minute drive from downtown. The best thing about this eatery is, of course, the food, but it’s also reasonably priced and boasts stunning lake and mountain views. 

8. El Calafate

Largo Argentino, El Calafate, Argentina
Lago Argentina is one of the bluest lakes I’ve EVER seen! Photo Credit – Big Stock

El Calafate is a very touristy and pretty city close to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. It’s best known as the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, home to the world-famous Perito Moreno Glacier, and 47 other glaciers! Hence, why this small city has been nicknamed “the capital of glaciers!” 

The most popular day trip from El Calafate is, of course, a visit to the Perito Moreno Glacier (but more on that later). Some of the other top tours in El Calafate include a boat trip on Argentino Lake, horseback riding, learning all about Patagonia and its glaciers at the Glaciarium, and visiting a super-cool Ice Bar (see what I did there?).

The Glaciarium is an interpretive center that provides heaps of information about the region’s numerous glaciers. So, it should be your first stop in El Calafate! Interestingly, it’s one of only a few glaciological centers in the world. It’s a 6 km/3.7 drive from the city center, but entrance tickets include a free shuttle that leaves from El Calafate. 

One of the best ways to see the stunning landscape El Calafate is known for is on a horseback riding tour. There are many tour operators offering full-day tours, but we love this specific tour that takes you to Bahía Redonda, Punta Soberana, Lake Argentino, and more! The views are spectacular and it isn’t nearly as tiring as hiking. Plus it’s affordable at only $49 USD for a 1.5-hour ride.

Glacier scenic cruise El Calafate
From close up you can really see just how big the glaciers are!

Many of the glaciers in “Glacier City” run into Lake Argentino, and El Calafate is nestled along the shore of this turquoise-hued lake. So, it’s the perfect place to see the glaciers up close as you cruise along in a comfortable boat. 

This amazing 9-hour cruise is highly rated, and it visits three glaciers and travels to the far north side of Glacier National Park near El Chalten! The seats on the boat are really comfy and there are huge windows or a deck if you want to be outside. What’s really nice is you also get off the boat for a guided walk to savor the views. Plus, lunch and transportation are also included in the $355 USD tickets for this tour.

While we’re talking about Lake Argentino, there’s a bit of a hidden gem on the shores of the lake that very few tourists know about. Nimez Lagoon is a peaceful nature reserve that’s also a bird sanctuary. It’s just 1.5 km (1 mile) from El Calafate and is home to many indigenous bird species, as well as swans and pink flamingos! 

Lastly, be sure to make time in your El Calafate itinerary for a visit to the Yeti Ice Bar! You’ll start your visit in the Warm Bar, then make your way to the Ice Bar, which is a cool 5°C (41°F) where you’ll layer up with coats and gloves. Then it’s time for the Yeti Cave, which sits at a very chilly -10°C (14°F). Take photos with the huge Yeti sculpture and enjoy your included drink here for 25 minutes. If you’ve purchased an open bar ticket, you can avail of the open bar for your time here! 

Now, you’ll surely want to warm up, and where better to do so than in one of the city’s cozy eateries? We love La Zorra which has great stew and craft beer, Pura Vida for its famous pies, and La Tablita for a barbecue dining experience! 

9. Perito Moreno Glacier

The face of Perito Moreno Glacier as seen from the boat tour
The face of Perito Moreno Glacier, as seen from the boat tour!
The long and windy face of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina
The long and windy Perito Moreno Glacier!

Moving on nicely to one of the best things to do in all of Argentina – seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park.

To put it simply, Perito Moreno is one of the most spectacular and largest glaciers in the whole world. It has a total area of around 250 square km (96 square miles), making it larger than the city of Buenos Aires! And to top it off, it’s one of the few glaciers that is still growing – at a rate of around 2 meters (6.5 feet) per day.

It’s about an hour’s drive from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier and once you’re here, there are a couple of different ways to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. The easiest is to visit “the viewpoint” – a 4-km (2.5-mile) network of walkways with many balconies from which you can admire the glacier.

You can also view the south face of the glacier from Lago Argentino, usually by boat or on a kayaking tour like this one. You can also even go trekking right on the glacier itself. I did this, and it was absolutely incredible! 

The entrance fee for Los Glaciares National Park (where Perito Moreno Glacier is located) is approximately $20 USD per adult or $3 USD for kids aged 6-16 (according to the blue rate). As of September 2023, that means about 10,000 ARS for adults and 1,500 ARS for kids. But keep in mind that because of inflation, the rate of Argentine pesos may change very quickly.

