There are way too many things to do in Argentina, that one trip just won’t be enough.
With so many things to do in Argentina, it is easy to fall in love with it. Don’t get me wrong, I fell in love with many of the countries I have visited. For example, I have officially declared my love for Nicaragua. But Argentina holds a special place in my heart, I feel culturally very close to it and my love for it is so deep that I keep thinking I should actually move there.
I even bought a one way ticket to Buenos Aires a few of years ago, and just as I had started looking for a place to rent, I had to change my plans. But I have been back many times. Indeed, there are so many places to visit in Argentina, so many things to do in Argentina that I don’t think a lifetime would be enough to experience them all.
If you visit Argentina, you will be impressed by its stunning beauty. Whether youI explore one of the gorgeous cities or get deep in its incredible nature, you will feel captivated by the atmosphere, by the positive vibes, and be totally charmed by the people.
Argentina tourist attractions are many. This incredible country has something for just about anybody: cities packed with interesting museums; a fantastic cultural life; tango galore; unique wildlife; mountains and glaciers; infinite possibilities for adventure seekers; friendly people who are always in for fun; incredible food and delicious wines.
Although prices fluctuate as much as the Argentinian economy and the inflation rate is very high, Argentina is not a terribly expensive country to visit.
In this post, I will highlight the things to do in Argentina and share some tips that will help you plan your trip.
Practical Information To Plan Your Trip To Argentina
Deciding when to visit Argentina
Any time is a good time to visit Argentina. But I may be biased! Indeed, most of those who spend their holidays in Argentina opt to travel in the late spring and summer months, between November and March, when it is possible to enjoy the whole country thanks to the favorable weather conditions. The months of January and February are peak season and places will be busy – make reservations for buses, flights, and even hostels during those months.
One of the best things to do in Argentina during the summer months is enjoying its wildlife, in particular in the area of Peninsula Valdes and Punta Tombo (but keep in mind that the whales and orcas are spotted during the winter months). Patagonia is best visited in the summer, when Perito Moreno is not prohibitively cold; the same can be said for Tierra del Fuego. Buenos Aires does get tremendously hot in the summer months!
Make sure to check out my post “Hiking Gear And More: The Perfect Patagonia Packing List.”
Guided tours of Argentina
If you want to travel to Argentina but have no time to plan the trip, or aren’t exactly a fan of it, leave it to the experts! Below are some excellent guided tours of Argentina that I have picked for you. All you have to do is book!
- Argentina multisport – a 15 days G Adventures tour perfect for those who enjoy a bit of action during their trips;
- Patagonia hiking – a fantastic 9 days tour with G Adventures that is all about hitting the trails;
- Hike Patagonia in depth – this 14 days G Adventures tour also goes to Chilean Patagonia.
Getting to Argentina
Most people who fly into Argentina usually land in Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport (its international airport). You can easily book a hotel transfer from the airport here.
Visas aren’t necessary if you are a citizen of European Union countries, United States and Switzerland. Passports are stamped and a tourist visa is given, free of charge, for 90 days from the date of arrival. Citizens of Canada need an online visa (Argentina Reciprocity Fee).
It may be necessary to show proof of onward travel – such as a round trip plane ticket. I also advise to purchase travel insurance prior to your trip. You can get yours here.
Crossing the border to and from Argentina
There are several places to cross the border between Argentina and Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay. Crossing the border is usually a rather easy process but keep in mind that no fruits and vegetables can be carried into Chile. Whatever fresh food item you may be carrying, needs to be either discarded before crossing the border or declared in the immigration card.
The fines for omitting to do so aren’t high, but the Chilean authorities will take their time in measuring every single item that can’t be carried into Chile, and this may slow down the entire border crossing process!
Currency in Argentina
The Argentinian peso is the most fluctuating currency in South America, if not the world. Inflation rate are very high and prices can change dramatically in the course of a few weeks.
Credit cards are not widely accepted and using them usually imply a surcharge. Dollars are widely accepted.
At the moment, $1 USD is worth about 60 Argentinian Pesos.
I still think that one of the best things to do in Argentina is carrying some dollars, just in case.
Safety in Argentina
Argentina is safe and you shouldn’t encounter any problems. Keep a low profile, use minimum precaution, such as keeping your eyes open, carrying a copy of your passport around and leaving the original one in a safe, keeping your bag strapped around my shoulder and not wearing anything too flashy and all goes well.
Transportation in Argentina
Some of the distances in this huge country are very large. For example, getting from Puerto Madryn to El Calafate takes a good 20 hours, and from Mendoza to Buenos Aires 15 hours. Unless traveling overland is a matter of principle, I think that flying may well be one of the best things to do in Argentina, and at times it may also save a little money – just make sure to book well in advance.
Having said so, buses in Argentina are usually punctual and comfortable. Seats can be fully reclined and long distance buses even pass around meals (don’t expect anything fancy). Seats usually have a personal screen, headphones and there even is wifi.
