A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina

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.

Things to do in Argentina
Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the places to visit in Argentina

Table of Contents

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

Flying

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

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).

Travel Insurance

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.

places to visit in Argentina
Staying in an estancia is one of the things to do in Argentina – photo courtesy of Mariano Mantel (flickr)

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.

things to do in Argentina
Yummy things to do in Argentina: eating asado – photo courtesy of Jesus Dehesa (flickr)

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.

things to do in Buenos Aires
Among the things to do in Buenos Aires, there is visiting the iconic Casa Rosada

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.”

what to do in Buenos Aires
Things to do in Buenos Aires: exploring its iconic attractions, starting from Microcentro

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.

You can book a guided tour of Buenos Aires here.

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.

things to do in Buenos Aires
Exploring Palermo – what to do in Buenos Aires on Sundays – photo courtesy of Gabriel Joandet (flickr)

Explore Palermo

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.

For more information on graffiti tours of Palermo, click here.

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.

Dance tango

Watching a tango show in one of the many milongas is one of the musts in Buenos Aires.

What to do in Buenos Aires
Things to do in Buenos Aires on a Sunday: get out of the city! – photo courtesy of David Almeida (flickr)

Drink Mate

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.”

Things to do in Argentina
Colonia del Sacramento is a perfect day trip 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.

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:

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:

Argentina tourist Attraction
Puerto Madryn is one of the places to visit in Argentina – photo courtesy of Christian Ostrosky (flickr)

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). You can book your whale watching experience here.

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.

Argentina tourist attractions
One of the most incredible things to do in Argentina is enjoying the gorgeous wildlife

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.

visit Argentina
This photo is the proof that Punta Tombo is one of the places to visit in Argentina

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!

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.

things to do in Argentina
Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego are absolutely stunning

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.

Read my complete guide to Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.

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:

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.

Things to to in Argentina
El Calafate is one of the places to visit in Argentina – no doubt about that

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!

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.”

Places to visit in Argentina
Perito Moreno glacier well deserves to be among Argentina tourist attractions

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

One of 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.

You can book your tour of Perito Moreno here.

things to do in Argentina
Hiking is one of the most fantastic things to do in Argentina

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.

things to do in Argentina
El Chalten is an unmissable stop during a trip to Argentina

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.”

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. 

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Visiting the bodegas near Mendoza is one of the things to do in Argentina

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:

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.

Holidays in Argentina
Salta is one of the places to visit in Argentina – photo courtesy of Paul Campbell (flickr)

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.

I didn't travel alone to Argentina
Rafting is one of the top things to do in Argentina

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.

Salta Argentina
A day of adventure is a must when in Salta

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.

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.”

Argentina tourist attractions
Quebrada de Humahuaca – one of the places to visit in Argentina – photo courtesy of Klaus Balzano (flickr)

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.

Argentina tourist attractions
Reflections of clouds on the water: Salinas Grandes are among the places to visit in Argentina

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!

You can book your Humauaca tour from Salta here.

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

A more upper scale and comfortable place to stay is Cielo Arriba Casa, which is closer to the main square and has very few rooms located around a beautiful patio. Click here to book now

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.

Argentina tourist attractions
Unmissable things to do in Argentina: visiting the mighty Iguazu waterfalls

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. 

Argentina tourist attractions
One of the things to do in Argentina: admiring Iguazu waterfalls from the Garganta del Diablo

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.”

You can book your visit of Iguazu Falls from Puerto Iguazu here.

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.

Rosario Argentina
Rosario Monumento Nacional A La Bandera is a must-see

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?

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Read about the best things to do in Argentina - via @clautavani

50 thoughts on “A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina”

  1. Wonderful article, Argentina is so big but you managed to hit a lot of great places, and lots of things to see and do. Argentina is a great and wonderful place to visit. We are looking forward to going back.

  2. Tell me about it. I can’t wait to go back. So many things to do in Argentina, that I would like to do again or for the first time!

  3. What a great comprehensive post about Argentina! I’ve been wanting to visit for so long, but I always feel like my holiday allowance does not suffice to see the country properly (three to four weeks in my mind don’t do the country justice and judging by your post more time can easily be spent), so I keep postponing. One of these days, I’ll visit and I’ll certainly use your post as inspiration!

  4. My first time there I spent 3 weeks. It was a bit rushed, I must say, but doable. If you plan it carefully (ie book flights in advance) etc, you can do it. 4 weeks is plenty. Yes, there are lots of things to do in Argentina, so… you’d better get started!!

