ARGENTINA IN 6 REGIONS
Buenos Aires – Iguazu falls – NOA – Patagonia – Center – Region of lakes
Arrival city in Argentina with two airports, Ezelza, for International flights, and Aeropark for domestic flights. According to Pierre Kalfon, great expert in Latin America, the Argentinian Capital is a “criolla city” (Creole) thoroughly Latino. Very Lively neighborhoods full of ancient and contemporary history:
Historical center, where the heart of the city beats around the famous Obelisk of the 9 de Julio avenue.
Stroll down the Florida pedestrian street, sightseeing the beautiful Pacifico shopping mall, reach Plaza de Mayo to visit the 18th century Cabildo, the Casa Rosada statehouse, as well as the Cathedral are must-see walks to discover Buenos Aires.
The Colon Theatre Opera House, and the MALBA museum with its outstanding Latin-American contemporary art collection add an exquisite cultural touch to this discovery.
La Boca, first immigrants arrival place in 1880. This is the popular and typical neighborhood of Buenos Aires along the riverside of Riachuelo Caminito is the most famous street of the area, with its colorful houses and tango dancers.
San Telmo, historical neighborhood with 19th century cobbled streets and houses. This is the bohemian lifestyle quarter of the capital with hip milongas (Tango clubs). Every Sunday, an antic market is held in Place Dorrego.
Recoleta, chic place of the city with its sophisticated architecture homes and luxury boutiques. By the same name, the cemetery is worth seeing for the imposing mausoleums such as the one from Eva Peron. The entrance of Nuestra Señora del Pilar Church shows the colonial period of the city.
Palermo, Palermo chico, Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho – residential and hectic at the same time. In the boutiques of these areas can be found the most contemporary styles in design and fashion of Argentina.
Delta and Tigre, outside of the center heading north of the city, the peaceful city of Tigre is the departures point for cruising through the Parana delta canals, embellished by a still preserved nature.
The gaucho country, cowboys so deeply attached to the symbol of Argentina, the Pampa is an endless fertile plain suited for grazing cattle and sheep. The great mansions called “estancias” open their doors to travelers passionate about charming hotels. Some estancias are open for a country-style day to taste a “parrillada””, grilled meat, gaucho dancing and singing.
San Antonio de Areco, two hours away from Buenos Aires, 18th century small town where gaucho’s tradition carries on. Ramble the quiet streets to meet the gauchos wearing their berets and admire the old cottages’ facades. Many boutiques of handicraft experts making objects and silver jewels.
Must-see visit: Gauchesco Ricardo Guiraldes Museum shows the story of the gaucho’s life and holds souvenirs from the creative gaucho romantic writer.
Lujan : One hour away from Buenos Aires, Lujan is a hotspot for pilgrimage of the Argentinian nation. Devoted to the Lujan Virgen, country patron saint, the Basilic overflows with ex-votos and is always fulfilled of “Virgencita” believers.
Also to visit Enrique Udaondo Museum which discloses the old Argentinian history and holds a very beautiful room dedicated to the gauchos.
Posadas, river city located at the heart of the Argentinian northeast, at approximately an hour and a half flight from Buenos Aires, the city is embellished by its shady places and parks. It is the departure point to visit the Jesuit missions, whose history was told in the movie “The Mission”, Cannes Golden Palm back in 1986. It is possible to visit some missions, then drive thru yerba mate plantations for four hours to finally reach Iguazu Falls.
San Ignacio Mini – One hour away from Posadas, it is the most imposing Jesuit mission of the region. Built in 1696 in red sandstone and was abandoned in 1768, and has gathered almost 4000 native Guaranis. Nestled in the thick jungle, the partly restored ruins are a great beauty known as “Guarani baroque” style.
The major monument is the imposing church whose engraved stones and sculpted doors are creole art jewels. There is a beautiful sound and light show to watch.
Santa Ana and Loreto – There are ruins invaded by flourishing greenery making an impressive visual ensemble.