Where to stay in Argentina
The range of places to stay in Argentina is incredible: from hostels to hotels, from bed and breakfast to guest houses and even to couch-surfing, there is something for any budget. The standard of hostels is generally good: clean, well equipped, with a nice vibe and they even organize nights out, parties and dinners for very good prices.
One of the best things to do in Argentina, however, is staying in an estancia (called finca in some parts of the country), a ranch. Most estancias are located a bit off the beaten path, and staying in one is a great way to get to know in depth some of the most interesting aspects of the culture of Argentina.
Eating in Argentina
Fact: food in Argentina is delicious and one of the top things to do in Argentina is eating. Argentina is a real paradise for meat eaters, and enjoying a good asado (a mix of barbecued meats) is a must. So delicious is asado that there even are online resources that explain how to make a good one at home.
Vegetarians and vegans may have a bit of a hard time, but things are improving and the choice of places to eat for them is anyways quite large, especially in cities such as Buenos Aires and Mendoza. Thanks to its Italian heritage, in Argentina there is a lot of good Italian food and home made pasta and pizza are available in lots of restaurants, making the life of vegetarians and vegans a bit easier.
In the north west regions, empanadas (sort of small calzones with various fillings) are a good option of cheap and tasty food, along with the humitas (sort of tamales, made of corn dough).
Argentinians typically eat a small breakfast consisting of café con leche (coffee with milk) and medialunas, which are small croissants. International hostels and hotels do offer a bigger variety.
Dulce de leche (caramelized milk, almost nauseatingly sweet) is very popular and pretty much spread on anything, or so it seems. A popular snack is alfajores, two rounded dry biscuits joined together by (usually) dulche de leche and often covered in chocolate. I don’t have a very sweet tooth so I didn’t particularly enjoy them.
Check out my post 25 Delicious Argentina Food To Try.
Drinking in Argentina
Beer in Argentina isn’t really that great. Quilmes is perhaps the best one, followed by Salteña which is more popular in the region of Salta. Craft beer is becoming more and more popular, with lots of pubs sprouting, especially in Buenos Aires.
Among the recommended things to do in Argentina, there is trying the fantastic wines and taking a wine tour, especially in the region of Mendoza and in Cafayate. Malbec is a fantastic grape that perfectly accompanies meat dishes.
25 Things To Do In Argentina That You Can’t Miss
Explore the magnificent Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is among the unmissable places to visit in Argentina. It is a great (and huge) European-looking city with a fabulous Latin Vibe. Next to state of the art modern buildings there are beautiful examples of colonial architecture. It is packed with parks and interesting museums. Its boulevards are immense, but just around the corner there are tiny cobbled alleys. There is a good reason it is called “The Paris of South America.”
If you care to know more about the actual Paris, make sure to read my post “33 Incredible Places To Visit In Paris.”
And as if this was not enough already, there are gorgeous little cafés where the porteños (how people living in Buenos Aires are called) like to meet; trendy bars and night clubs; milongas where even the most reluctant ones will be seduced by tango; restaurants that serve delicious local and international food; fantastic shopping opportunities (actually, although I am not a shopaholic, I found shopping is one of the things do to in Buenos Aires).
Not to mention, one thing that can’t be missed when visiting Argentina is watching a futból match and there is hardly a better place to do so than Buenos Aires’ Bombonera stadium. Here, I just highlight the things to do in Buenos Aires you can’t miss. For more, read my detailed post “25 Unmissable Things To Do In Buenos Aires.”
Touring Buenos Aires iconic attractions
One of the things to do in Buenos Aires is visiting its iconic attractions. In this city, modernity and history mix gracefully. BAires, as the locals call it, is incredibly spread out, but with a little bit of effort, most of the tourist attractions can be visited in a day.
Microcentro, the commercial centre of the city, is a good starting point to begin exploring Buenos Aires. There you will spot the trendy porteños all dressed up, rushing to business meetings.
Plaza de Mayo deserves a special mention. This is where the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo used to meet with pictures and signs of the desaparecidos – the victims of the Argentinian dictatorship – demanding to know where their sons were being held and reporting the human rights violations committed by the authorities.
Right on Plaza de Mayo there are the Catedral Metropolitana and the iconic Casa Rosada, seat of the Argentinian President and the political heart of the city. Not far from it, Manzana de las Luces is another must see, as it is the oldest colonial church in Buenos Aires.
One of the things to do in Buenos Aires which you will surely enjoy is going for a walk in Puerto Madero, which used to be a pier once but currently is one of the trendiest barrios of the city, with its luxury apartment buildings and trendy restaurants. Puerto Madero is also home to famous architect Calatrava’s Puente de la Mujer, which is a real work of art.