  5. I’ve explored so little of South America, it’s shameful! I’ve been to Brazil and Ecuador and that’s it…but Argentina is at the very top of my would-love-to-visit list for many of the reasons you mentioned above and more!

  6. Are you telepathic or something? 🙂 I have JUST left a post on your blog a minute ago! Oh Kristin, you really REALLY need to go to Argentina. If you love the outdoors, it really is the most incredible place in the world 🙂

  7. We visited Buenos Aires a few months ago and I have really fond memories of sitting and eating empanadas at a café together with some local wine. Thank you for the guide, there is a lot more to consider if we are able to make a new trip to Argentina one day. 🙂

  8. You MUST be able to go make another trip to Argentina. There are waaaay too many things to do in Argentina not to go back 🙂

  9. Thanks for the great and detailed guide to visiting Argentina! We’ve had Buenos Aires in our sights for a while now – steak, delicious Malbec, that European-Latin vibe… Maybe 2016 will be our year?

  10. I need you to promise me two things: 1) Make sure that 2016 is your year. Just go! 2) With all the great things to do in Argentina, you can’t just limit yourself to Buenos Aires. Spend at least a month traveling around, ok? 🙂

  11. I can only agree, but there is so many places to see so it is hard to decide where to go next 🙂
    But a revisit of Argentina and Uruguay is on our list. 🙂

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  14. Hi Claudia, I’ve just spent hours reading your blog as I’m indecisive about where to travel at the end of this month -Cuba or Argentina 🙂 Firstly – congratulations on your articles! They are so informative and inspiring, really so valuable to all us hungry travellers!!
    I’d like to ask for a piece of advice as you are certainly an expertt already – would it be worth travelling to Argentina end of april, or it gets too cold and better to postpone until summer? Also, I’d only have 10 or so days, included travelling time from the Middle East, so obviously unfortunatelly I’d have to cut off some of the places you mention; do you think Buenos Aires + Tierra del Fuego + Calafate or maybe Mendoza are doable in that time? (I’d hate to not do them justice and rush through but then again all seems so amazing to miss..).
    Lastly, I know it’s not really comparable and all places deffinitelly have their charm and worth, however would you agree that between Cuba and Argentina, the first is more of an architectual and cultural experience and the latter more nature lovers’ dream place?
    Thanks and again – cudos for your energy and just keep it up!! 🙂

  15. Hi Maria, thanks for reading my very long posts and for getting in touch. You are talking about two of my favorite places on earth so… it will be hard to give you a balanced view! April is still a good month to visit Argentina, but keep in mind that Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia are already quite cold in the summer months (February) so they must get very cold at the end of April. All in all, I think Argentina deserves at least 3 weeks to make your trip worthwhile and you may want to postpone it to when you have more time.

    Having said so, Cuba also deserves a lot of time but as the weather is better you can surely enjoy it more. Both countries are incredible in terms of natural beauty (I love Vinales valley in Cuba, and the beaches and the countryside!), architecture and culture. I think Argentina is a better place if you love hiking and adventure sports, though.

    Whatever your choice, I am sure you will have a great time. Do let me know what you end up picking!!

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  17. as you’re italian like me, I willwrite in italian….grazie per l’interessantissimo articolo sull’argentina. come ti ho già scritto in tpc vorremmo andarci in dicembre per 20 giorni (pochini secondo me) e dovremmo tagliare delle mete. non mi piace correre da un posto all’altro senza assaporare la cultura, la natura che mi circonda….quindi ci sto pensando seriamente. forse vale la pena andarci quando avrò più giorni…..secondo te, cosa posso saltare? la patagonia, la tierra del fuego e il perito moreno sono un must.cosa ne pensi dei bus locali? so che si viaggia in pieno comfort. grazie se vorrai rispondermi. al massimo ci scriviamo su tpc. ciao e complimenti.

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  21. I actually recommend that you fly to Puerto Iguazu, in Argentina. That way, you can see the Argentinian side of the falls, and easily cross the border to Brazil to see that side too. I don’t know about Paraguay, I haven’t been there!

  22. Such a well-put together article! So much effort in researching and writing. I will be in Argentina in April and this gave me a good idea on what to do. I just added Quebrada de Humahuaca to my list! Thanks! I was thinking of going from Buenos Aires to Bariloche but the bus ride is sooooo long. What places would you recommend to visit in between?

