Argentina Travel Guide
Argentina is a cultured country with a huge range of options for those looking for a vacation. Buenos Aires is a very cultured capital city that will be your travel hub. There are beautiful wine-growing regions to the north and west, the most spectacular waterfall in the world, wildlife viewing holiday opportunities and fantastic trekking and hiking to be had in the south of the country. Argentina is a huge country – many vacation makers don’t realize that they will need to fly almost everywhere, most internal flights being via Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is a city with beautiful sweeping avenues and tall colonial buildings lining its streets. It is also, despite its financial troubles, a highly metropolitan and modern city with great nightlife, world-class cuisine, and fantastic shopping. Visitors can stroll the elegant streets, gorge themselves on Argentina’s famous barbeques or take in one of the city’s excellent museums such as the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
A major draw for tourists to Argentina is the unsurpassed Patagonia region, which is one of the most outstandingly beautiful places on earth. The stunning Parque Nacional Iguazú gives visitors a chance to experience the amazing wildlife and plant species that inhabit the region, as well as boasting the world-famous Iguazú Falls. Activities in the park include canoeing, kayaking, and other water sports. Patagonia also has some of the best skiing and ice sports in the world during the winter.
For beach life, look no further than Mar del Plato, a consistently popular beach resort destination for both Buenos Aires glitterati and the average family on vacation. Visitors can take their pick of high-end villas or mid-range beach bungalows, depending on whatever suits their style or budget.
Argentina has excellent transport links to the rest of the continent of South America by air and bus. The main airport, Ezeiza International Airport, is located about 45 minutes’ drive outside Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires and Nearby
The capital city Buenos Aires is a great place to stay for a few nights in a hotel as one visits the cities numerous museums and cultural attractions. Buenos Aires has some excellent luxury hotels in which to stay such as the Faena, Alvear Palace and Park Hyatt Palacio Duhua. Trendy Palermo district has cool hotels such as Bobo and Home in which to stay. An interesting day trip from Buenos Aires is to Uraguay (either Montevideo or UNESCO world heritage site Colonia). A short drive outside of Buenos Aires is numerous estancias where travelers can experience the Gaucho (cowboy) ranch lifestyle. Those wanting a beach holiday in Argentina will struggle to find anything appropriate. There are beach holiday places such as Mar Del Plata in Argentina and Punta del Este in Uruguay, but both are beach resorts for Argentine tourists. If you want to find good beaches after your tour around Argentina, the best option is to fly from Buenos Aires direct to Florianopolis in Southern Brazil (a one hour flight).
To the northeast of Argentina, one finds the spectacular Iguassu Falls. An eight-hour drive from Iguassu is the Iberra wetlands, often overlooked by tourists but great for wildlife viewing holidays in Argentina. More accessible from Iguassu might be Yacatinga Lodge, the nearest one can come to a rainforest jungle lodge in Argentina. To the North of Buenos Aires lies Salta, a beautiful colonial town, with interesting small villages to visit nearby and fantastic mountain scenery. Salta provides an interesting route into Northern Chile and the Atacama desert, or into Bolivia. To the northwest of Buenos Aires, wine lovers will enjoy Mendoza, the most famous wine-growing region in Argentina. There are numerous vineyard hotels in which to stay to sample some of the local wine, such as the Cavas Wine Lodge. The spectacular Andean mountain scenery provides scenic road trips, such as the road trip over the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago in Chile. On the whole, Northern Argentina has a huge amount to offer for vacations, but this part of the country is often overlooked by travelers, who generally head south to Patagonia.
Exploring Southern Argentina
Patagonia in Southern Argentina is generally most people’s highlight of their holiday to Argentina. Patagonia is Argentina’s Lake District region offering beautiful hiking possibilities. Bariloche is the central hub of Patagonia, and is a great base for Argentina horseback riding vacations, though rafting and trekking are also very popular here, as is skiing in the winter season (June to August). Llao Llao is one of the best luxury hotels in Bariloche (though it’s resort-style won’t suit everyone). From Bariloche, one can catch a flight to Trelew and travel on to the Valdes Peninsula, an area of beautiful landscapes normally visited for wildlife viewing of seals, sea lions, and penguins (June to December) and for whale watching tours (August to November). One can also fly to El Calafate, another excellent base for hiking and other outdoor activities. Los Nosotros and Eolo are two of the best hotels in El Calafate. The nearby Perito Moreno Glacier is a real highlight of any El Calafate tour. Those wanting a trekking holiday could travel over the Andes into Torres Del Paine in Chile, but more easily accessible is the four-hour road trip to El Chalten which has the best trekking in Argentina. Los Cerros is one of the best hotels in El Chalten. Further to the south in Argentina is Ushuaia and the Tierra del Fuego, the most southerly town in the world. Here too is good for trekking and other outdoor adventure tours, penguin viewing, and tours to the Magdalena Straits. Ushuaia is the main point of access to the white continent – Antarctica – itself a truly unique, but very expensive, holiday destination.
If you’re booking internal flights within Argentina, you’ll probably save about $100 per person is you see these tips on booking Aerolineas Argentinas flights for less that are posted in the travel tips blog. It’s a tried and tested trick, that really does work. See also the section on Argentina’s domestic flights for extensive flight routings advice.