Tours in Argentina
Argentina tours can take you to some of the world's highest mountains, expansive deserts, and impressive waterfalls, with the diversity of the land ranging from wild, remote areas in southern Patagonia to the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires. Home of the tango, fine wines, tender beef and the gaucho, Argentina enjoys a rich cultural heritage. Its capital, Buenos Aires, has one of Latin America's most cosmopolitan populations. The tours that we show on this site are just examples of the many options to tour Argentina that we can offer.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS & PROTOCOLS
Argentina has confirmed that the only entry requirement will be a valid passport. However, we strongly suggest clients to bring proof of health and travel insurance and a copy of their vaccinations.
For border crossing from El Calafate to Torres del Paine we recommend bringing a physical copy of all relevant documents as there is no internet or cellphone signal at the border post.
Located at the southern tip of South America, Argentina is still one of the most remote, isolated, under populated and off-the-beaten track destinations in the planet, although every day the number of visitors increases. Because it stretches from north to south 3,694 km (2,300 miles) from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Antarctic Polar circle, and east to west from its 2,500 km (1,600 miles) of South Atlantic coast to its 4,000 km (2,500 miles) of Andes mountain range, it offers a wide range of natural environments and a great variety of exciting travel adventures.
With its almost 3,000,000 square km (more than 1,000,000 sq. Miles) Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world, covering a territory equivalent to about 1/3 that of Europe. Its borders are: Chile on the West, Bolivia and Paraguay on the North, Brazil and Uruguay on the Northeast, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. We can easily help to craft Argentina tours to combine with any of these countries.
AN OVERVIEW OF ARGENTINA´S DIFFERENT REGIONS
In order to make it simple to understand such a large country we have divided it into eleven regions.
THE HIGH ANDES or PUNA “Reaching the sky of the Pachamama”.
When to travel: Year round, with restrictions in some areas during the rainy season (Jan to March). The Southern spring season (September – October – November) is especially beautiful.
The outstanding feature of the ancient cultures of the area was their excellent adaptation to the highlands. Not only were the canyons used for transportation and communications, but also roads and tunnels were built along and across the mountains. Pucarás (fortified towns) were constructed at strategic locations to dominate the roads along the valleys and the mountain passes. The Inca Empire was the greatest and largest in South America and extended even to northwestern Argentina. Advanced agricultural methods were developed to supply food to the Empire's large population. The aqueducts, the irrigation channels, the farming terraces on steep mountain slopes and the pircas (corrals or pens built with stones), still surprise present visitors.
But the most fascinating aspect of a visit to this area is the chance to mingle with the native population, some of the friendliest people on Earth. Since the rigorous climate has discouraged settlements of Westerners, the local inhabitants preserve practically intact their ancient customs and traditions. Unlike Peru, Northwestern Argentina has not been invaded yet by foreign travelers. Consequently, natives welcome visitors, are curious and anxious to meet them, and happy to come out in their photographs. Their polychromatic dresses, their expressive artwork and handicrafts, their marvelous music, their colorful markets and street fairs, and their delicious gastronomy are eloquent expressions of the soul of these people and their love for Pachamama (Mother Earth).
MENDOZA, SAN JUAN and CENTRAL ANDES “Sub Andean valleys & canyon lands”.
When to travel: Year round but in June (limited activities and cold weather), southern winter (July & August) is the ski season at Las Leñas, the most famous ski resort in Argentina.
The Andes Mountain Range, true backbone of South America, reaches its highest point, -Mt. Aconcagua (23,000 ft- about 6970 m) - in the Argentine province of Mendoza. A “Mecca” for mountain climbing with its two “big peaks” in Argentina ACONCAGUA and its eternal rival the imposing MERCEDARIO, offer countless possibilities such as horseback riding, rafting, trekking and hiking at the foot or across the Andes. In addition, one may indulge in thermal baths at close-by hot springs and wine taste in any of the countless wineries, which are becoming famous all over the world.
