There are 33 national parks in Argentina, scattered from north to south, showing the best of Patagonian landscape; subtropical rainforest; wetlands; waterfalls; desert; mountains; lakes and unique wildlife. Whether you want to go hiking; admire wildlife; be mesmerized by the roar of waterfalls or just escape from the crowds and the city, this country has something for you.
For those of you curious to know where to find the best nature in the country, I selected some of the best national parks in the country, with plenty of information that should help you plan your visit. I am listing them from south to north. But before I do, let me share some important considerations.
Important Considerations About Argentina National Parks
The rules of behavior in national parks are no different from those you should observe anywhere in the world.
Leave national parks as clean as you find them. You will see that quite often you won’t find garbage bins around the park, which means you should take care to bring an extra bag with you to dispose of any waste. By all means, do not abandon any trash in the park!
Respect local wildlife by not feeding any animals you may need. Also remember that pets aren’t allowed in national parks in Argentina – not even dogs on a leash.
If you are on a hike, stay on the trail as some parts of the park may be in recuperation.
Make sure to read my post The Complete Guide To Becoming A More Responsible Traveler.
Peninsula Valdes isn’t mentioned in this post. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and probably the country’s best destination in terms of wildlife, this peninsula located in the province of Chubut and easily accessible from Puerto Madryn actually isn’t a national park! Regardless of that, make sure to visit during your trip to Argentina.
15 Incredible National Parks In Argentina You Should Visit
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Argentina, right at the southern tip of the country and where Ruta 3 (the Pan-American) ends, in Lapataia Bay. It is easy to reach from Ushuaia. It’s more than 630 square km large, and it extends from the Beagle Channel to Fagnano Lake (also called Cami Lake). Although it is incredibly vast, only 200 hectares of the southern bits of the park are actually open to the public.
What makes this national park a must see is the incredible variety of vegetation – unique to this part of the world – and wildlife, which includes various species of birds, guanacos, grey and red foxes, seagulls, cormorants, albatross, and kelp goose. You will also be able to see the European Rabbit and the north American beaver, which are not native species of the area and indeed cause much damage to the delicate environment.
The park is rich in hiking trails that have various levels of difficulty, as well as viewpoints. Among the main landmarks of the park there are the Mirador Lapataia, the Acigami Lake and the Southernmost Post Office.
You can get to the park by bus from Ushuaia – buses leave regularly from the bus station at the corner between Maipú and Juana Faidul, in front of the gas station. Alternatively, you can get there on the Fin del Mundo train, but the station is 8 km (about 5 miles) outside of the city and you have to get a taxi there.
For a guided tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park, click here.
Make sure to read my posts Everything You Need To Know About Ushuaia Patagonia and A Complete Guide To Hiking Laguna Esmeralda.
Los Glaciares National Park
With its 7270 square meters, this is one of the largest national parks in Argentina, and home to a whopping 47 glaciers, which include Perito Moreno. It is located in the Santa Cruz Province, in Austral Patagonia, and comprises some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country such as the already mentioned Perito Moreno Glacier and El Chalten, the hiking capital of Argentina, where you’ll find Cerro Fitzroy and Laguna Torre.
To fully explore the park, make sure to spend a couple of days in El Calafate, from where you can easily reach Perito Moreno Glacier, and then move to El Chalten, where you can enjoy all the hikes.
To get to Perito Moreno from El Calafate you can take the bus from the station located in Jean Marmoz 104. Buses leave at 8:30 or 9:00 am and return to town at 4:00 pm or 7:30 pm. Alternatively, you can go on a guided tour. From El Chalten, you literally just have to walk out the door of your hotel.
You won’t find any guided tours of the national park per se, but you will be able to enjoy guided visit to Perito Moreno Glacier, or guided hikes to Laguna de los Tres (Fitzroy) and Laguna Torre.
For a Perito Moreno Glacier tour with optional boat ride, click here.
For a Perito Moreno Glacier tour that includes a boat ride and Perito Moreno Glacier trek, click here.
For a Perito Moreno Glacier tour with an optional nautical safari, click here.
You can easily hike to Laguna Torre independently. For information on guided hikes, click here or here.
The trail to Laguna de Los Tres is very well marked and easy to follow, but if you prefer to join a group, click here.
