Argentina is a land of natural and man-made wonders. From the glaciers and sky-scraping peaks of the Andes to the vineyards of Mendoza and the bustle of Buenos Aires, there’s so much to see in this dynamic and incomparably unique country.
There are many reasons why Argentina is a top destination for tourists. It has the largest waterfalls, the highest peak in the Americas and some of the most extraordinary scenery that travelers will find anywhere. It’s not just the overall excellence. It’s the extreme variety of tourist attractions in Argentina that keeps visitors coming back for more.
Dating back to the 17th century, the Iglesia San Francisco is one of the most impressive colonial structures in the beautiful city of Salta. This Italianate church is known for its exquisite white pillars and an elaborate multi-tiered tower that is illuminated at night. With its domed ceiling and archival library, the church’s interior is equally noteworthy. This architectural landmark is worth the trip alone to the provincial capital of Salta.
Located in the Lake District near San Carlos de Bariloche, Cerro Catedral is South America’s most famous and well-developed ski resort. Challenging terrain, off-piste access and snowboarding facilities make it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts and ski festivals. In the offseason, the resort welcomes hikers, climbers and cyclists who want to tame the terrain and take in the breathtaking mountain views.
Once a retreat for Argentina’s aristocracy, Mar del Plata today is the country’s top beach resort city. Located on the Atlantic Coast, the city attracts millions of tourists every year to its sandy beaches and lively culture. During the summer weekends it can get very crowded here but outside the summer months, the city takes on a much more relaxed feel.
See also: Where to Stay in Mar del Plata
This archeological site is an essential destination for anyone who appreciates art or history. The Cueva de las Manos includes a magnificent collection of prehistoric cave paintings that were completed 9,000 years ago by ancestors of the Tehuelche people who inhabit Patagonia and the Pinturas River Canyon. The cave is known for its iconic stenciled outlines of overlapping hands, but it also includes painted hunting scenes and symbolic pictographs.
Climbing Aconcagua is an activity for true adventurers. Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Andes and one of the world’s Seven Summits. It’s an exceptionally appealing destination due to its immense height and accessible climb. Using certain routes, climbers can reach the summit without ropes or technical equipment. Visitors may also explore the surrounding glaciers and many other natural sites located within Mendoza’s Aconcagua Provincial Park.
Located in northwest Argentina between the Andes and the fertile Valles Templados, Quebrada de Humahuaca is an unearthly valley with a desert-like atmosphere that’s defined by cacti, lamas, rugged mountains and colorful sandstone escarpments. Visitors today travel on ancient Incan trade routes past settlements that have been populated for approximately 10,000 years. Humahuaca is the largest town, but Purmamarca, Tilcara and Iruya also have spectacular scenery.
The Ibera Wetlands are the second-largest wetlands in world after the Pantanal in Brazil. The ecological preserve is home to many iconic South American animals, including anacondas, armadillos, caimans, capybaras, howler monkeys, the ostrich-like rhea and more than 350 rare and endangered bird species. This boggy area in northern Argentina can be explored by foot, on horseback or by kayak.
Everywhere you go in Buenos Aires there is someone performing Tango on the street. Crowds gather, the music play, the dancers put on their show in full dance regalia. There are many Tango dancers and some are very good and some just put on a good show for the viewing public and have more dash than talent. In any event it gives the city a unique atmosphere and many tourists find it fascinating.
Situated on the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. In the past, Ushuaia has been a missionary base, penal colony and naval base but is now a major tourist attraction in Argentina, complete with casinos, hotels and restaurants. The town is commonly used as a base for hiking, skiing and cruises to Antarctica.
See also: Where to Stay in Ushuaia
The Mendoza wine region is considered the heart of the winemaking industry in Argentina. Located in the eastern foothills of the Andes vineyards are planted at the some of the highest altitudes in the world. The city of Mendoza is the place to base yourself if you plan to tour the vineyards. The city’s wide range of tour operators also makes it a great place to organize rafting, skiing and other adventures in the nearby Andes.
See also: Where to Stay in Mendoza
Located in southern Patagonia near the Chilean border, Monte Fitz Roy is one of the most iconic points in the Andes. This granite mountain is surrounded by glacial lakes and dramatic ice fields. The rugged terrain and sheer rock faces are beloved by mountain climbers for the extreme challenge and by photographers for the extreme beauty. Those who don’t know the name may recognize its sharp silhouette from the logo of the clothing brand Patagonia. It was first climbed in 1952 by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone.
Dozens of estancias, or rural estates that were once the private getaways of wealthy families have opened their doors to the public. Many of these country hotels offer a día de campo (country day) that’s ideal for day-trippers. After breakfast visitors typically follow the estancia’s resident gaucho into the fields for a morning horse ride. Then it’s back to the farmhouse for a barbecue and a quick hammock siesta before hitting the trails again.
The Beagle Channel is a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, in the extreme south of Argentina. The channel is one of the three navigable passages around South America, the other ones are the Straits of Magellan to the north, and the open ocean Drake Passage to the south. A boat trip is the best way to view the Beagle Channel, with attractions such as the sea-lion colony at Isla de los Lobos, and Isla de Pájaros.
This remote Patagonian peninsula is an excellent place to see a phenomenal variety of marine mammals. Depending on the time of year, the peninsula attracts a great number of penguins, sea lions, seals and orcas. Whales can be found in the waters located between the Valdes Peninsula and the Patagonian mainland between May and December. Visitors may also spot foxes, guanacos, rheas, maras, shorebirds and other endemic species on the sparsely populated landmass. The peninsula’s varied geography supports many colonies of protected animals. This diversity makes it one of the best destinations in South America for viewing endemic wildlife.
Located in the La Boca neighborhood, Caminito is one of the most photographed parts of Buenos Aires. This bohemian street museum is filled with colorful houses, shops, cafes and quirky statues. The area celebrates Italian immigrants who arrived in Argentina in the 1800s. This foreign influence is alive and well in this thriving area where artists sell paintings, music fills the air and performers dance the tango as immigrants did centuries ago.
See also: Where to Stay in Buenos Aires
San Carlos de Bariloche is a city on the foothills of the Andes known for its Swiss-like atmosphere and its chocolate shops. The city with its surrounding mountains and lakes is famous for skiing but is also a great destination for sight-seeing, water sports, trekking and climbing. Many travelers combine a visit to Bariloche with touring through the Andean Lakes area and in particular along the Road of the Seven Lakes.
See also: Where to Stay in Bariloche
The Perito Moreno Glacier is an enormous glacier located in the Los Glaciares National Park. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in Argentina due to its size and accessibility. It is less than two hours by bus from El Calafate while viewing platforms and trails make the visit and the observation easy and pleasant. Boat tours are also a popular way of seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier and many other glaciers and places in the National Park Los Glaciares.
Iguazú Falls is the crown jewel of Iguazú National Park, which is located in the northeastern corner of the country near the borders of Paraguay and Brazil. This is among the largest and most majestic waterfalls in the world. It’s taller than Niagara Falls and nearly twice as wide. The falls and surrounding jungles can be viewed by foot and from observation decks that are ideal for photographing the torrents of water that pour through the Devil’s Throat.
See also: Where to Stay in Iguazu Falls