The gastronomy and diversity of landscapes make Argentina one of the top destinations in the Americas. There is such a wide array of experiences to be had here, including fun ways to immerse yourself into the culture. Not to mention, you can eat steak and drink world-class wine very economically. Here are the 15 best things to do in Argentina!
1. Walk with Penguins on Isla Martillo
Spending an hour on an island inhabited by 3,000 penguins was simply incredible. I was laughing almost the whole time just watching the little guys waddle around. Apart from marveling over how adorable penguins are, you’ll also learn a lot about the life of a penguin. This experience alone was worth the trip to Ushuaia, and I can confidently put it atop the best things to do in Argentina.
2. Visit Perito Moreno Glacier
There are two ways to visit this spectacular glacier the size of Buenos Aires. One way is to book a mini-trekking tour with Hielo y Aventura. You’ll walk on the glacier for 1.5 hours, go on a boat ride across the lake beside the glacier, and spend two hours at the viewpoints. You need to book it a few weeks in advance and pay by card, so you can’t take advantage of the blue dollar.
The cheaper way to visit is by a tour that gives you 4 hours at the viewpoints, plus the option to do the boat ride. I visited both ways, and I have to say the highlight of the glacier was watching the huge pieces of ice fall into the lake. It sounds silly, but it’s a huge crowd-pleaser.
El Calafate is a one-trick pony, but it’s 100% worth the visit to see this incredible glacier.
3. Admire the Desert Landscapes in Jujuy
The high-altitude desert region of Jujuy has to be one of the most underrated places in South America. The region has a 14-colored mountain, salt flats, Inca ruins, and some incredibly picturesque towns. At some of these sights, you can spend hours marveling at the beauty. To top it off, it’s the cheapest region I’ve ever traveled in.
4. Hike in Tierra del Fuego National park
This is the best hiking spot in Ushuaia and it’s my favorite in Argentina. There are all types of trails ranging from 30 minutes to 6 hours long. The hike to Cerro Guanaco is difficult, but it’s a must. The 360° views from the top make the near 1,000-meter ascent well worth it. On one side, you have views of the Beagle Channel, and the other has turquoise lakes with snow-capped mountains in the background.
Another nice hike is Sendero Costa which hugs the shores of the Beagle Channel. This one is flat and takes 2-2.5 hours one way. Ushuaia isn’t the most talked about place, but the scenery, hiking, and the penguins made it my favorite place in Patagonia.
5. Enjoy the Hiking and craft Beer in El Chalten
El Chalten, the trekking capital of Argentina, is the ultimate budget destination and it serves as the base for the famous Mount Fitz Roy hike. The town has no cell service, poor wifi, and plenty of bars serving $2 pints of craft beer. The vibes in this simple town are sublime, and spending a few days here is a must.
6. Visit the Bodegas
Biking between bodegas, drinking fine wine, and meeting other travelers is never a disappointing experience. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Argentina for a reason.
Mendoza is one of the world’s most famous wine destinations, and the lesser-known Cafayate is Argentina’s white wine capital. Mendoza offers a more upscale experience with gourmet restaurants and grandiose bodegas, whereas Cafayate is a small town with a more local feel.
7. Go to a Peña
A peña is a traditional dinner party with folklore music, dancing, and wine. They are a whole lot of fun and in classic Argentinian style, the party goes on well beyond midnight.
Peñas are a celebration of the strong regional culture in Salta, and the charming colonial city is worthy of a few days of your time. La Casona del Molino is the most famous one, and you can also find peñas on Calle Balcarce where tables line the streets at night.
8. Feria San Telmo
This lively Sunday fair with crafts and the occasional food vendor makes for a very fun day. San Telmo is Buenos Aires‘ bohemian neighborhood and it retains the feeling of a previous era. As sunset approaches, singers and drummers perform near Plaza Dorrego, and small parties break out on the streets.
This was by far the most memorable part of Buenos Aires for me. Afterward, grab food and drinks at Mercado San Telmo or one of the many long-standing bars and restaurants in the neighborhood.
9. Dine at Fogón Asado
If you’re looking to splurge on a dinner, this is the place to do it. Buenos Aires is one of the best food cities in the Americas and Fogón Asado is a foodie paradise.
20 guests sit around the kitchen and learn about the tradition of asado while sipping on bottomless wine. The seven-course menu is fantastic at every step, and it’s the perfect introduction to Argentinian cuisine.
The mouth-watering tasting menu includes all the classics like empanadas, provoleta, chorizo, and steak. To top it off, the setting makes for a great environment to meet other travelers. The dining experience is reservation only and you’ll want to book in advance.
10. Visit Iguazú Falls
Head to the northeastern town of Puerto Iguazú to visit one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Straddling the Argentina-Brazil border, the 80 meters tall Iguazú Falls is a sight to behold. For the most memorable experience, plan to visit when there is a full moon to see the falls illuminated at night.
11. Take in the Views of Nahuel Huapi Lake
Bariloche hugs the shoreline of the pristine Nahuel Huapi Lake, and there are plenty of spectacular viewpoints around town. A few of them are quite touristic and have cafes and cable cars on top. Others take a bit more effort to reach, but they provide the rewarding feeling of being out in nature.
Cerro Llao Llao is the best of the best and I had my first wow this is Patagonia moment here. Two other viewpoints that are worth a visit include Cerro Campanario and Cerro Otto.
12. Bike the Quebrada de las Canchas
This incredibly scenic stretch of highway near Cafayate makes for a fantastic bike ride. The mix of mountains and desert is similar to the landscape in Jujuy, and there are plenty of lookout points. Riding 45 km will do a number on your legs, and as you get closer to Cafayate, there are bodegas serving wine and lunch if you need some fuel to finish the ride.
13. Learn about the ancient tradition of Sacrifice
Salta’s Museum of High Altitude Archeology features the mummies of three Incan children who were ritually sacrificed on top of a 6,900-meter mountain. I really enjoyed this museum due to the depth in which it explains the Inca tradition of sacrifice, the expedition to recover the bodies, and the work of the scientists. In my opinion, it’s one of the best museums in South America.
14. Paso de los Nubes Hike
After hiking to the viewpoints in Bariloche, get a break from the city on this scenic two-day hike in Nahuel Huapi National Park. Refugio Rocca, where you spend the night, couldn’t be in a more perfect place. It’s surrounded by waterfalls, a snow-capped peak, and beautiful views of Lake Frías. You arrive at the park via a 3-hour combi ride and return to Bariloche on a scenic boat ride across Nahuel Huapi Lake.
There is the option to add a day to hike across a glacier, but you’ll need to hire a mountain guide. The logistics are a bit complicated because the combi, refugio, and boat are all operated by different companies.
15. La Bomba de Tiempo
Every Monday night at the Ciudad Cultural Konex in Buenos Aires, an improvised drumming performance takes place that occasionally leads to an after-show street party. The drinks are cheap, and you’ll want to book your ticket in advance for $8.50 to avoid waiting in line.
That wraps up the list of the 15 best things to do in Argentina! Click here for more content about traveling in Argentina.