The 13 Best Things to Do in Argentina
Published on: September 29th, 2017
Last modified: July 28th, 2023
Taking up most of the southern half of South America, Argentina is an unbelievably diverse destination, bursting with incredible things to do. From the buzzing streets of Buenos Aires and the renowned vineyards of Mendoza to the towering glaciers of Patagonia and the thundering waters of Iguazú Falls, it’s among the most captivating countries in Latin America.
Argentina may be known for tango, football and steak, but behind these symbols lies an incredibly rich culture. There’s no better way to understand its identity than by meeting locals and exploring this breathtaking country for yourself. Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, a family trip or an active adventure, here are the best things to do in Argentina.
1. Taste World-Class Wine in Mendoza
Nestled at the foot of the Andes Mountains, Mendoza is the wine-growing capital of Argentina. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful backdrop for winery tours and tastings. Make sure to try Malbec, the local specialty – ideally paired with gourmet cuisine.
2. Go Hiking on the Glaciers of El Calafate
Close to Argentina’s southern tip you’ll find the stunning scenery of El Calafate, the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park. This is one of the world’s best places to see glacial landscapes up close, including the massive Perito Moreno glacier.
3. Take a Tango Lesson with Locals in Buenos Aires
The beguiling city of Buenos Aires has many claims to fame, but tango might just top the list. You can learn the basic steps of this beautifully complex dance by taking a lesson or even joining a milonga: a lively gathering where people come together to dance and socialise.
If you want to see how the professionals do it, Buenos Aires offers plenty of fantastic tango shows – often including dinner and wine pairings to complete the evening.
4. Experience Gaucho Culture in Las Pampas
Gauchos are commonly characterised as Argentina’s take on cowboys, and it’s easy to see why. These legendary horsemen symbolise the traditional lifestyle of Las Pampas, a land of wide-open plains, grasslands and grazing cattle.
Las Pampas is also located conveniently close to Buenos Aires. Here you can get to know gaucho culture first-hand – including sipping on mate and sampling Argentina’s famous steaks straight from the source.
5. Marvel at Mount Fitz Roy in El Chaltén
The charming village of El Chaltén is among the best places in Argentina for trekking and climbing. It sits in the shadow of Mount Fitz Roy – one of the country’s most iconic peaks – whose jagged silhouette looms over the landscape.
Active travellers can enjoy scenic treks and climbing expeditions, providing epic views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, lakes and forests.
7. Feel the Power of Iguazú Falls
Few places on earth can equal the sense of awe inspired by Iguazú Falls. This is the world’s largest waterfall system, consisting of 275 cataracts. Feel the force of the falls on a thrilling boat ride, or take a helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view.
Savour Authentic Argentine Cuisine
Argentine cuisine is nothing short of amazing, from steak and empanadas to alfajores and dulce de leche. Take a culinary tour or cooking class in Buenos Aires, and make sure to visit at least a few of its world-renowned restaurants.
9. Go Kayaking in the Lake District
If you’re wondering what to do for fun in Argentina, the gorgeous Lake District offers plenty of options. Whether you’re into mountain biking, horse riding, rafting, kayaking or snow sports, this is one of the country’s best places to experience the great outdoors.
10. Spot Wildlife in the Iberá Wetlands
Tucked into the northeast corner of Argentina, Iberá is the second-largest wetland on earth. This remote area is home to hundreds of bird species, as well as animals like capybara, caiman and giant otters.
Locally known as Esteros del Iberá, it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature. Visit in May for cool temperatures and lush scenery, or September–October for great wildlife viewing.
11. Get Off the Beaten Track in Salta
Known as the gateway to Argentina’s beautiful northwestern region, Salta is well worth a visit in its own right. The city’s colourful architecture and delicious food make it an essential stop when exploring this part of the country.
From Salta you can set out on expeditions to the Ruins of Quilmes or the Puna de Atacama plateau, where surreal volcanic landscapes and salt flats await you.
12. Celebrate Festivals in Buenos Aires
At certain times of the year, the streets of Buenos Aires truly come alive. Plan a trip in February to experience Carnival, complete with costumes, parades and street parties.
If you really want to dive into the culture of tango, catch the Buenos Aires Tango Festival in August. It includes dance competitions, shows, art exhibitions and much more.
13. Go Whale Watching in the Valdés Peninsula
There’s no better place to see Argentina’s majestic marine life than the Valdés Peninsula. Here you’ll find not only orcas and other whale species, but also seals, sea lions and penguins.
The best season to see orcas is November to April, while southern right whales tend to appear between June and December. Many other animals can be seen year round.
Luxury accommodation in Argentina
Hub PorteñoHub Porteño is a historic property set on a quiet street in the heart of Recoleta, and feels more like a home than a hotel. There are just 11 rooms, bright and spacious and filled with antique furniture and more recent pieces from local artisans. The hotel’s rooftop terrace is a beautiful spot with outdoor seating nestled among the lush greenery – a real city centre oasis. Here you can relax with a drink from the bar and a bite to eat or simply sit back with the morning paper. La Pecora Nera Grill specialises in new Argentinian cuisine while the cosy living room is the place to enjoy drinks and snacks. There is also a wellness centre with a sauna, gym and treatment room.