We highly recommend booking a tour to see this natural wonder, as they will help you access parts of the glacier you wouldn’t be able to on your own. And if you don’t have a rental car, many tours from El Calafate offer roundtrip transportation.

hiking on Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate
We really loved the glacier trekking experience!

One of the best things about visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier is that you can actually go trekking on its surface! We did this Minitrekking Excursion Tour and absolutely loved it! This full-day adventure allows you to see the glacier from multiple angles. Your first stop on this tour is to stroll along the boardwalk, something almost everyone does when visiting the glacier.

But, on this tour, we also took a scenic boat ride to the starting point of the glacier trek. Here, we got a basic briefing and learned how to use our crampons. Then, we spent 1.5 hours trekking on the glacier’s surface. You can book the tour with transport for $296 USD per person, and it includes knowledgeable guides, roundtrip transportation, and all equipment. 

Or this full-day tour is a great alternative if you don’t fancy walking on the glacier itself. It leaves El Calafate early (around 9 am), so you’ll beat the crowds and have a more peaceful experience. It includes a 1-hour scenic navigation cruise to the south face of the glacier and a walk along the walkways with a local guide! This tour can be booked online for $139 USD and lasts for about eight hours in total, including travel time from El Calafate. 

10. El Chalten

The El Chalten village
The El Chalten village

Another gem in Los Glaciares National Park is El Chalten, aka heaven for hikers, because of the huge range of scenic trails that are accessible from the town. But there are tons of other amazing things to do in this charming town, which sits in the shadow of the looming Mt. Fitz Roy, such as whitewater rafting, drinking craft beer, and enjoying some of the most delicious Italian food we’ve tasted in Argentina! 

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, your visit to El Chalten wouldn’t be complete without joining a whitewater rafting tour down the Rio de Las Vueltas. It’s a fun (not too scary!) ride that offers the chance to take in some spectacular scenery … on the slower sections, anyway!

Each whitewater rafting tour operator will provide you with special wetsuits for the cold water, which is super chilly at 5-7°C (41-45°F)! We highly recommend this 3-hour rafting tour which includes all rafting equipment, snacks, and return transport to/from El Chalten. And it’s reasonably priced, too, at $100 USD per person!

As for the best hikes in El Chalten, the iconic Laguna de Los Tres (more on that one below), Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, and Laguna Torres (more on that one later, too!) are the standout ones for us! 

Throughout the small town, many microbreweries make awesome craft beer using some of the cleanest water in the world. We’re huge craft beer lovers and some of our personal favorites are La Cerveceria, La Birre de Rancho, and La Zorra Taproom. All of these offer a huge selection of beers and have happy hours on most days of the week from 5-8 pm. During happy hour, you can get a pint of beer for as little as $2 USD!

Didn’t I say earlier that some of the best Italian food of my life was had right here in El Chalten?! Well, Maffia Trattoria is one of the top-rated restaurants in El Chalten for good reason. Their authentic homemade pasta and sauces will make your mouth water! This popular spot tends to fill up quickly, so bookings are recommended. 

Another one of the best things to do in El Chalten is drive the stunning road to Lago del Desierto. This drive along Ruta Provincial 41 is 37 km (23 mi) long, and you can either drive it in your rental car (if you have one) or rent a bike from Patagonia Hikes in El Chalten and cycle. But, if you do cycle, be sure to stop for the night to break up the journey in one of the amazing places to stay along the way.

Once at the lake, you can enjoy a few different hikes, including the easy Chorrillo Del Salto trek, which will take 3 hours, or the slightly longer Mirador Del Torre trek, which will take around 4 hours. 

You can also book a tour with transport from El Chalten to Lago del Desierto for only $170 USD. Once you reach the lake, you will board a cruise that takes you out to the Vespignani Glacier for a short-ish but stunning hike. You can book online in advance here for tours leaving on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday.

11. Laguna de los Tres

Bailey stands on a rock at Mount Fitz Roy Laguna de los Tres
Standing on a rock beneath Mt Fitz Roy!
A man hikes along the trail to Mount Fitz Roy Laguna de los Tres
The hiking trail is so lush!

I briefly touched on the Laguna de Los Tres hike above, also known as the Mount Fitz Roy hike, and this hike is so epic that I’ve given it its own section! If you’re a hiker, it really is one of the best places to visit in Argentina. It’s also located in Los Glaciares National Park; this park is just full of gorgeous gems, isn’t it?!