Two hours flight from Buenos Aires. Many daily flights. Other connections are possible with Calafate in Patagonia and Salta in the Argentinian northwest. In the heart of the flourishing subtropical forest, the greatest on planet earth, where the spectacular water falls are, more than 250 that you can approach through walkways. An encounter with the South American powerful nature. Iguazu National Park runs through the border of Argentina and Brazil. A bridge connects the two cities: Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) and Foz d’Iguaçu (Brazil).
Visiting the waterfalls Argentinian side: regularly a train departures from the visitors’ center and stops at the main viewpoints. Through trails in the thick forest to access the canyon where hundreds of falls fall down into an astonishing crash. The main one is the Devil’s Throat – 100 meters high – access to the fall is easy through a long catwalk. At the bottom of the falls, a free speedboat allows to reach San Martin Island to admire closely the Salto San Martin. It is the second most powerful waterfall of the site after the Devil’s Throat.
The Argentinian side provides interesting walks to observe the park wildlife and plant life with many birds, butterflies and ancient trees where rare orchids are flourishing. On the Argentinian side, to mention restaurants specialized in grilled meat and on the Brazilian side the “churrascarias”.
Visiting the Brazilian side: this walk offers a waterfalls panoramic view, as well as the canyon and the forest. The frontal view is awesome! Falls can be experienced by helicopter and also by catwalks through the forest with dedicated guides. Any further information, please refer to the Brazil section.
La péninsule Valdès
Two hours away from Buenos Aires or Ushuaia with daily flights. The airport is located in the city of Trelew one hour from Puerto Madryn, the port of entry for the Valdes peninsula where most of the hotels and restaurants are established. Lively little town day and night during the high season, this is one of the best addresses in Argentina to taste seafood.
Designated Unesco World Heritage Site in 1999, the Valdes Peninsula is indisputably one of the privileged sites to observe marine animals in their own natural habitat. It is a true “Noah’s Ark” settled in the south of the Atlantic Ocean and where coves and beaches gather numerous and diverse wildlife during the season of reproduction:
- Observation period for southern right whales: from June to mid-December.
- Observation period for elephant seals: from October to March.
- Observation period for sea lions: from October to March.
- Observation period for orcas: from October to November and from February to April.
- Observation period for dolphins: from October to March.
Many excursions can be organized by boat, on foot and by car to access the dispersed colonies in the coves surrounding the peninsula.
Punta Tombo – Between Trelew and Puerto Madryn (about 2 hours and 30 minutes by road), you will find the largest nesting place for penguins of Magellan in South America. On the beach of the South Atlantic side, you can observe a colony of half a million of them from September to March.
“TIerrA deL fuEGO” – Ushuaïa
The archipelago Tierra de Fuegoremains pervaded by the tales of the great navigators and explorers. Magellan, Fitz Roy and Darwin have helped to create the legendary image of “the most distant land”. Ushuaia, conveniently located between the Beagle canal and the Andes, embodies, even today, this legend that increasingly attracts travelers fascinated by the most distant destinations. Daily flights leave from Buenos Aires, four hours trip, Ushuaia is a rich destination either to discover a piece of Patagonia or to cruise on the steps of the adventurous sailors in former times.
Ushuaia- City, harbor with colorful houses and winding streets faces the Lapataia bay. Small restaurants offer in their menu the famous delicious spider crab from Ushuaia and for cultural visits, glance at the museum of the Presidio, located in the old penal colony of the city. Do not miss the Tierra del Fuego national park where easy trails allow the admiration of the beautiful sceneries of the coastline, mountains and the wildlife and flora from Patagonia and navigate the Beagle canal in catamaran.
Glaciers, lakes, steppes and mountains of Patagonia –
The departures point will be Calafate, four hours daily flight from Buenos Aires and one hour away from Ushuaia in “Tierra del Fuego.” The city accommodates numerous hotels and restaurants where it is so nice to hang out after intense days of discovery. The infinity of natural sumptuousness to admire in the Calafate region can be approached by classic excursions, treks, walks, horseback riding …
Lost in the endless steppes, beautiful estancias welcome travelers to taste the Patagonian asados (grilled lamb) prepared by gauchos. Other accommodations are available also for this land at the end of the world.
Please note that leaving Calafate, the Chilean Patagonia can be accessed by road. Additional information in the Chile section.
The mythical glaciers – Symbol of Argentina like the gauchos, the lakeside glaciers of the Calafate region are one of the wonders of our planet.
