Most trips to Argentina start in Buenos Aires. It’s a great place to spend some time, with a long, colorful history, many interesting neighborhoods, incredibly vibrant people, beautiful architecture, plus excellent restaurants and museums. Our itineraries generally include at least 2 days in Buenos Aires, and it’s no problem to add additional time there. It’s a huge city and it can be good to have an extra free day just to get to know some specific neighborhoods in more depth.
San Antonio de Areco: only an hour outside the capital city, you have the pampas and what was traditional gaucho country. You can visit country “estancias” (working farms usually with an estate house on the property), a good way to experience some of this important part of Argentine history. You can go horseback riding and enjoy the traditional “asado” (barbeque). You can also spend the night at one of these estancias; a couple of them have been converted into first class small hotels.
Another option for a day trip from Buenos is across the Rio de la Plata to visit the colonial town of Colonia. This was a Portuguese settlement in the 1600s, and many of the buildings are well preserved and maintained. You can take a high speed catamaran across, visit the town, have lunch, and then return in the late afternoon. If you have extra time and want to get out of Buenos Aires for a day trip, this is another good option.
Argentine Patagonia starts at the southern Chilean border and includes the area around El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier, and the area around El Chalten, which includes the famous peaks of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. It also stretches up to the area of what is called the Lakes District around Bariloche.
El Calafate Area / Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the natural wonders of South America. In all of our itineraries we include a “minitrekking” excursion on the glacier itself. This is a non-technical glaciar walking excursion, done in the company of certified mountain guides. You don’t have to have any experience in glaciar travel to participate. Crampons are provided. It’s not a strenuous hike; you spend about 2 hours total on the glacier itself. Other options for more challenging and adventurous hiking on and around the glacier also exist if you are interested.
El Chalten/Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre
About 4 hours north of El Calafate is the much smaller town of El Chalten, gateway to the northern half of Los Glaciares National Park. This section of the Park is home to the famous peaks of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, and you can hike to the bases of these peaks to admire them up close, along with the surrounding lakes, glaciers, streams, forests, and wildlife.
This is northern Patagonia in Argentina, and is also called the Lake District. This isn’t quite as rugged a place as southern Patagonia, but it is exceptionally beautiful and does have some dramatic peaks and landscapes. One of the highlights is Lake Nahuel Huapi, which stretches towards the Andes from the town of Bariloche, surrounded by evergreen forest. The area is great for exploring, whether by foot, raft (there is great rafting in the Manso River of varying difficulty levels), sea kayak, or horse.
Tierra del Fuego has fascinated travelers for hundreds of years. Sitting on the windswept Beagle Channel, there are many options, from hiking the coastal trails of Tierra del Fuego National Park, seeing penguins and other Patagonian marine life on boat trips in the Beagle Channel, to exploring mountain lakes and historical settlements.
Iguazu Falls is a stunning site, and the surrounding rainforest adds a lot to the overall experience. If you go for 2 nights, you’ll have adequate time to visit both the Argentine and Brazilian sides. This is also a good place for seeing tropical birds and other jungle wildlife.
The area around Mendoza is a favorite for many Argentines…. the food and wine are great, the pace is relaxed, the people are remarkably friendly even by Argentine standards, and the mountain scenery is spectacular. You can visit boutique, world class wineries one day, spend the night in a great small hotel, and the next day take a trip up into the mountains to see Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western and southern hemispheres (22,840 feet), in Aconcagua National Park. The trip up to the mountains offers opportunities for viewing Andean wildlife including guanacos (wild relatives of the llama), rhea (ostrich like birds), and Andean condors.