Check out my other posts about this part of Argentina: A Complete Guide To El Calafate Argentina, A Complete Guide To Perito Moreno Glacier, A Complete Guide To Hiking To Laguna Torre and A Guide To Hiking Around Fitz Roy, In El Chalten.
Los Alerces National Park
This is one of the most beautiful national parks in the country, so unique that it’s actually been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2017. You can access it from the town of Travelin, in the Chubut Province, which is part of Patagonia, and from Esquel, which is about 52 km (32.3 miles) away.
The park, which measures 631,000 acres, is known for its Patagonian temperate forest and stunning, pristine lakes and rivers. It was established in 1937 with the aim of protecting the larch trees (alerce, in Spanish) that are commonly found there.
Hiking is probably the best way to enjoy it. Among the most popular trails you will find the Cinco Saltos; the Mount Alto El Dedal, which is a rather challenging hike; the trail to Kruger Lake, which is long but easy, and that to Laguna Escondida.
Inside the park, you can also visit the cave paintings that are testimony of the presence of two communities of hunter-gatherers living in the area. They can be seen along the banks of the Desaguadero river, and along the trail known as Sendero de Interpretacion.
You can also ride the steam train that departs from Esquel.
Getting to this national park by bus can be complicated. The best way is to actually rent a car and follow the road that connects Treveling to Esquel. You will have to find the intersection to Route 259, which is the one going to the park. The park is equipped with camping sites, bungalows, restaurants and kiosks.
For a guided tour of Los Alerces National Park, click here.
Lago Puelo National Park
Lago Puelo is one of the lesser visited national parks in Patagonia. Located a few hours drive south of Bariloche, in the province of Chubut, this is an excellent place for hiking, horseback riding and enjoying the beautiful lakes, which are perfect for swimming and relaxing. Lago Puelo is also a great destination to admire wildlife. You may even be able to spot deers including the pudú (a really small deer) and the huemuel (much bigger).
The reserve was actually part of Los Alerces National Park until 1971, when it finally became a national park proper. It is located at just 200 meters (656 feet) above sea level, which means that the climate is different from the rest of the area.
Among the main landmarks of the park there are La Playita and Los Hitos.
The easiest access point is the town of Lago Puelo, which is just 4 km (2.5 miles) from the park and from where you can catch a minibus, bus or taxi. Alternatively, you can travel from El Bolsón, from where there are several daily buses that go to the park.
Alternatively, you can visit on guided day trips departing from Bariloche, such as this one.
Los Arrayanes National Park
This is one of the smallest national parks, covering a surface of only 1,796 hectares. Located in the province of Neuquen, on the Quetrihué Peninsula near Villa la Angostura and close to Bariloche, on the banks of the Nahuel Huapi lake, it is characterized by a beautiful forest of myrtle trees (arrayán in Spanish) which you will recognize from their bright orange-colored trunks.
The national park was created in 1971 with the aim of protecting the delicate forest environment, with some trees that are as sold as 600 years!
Inside the park you will find wooden trails which make exploring really easy. There also are several hiking trails – but make sure to set nice and early if you want to go on a hike.
You can easily get tho the national park from Bariloche – just take the morning bus to Villa la Angostura, and from there either walk or bike the 3 km (1.8 miles) to the entrance of the park, or take the bus. Another great option is to join a boat tour departing from either Bariloche or Villa la Angostura.
Guided tour to Los Arrayanes National Park usually include a walk through the forest and a boat tour on the lake. You can book yours here or here.
Nahuel Huapi National Park
Located in Patagonia, Nahuel Huapi National Park was established in 1903, thus being one of the first national parks in Argentina. It’s close to both Bariloche and Villa la Angostura, so you can easily use both as a base to explore it. The park spans across the provinces of Neuquen and Rio Negro, and it’s located in what is known as Argentina’s Lake District – indeed, you will be able to visit many beautiful lake with clear waters.
Other than hiking (Monte Tronador is a great hike, but remember you must register yourself for that at the park office between 10:30 am and 2:00 pm), the park is perfect for swimming in the lakes in the summer months; whereas in the winter the local sport is skiing.
You can easily get to the park by bus from either Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes, Neuquen or Villa la Angostura. Alternatively, you can opt for this Bariloche: Circuito Chico with optional Cerro Catedral – it really is nothing more than transportation to the national park, but it is very convenient.