EoloEolo sits on a 10,000-acre estancia in the Patagonian steppe between the town of El Calafate and the majestic Perioto Merino glacier. The hotel has been built to ensure that wherever you are, you can take in these incredible views. Eolo is centred around a courtyard garden, a nifty bit of architecture that means guests can enjoy the great outdoors whilst being protected from the wild Patagonian winds. There are 17 beautiful rooms characterised by pastel colours and simple lines. Nothing is overly complicated here, simplicity is key when your surroundings are so dramatic. There are no televisions in the rooms, instead guests are encouraged to curl up on one of the sofas that are placed in front of the large picture windows. Eolo was inspired by the historic estancias of the area and you’ll find antiques, maps, telescopes and lots of other traditional touches. The food at Eolo is a real highlight. Excellent local, seasonal produce is used to create a dynamic and exciting menu. The views that await from your dining table make the experience even sweeter. This is an area begging to be explored, and there are plenty of activites on offer. Hiking, horseriding, birdwatching and mountain biking are some of the experiences to keep you busy. At the hotel itself there is an area for relaxation with a small heated pool, dry sauna and massage room. All meals and non-alcoholic drinks are included during your stay at Eolo.
The Vines Resort & SpaA chic and highly anticipated addition to Mendoza’s collection of boutique properties. A contemporary, low-lying structure, the hotel seems to have been built so as not to disturb the uniform horizon of the Uco Valley’s perfectly combed vineyards. The smart collection of twenty-two villas echo this style and with their exposed interior stone facades, wall-to-ceiling windows, earthy tones and simple elegance combine for an aura of modernistic calm. There are one or two bedroom sizes available, and each comes with its own modern kitchen, sitting areas and private patio. And there’s more. The hotel has additionally modeled itself on being a culinary resort as well, managing to secure a restaurant designed by the internationally renowned chef, Francis Mallmann. There is a Winery on the estate for tastings, wine making tours and activities, not to mention a full spa for expert pampering. Try some horse riding in the morning through the vineyards and high blue skies, followed by breakfast and a swim in the infinity pool that drops off into the combed lines of twisted vines beyond. In the afternoon, maybe some wine tasting with lunch and a spoiling treatment at the spa.
Explora El ChaltenExplora El Chalten sits enshrouded by mountains overlooking the Electric Valley and Marconi Glacier. Opening its doors in 2020, this is the latest Explora property, famed for their amazing locations/service and guiding. The lodge is in the depth of some of Patagonia’s most impressive trekking country with fantastic trekking opportunities here to explore the awesome landscape. With only 20 rooms and a dedicated in house expedition team at hand there’s a high focus on the guest’s experience. Inspired by the hacienda style properties, each room has modest cosy wooden interiors and large picture windows framing the humbling views. Hotel facilities include a luxury spa to retreat to after a day’s adventure with a sauna and hydromassages, the treatment rooms overlook the valley views. All meals and a full program of activities are included.
Awasi IguazuAwasi Iguazu, a member of Relais & Chateaux, can be found on the banks of the river just 15 minutes from the famous waterfalls. There are 14 spacious villas sat on stilts spread among the jungle, all positioned to ensure the utmost privacy while still being within easy reach of the main lodge. Each villa has its own plunge pool, outdoor shower and large living area. A private guide and 4WD vehicle will be assigned to each villa, letting you explore at your own pace, visiting where you want, when you want, and for however long you want. Working with renowned biologists, a series of excursions have been created that go beyond the falls. Visit archaeological sites, trek through the jungle, head out bird watching, take a boat ride for a sunset picnic and much more. Return from your days out exploring the beautiful surroundings for a drink at the main lodge’s bar and long, relaxed meals in the restaurant.
Puerto Valle Hotel de EsterosNestled in the northeastern corner of the Iberá Natural Reserve, the sublime Puerto Valle Hotel de Esteros stands on 14 hectares of magnificent, landscaped grounds. Built in 1868 as a traditional manor, this luxury hotel is composed of 13 standard, deluxe and duplex suites. Each room is fitted out with Egyptian cotton sheets, a pillow menu and L’Occitane amenities, and features impressive views of the river. A pool and deck offer guests the perfect spot for relaxation and an organic garden feeds the kitchen. The Iberá Natural Reserve is one of the largest fresh water reservoirs on the continent, and the largest protected area in Argentina. Located on the shores of a lagoon and the banks of the Parana River, the hotel has private access to the wetlands and can provide exciting river actives such as cruises and safaris. Keep your eyes peeled for the neotropical otter, the maned wolf, the Pampas deer, the marshland deer and two species of caiman, the yacare and the broad-snouted caiman.