Another part of Buenos Aires you will definitely like is Recoleta. This is where the wealthiest families of Buenos Aires moved in the 1870s, when an epidemic of yellow fever hit the neighborhood of San Telmo. One of the best things to do in Buenos Aires is strolling along Avenida Alvear, with its beautiful villas, the lovely shops and the Cementerio de Recoleta, the cemetery where Evita Peron, one of the most important persons in Argentinas history, is buried.
Here are some great tour options to get an introduction to Buenos Aires:
- Highlights of Buenos Aires in 3 Hours
- Best of Buenos Aires: Full-Day Walking Tour
- Buenos Aires Like a Local 4-Hour Private Tour
Visit Buenos Aires fantastic museums
If the weather in Buenos Aires is not nice, make sure to visit one of the many fantastic museums! My two favorites are the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, which has Argentina’s best art collection with pieces of Renoir, Monet, Picasso and Gauguin, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Explore Buenos Aires most charming barrios
San Telmo and La Boca are the most charming barrios of Buenos Aires, and paying a visit to these two charming neighborhoods is a must. San Telmo used to be an elegant area where the wealthiest families in town lived but, following the yellow fever epidemic, they moved to Recoleta. San Telmo, with its cobbled streets and colonial buildings, is now a favorite of artists and bohémien, famous for its Sunday antiques market and for the lively Feria de San Telmo (the local market).
La Boca is where Italian and Spanish immigrants settled in the 19th century and it is now a popular tourist spot for its colorful Caminito and for the Boca Juniors impressive football stadium, La Bombonera. Try a walking tour of La Boca, like this one.
Palermo Viejo is one of the trendiest areas of Buenos Aires, packed with gorgeous buildings, cobbled streets and beautiful boulevards. You can also explore Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywhood, which are packed with great street art.
Here are some great options for seeing Palermo:
Watch a fútbol match at La Bombonera
People take fútbol very seriously in Argentina. Diego Armando Maradona is still a national hero and Lionel Messi is a star. Going to La Bombonera for a fútbol match is definitely one of the things to do in Buenos Aires. Try to get tickets for a superclásico – Boca Juniors v. River Plate.
Watching a tango show in one of the many milongas is one of the musts in Buenos Aires.
One of the things to do in Argentina is trying mate – a bitter infusion made with chopped yerba mate leaves and hot water. Drinking mate is a huge part of the Argentinian culture, to the point that people in Argentina hardly leave their home without carrying a thermos of hot water, enough yerba mate, a cup (which is usually called calabaza, Spanish for pumpkin, and is indeed a calabash gourd) and a bombilla, the straw used to drink it.
Drinking mate is a national ritual: Buenos Aires parks are packed with people sitting on the grass and drinking mate on Sundays. They pass along the cup and the straw and sip it for hours at end. It is not uncommon to also see mate stations, where people empty their calabaza and fill up on hot water.
Visit El Tigre
At about 35 km from north of Buenos Aires, Tigre and its river delta are a favorite of porteños and they are nice places for a day tour from Buenos Aires. A train ride away from Retiro station, Tigre is a small, quiet city where you can get away from the heat of Buenos Aires during summer days. Check here for more details on an El Tigre day tour
Make sure to visit the Puerto de Frutos, a lovely local market that sells any kind of goods. You can also go on a boat ride that takes you along the delta: the view of the traditional homes and nature are stunning.
Check out my post “10 Fantastic Day Trips From Buenos Aires.”
Go on a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay)
Colonia del Sacramento is among the places to visit in Uruguay, is only one hour away from Buenos Aires by ferry. It is a lovely escape for a day trip from Buenos Aires. You can catch a fast boat across the Rio de la Plata to visit the gorgeous little city of Colonia del Sacramento. Check here to book a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento.
The city was founded by the Portuguese in 1680 and is truly pretty. The main attraction of Colonia del Sacramento is the Barrio Histórico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its old gate, the Portón de Campo; the tiny Calle de los Suspiros; the beautifully kept colonial buildings; Plaza Mayor 25 de Mayo and Plaza de Armas; and the ruins of the Convento de San Francesco. The lighthouse is the perfect spot to admire the views of the Rio de la Plata. Colonia is also packed with perfectly kept vintage cars.
Read more about Colonia del Sacramento and the fantastic things to do in Uruguay on my posts:
- 15 Great Things To Do In Colonia Del Sacramento Uruguay
- The top seven things to do in Uruguay
- 25 Cool Things To Do In Montevideo
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is packed with good hotels and hostels. Picking a place to stay is always a matter of personal preferences and interests. I like a bit of local feel and I enjoy walking everywhere, so to me the best places to stay in town are all in San Telmo, which is a charming area packed with lovely restaurants, cafés and bars.
I found America del Sur hostel to be a good choice. There are dorms (all having a private bathroom) as well as private rooms – all of them are cozy, modern and very comfortable. America del Sur organizes nights out as well as tango workshops too. Check here to book now or here to see reviews
Looking for more accommodation options? Make sure to read “A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Buenos Aires.”