Perito Moreno, 1 hour and 30 minutes by Calafate’s road, can be reached by walkways especially designed but also by boat or trekking over ice with expert guides. Designated Unesco World Heritage Site, this sapphire blue ice block is 80 meters high and seems to be alive when the walls fall off during the austral summer.
Argentino lake – The largest lake in the glaciers’ national park is perfectly navigable and there is nothing more extraordinary than traveling its magnificent turquoise waters between drifting glaciers to get to several other glaciers like the Upsalla, one of the largest in the world, authentic wall of ice in all the tones of blue and 50 kilometers long.
Ascent to the mountains of Patagonia – It is possible to take some wonderful routes in the Patagonian steppe and take a 4X4, horseback ride or trek the “cerros”, those mountains approximatively 1000 meters high where we can embrace the most spectacular open space view.
The most accessible are, without a doubt, Cerro Frias and Balcones de Calafate. For the experienced fans of eco-adventure, Cerro Torres and the Fitz Roy (elevation: 3400 meters) remain the most majestic mountains to climb. However, travelers can also go there only to admire them within their mineral beauty.
The Noa, the northwest of Argentina is easy to reach by daily two hours flights from Buenos Aires to Salta, a city ideally located in the heart of the mountains of the Andes. Connections by air between Iguazu and Salta are also available. The city of Tucuman is also a port of entry for itineraries in the NOA, accessible by daily flights leaving Buenos Aires- approximatively 2 hours flights.
Salta– Built in 1582, the center of the city is delightful with its colonial architectural heritage. Around the central square 9 de Julio, the cathedral and the buildings preserve their beauty from the past. This a city that invites you to stroll and for cultural visits, the Cabildo with its archways and balconies, houses the Historical Museum of the North and the Colonial Museum. Not too far away, the San Francisco church from the XVIII century remains with no doubt the most remarkable religious monument of the city. And for a global view of the city, climb to the Cerro San Bernardo. Rich in popular and folkloric traditions, Salta it the magnificent starting point for visiting the NOA.
Please note that the region of Salta is ideal for those who love to drive while traveling. Nevertheless, it is necessary to know how to drive through the roads in the mountains and rent 4X4 cars.
San Antonio de los Cobres– Two hours away, Northwest of Salta, this indigenous village is located at 3,760 meters of elevation. Based in the heart of the quinoa plantations, the cereal from the Andes and the farming of lamas and sheep’s. The village is a crossing position of the “Train of the clouds.” Each August, the village celebrates the Pachacama, the mother earth, with offerings for this important deity. Between Salta and San Antonio del Cobre, contemplate the Quebrada del Toro, impressive red wall and the candelabrum cactuses.
National park Los Cardones– Between Salta and Cachi, this natural park is mainly formed by splendid candelabrum cactuses, some of them can reach 4 meters high. A stop is advised before going to Cachi, typical village in the region of Salta that has an interesting archeological museum.
The valleys of Calchaquies – Marked by villages and vineyards, this magnificent region is accessible through the road 40. After Cachi, the colonial and historical village of Molinos is a spot of compelling appeal with its church and hacienda with a small charming hotel. Towards the South, the city of Cafayate, important wine-making center in the region, has cellars receiving visitors for sunny wine tasting. Passing through la Quebrada de las Flechas where nature has shaped a mineral landscape among the most impressive in South America.
The Quebrada de Humahuaca, located North of Salta, around 3000/3500 meters of elevation, has been designated Unesco’s world heritage site in 2003. Must be known by its historical-cultural heritage and its views of arid multicolor mountains.
Region of popular traditions still very authentic as the festivity of Pachmama on August 1s, numerous syncretic catholic-indigenous celebrations, the famous carnival of Humahuaca and the gaucho rodeo on November 10th.
To be noted also, the delicious local cuisine, with dishes of native origin. Several itineraries are available departing from Salta and Jujuy, capital of the department, and accessible with daily flights leaving from Buenos Aires.
Pumamarca, emblematic village of the valley on the foothills of the “mountain of the seven colors” where the sedimentary layers fade in all the tones of ocher and red. With its low leveled houses and the church, the village with a strong population of indigenous people invites to discovery on foot to really appreciate its architectural ensemble.
