Argentina draws many obvious comparisons with Europe’s old world charm and architecture from the “Little Switzerland” that is Bariloche to Buenos Aires’ “Paris of South America”. In truth, looking down the jacaranda lined streets and wrought iron balconies of the Avenida de Mayo, it’s easy to see the similarities. But Argentina is also the land of sultry tango, sizzling asado, colorful neighborhoods, and fevered fúbol fans. When you pass the Buenos Aires city limits, Argentina is somehow even more dynamic. It’s a country of thundering waterfalls, of calving blue glaciers, of gauchos on the open plains and vintners tending to their grapes. It’s a land of solitude and of open spaces. It’s a place where family history is steeped in the places you’ll stay and one where gracious hospitality overflows. It’s the perfect destination for the active traveler who wants to get out and play and to dive into local traditions. It’s also the ideal destination for those who want to relax and let nature wash over them, to disconnect from obligation and re-define leisure.
Remember when you’re planning your travels that Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are opposite of those in North America and it can become quite cold as you travel south. The desert towns in the north like Salta and Jujuy are high in altitude, as are the vineyards of Mendoza, but the rest of the country is nearly at sea level. Tierra del Fuego up through Calafate is cold year-round and can be incredibly windy while the tropical jungles surrounding the Iguazu Falls frequently see rain and high humidity.
There is so much to see and do in Argentina that it’s easy to slip into the mentality of “it’s my one trip” when in reality, the bonds you will form with the country will likely beckon you back. If your heart is set on a combination of countries, transportation between Argentina and the rest of South America is frequent and reliable.
Horseback ride alongside gauchos – Walk with penguins in the Strait of Magellen - Savor a glass of malbec in the shadow of the Andes Mountains
Buenos Aires, the traditional gateway to Argentina, is a very hip and cosmopolitan city that retains a lot of historic charm. The cemetery of Recoleta juxtaposed with trendy Palermo and a sizzling tango show make B.A. a highlight as much as a starting point for your travels. If you love horseback riding, the estancias outside of the city are certainly worth a stay. To the North are the Argentine desert towns like Salta and Jujuy (with nearby wine regions of their own) where colonial churches meet geologic rainbows and mind-blowing salt flats. For those who missed Victoria Falls in Africa (and even for those who didn’t), the Iguazu Falls are mind-blowing and the birdlife and capybara along the trails add to the atmosphere. A visit to El Calafate to see the Perito Moreno glacier is certainly a highlight and a cruise to see the penguins in the Strait of Magellan is thrilling.
Argentina is a great destination for a broad swath of people; there is something for everyone, for every travel style and for every generation. For example, Perito Merino Glacier and the allure of Patagonia are strong. If you’re happier admiring the scenery from afar rather than being amongst it, you may prefer a glacier cruise or a simple stroll along the catwalks to see the face of the glacier, both are great options in our opinion. For the more experiential traveler, strap on a pair of crampons and go glacier trekking (the scotch on ‘the glacial rocks’ is highly satisfying afterward). The jungles of the Misiones Province, wetlands of Corrientes, and migratory marine life along Peninsula Valdes will enliven wildlife enthusiasts, and food and wine lovers will be in nirvana nearly everywhere. Hiking (or climbing the Andes peaks), horseback riding, biking, river cruises, canoeing, skiing, and spa treatments are all on offer.
Argentina really offers a bit of everything and we would be hard pressed to find someone who would be unhappy there as a handfull of options would appeal to anyone. For example, if you don’t like the noise in Buenos Aires, there are countless quieter and calmer regions to visit. If you’re hoping to sample the authentic cuisine, vegetarians might struggle with the local diet of meat, meat, and more meat. But, like most properties and restaurants we like, chefs are more than accommodating and they will always cater to your needs. As long as you plan accordingly, you can have everything you need and be well taken care of.
All in all, the best times to visit Argentina are during their spring (September-November), when the jacarandas are in bloom in Buenos Aires and the temperature and humidity is pleasant throughout the country; and fall (March-May), which offers beautiful foliage in the Lake District. Although summer (December-February) is best in Patagonia, the spring and fall shoulder seasons are the best times to combine this region with others around the country. Northern Argentina can be unbearably hot in the summer so it’s best to visit during the winter, though fall and spring are also quite pleasant.
Whale watching season in Patagonia extends from May to December with the best chances of success during September and October.
Avoid the winter months if you plan to visit Patagonia and Cape Horn and the summer months if you are mainly interested in Northern Argentina.
Argentina has a range of accommodation options from budget to luxurious properties and you can combine stays in city hotels with boutique bed & breakfasts in the wine country and fully inclusive lodges to suit your particular limits.
We recommend you look at staying in the fully inclusive properties if you can afford it to take advantage of all the area has to offer. As on safari, the property guides know the area and local communities quite well and will be able to give you a unique perspective and keep you away from the crowds.
Budget and more mass market tours can start as low as $200 per person per night - but this is the bottom of the range and we neither recommend nor sell those trips. The upmarket, exclusive properties can range from $500-$1000 per person per night. For the best experience, we do not advocate going below $500 per person per night. Keep in mind these figures account for internal airfare and transportation, not solely lodging and activity costs. Each trip will be different though, and we will certainly help you decide where is best to splurge and smart to save depending on your interests and travel style.
Argentina offers so many ways to experience the country, from a desert lodge to a glacier cruise and from a game-vehicle to horseback or simply by foot. Take a speed boat or luxury cruise through the Strait of Magellan, a train ride through the clouds, walk across the reflective salt flats north of Jujuy or on a glacier, gallop across the Pampas beside a gaucho, fly fish in the southernmost city on Earth, stroll the suspension bridges connecting the Iguazu Falls, ski the slopes of Bariloche and sip wine in the foothills of the Andes. We can't emphasize the variety of landscapes and experiences you can have in Argentina.
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