Argentina rests on South America’s southern tip, and is a premier location for culture, cuisine, and outdoor adventures. From bustling cities to vineyards, mountains, grasslands, and glacial lakes, one could spend months in Argentina and still have more to explore.
Fall in love with nature in Patagonia, dance Tango in Buenos Aires, create adventures Salinas Grandes, drink wine in Mendoza, or take a provincial journey visiting charming villages outside of Córdoba. Between the food, music, nature, and nightlife -- adventure takes on many meanings when you're exploring South America's second largest country.
Use this guide to help navigate the many Argentine tours and activities available during your travels in this dynamic country.
Argentina offers some of the most awe-inspiring views in the world for outdoor travelers. From ice-capped mountain tops to enchanting waterfalls and untouched wilderness, treks and adventures through Argentina's mountain ranges are extremely popular.
Patagonia encompasses the Andean mountain range, grasslands, and desert. A trip to Los Glaciares National Park allows you to canoe or kayak through vast lakes, whale watch, or go camping and trekking with a backdrop of glacial peaks. For higher altitudes, challenge yourself to a 20-day trek to Aconcagua: South America's tallest mountain. Travelers seeking shorter trips would enjoy a day excursion to Lanín volcano.
Don't forget to visit the Iguazu Falls, the second largest waterfall in the world, and book a tour to explore the Devil’s Throat as you boat into the heart of rushing water -– a thrilling experience.
Culture & Food Tours
There is much to choose from when it comes to culture and gastronomy in Argentina. Between the wine, food, dance, architecture, and history, be sure to plan extra days to enjoy Argentine lifestyle.
Go wine tasting in Mendoza, join the beach crowd at Mar del Plata, and visit the Iglesia San Francisco. If you are looking for high quality cuisine to satisfy your meat tooth, Argentina is certainly the place to do it. Try Argentine steak and taste local chimichurri along with it.
For a cityscape adventure, head to the lively city of Buenos Aires and enjoy dance classes, acclaimed restaurants, hot nightlife and milongas (tango dance parties), and of course -– fútbol!
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Argentina has a diverse selection of wildlife and flora, so it is safe to say adventurers seeking the two should sign up for nature tours to make the most of possible wildlife sightings.
The Iguazu Falls and Iguazu National Park offers walking-friendly trails where you can get up and close with nature. In addition, Patagonia's terrain offers an ideal ecosystem for an array of wildlife. While in northern Patagonia visit Valdes Peninsula: the hotspot for finding sea lions, seals, and maybe even whales!
Other awesome places to enjoy Argentine nature: Cascadas del Río Colorado, easy-medium climbing to waterfalls while experiencing the wildlife around you; horseback riding in El Calafate; and fly fishing in Bariloche.
Planning Your Trip
Argentina is an enthralling country to visit and can be a smooth journey when planned adequately. Use this guide to plan your itinerary, budget, and trip logistics.
Best Time to Visit Argentina
When thinking about when to visit Argentina, carefully consider the attractions you want to explore. Rain, cold, summer, and natural experiences like whale migrations all occur at different times.
- Mountain Ranges: September - March are the best times to trek Argentina. Just remember, it is in the southern hemisphere so the seasons are opposite if you’re a northerner.
- The Coast: Beaches are extremely crowded during high season (December - February). That also means that cities and towns during the holidays (like December) will feel similar to much of Europe during August: empty... everyone heads to the beach!
- The City: Many travelers prefer visiting cities like Buenos Aires during shoulder seasons. The summer feels way too hot and muggy, so cooler Spring and Autumn air feels perfect. This is also a perfect time to enjoy Argentine wine. During December high season, you might find visiting the city will only offer closed businesses.
What to Look For in a Tour to Argentina
Argentina is certainly a pricey hot tourist destination, so planning ahead is important. Make sure you book in advance for big tourist attractions and always double check what's included in your vacation package or tour.
If you’d like to visit Patagonia, start looking for tour opportunities at least a year in advance. Argentina has access to the region on the Atlantic side, and this is known to sell out quickly. For visits to the Iguazu Falls, it is most cost effective (and stress-free) to hire a tour company to arrange it all for you.
Typical Tour Costs
Popular destinations such as Iguazu Falls and Patagonia are often expensive and require hefty park fees to enter and experience. If traveling around the region and planning to visit one or both, know that each trip can cost several hundred dollars alone. Tours throughout Argentina can range from $800 - $5,000 for experiences under one week long.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
When packing for outdoor activities, besides being aware of the season, be sure to make note of the region you’ll be exploring so that you dress accordingly. For example, the Southern part of Patagonia can often have strong winds, so you’ll need protection. Also remember to bring waterproof accessories to protect your goods and gadgets. Between the humidity, possible rain, and waterfalls, you’re bound to get wet. A durable action camera with waterproof casing would be a great choice. Quick dry clothing or swimsuits will also prove favorable.
Other Tips for Travel in Argentina
- Visas: Some countries require visas to visit Argentina, while other countries are required to pay a reciprocity fee online before entering the country. This has been changing back and forth recently, so make sure to check with the Argentine Embassy in advance. The US reciprocity requirement has recently been suspended, but Australian and Canadian passport holders are still required to pay the $160 fee.
- Budget & currency: Argentina uses the Argentine peso. But despite a weaker currency, Argentina is still quite expensive -- especially compared to most of South America. From transportation, lodging, tours, and food, plan carefully if you are worried about your budget. When planning your budget, know that many stores don’t accept credit cards in more rural areas and small towns, so you’ll have to get money from the ATM. Pay close attention when using cash, as Argentina is known for having counterfeit bills.
- Transportation: To explore the most of Argentina, add on multiple days to your trip just for transportation. The distances are great, and even though Argentina's overnight buses are some of the best, you will need to allot plenty of time for overland travel. Flying and trains are the most efficient options, yet can be costly or sold out quickly.
- Accommodations: For housing, try to stay on an estancia (ranch). Estancias can be found in the mountains and offer opportunities to work, eat, roam, and sleep under an unpolluted night sky, like in Patagonia. Within cities, you'll find plenty of options ranging from youth hostels to guesthouses to high end hotels (for modern locales, almost everything can be booked online). For popular destinations, don't forget to book well in advance or confirm that your tour package covers lodging.
Health & Safety
All travelers should get their routine vaccines as stated by the CDC. Additionally, Hepatitis A and Typhoid shots are highly recommended. For more information on what vaccines you need, check the CDC website.
While you are enjoying the culture of Argentina, note that the community is known for being politically vocal. Much like a visit to Paris, you might encounter protests and demonstrations often. Be careful and mindful to avoid scenes that might get rowdy, and possibly dangerous. Be aware of this while in Buenos Aires, especially.
Here are other tips to think about:
- When visiting Iguazu Falls, keep away from the coatis (sort of like a racoon, but cuter). They are known to bite visitors that have food and you will require a rabies shot if they attack you.
- Clothing and packing is really important when trekking. If you want to “rough it”, make sure you have adequate clothing, medical supplies, and a plan. The wind can be harsh: sunscreen, lip balm, and a face mask / hat are essentials.
- As always, watch for pickpockets wherever you go and leave valuables at home, if you can. Make sure items left in your hostel are locked up safely.