Laguna de Los Tres is a turquoise glacial lake located beneath Mt. Fitz Roy, and it’s a moderate-challenging hike from El Chalten to this picturesque lake. This lake is surrounded by three peaks: Fitz Roy, Poincenot, and Saint-Exupery. Its name, Laguna de Los Tres (or Lake of the Three), makes complete sense when you see the three looming mountains towering over the lake.

To get here, you’ll follow a well-marked trail from El Chalten, called the Sendero al Fitz Roy (Mt. Fitz Roy trail). It’s a 24-kilometer (15-mile) trek round-trip, so plan for 8-10 hours to complete! The lake is located at 1,170 meters (3,838 feet) above sea level, so it’s definitely a bit of a climb to get there.

Along the trail, there’s some seriously spectacular scenery – think forests, river valleys, and dramatic mountain faces. You can also catch your breath at one of the many viewpoints on the trail, such as the Mount Fitz Roy viewpoint, which is pretty early on in the trail.

As for guided hikes to Laguna de Los Tres, this full-day guided tour departs from El Chalten at 8 am for a day of epic hiking. You’ll be accompanied by a guide the whole time, so this option offers peace of mind if you’re nervous about long hikes. There’s a maximum group size of 8, so you won’t have to worry about large crowds either. It’s $200 USD each for two people, but the price drops a bit if you book with friends.

FYI, you can’t climb to the summit of Mount Fitz Roy because it’s insanely difficult, and only very, very experienced rock climbers should attempt it!

12. Laguna Torre

Laguna Torre, El Chalten, Argentina
A cloudy day at Laguna Torre!

Another bucket-list-worthy hike in Los Glaciares National Park is the Laguna Torre hike, which at 18 km (11 miles) round trip, is shorter and much easier. Boasting an amazing view of Laguna Torre, Glacier Grande, and Cerro Torre, it’s the perfect alternative for anyone unsure whether they’re fit enough to complete the Laguna de los Tres trail.

Besides a few short steep sections, much of the trail here is flat. So, it should take most people between 5-7 hours to complete. And for those who don’t want to hike the entire trail, or if you’re short on time, you can choose to hike only as far as the Torre Viewpoint, which is only 3 km (1.9 mi) from the start of the trail.

The great thing about this trail is that you can camp along the way at the De Agostini campsite, which is free but has limited amenities – just a pit toilet. But, it’s close to a flowing river, whose water you can drink from and because the campsite is inside a forest, you will be protected from the sometimes harsh Patagonian elements at night.

You do not need a tour to complete this hike. However, if you want to learn more about the area and the flora, and fauna that grows here, you can book this guided trek with a professional mountain guide.

Along the way, you’ll stop at a few panoramic lookouts and get to see the basecamps used by famous climbers. In full, this tour lasts around 8 hours and costs $193 USD when you book online with Viator. Remember that snacks or water are not included, so make sure to bring those with you. 

13. Ushuaia

Boats in the ocean with Ushuaia and the mountains in the background in the Patagonia region of Argentina
Ushuaia is stunning!

You’ve probably already heard of Ushuaia, aka the southernmost city in the world. But, if it doesn’t sound familiar, know this: it’s the capital city of Tierra del Fuego, a popular tourist destination and is the closest rival to Patagonia. And it’s just as beautiful, in my opinion! This remote city is often called “The End of the World” or “El Fin del Mundo” as it’s the starting point to get to Antarctica! 

Many tourists visit Ushuaia with the sole purpose of continuing onto Antarctica, but that’s a shame as there is so much to do here, from cruising down the scenic Beagle Channel to riding the historic Tren del Fin del Mundo (Train of the End of the World) to Tierra del Fuego National Park, which FYI, takes the next spot on this list of the best places to visit in Argentina! In fact, we recently spent a week in this small city and only just scratched the surface!

If you want to get as close as possible to the Drake Passage (which leads to Antarctica), this cruise is a great choice. It takes you near multiple islands and a famous lighthouse and even allows you to get off and explore Bridges Island. You may even be lucky enough to see whales, seals, and penguins along the way! Tea and coffee are included on board, and at a $73 USD per person price point, we reckon it’s one of the best tours in Ushuaia!

When you’re back on dry land, be sure to pop into the Galeria Tematica Historia Fueguina, an educational museum that details the Indigenous and mythical histories of the Tierra del Fuego region. We found it amazing to learn about the Indigenous people who called this remote area home. For example, did you know for the yamanas or yáganes people who lived near the water, their main food source was sea lions?