Where to eat in Buenos Aires
There are plenty of good restaurants in Buenos Aires, spread all over town. Some great international and fusion restaurants are in Palermo, one of the trendiest areas of Buenos Aires. Yet, my pick is Fresh Market, in Puerto Madero. It took me a while to find this, as really the restaurant is no more than a few tables in what really is a grocery store. But the food is incredible (I highly recommend the fresh salmon) and the choice of dessert is out of this world!
You could also try a food tour to see more of the cuisine in Buenos Aries. Here are some great tour options:
- Buenos Aires: 3-Hour Gourmet Food Adventure
- 8-Course Argentine BBQ at Fogón Asado
- The Argentine Experience Gastronomical Dinner
Admire wildlife in Peninsula Valdes and Punta Tombo
Puerto Madryn is definitely one of the places to visit in Argentina. A small port town on the Gulfo Nuevo, it gives easy access to some of Argentina tourist attractions: the beautiful Península Valdés and Punta Tombo. In the summer months, it is is a beach destination to which lots of people who spend their holidays in Argentina travel, as it is the perfect location for one of the most incredible things to do in Argentina: admiring the thriving wildlife. And as a bonus, it also is a nice place to just hang out.
Read my post “A Complete Guide To Puerto Madryn, Argentina.”
In the winter and spring, between June and December, Puerto Madryn is the place to go to admire the austral whales directly from the town jetty (although apparently the best place to spot the austral whales is Puerto Pirámides, in the Península Valdés). Check here for more information on a whale watching tour.
One of the best things to do in Argentina is learning more about its incredible wildlife, and Puerto Madryn is an excellent place to do that as it has several interesting museums. One of them, the Ecocentro, is a work of art of interactive exhibits where great artistic sensibility and outstanding scientific research are joined together for superb results. It also has a fantastic library from which it is possible to admire a beautiful view of the gulf (and spot the marine life).
I visited Puerto Madryn during the summer months (between December and March), which is when the strong Patagonian winds blow almost uninterrupted. For this reason, I was unable to see the austral whales. Yet, like most of those who visit Argentina, I went all the way to Puerto Madryn to further explore the region – and it was a good choice!
One of the activities you are bound to like the most is boat expedition to admire mammals such as dolphins and sea lions in their natural environment.
Puerto Madryn is perfect also for for hiking, biking, going kayaking, scuba diving, or even learning how to windsurf. Check here to see how to go scuba diving in sea lions in Puerto Madryn.
Among the things to do in Argentina, there is visiting the Reserva Faunística Península Valdés, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of the best places to observe the incredible wildlife in its natural habitat. Among others, during a tour of Peninsula Valdes you will be able to admire sea elephant and lions, guanacos, nandus, foxes, magellan penguins. Depending on the season, even orcas show up.
Another of the places to visit in Argentina is Punta Tombo, the largest penguin nesting region in South America. Besides a variety of birds which includes cormorants and seagulls, here lives a colony of over half a million magellan penguins who set up their nest and lay their eggs each year between September and April. Taking a tour of Punta Tombo to walk around there is one of the most fun and surreal things to do in Argentina. They look really cute and they are really loud!
Here are some great options for tours in Puerto Madryn:
- Puerto Madryn Night Adventure
- City Tour & Punta Loma HD Tour
- Punta Tombo and Union Beach Tour with Penguins Colony Visit
- Private Tour of Trelew and Gaiman
Where to stay in Puerto Madryn
When I visited Puerto Madryn, I stayed at Hi Patagonia, a lovely hostel which, for the way it is set up, looks more like a home. And indeed, it does feel homey, with the common areas where guests can hang out, good dorms and a properly equipped kitchen. Hi Patagonia regularly organizes asado nights (eating asado is one of the things to do in Argentina) for a very convenient price, and nights out for its guests. Check here to book now or here to read more reviews
Where to eat in Puerto Madryn
Although I mostly ate at the hostel, one of the restaurants I tried in Puerto Madryn is Estela, which is considered the best restaurant in town. It offers a great choice of meat, pasta and fish dishes and the atmosphere is very cozy.
Venture to Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego
Among the fantastic things to do in Argentina, there is admiring its unspoiled nature and appreciate its wilderness. Ushuaia is one of the places to visit in Argentina just for that.
What makes Ushuaia one of Argentina tourist attractions is its location, in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. The Martial mountain range is at its north, whereas the Beagle Channel lays at its south. Those who visit Argentina usually travel to Ushuaia in the summer months, when the city (which is the closest point to Antarctica) gets a lot of daylight and the temperatures, despite being cold, are not as prohibitive as in the winter months (May to August).
Ushuaia is a perfect base for some incredible adventures and to embark on some of the most incredible things to do in Argentina, such as hiking, kayaking, dog sledding, wildlife watching and Antarctica cruises. Among the places to visit in Argentina that can be easily accessed from Ushuaia, there are Cerro Martial and its glacier, Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel.
