Written by: Julia Hammond
Argentina is one of South America’s most diverse countries, but its size can be daunting for first time travellers. If your time is short, focus on a couple of destinations and take internal flights to minimise transfer time. But when you see Mundana’s picks for must-see Argentina, you’ll want to pack your bags as soon as you can.
The Argentinian capital throbs with energy day and night. Its neighbourhoods are diverse and lively, from colourful La Boca to leafy Palermo. Make a pilgrimage to Recoleta Cemetery to see the tomb of Evita, the former first lady who’s looked upon almost as a saint. She’d have stood in front of an adoring crowd on the balcony of Casa Rosada, the Presidential Palace. Be sure to visit a tango hall and dance with passion late into the night. For more on Buenos Aires, check out our earlier post.
El Calafate feels almost like a frontier town, but the frontier is nature herself. People flock to this southerly town to visit Perito Moreno Glacier. Boat trips out onto the lake get you close to a wall of blue ice, which periodically calves into the water. In the distance, on a clear day, you’ll see the distinctive shapes of the three towers of Torres del Paine National Park, over the border in Chile.
It might not be the tallest waterfall on the continent – that honour goes to Angel Falls in Venezuela – but Iguaçu is certainly the most dramatic. In fact, there’s somewhere in the region of 275 separate cascades of water that comprise the falls. Located on the border with Brazil, it’s possible to see the falls from both countries. While Brazil is best for panoramic views, the best boat trips to give you a soaking leave from the Argentinian side.
San Antonio de Areco
Getting out onto the pampas, Argentina’s vast expanse of grazing land, is a must for horse lovers and wannabe gauchos. There are many estancias offering accommodation and these ranch stays vary considerably, some like hotels, others working farms. If you don’t have the space on your itinerary for a longer stay, several estancias in San Antonio de Areco offer day tours. Try El Ombu de Areco or La Cina Cina, both easily reached from Bs As in a couple of hours.
The city of Mendoza lies at the heart of Argentina’s wine country. A little outside you’ll find the Valle de Uco and Lujan de Cuyo, flanked by mountains. The fertile soil in this region makes it perfect for growing grapes and its vineyards are known worldwide for producing Malbec. There are many wineries to visit for tours and tastings. Among the oldest are Bodegas Escorihuela Gascon, Di Tommaso winery, Bodega Benegas and Trapiche. In winter, the Mendoza area draws a different crowd – it’s one of the country’s best places to ski.
Our final pick for must-see Argentina is the northerly city of Salta. In the historic core, you’ll find a wealth of colonial-era buildings. Don’t miss MAAM – this museum houses the Children of Llullaillaco, the mummified remains of the children ceremoniously sacrificed by the Incas on Mount Llullaillaco hundreds of years ago. It’s worth exploring the region further, taking in the Tren a las Nubes, the Salinas Grandes salt flats and the colourful rock formations of Purmamarca.
How about giving Mundana’s experts a call and making an Argentina trip a reality?