Afterward, if you have time, head over to The Maritime Museum (Old Ushuaia Prison), a fascinating museum that delves into the history of the prison and its inmates, including anarchist Simon Radowitzky. This was the first place in the area to have electricity and held the region’s first printing press and telephone!

Another one of the best things to do in Ushuaia is to catch the “train of the end of the world’ or Tren del Fin del Mundo. It had an interesting beginning as it once transported prisoners from the old Patagonian prison to Ushuaia, but since 1994, it’s been one of the top tourist attractions here. The train ride is only 7 km (4.3 miles) and ends at Tierra del Fuego National Park. You can return on the same day or opt to stay in Tierra del Fuego National Park for a night or two, which we highly recommend doing (read more about Tierra del Fuego National Park just below!).

Although this train ride is rather short, it sure packs a lot in. You’ll learn all about the train’s fascinating history and see incredible scenery, such as the Macarena waterfall. Tickets for just the train range from $50-$70 USD depending on the time of year, but a combo tour like this one that includes the train ride, a tour of the national park, and transportation from Ushuaia is $120 USD year-round.

14. Tierra del Fuego National Park

Scenic views in Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia, Argentina
The region is so beautiful!

Tierra del Fuego National Park means the “land of fire,” and it’s one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of the country. Renowned for its wild and rugged natural beauty and penguin colonies, it takes up a whopping 630 square km (243 square miles) which is the size of 185 Central Parks in New York City!

In fact, it’s the only national park in Argentina that combines the ocean, lakes, forests, valleys, and peat bogs – it’s such a unique and varied landscape! It’s also known to have some of the purest air in the world. Interestingly, the park is also home to the southernmost post office on the globe – teetering on stilts above Ensenada Zaratiegui Bay. You can send a postcard home from this tiny corrugated shed … but just be aware the hours of the postmaster who works here aren’t consistent!

Ushuaia is the closest city to the park, and many visitors base themselves there to explore this stunning area! From Ushuaia, it’s easy to get to the park (it’s just a 20-minute drive), and you can drive yourself in your rental car, hop on the aforementioned Tren del Fin del Mundo, get a taxi, or join a guided tour!

A guided tour is the easiest and best option in our opinion, and luckily they’re quite cheap too! This scenic tour is a great option at just $59 USD per person. It includes hotel pickup, and you’ll have four hours to explore the national park. 

If you have more time, we highly recommend staying in Tierra del Fuego and tackling a few of the scenic hiking trails in the park. The Pampa Alta Trail is one of the best, and it can be accessed from Ensenada Zaratiegui Bay (4.9 km/3 mi long) or from Route 3 (3.7 km/2.3 mi long). The trail runs through a dense forest of native guindo and lenga trees, and at the end, you’ll be treated to a wonderful panoramic view of the Beagle Channel, Guanaco Hill, and the Pipo River. 

Another great hike is the 8 km/5 mile long Coastal Path. It’s so picturesque as it runs along the coast of the Beagle Channel. This moderate trail offers incomparable landscapes of the Fuegian coastal forest and crosses small sandy and rocky beaches. It should take most hikers around 4 hours to complete!

Another awesome activity that adventure nuts are sure to love in Tierra del Fuego is canoeing. One option is to canoe down the Lapataia River to Lapataia Bay in the Beagle Channel. The river is slow-moving so it’s a really leisurely and peaceful paddle. This canoeing trip also includes hiking through the Andean-Patagonian forests in the morning and an Argentine-style lunch with a view of Lapataia Bay. It’s a fun day on and off the water that you can book here for $175 USD.

15. Salta

Ending this list of the best places to visit in Argentina on a high with a hidden gem – Salta.

This capital city of the province of the same name is absolutely beautiful and best of all because it’s off the beaten tourist path, it’s uncrowded, peaceful, and offers an authentic Argentinian experience!

Salta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its Spanish colonial buildings, including the majestic Salta Cathedral (a pink cathedral!), cobblestone streets, and lively nightlife scene. It also has awesome museums, even if you’re not typically a museum person, like the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM) which houses ancient Incan artifacts including mummies.

Your first port of call in Salta should be Plaza 9 de Julio, the beating heart of the city. It’s lined with plenty of excellent cafes and restaurants as well as El Cabildo, an 18th-century town hall turned historical museum, the previously mentioned Salta Cathedral, and Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña.

