Once known for being a ‘European nation in South America’, Argentina offers a dynamic and rich cultural life in its cities. European immigrants flowed into Argentina, particularly from the northern parts of Italy and Spain; by 1914 nearly 6 million people had come to the country.

It offers a great diversity of climates and landscapes from jungles in the north, great grass plains in the centre and frozen mountains in the south.

The highest and the lowest points of South America are also in Argentina: At 6,960 m, Cerro Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Americas while Salinas Chicas, at 40 m below sea level, is the lowest point in South America.

Buenos Aires | capital of Argentina
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The famous capital, Buenos Aires, is the most visited city in South America and a place like no other. Of course, there’s fancy cosmopolitan boutiques, top of the line nightlife and gourmet cuisine. However, it’s the classic, unpolished side of the city that makes it a world wide traveller’s magnet.

*San Telmo (map) is the oldest neighbourhood of the city and a good place to indulge in the city vibe of cafés, street artists, tango parlors and antique markets in a colonial surrounding. Some of the main sights include Recoleta’s cemetery (map) and the Plaza de Mayo (map).

Mendoza (map) is a lively yet laid-back town, characterized by broad avenues. It’s famous as a wine capital far beyond the borders of Argentina and a perfect starting point for the Argentina Wine Route along the hundreds of wineries in the area.

Mar del Plata (map) is a tourist city with huge beaches on the Atlantic. San Rafael (map) heart of Mendoza, where the best wines in Argentina are made, with its imposing Atuel Canyon (map), the valleys of Barreal (map) of Iglesia, in San Juan highlighting the adventure tourism.

The old university city *Córdoba (map) is known for its particular musical culture with the cuarteto as its number one music style. The city also boasts some of the best colonial heritage sights in the country. Bariloche (map), also at the base of the Andes mountains, is a major tourist destination, popular for its skiing opportunities, lovely beaches and chocolate shops.

With some 30 national parks in the country, there’s always a good place nearby to see some of the country’s natural wonders. A highlight in the subtropical north are the spectacular Iguaçu Falls (map), easily one of the most impressive waterfalls on earth or the famous Perito Moreno Glacier (map) (*List of national parks of Argentina)

Other great destinations for nature lovers include the *Ibera wetlands (map) (with the most diverse fauna in the country) and Talampaya National Park (map), a primary site for archaeological and palaeontological finds.

The coastal town of Puerto Madryn (map) is a must. From there you can easily make your way to Punta Tombo (map) and *Peninsula Valdes (map, 80 km drive from Puerto Madryn) to go whale-watching and meet up close and personal with some of the million penguins.

Generally, Argentina is a country that charges excessively for its natural wonders and touristy sights, like the one mentioned above. However, there are great alternatives that require little money and are equally interesting, like El Chalten (map) and the *Viedma Glacier (map, the largest in Argentina), *El Bolsón (map) with great hiking options (even into Chile).

Epecuén / *Villa Epecuén (map), San Antonio Oeste (map) with the popular Las Grutas beach resort town (map) and the picturesque Playa Las Conchillas and Playa Piedras Coloradas (map), *Pinguinera Cabo Dos Bahias (map), Bosques Petrificados (de Jaramillo) (map). The colorful hills of the Quebrada de Humahuaca (map) in Jujuy and other impressive rock formations in the *Salta Province, and many more. In addition, relying on hitch-hiking and travelling with a tent can bring down costs in addition.

Ushuaia (map), the southernmost city in the world, in Tierra del Fuego, typical destination of the south of the country, attracts visitors with a very important tourist with excursions and gastronomy.

Ischigualasto (map), also known as The Moon Valley. This provincial park, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is located at the northern end of the province of San Juan. It is also a major *paleontological center became famous because it is the only place where it can be seen completely exposed and perfectly differentiated the whole Triassic period as complete and orderly, where the oldest fossils in the world were found.

The *Quebrada de Humahuaca, the *Calchaquí Valleys, the *Puna de Atacama (including cono de Arita, the Laguna de Pozuelos, the Campo de Piedra Pómez etc.), Ischigualasto, Talampaya, the Aconcagua, Caviahue and Copahue; Andean Patagonic national parks, etc. constitute the tourist corridor called the Andean Footprint (Huella Andina) which is largely covered by *National Route 40.

Many ruins of the ancient Jesuit missions – some of which have been covered by the jungle – are located near *Posadas (map). The most well-known ruins are in *San Ignacio Miní, 56 km away from the province’s capital. The ones in Candelaria, Loreto, Santa Ana and Santa María are also very interesting. These Jesuit reductions were declared World Heritage by the UNESCO.

Regions & Cities

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If the bustle of Buenos Aires is too much for your taste, Mendoza and Salta are an excellent choice. The countryside in general is a most pleasant part of Argentina; laid-back and with a taste for life close to nature. In Northern provinces feature traces of pre-Columbian cultures, mingled with ruins of natives’ villages, as well as forts and constructions dating back to the time of the Conquest and Colonization.

Salta is also the starting point for the Train to the Clouds, a heritage railway that seems to be running solely to provide some unforgettable panoramas for visitors.

*Sierras de Córdoba (map), a mountain range of mild climate and landscapes ranging from the bucolic and wild, there are the main tourist centers: *Villa General Belgrano (map) and La Cumbrecita (map), touristic towns with large central European influence in the Sierras de Córdoba. The *City of Córdoba (map) also has a great tourist attraction, especially in its valuable building of colonial period or in its urban landscapes.

Public transport

 BUS > – Argentina bus routes, tickets and timetables. + | Retiro Terminal in Buenos Aires. Bus travel is the most common way to travel from city to city within Argentina.

 RAIL >   Trenes Argentinos Operaciones. + – tickets for long-distance trains on Argentina. *Rail transport in Argentina (wiki).

 AIRPORTS > – information about all airports in Argentina.

 WATERWAYS >  Buquebus (Buenos Aires, Argentina ⇔ Colonia del Sacramento, Montevideo, Uruguay). Colonia Express (Buenos Aires ⇔ Colonia). Seacat Colonia (Buenos Aires ⇔ Colonia). Cacciola / Líneas Delta (Tigre ⇔ Carmelo ⇔ Nueva Palmira, Uruguay). Grimaldi Freighters