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Argentina, and there are hardly better places than the scented forests of Tierra del Fuego National Park for that.
There are several walking trails, some offering views of the Beagle Channel and of Isla Navarino and Isla Hoste, and on any of them it is possible to admire the flora and wildlife that lives in the area, which includes cormorants, seagulls and even condors. The best hike is that of Laguna Esmeralda.
Check out my post “A Complete Guide To Hiking Laguna Esmeralda.”
Furthermore, one of Argentina tourist attractions is the Tren del Fin del Mundo, a fantastic train ride that goes through the Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Boarding a day cruise across the Beagle Channel is a great way to explore the various islands of Tierra del Fuego, such as those of the Alicia Archipelago.
Bird Islands, Seal Islands and Isla Martillo are packed with wildlife and this is where it is possible to admire colonies of sea lions and seals as well as the Magellan Penguins. Included the places to visit in Argentina that can be explored during a tour of the Beagle Channel is the beautiful Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse.
Here are some great tour options for Ushuaia:
- Beagle Channel and Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse
- Half-Day Tierra del Fuego Tour
- Beagle Channel Boat Tour & Harberton Ranch
- Beagle Channel & Sea Wolves Island
- Boat Tour and Walk with Penguins on Martilo Island
- Fagnano and Escondido Lakes Tour
- Full Day Trekking to Emerald Lagoon
- Tierra del Fuego Trekking and Canoeing
Where to stay in Ushuaia
In Ushuaia, you can stay at Posada Fin del Mundo, a wonderful building with huge windows that offer spectacular views. Rooms aren’t really spacious, but they are cozy and comfortable and the breakfast is delicious. The owners are real stars! Check here to book now or here to read more reviews
Where to eat in Ushuaia
There are plenty of good restaurants in Ushuaia. I loved grabbing some quick bits at Almacen Ramos Generales, which has freshly baked bread and good croissants. My favorite restaurant in town is María Lola Restó, which is also very popular among the locals.
Visit El Calafate
Patagonia is without the shadow of a doubt among the places to visit in Argentina, and the small town of El Calafate is the perfect access point to it. El Calafate is located on the southern coast of Lago Argentino, surrounded by the Andean peaks, lakes and glaciers. Although the main feature of El Calafate is its location, this small town is pretty and a lovely place to relax for a few days, as it is packed with nice cafés, restaurants and shops.
Those cafés come in really handy with the sudden weather changes. Even in the summer months, El Calafate can be really cold and it can snow!
Here are some more tour options in El Calafate:
Read my post “A Complete Guide To El Calafate, Argentina” and for more information on Patagonia, check out my post “30 Things You Should Consider Before Traveling To Patagonia.”
Admire Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier is among the most famous Argentina tourist attractions. From a distance, the view is that of an enormous river of ice that slowly moves towards the lake, surrounded by mountains. Getting closer, the glacier looks like a wall of ice. One of the most fantastic things to do in Argentina is thus taking a cruise on Lago Argentino, along the Canal de los Témpanos, to get right to the bottom of Perito Moreno and to admire the icebergs that float on the lake.
Check out my post “A Complete Guide To Perito Moreno Glacier.”
Yet, visiting the Perito Moreno is not simply a visual experience. One of the best things to do in Argentina is indeed listening to the ridges that, torn away from the glacier, crash loudly onto the lake – the sound this produces is similar to that of a thunder in the distance.
Go on a glacier hike
Among the most incredible things to do in Argentina is hiking on the Perito Moreno glacier.
It is actually not so cold when you do it – I found the temperatures much colder on the balconies. My advice if you are willing to hike the glacier is to make sure to wear proper great – good hiking boots and socks, a good snow jacket, hat, scarf and gloves and thermal underwear will all be necessary.
Here are some more options for tours to Perito Moreno:
- Round-Trip Transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier
- 1-Day Perito Moreno Glacier Ice Trek
- Minitrekking Perito Moreno
- Full-Day Boat Safari of Perito Moreno Glacier
- Kayaking in Perito Moreno Glacier
Hike around Estancia Cristina
A hiking expedition that from Estancia Cristina will lead you to a viewpoint from which you can admire the Uppsala glacier. It may be very windy, yet the hike isn’t too strenuous.
During this day tour of Estancia Cristina and Uppsala Glacier, you will walk along the Cañadón de los Fósiles, where you will be able to observe a large number of marine fossils dating back to an era precedent to the formation of the Andes, and see othe glacier from the great viewpoint of Lago Guillermo. Finally, you also get to visit Estancia Cristina, which was once a ranch and it has currently been turned into a fabulous boutique hotel where it is great to spend a few nights, and which has a great annexed museum.
