From the jungles and waterfalls of the tropical north to the glaciers and penguins of the arctic south, Argentina is a country like no other. As the eighth largest country in the world, Argentina stretches over a large portion of South America and because of this, contains numerous quality destinations to visit, depending on your interests. From the vineyards of Mendoza to the big city of Buenos Aires, here are 9 places you definitely don't want to miss when making a trip to Argentina.
Often cited for its place on the New Seven Wonders of Nature list, Iguazu Falls is arguably one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Located in the northern tropical region of Argentina, a visit to Iguazu Falls National Park offers incredible views of the falls, as well as different types of tours to explore the surrounding jungle. In addition, because Iguazu is located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, visitors have the option of viewing the falls from both sides, each offering its own advantages.
As the capital city of Argentina and one of the most visited places in all of South America, Buenos Aires is the starting point for most tours in Argentina and definitely a must-see when visiting the country. Offering a plethora of museums, an incredible nightlife, historic architecture, and a bustling and developing port area, Buenos Aires is above all famous for its tango and unique porteño culture.
Perito Moreno Glacier
One of the world's biggest glaciers—and one of the few that is actually growing instead of shrinking—is located in Argentina's Patagonia region. Just 78 km (48 miles) from the town of El Calafate, the Perito Moreno Glacier is located within the Los Glaciares National Park and situated on the shores of Lake Argentino. Visitors can take a boat tour out to the glacier, or if interested in exploring it from a closer angle, can hike or trek the glacier.
Mendoza Wine Country
One of the things Argentina is most known for is its delicious wine. Just to the east of Chile, at the foot of the Andes Mountains, Mendoza is home to more than 1,200 wineries, accounting for more than 70% of the country's total wine production. Visitors can enjoy hikes in the Andes, or stay grounded and ride horses or bikes through some of the area's family-owned bodegas.
Northwest Argentina: Salta & Jujuy
Located in the Northwest corner of the country, the province of Salta is known for its famous salt flats and the Calchaqui Valley, with its picturesque red rock formations. Nearby Jujuy also offers some incredible natural landscapes, archaeological sites, and cultural opportunities to explore.
Recognized for its incredible hiking opportunities, El Chalten is a must-see for nature lovers looking to explore the gorgeous landscape of Patagonia. Located just three hours from El Calafate, visitors can take a bus from Calafate that offers spectacular views of the region along the way.
One of Argentina's most prized possessions lies in its claim to the southern-most city in the world. Just north of Antarctica, the city of Ushuaia has a very unique history, including the site of a prison during the early 1900's. Visitors can take advantage of a number of cruises departing from Ushuaia, many of which travel down the famous Beagle Canal.
Famous for its arctic wildlife, Puerto Madryn is Argentina's prime location for whale watching and penguin watching in Patagonia. The nearby Valdes Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to sea elephants, orcas, and southern right whales. Depending on the time of the year, visitors can get a glimpse of these whales, or can venture a short distance south to find South America's largest Magellan penguin colony in Punta Tombo.
Surrounded by the Andes Mountains, skiers will want to visit Bariloche during the winter months for the best conditions. If skiing is not on your itinerary, visitors can choose between a number of other exciting adventures, like the nearby Nahuel Huapi National Park, which is home to the gorgeous Nahuel Huapi Lake and offers opportunities for day hikes and mountain climbing as well as kayaking across the lake.
This article was written by Will Collier on behalf of Say Hueque, a company specializing in tours to Argentina and Chile.