Inside the park you will find plenty of accommodation options for all budgets and tastes.
Lanin National Park
This park, located north of Nahuel Huapi National Park and close to San Martin de los Andes, is one of the most beautiful national parks in Argentina. It is 412,000 hectares and it was created between 1937 and 1945 with a view to protecting the local Patagonian forest – in fact, it is one of the best destinations in Patagonia, and a great place to visit in the winter, when resorts such as Chapelco prove to be great ski destinations, as well as in the summer, when you can enjoy a wide range of activities.
Things to do in Lanin National Park include hiking – one of the nicest trails is that to Chachin waterfall; whereas Lanin Volcano hike is a more challenging one; water activities in the gorgeous lakes such as Lago Lacar, where you will find some great beaches and where you can go kayaking and even swimming. You an also go fishing, as long as this doesn’t have an impact on the delicate environment of the lakes.
There are three main entrances to the park – San Martín de los Andes is closer to the southern entrance; Junín de los Andes is the central entrance and Aluminé is close to the northern entrance. Getting there by public transportation isn’t the easiest thing, so you may want to rent a car for the day. This would also be the best way of enjoying the stunning drive of Ruta de los 7 Lagos.
If you’d rather join a guided tour, there are some good ones departing from Bariloche, such as this one.
There are several accommodation options inside the park.
Sierra de las Quijadas National Park
This national park is located in central Argentina, in the province of San Luis but closer to the border with Chile. It has a surface of 73,785 hectares. It’s one of the youngest Argentina national parks, having been created in 1991 with a view of protecting the Chaco steppe typical of the area.
Hiking is obviously one of the best things to do in the park. There are several trails, of various levels of difficulty, and some will require a guide, such as Las Huellas del Pasado, a 2 hour hike (there and back) and the longer Farallones trail. The Guanacos trail can be done independently, but you will have to register yourself at the information desk.
The easiest access point is the city of San Luis. I recommend renting a car for the day.
El Leoncito National Park
Located in the San Juan province, at the foot of the Andes, El Leoncito was founded in 2001 and has a surface of 89,900 hectares.
What makes this national park special is the arid climate which means you are pretty much guaranteed a clear day when visiting. Much like Atacama in Chile, the park is home to two observatories – Observatorio El Leoncito (C.AS.LEO) and Observatorio Cesco. You can visit them at night to admire one of the starriest sky you can hope for.
Other than admiring the sky, you should make sure to visit the El Rincón waterfall, where you can get to both by car or on an easy hike; and hike the Paisajdes de Agua, an easy 2 km (1.2 miles) trail. The hike to Cerro El Leoncito is a medium difficulty one that lasts about four hours.
Access to the park is free. The closest town is Barreal, at 35 km (21.7 miles), which is where you should base yourself if you want quick and easy access to the park. There is no public transportation to get to the park, so you either have to rent a car or join a guided tour – it’s best to enquire in town about it.
Talampaya National Park
Talampaya is one of the lesser visited national parks in Argentina, and it is best visited in the winter months, between June and August. You will find it in the province of La Rioja. What makes this park – created in 1997 – an excellent place to visit are the archeological and paleontological remains: you will be able to see fossils of dinosaurs there. It is such as special place that it has been enlisted among UNESCO World Heritage sites.
One of the best attractions is Talampaya gorge, famous for its stunning rock formations. The Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) and Los Cajones are other must-sees.
Only a limited amount of visitors is allowed in Talampaya National Park, so if you want to visit make sure to book in advance. You should also book one of the guided tours, as most activities will require a guide. You can do so on the website of the national park here.
The easiest access point is Villa Unión, from where you can join one of the regularly departing guided tours to the park.
Los Cardones National Park
This is one of my favorite national parks in Argentina. Located in the region of Salta, in the department of Cachi, the park – which was created in 1996 – is characterized by massive cactus (cardones) and by a beautiful desert landscape. It is a perfect place for a road trip, but you will also find a few easy hiking trails taking you to nice viewpoints.
Admission to Los Cardones National Park is free. You can easily access the park from Cachi and even from Salta. The best way to visit is independently by car, but there are also buses departing regularly from Salta.
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To Salta Argentina.