Go to Torres del Paine
Lots of people who visit Argentina and go to El Calafate feel tempted to go on a day trip to Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile. This is a great place to visit, and it is for a good reason that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Yet, of all the things to do in Argentina, I would not recommend going to Torres del Paine just for a day. I speak with good reason as I was one of those who made the mistake and wasted a full day (and a good amount of money – but after all, I have always said I am an unsuccessful backpacker) on what turned up to be just a bus trip where stops would consist of no more than 30 minutes for pictures.
The park is too gorgeous to just spend a few hours there and deserves at least a few days to explore the various hiking trails. If you do decide to go, make sure to spend a few days there.
Where to stay in El Calafate
America del Sur hostel in El Calafaate s a great place to do get incredible views of Patagonia. It is a bit outside the centre of town, on a hill overlooking Lake Argentino.
One of the fondest memories I have of Argentina is having a very early breakfast before a day trip and seeing the sunrise from the cozy common room of America del Sur hostel. Dorms are cozy and comfortable and they all have private bathrooms. The hostel also offers tours and organizes asado nights. It is a great place to meet other travelers too. Check here to book now or here to compare reviews
Where to eat in El Calafate
Eating is one of the things to do in Argentina. I tried various restaurants in El Calafate and eventually I made up my mind that the best one is La Tablita, a great parrilla that serves delicious meat and fish dishes, and has a great wine selection. The atmosphere is very cozy and the service excellent.
Hike around El Chalten
Adventure sports are among the things to do in Argentina, first and foremost hiking, but also rafting and kayaking. Considered the Argentinian hiking capital, with its iconic Fitzroy mountain range, El Chalten is one of the places to visit in Argentina for adventure sports.
Located in the northern side of the Parque Nacional los Glaciares, El Chalten is just a tiny village. Yet, it is the perfect starting point for many hiking trails and fairly easy to reach even on a day trip from El Calafate. As I was based in El Calafate and had to get a bus back, I opted for the 3 hour trail Laguna Torre, which offers incredible views of the Cerro Torre.
Check out my post “Hiking In Patagonia: 16 Incredible Trails.” Make sure to also read my detailed posts “A Guide To Hiking Around Fitz Roy, In El Chaltenand “A Complete Guide To Hiking To Laguna Torre.”
Also read “An Excellent Guide To El Chalten.”
Here are some great options for tours to/in El Chalten:
- Day Tour to El Chalten & Lake of the Desert from El Calafate
- Chalten Full Day Tour
- Viedma Glacier and El Chalten Day Trip from El Calafate
Take a wine tour in Mendoza
Lively during the day, Mendoza becomes fully alive at night when locals and tourists crowd the many restaurants and bars. The city is a fun place to visit, but the main features of Mendoza are its proximity to the Parque Provincial Cerro Aconcagua – home of the highest peak of the Western hemisphere, the Cerro Aconcagua (6962 meters) – and the fact that the region where Mendoza is located is the most incredible wine producing region of South America.
It is thus easy to understand why Mendoza is one of Argentina tourist attractions.
Lots of people that visit Argentina go to Mendoza specifically to go on wine tasting tours, and I won’t deny that this was my case too.
The area of Mendoza is packed with incredible bodegas (vineyards) producing world class Malbec and Merlot wines. Although some travelers may opt for the classic tours, I recommend exploring the region by bike. At a leisurely pace, you can bike from bodega to bodega and in each one have a tour of the vineyards, of the cellar and a (few) sampling of wine at the end.
Needless to say, you can also buy several bottles of wine to bring home with you.
Traveling to Mendoza? Make sure to check out my posts “A Guide To The Most Fun Things To Do In Mendoza, Argentina“ and “13 Fantastic Wineries In Mendoza.”
Here are some great options for tours in Mendoza:
- Mendoza Half-Day Sightseeing Tour
- Trekking & Barbecue in the Andes from Mendoza
- Bike Tour of Mendoza’s Wineries with Lunch
- Andes Day Trip from Mendoza
- Small-Group Luxury Wine Tour with Gourmet Lunch
- Mendoza Hop-On, Hop-Off Wine Tour
Where to stay in Mendoza
Chill Inn is an excellent choice. There are several kinds of accommodation to choose from, which include private room and dorms. The kitchen is perfectly equipped, and the asado is offered regularly. They also sell bottles of wine and have a great selection. There’s also a small but lovely pool to hang out in the summer, and a nice garden. Check here to book now or here to read reviews
Where to eat in Mendoza
Siete Fuegos is a great place to eat. It has a great selection of wines, excellent food, a fabulous setting that make this one of the best restaurants in the country.
Explore Salta and the North West
Salta is the biggest city in the North of Argentina, laying on a beautiful valley surrounded by the fantastic Andean peaks. It’s the indigenous heart of the country, and deserves to be listed among the places to visit in Argentina. The central plaza is a great place to hang out and among the places of interest in town there are the Cathedral and Iglesia San Francisco. You can get the teleférico to the Cerro San Bernardo, which allows you to have a great view of the city (hint: go right before sunset to take in the incredible light).