  23. Hi Owen, I am glad you found my post useful. There are SO MANY PLACES you can go to between Buenos Aires and Bariloche, so many things you can do in Argentina. But, in order for me to give more accurate advice, I would need to know how long you are actually planning to stay in the country. Why don’t you send me an email for that?

  24. For now, perhaps a day or two between Buenos Aires and Bariloche, as I’m rushing to Patagonia before winter comes. I heard some places in Patagonia will be shut when it gets too cold.

  25. Umh, I see. I think you should just head straight to Patagonia in that case. If I were you I’d stop in Puerto Madryn for a few days to enjoy the amazing wildlife of Peninsula Valdes and Punta Tombo, then head to Ushuaia and make my way up from there. What do you think?

  26. Hmm, I was thinking of heading south and into Chile (and Torres del Paine) instead. I never thought of going the other way you mentioned. I’ll check it out. Thanks!

  27. Puerto Madryn is South of Buenos Aires, but on the coast. You’d basically be doing one big clockwise loop. Go there, then head to Ushuaia (but it is like 30 hours by bus), then you can either cross into Chile and then get to Torres del Paine, and from there cross back to go to El Calafate and El Chalten, or go to El Calafate directly and then enter Chile.

  28. Sounds like a plan! In this way I could do the colder regions first too, while it’s still not TOO cold heh. Thanks a lot Claudia!

  29. Hi Claudia
    Could you give me some advise? I only have a limited time and I’m trying to choose between Patagonia – staying in Bariloche on a 3 day pre trip tour (before we head out to Antartica) or doing 3 days in Mendoza. I’m huge into wine but I’ve also heard how beautiful Patagonia is. Do you have any advise for me to narrow down my choices? Thanks

  30. Oh my… this is a very difficult question. Mendoza is a wonderful place, and a bike tour to the wineries is fabulous. Having said that, the best time to go is March (end of March), for the harvest. Other than that, it offers some great hikes but they are far out from the city. I would personally recommend to go to El Calafate instead, or El Chalten. Or even both: you can see Glaciar Perito Moreno, go on a hike nearby, and if you are in El Chalten you can hike the Fitz Roy!!

  31. I’m starting to plan my trip to Argentina and this information is really helpful. So much to do and see, it’s hard to schedule it all in. At least I’m going in the warmer months so Patagonia won’t be so cold.

  32. That’s the thing! Argentina is huge and there’s so much to do! You’ll love it

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  34. It’s so nice to see how people enjoy our country! Next time, you should visit “la zona de los lagos” between Bariloche and Esquel. In my opinion it’s the most beautiful part of Patagonia.

  35. I so want to go back! I already know that la zona de los lagos is meant to be gorgeous. If I go, I will let you know 🙂

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  37. Amazing article. Helping me so much for my first international trip. Close friend of mine and I are planning a 3 week trip in December. After reading this article I’m definetly choosing Argentina- (all doubts are gone coz I was on the fence with Arge or Brazil).

    My friend really wants to do Cuba. So I suggested we split it and we do both Argentina and Cuba..Can I still have an amazing fulfilling time in Argentina in half the time than I had originally planned? Also my thing is I’m not much of a hiker nor do I like cold weather so I was thinking we skip Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia? Yes or no?

    Lastly which 3-4 places should we definetly go visit for girls not so keen on cold weather or hiking ? I need to narrow it down and know you would offer the best advice.

    Background: recent uni graduates, love socializing, parting and eating anything labelled food. We love history. Also (shamefully) loves aesthetics for the gram.

  38. Hi Claudia,

    Very valuable and informative blog! So my dilemma, Going to Argentina from Dec 21st -Dec 31st. What’s your recommendation on the must sees and how much time do you dedicate to each ?

  39. You only have 10 days… So, Buenos Aires obviously, then fly to Puerto Madryn for the wildlife and finally go to El Calafate to see Perito Moreno and go to El Chalten for the hikes. I’d suggest Iguazu but there only are direct flights from Buenos Aires and it would be a full day of traveling, so with such short time you will have to skip it.

  40. Wow, Argentina seems like a fantastic place to visit! And the Perito Moreno glacier looks absolutely majestic and stunning. After reading your post, I actually hopped over to YouTube to check out some clips – I’d love to see it up close. Think it’s time I add this wonderful country to my travel bucket list!

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