My Argentina Bucket List
I went on a six month trip around South America, and one of the countries that I visited was Argentina. Before I went, I researched places to go and things to see and created an Argentina Bucket List. I didn’t end up making it to everywhere on this list but I thought I’d share the whole thing for anybody else planning a similar holiday! For further details of what I ended up seeing and doing in Argentina, check out my travel diary.
The largest waterfall system in the world, Iguazu falls are an incredible force of nature. They lie along the border between Brazil and Argentina. The Brazilian side is best for getting an overall view of the falls, whereas the Argentinian side is better for getting up close and personal. It’s easy to cross the border between the two countries and see it from both sides, and this can be a good way to cross from Brazil to Argentina (or vice versa).
Buenos AiresBuenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. It is a huge bustling city with loads of restaurants, clubs and museums. Buenos Aires is famous as the birthplace of the Argentine Tango, and holds the World Tango Festival every August.
Slightly strangely, if you look up top tourist attractions in Buenos Aires, one of the first hits is a cemetery! La Recoleta Cemetery is deserving of its spot however, as the tombs and statues are really impressive, and also a lot of famous Argentinians are laid to rest here.
From Buenos Aires you can take a day trip to the Tigre river delta. You can also travel on a ferry across the Rio de la Plata to the tip of Uruguay, to a town called Colonia del Sacramento. It’s one of the oldest towns in Uruguay and its historic quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a great way to get a brief glimpse of Uruguay and tick another country off your list, if you don’t have enough time to visit it properly.
SaltaSalta is an old colonial city. While the city itself is interesting, the big draw to this region is the incredible scenery. Hiring a car in Salta, you can drive Ruta 68 down to the town of Cafayate, famous for its wine production. The drive will provide you with some stunning rocky landscapes.
From Salta you can also take the ‘train to the clouds’ – a train that winds its way up into the mountains, giving picturesque views. You can also go white water rafting, with tours taking you to the Juramento river, around 100km from the city.
MendozaMendoza is a famous wine region in the west of Argentina. With the Andes to the west, Mendoza has some beautiful views and is a great place to base yourself for cycling or hiking adventures. You can go on vineyard tours, or book onto activities such as white water rafting, kayaking or horse riding.
Mendoza has an annual National Grape Harvest festival. There are actually multiple events through December-February, but the biggest event is in Mendoza city at the beginning of March, and apparently includes dance, music and fireworks!
BarilocheBariloche is situated in the gorgeous Nahuel Huapi National Park, and is a gateway to the Argentinian Lake District region. If you’re visiting in June-September, it’s also a ski resort. It has quite a European feel, with Alpine-style architecture. It’s famous for its chocolate (always a bonus), but the main reason that people visit Bariloche is because of its incredible landscapes – forests, lakes, glaciers, mountains, hot springs, rivers! It’s considered a hub for adventurers, with loads of activities on offer including zip-lining, paragliding, kayaking, moutain-biking, fishing and climbing, to name but a few.
Ruta 40Ruta 40 is the Argentinian equivalent of America’s route 66 – a famous road that journeys 5224km from the north to the south of Argentina. Conditions vary along the route, with extreme weather and some unpaved sections making certain parts of it a challenging drive.
It isn’t necessarily easy to arrange to drive the whole way, but it is easily possible to incorporate parts of Ruta 40 into your trip. If you need any motivation, just imagine a wide open road with stunning vistas, and the freedom to stop and marvel at the scenery along the way.
El Chaltén is the hiking capital of Argentina, located in Los Glaciares National Park. It is a perfect place to base yourself for a number of stunning day hikes. You can see Mount Fitzroy, trek to Laguna de los tres, and get up close to a glacier at Laguna Torre. El Chaltén was one of the highlights of our holiday because we got to see such beautiful views.
El Calafate – Perito Moreno Glacier
The Perito Moreno glacier is huge, and is probably the most famous part of the Los Glaciares National Park. Accessible from the town of El Calafate, you can take a boat tour on the glacial lake, or you can walk through the park and up to a viewing deck, where you can see the 60m high wall of ice in all its glory. Huge chunks of ice regularly break off the glacier and fall into the lake below. You can even take a guided walking tour onto the glacier!
I am a bit of a geography nerd, and the Perito Moreno glacier is probably in the top 5 destinations on my South America bucket list!
UshuaiaEl fin del mundo! Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. As well as being a great place to base yourself for hiking round Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is also the starting point for cruises to the Antarctic (sadly waaayyy too expensive for our budget!). You can also take a cruise through the fjords of Tierra del Fuego and around Cape Horn, the southernmost headland of South America. You might even spot some penguins!
Valdes PeninsulaThe Valdes Peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to its varied marine wildlife. This is a place where you can go whale watching, see colonies of penguins and snorkel with sea lions. The Southern right whales come right into the gulf when its time to give birth, so depending on the time of year you may be able to spot them without even leaving the shore!
The wildlife spotting opportunities here will vary depending on the time of year – for example the penguins are typically there from October-March, and the best time to see the whales is from June-December. Bear this in mind and do your research when planning your visit. (These guys have put together a neat summary of the best times for wildlife spotting.) The most common place to stay when visiting the Valdes Peninsula is the town of Puerto Madryn.
What do you think? Have I missed anywhere? Let me know in the comments below! Also this is my first foray into blog writing, so please let me know how I’m doing. 🙂