One of Argentina tourist attractions are its great museums. Salta is home to a great anthropology museum, the MAAM (Museo de Antropologia de Alta Montaña), considered the most important museum of North Argentina. You will get to see 3 mummies found in 1999.
Go rafting on Rio Juramento
Among the incredible things to do in Argentina there are all sorts of adventure sports. Patagonia is generally considered the best region for hiking, but Salta and its surroundings offer incredible opportunities to adrenaline seekers. One of my most memorable days to date is the one I spent rafting, hiking and zip lining over the Rio Juramento with Salta Rafting, the most reputable operator in the area.
The day usually starts quite early: at 8:00 am you will be picked up to drive two hours drive on a beautiful, scenic road, to reach the base camp on Rio Juramento, where you will be given all necessary equipment to raft and get fully trained.
After two hours of rafting you’ll get to a place where a bus will be waiting for you to take you back to the base camp, were you will be able to take a shower and then offered a delicious asado.
Go zip lining
If you are looking for more adventure, after rafting you can go zip lining on a system of ten cables connecting various parts of the canyon, going above the river. It is a bit scary, but also breathtaking, fun and the views were spectacular!
Take the Tren a las Nubes
Another of the great things to do in Argentina that can be enjoyed while in Salta is taking the Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds), which goes through the Quebrada del Toro to reach a spectacular viaduct suspended at 64 meters and 224 meters long, and also crosses a desert which is at 4220 meters above sea level.
Visit Calchaquíes Valley
South west of Salta, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Argentina is the Calchaquíes Valley – a gorgeous combination of dry landscapes, pretty adobe villages, traditional crafts markets and some of the best wines in the country. The good news is that, compared to the rest of the north of Argentina, this region is still not as explored. Make sure to visit the Devil’s Gorge, the Conchas Gorge and the beautiful Cafayate, a village surrounded by picturesque wineries.
Here are some great options for tours in and from Salta:
- Salta: 4-Hour walking Tour
- Day Trip to Cafayate
- Scenic Tour to Cachi
- Great Salt Flats Tour
- Full-Day Cafayate, Lerma Valley, and Wine Tasting from Salta
- Train to the Clouds Experience
Where to stay in Salta
One of the most charming places to stay in Salta is Bloomers B&B, a fantastic guest house that only has 5 rooms, each one different from the other, yet all beautifully decorated and cozy. The atmosphere is very friendly, and the breakfast menu – which changes daily – delicious. Click here to book now.
Where to eat in Salta
My favorite restaurant in Salta is El Viejo Jack. This unpretentious parrilla doesn’t look too charming, but the food is delicious, the service fast and friendly, and the prices more than affordable.
You will also enjoy Pizzeria La Colonial. Sure, this isn’t nearly the best pizza one can have in Argentina (far from it) but almost all customers are locals, the atmosphere is easy going and the prices very cheap. I surely enjoyed it!
Make sure to read my post “A Complete Guide To Salta Argentina.”
Go on a road trip to the Quebrada de Humahuaca
Exploring the incredible Quebrada de Humahuaca is one of the things to do in Argentina: this well deserves to be among the places to visit in Argentina thanks to its breathtaking landscapes. This is a land where blue skies meet the high desert planes, small adobe villages are scattered along with small yet interesting archeological sites.
It is a palette of colors, so unique to be included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The people who live in the Quebrada are among the few remaining indigenous groups of Argentina – they are Quechua, much as the indigenous groups that currently live in Cusco and the Sacred Valley of Peru.
Among the villages to visit in the Quebrada de Humahuaca there is the tiny yet lovely Purmamarca, which is right at the foot of Cerro de los Siete Colores, and which has a lovely market – one of the things to do in Argentina is haggling for some beautiful crafts in Purmamarca. The village of Maimará looks incredible against the “Paleta del Pintor”.
Tilcara is among the places to visit in Argentina for its colorful and friendly people and its unique carnival, which lasts a few days and where the celebrations are contagious: musical bands walk around the village, incessantly playing their music while others dance and play tricks to passersby, throwing flour or talcum powder at them. The result is messy, yet a lot of fun.
The Pucará de Tilcara, an Inca archeological site just outside the village, is an interesting place to spend a few hours – don’t expect anything as magnificent as Machu Picchu, but it can have its charme.
On the other side of the Trópico de Capricornio, the village of Uquía is located at over 2800 meters above sea level and has a beautiful church built in the 17th century. Humahuaca, at almost 3000 meters above sea level, is the largest village in the area and one of the places to visit in Argentina for it is packed with color, beautiful cobbled streets, lively markets and friendly locals.