Tilcara, village that has known how to preserve its colonial architecture and also re-known for the archeological site, the Pucara fortification where you can visit the restored ruins. Small archeological museum in the center of the village. The surrounding landscapes are extremely beautiful and the village provides a calendar for very rich popular celebrations, especially during January.
Surrounded by mountains, Humahuaca, the largest one in the region, holds a very pretty colonial neighborhood and paved streets. An interesting national folkloric museum tells the stories of the village’s Carnival.
Do not miss a visit to: the Cabildo and the church of the Candelaria at the main square where all the village meets…
The ultimate historical city surrounded by valleys dedicated to bovine farming and to agriculture, accessible by one hour daily flights departing from Buenos Aires. This rich historical and cultural heritage of Cordoba is testimony to the actions of the Jesuits arrived in the area during the colonial period (XVII century). The Jesuits built numerous monuments in Cordoba and the surrounding areas. To highlight:
The Manzana Jesuitica- the “Jesuit neighborhood”, designated by Unesco, is a must-see with the Church of Compania de Jesus and the Capilla Domestica, center of the sacred baroque style in Argentina. The University of Cordoba- the oldest in the country- and its historical museum are also mandatory visits to obtain a deeper knowledge of the influence the Jesuits provided to this region.
A walk through the historical center starts at the Plaza San Martin with its arcades and other monuments such as the church and the convent of Saint Theresa, the episcopal palace and the museum of sacred art Juan de Tejedo. Very lively city, Cordoba also has a craft market every weekend and a neighborhood with stores selling antiques, the Güemes. Also visit the area of “Nueva Cordoba, old 19th century houses are kept, where the local great bourgeoisie used to reside.
In order to follow the trail of the Jesuits and discover wonderful landscapes overlooked by the Andes, three little cities house old Jesuit “estancias” dating from the XVII century: Jésus Maria, Estancia Santa Catalina and Alta Gracia. These are adorable sites charged with colonial history only one hour away from Cordoba.
For the admirers of Che Guevara, the visit of his old house, today transformed in a museum, tells the story of the young years of the famous revolutionary when he was living with his family.
Mendoza, the “land of the sun and the good wine” is one of the most beautiful cities in Argentina, with its large avenues with shade, its lively cafes where you can taste the excellent wine from the region.
Because Mendoza is the main departure point for those who would like to take the “route of the Argentinian wine.” Numerous wine-making estates welcome the visitors all year long to visit the vineyards and of course the wine tasting…
Mendoza should be visited ideally from May to November to escape the particularly hot summer in the South. The city has a little historical center and magnificent parks such as the San Martin.
For the fans of mountaineering, Mendoza offers the possibility to venture to the surrounding high mountains close to the border with Chile, among them the Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America.
For the fans of sites outside of the beat trails and that love long journeys by car through the mountains, the region of San Juan, some 3 hours from Mendoza, offers astonishing discoveries of marked desert landscapes of sumptuous rock formations.
The main roads are paved, others are more like trails… Which explain the choice of the organizers of the “Paris-Dakar” to have them go through those lost lands…
San Agustin de Valle Fértil and the Ichigualasto Park are a must-see!
The park has an impressive canyon where erosion has sculpted unusual shapes in the red rock.
OF THE LAKES
Idéalement située dans les montagnes andines embellies par de centaines de lacs d’un azur profond, cette région enchante par ses paysages spectaculaires.
Sa situation privilégiée à la frontière chilienne permet d’accéder à la région des lacs de ce pays par bateau, ce qui constitue un très joli voyage pour les amateurs de la Nature.
C’est également le tremplin vers la Patagonie.
San Carlos de Bariloche – Favorite place for winter holidays for Argentineans and Latin Americans who come during this season to ski and hike. Approximately 2 hour daily flights connect this place to Buenos Aires.
Located by the Nahuel Huapi Lake, Bariloche is mainly the port of entry for exploration of the natural park, natural reserve of the fauna and flora of the Andes. Several hikes, treks and navigation on the lake are proposed to discover the national park of Nahuel Huapi with its spectacular views.