Outside the city, outdoor lovers will feel spoiled with the numerous hiking and mountain biking trails on offer, such as Chorro de Lesser, Rio San Lorenzo, and Cerro San Bernardo near the stunning Parque Nacional Los Cardones.

A must-do in Salta is to hop on the Cerro San Bernardo cable car, which boasts the best views of the city as well as the wild La Larma Valley on the way up. You’ll need to pay in Argentinian pesos (ARS), but it’s the equivalent of $3 USD for a one-way ticket or $4 USD roundtrip (according to the blue rate conversion). Prices in ARS are changing constantly due to inflation, so you can check the current cable car prices here.

At the top, there’s a viewpoint and a couple of craft stores. You can then choose to hike down the winding road to the bottom instead of taking the cable car. This walk will take around an hour, but the scenery along the way makes it a very worthwhile experience!

Did you know that one of the highest railroads in the world is located in Salta? Yep, the Tren a las Nubes (aka the train to the clouds) climbs to an impressive height of 4,200 meters (13,779 feet) above sea level and passes by some spectacular wild and rugged mountain scenery along the way. You’ll go over the famous Polvorilla Viaduct (a giant steel bridge) and stop off in small towns to visit local craft markets and restaurants. Tickets cost from $84 USD per person, and you can book your tickets here in advance!

Another day trip option is to head out toward the photogenic Salt Flats, aka, Salinas Grande on this full-day tour from Salta. It’s a long day at 11 hours, but you’ll pack in a lot of awesome sights, such as the town of Purmamarca, part of the Quebrada de Humahuaca (World Heritage Site), and the very scenic Seven Color Hill. Of course, the highlight is the Salinas Grande which are so spectacular, they’ve been named one of the Seven Wonders of Argentina! Tickets are very reasonably priced at $40 USD!

As I said above, Salta is renowned for its vibrant nightlife scene. There are many nightclubs, late bars, and cocktail bars here. In fact, there’s something for every type of partier! We’re always on the lookout for a good craft beer and the IPAs at Un bar de fueguitos were great. If it’s a warm night, we recommend popping into Antares Salta since there’s a nice outdoor seating area.

Planning your Trip to Argentina

Glacier Trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina
The glacier trekking is so much fun!

Accommodation in Argentina

Booking accommodation is one of the biggest aspects of your trip, and we should know as we stay in a new hotel up to 40 times per year! Funny enough, we make 99% of these bookings on one website and that’s Booking.com – and there are a few reasons why we use this site!

Number one is the website is easy to use and sorts accommodation options. That takes the stress out of planning which honestly still affects us and we do it more than not.

Second, is the price guarantee. We have literally booked a hotel months before and then 1 week out found it cheaper (we always do a quick search), and they’ll match that price from anyone’s website including the hotels!

And third, is the Genius loyalty program. If you make a certain amount of bookings per year you get a Genius discount. We are level-two geniuses because we make more than 5 a year. At participating hotels, we get things like free breakfast included, early check-in, and up to 15% off.

You can check out all their accommodation options throughout Argentina!

Renting a car in Argentina

renting a car in patagonia
We rented a car in Southern Argentina and found that it was a very convenient and enjoyable way to travel!

We enjoyed a rental car for our second trip to Argentina when we travelled in Patagonia – and wow, what a way to travel! But the best part was that we only paid $40 USD per day for a 5-person sedan!

But how? Well, if you’re renting a car in Argentina, the cheapest company is Discover Cars. We often get questions from readers asking us if the website is fake because it seems too cheap! It’s a great website and the one we used for our rental.

If you do want to compare prices (and you should), do a quick search on Airport Car Rentals too. They’re another big competitor and each company often has its own deals to offer!

Tours in Argentina

drinking glacier water from perito moreno glacier
Drinking pure glacier water on our glacier tour!

Tours are a tricky one. We love booking online because we can check reviews of that exact tour but they can be pricier than booking directly in person. So for this, we often do it 50/50 – half of the time in person and the other half of the time we book tours online in advance.

When we do book online, we use Get Your Guide and Viator. Both companies offer the same service with different selections of tours and reviews on each tour.

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie in Buenos Aires
Thanks for reading!

Woah, now my head is spinning with all the amazing places to visit in Argentina! I’m sure you’ll agree this huge country sure packs a punch when it comes to stunning natural landscapes and vibrant cities. Argentina truly is one of the most memorable countries in the world!

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below, and I will get back to you.

If not, then check out all of our Patagonia blogsArgentina blogsor these articles below:

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