West of Purmamarca, one of the most interesting places to visit in Argentina is the beautiful Salinas Grandes, a large salt flat at 3350 meters above sea level. The visual effect of the salt flats is a blinding light, though when the region gets some rain, the area appears like a large lake that beautifully reflects the mountains and the clouds. Visiting Salinas Grandes is one of the things to do in Argentina!
Here are some great tour options for Humahuaca:
Where to stay in the Quebrada de Humahuaca
Posada El Sol is a good hostel a bit out of the centre of Humahuaca. It is a beautiful building in adobe, with a nice, well kept garden and an equipped kitchen. There are dorms as well as private rooms. Breakfast is included in the price. Click here to book now or check here to see more reviews
Where to eat in the Quebrada de Humahuaca
The Quebrada de Humahuaca is packed with good restaurants for all budgets. The one I enjoyed the most is El Churqui, in Purmamarca, which is in a gorgeous historical building and prepares typical regional dishes, including llama.
Be mesmerized by Cataratas del Iguazu
Of all the things to do in Argentina, visiting the incredible Cataratas del Iguazu is, to put it simply, a must. Located between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, these incredible waterfalls are among the best Argentina tourist attractions for they are spectacular, a natural wonder and a real show of the mighty power of nature.
Check out my post “Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Iguazu Falls Argentina.”
The nearest town to the waterfalls is Puerto Iguazu, at the border with Brazil. The town itself is nothing special, but it is a great base for exploring the waterfalls, as several buses per day leave from the bus station in Puerto Iguazu, either going to the Brazilian border and dropping visitors off directly at the park in Brazil, or to the Argentinian park. There are several restaurants and bars to hang out and try the local specialties – which are different from that of the rest of the country.
The climate in this part of the country is tropical, and it is hot and humid throughout the year.
My recommendation is to actually visit the Brazilian side first, and leave the Argentinian one as the cherry on the cake. The Brazilian side is indeed very panoramic – the views are incredible and there are endless possibilities to take postcard-like pictures. It is also possible to follow several trails to admire the local wildlife (though the most interesting animals are night creatures!).
The Argentinian side is actually more fun. You will be able to see the waterfalls from a distance, and then get close to them, get under them, get above them. You will truly live the waterfalls.
Make sure to follow the various trails to cross to Isla San Martín. You can also walk through a 1 km footpath on the forest to reach the famous Garganta del Diablo, where a platform is laid right above the river.
What makes the Iguazu waterfalls one of the places to visit in Argentina is the fact that it is a unique site. It is an all encompassing experience. Visual as much as auditive, you can hear the roar of the waterfalls long before you actually get to see them.
There are many things to do in Argentina in Iguazu National Park. It is possible to go rafting, hiking on various trails (such as the Black Well Trail and the slippery Sendero Macuco) and even kayaking. One of the most interesting experiences, apparently, is seeing the full moon from the Garganta del Diablo, when the natural light illuminates the waterfalls. I didn’t get to do this as the full moon can only be enjoyed on 5 consecutive nights per month and I wasn’t visiting Iguazu during one of those days.
Check out my post “15 Amazing National Parks In Argentina.”
Here are some great tours for visiting Iguazu Falls:
- From Foz to Iguazu: Argentinian Falls Full-Day Trip
- Puerto Iguazu: Wanda Mines and San Ignacio Ruins
- Half-Day Iguazu Forest Adventure
- Helicopter Ride Over the Iguazu Falls
- Iguazu Falls Full Day Tour
- Overnight Iguazu Falls from Puerto Iguazu
Where to stay in Puerto Iguazu
When I visited Iguazu I was traveling with a few other people and we decided to stay at Jasy Hotel. It was an excellent choice. We shared a private room and it was really spacious, it even had some basic kitchen facilities like a fridge and a microwave. The garden is beautifully kept, there is a small pool where we could relax after a day of exploration, and a good restaurant. Click here to book now or check here to read more reviews
The bonus was the Caipirinha we were offered upon arrival: it was delicious.
Where to eat in Puerto Iguazu
Aside from the colorful market north of the centre, Puerto Iguazu is packed with good places to eat. El Quincho de Tío Querido is a good option for a typical Argentinian parrilla – the prices are more than reasonable.
Aqva is a fancy restaurant that offers some local specialties such as the surubi fish. It is on the pricey side but may be a good option for a special night out.
Get off the beaten path in Rosario
One of the most fun things to do in Argentina is steering away from places that are on the main path. Rosario is the perfect place to do that. A million miles away from the most popular destinations such as Buenos Aires or Bariloche, set on the Parana River banks, this is a place where you can really get to experience the real Argentine way of life – slower, peaceful.
The city is a great place to enjoy culture, music and art – and to make the most of the gorgeous sunsets, right by the waterfront. Besides, this is Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s birthplace!
Make sure to read my post “The Top 13 Things To Do In Rosario Argentina.”
Have you ever been to Argentina? What were your favorite things to do in Argentina?