Calilegua National Park
Located in the beautiful province of Jujuy, famous for its desert landscapes and for the Quebrada de Humahuaca, there’s Calilegua National Park, definitely off-the-beaten-path and home to a very lush landscape. The national park was established in 1979 and is home to various species of animals which include the jaguar and other wild cats – but don’t hold high hopes to see them. It’s also a great place for birdwatching.
Needless to say, the park is a great destination for hiking and adventure in general. The main attractions include Aguas Negras, where you will find several trails; Mesada de las Colmenas, which again has trails and viewpoints, and Monolito, one of the highest places in the park.
Access to this national park is free. San Salvador de Jujuy is the main city closer to the park. From there, you can rent a car to get to the park, or travel by bus to Libertador General San Martín, from where you can take a collective taxi all the way to the entrance of the park. Make sure to ask to be dropped off at Aguas Negras.
Iguazu National Park
Iguazú National Park is rightly enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This definitely is one of the most incredible national parks in Argentina, not to mention one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. The waterfalls that are the main attraction stretch for almost 3 km (1.8 miles) between the Argentine province of Misiones and Brazilian state of Paraná – thus being the largest waterfall system in the world.
There is no shortage of activities at this national park. You will be able to go on walks – the Upper Circuit will take you around one hour, whereas the Lower Circuit can take you up to 3 hours: both of them will offer incredible views. Another trail is the Macuco trail, which goes all the way to Arrechea Waterfall.
Inside the park, you can ride the Jungle Train (Tren de la Selva) which will take you all the way to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat), from where you can follow a 1.2 km (about 0.8 miles) trail that takes you to the most impressive viewpoint of the waterfalls. Along the way, you’ll be able to spot lots of turtles and at times even crocodiles in the water.
You can also opt for a boat tour that takes you right below the waterfalls – but be prepared to get wet!
You can easily get to the national park from Puerto Iguazu by bus. Alternatively, you can opt for a guided tour. For information about a one day guided Iguazu Falls tour click here or here.
Check out my post Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Iguazu Falls Argentina.
El Palmar National Park
This small national park in the province of Entre Rios, about 4.5 hours drive from Buenos Aires is 8,213 hectares. Founded as a national park in 1966, its main feature is the yatay palm tree which, as you may have guessed, gives it its name.
The main activities at El Palmar are walking and wildlife spotting – especially birdwatching; but you may be able to also spot capybara. Throughout the park you will find several trails leading to the best viewpoints, such as the one to the Rio Uruguay. One of the best ways to explore the park is by bike.
The easiest access point is Ubajay, which is about 6 km (3.7 miles) and from where you can take a taxi all the way to the park. Alternatively, opt to stay at either Colon (1 hour drive) or Concordia (which is about 1.5 hours drive) and rent a car to visit independently.
Iberá National Park
Iberá is one of the best national parks for spotting wildlife. Only declared to be a national park in 2018 and truly off-the-beaten-path, it is located in the northeastern province of Corrientes. It’s weird not many people know about it since this is home to the second largest wetland in the world after Brazilian Pantanal – it’s a whopping 183,500 hectares!
The best thing to do at Iberá is obviously wildlife spotting. Among the animals you can see there are the marsh deer, anaconda, caiman and capybara. Keep in mind that it takes a trained eye to spot animals, so you may want to join a guided tour to make the most of the park.
Next to the park you will find the provincial reserve which is also a great place to admire wildlife.
Access to the national park is free. There are several entrances to the park – Portal Cambyretá, which you can access from a small town called Ituzaingó, a good base for the departure of guided tours; Portal San Nicolás, which is closer to San Migues; and Portal Laguna Iberá, accessible from Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, a truly tiny village where you will find a couple of lodges or guest houses. If you want to visit the park independently, you will need a 4 wheel drive vehicle.
If you are planning a trip to Argentina, make sure to read these posts:
- A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina
- A Great Argentina Itinerary
- 25 Unmissable Things To Do In Buenos Aires
- A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Buenos Aires
- A Complete Guide To Puerto Madryn, Argentina
- 30 Things You Should Consider Before Traveling To Patagonia
- Hiking In Patagonia: 15 Incredible Trails
- Hiking Gear And More: The Perfect Patagonia Packing List
- 10 Fantastic Day Trips From Buenos Aires
- The Best Argentine Movies