Some of the most spectacular geological formations and deserts on Earth are to be found in the impressive landscape that encompasses La Rioja, San Juan and Catamarca. Here, the soft earth (mostly sandy red soil), the extremes in temperature and water, and the wind erosion have wrought curious and impressively beautiful formations over a wide area. These same climatic conditions and the prevailing dryness have helped to preserve important fossil beds such as those found in Ischigualasto (also known as “Valley of the Moon” due to its extra-Earthy air).
A note should be made about the wines. Mendoza together with the Central Andes produces approximately 70 % of the total production of Argentina and it is the cradle of the famous Malbec wine, which has been lately regarded as the best Malbec in the world. Wineries, vineyards, estancias and hosterías are opening to receive guests where they can indulge themselves with some of the finest wines in the world.
CORDOBA “The peaceful central hills”
When to travel: Year round due to its excellent weather.
The Central Provinces of Cordoba and San Luis alternate grasslands with hilly country. They were colonized by the Spaniards before Buenos Aires and soon became the cultural center of the region. The oldest schools and universities of the country are located in Cordoba and this possibly accounts for the intense cultural life it still enjoys today.
The myriad of hills hide both natural and cultural jewels. Among the latter are the wonderfully preserved footsteps left by the Jesuits in the area after two centuries of active presence. Their buildings enjoyed running water in the upper stories, a true marvel for those days. It was also here that they produced the first wine of the New World, which was later offered to the Spanish king.
SUBTROPICAL MESOPOTAMIA “Marshes, rainforests, waterfalls and Jesuit trails”
When to travel: Year round
The Amazon jungle reaches into Argentina along the bank of the major rivers (Parana, Uruguay and Paraguay). As we travel north from Buenos Aires the network of jungle-bordered rivers constitutes a biological corridor through which fauna moves.
Further north we find one of the most spectacular natural paradises of South America: the Iberá Marshlands, twice the size of the Everglades. Because its waters made the area almost inaccessible, it was only until a few years ago that this region was kept practically unknown and unexplored, having become a veritable natural refuge for abundant and varied wildlife, as well as home of renegade Indians and matreros (gauchos on the lam).
The highlight of the region are the Iguazú Falls, considered by many the most beautiful and spectacular waterfalls in the world, perhaps because of the 200 streams that suddenly appear from the rainforest to form a myriad of gorgeous falls, large and small, that mingle and blend graciously with the surrounding vegetation. For this reason they have been declared a "World Heritage Site".
COSMOPOLITAN BUENOS AIRES "Paris of South America"
When to travel: Year round (Buenos Aires has mild weather with sunny days even in winter)
Southern spring (September & October) is especially beautiful
This Cosmopolitan city, the cradle of tango as it is called, can be a superlative introduction to the exploration of Argentina. What it is certain is that this cosmopolitan city, European in appearance, can keep any culture-oriented visitor busy indefinitely. Different aspects of its architecture and the diversity of its districts and suburbs reflect times of grandeur and plenty, cultural influences and migratory waves. Buenos Aires has been a true melting pot of native inhabitants, Spanish, Italian, British, French, German, and Central European, Jewish, Arabian, Greek, Japanese and more recently, Chinese and Korean immigrants.
PAMPAS“The Gaucho’s Grasslands”
Home of the gaucho (local cowboy and true symbol of the independent, lonely, free spirited mestizo population), the Pampas are seemingly endless grasslands dotted with lakes, ponds and wetlands. The surprisingly abundant variety of wildlife is especially rich in its birdlife diversity. A visit to the Pampas is enhanced by the presence of the legendary estancias, which bring insight into the early history, development and present traditions of the country, and give a chance to rub shoulders with gauchos and with the families that own the estancias.
The government recently passed a new law, exempting foreigners from paying the 21% VAT tax on hotels in most areas (Ushuaia hotels and some places elsewhere are exceptions. Current rates on our site do not reflect that so the actual rate might be lower.. We need to get your passport information ahead of time in order to save you from paying that tax. Otherwise the hotel will charge it when you check out.
BUENOS AIRES CITY TAX. Please note that effective October 1st, 2021 the city of Buenos Aires has reinstated the CITY TAX Charge at the hotels. The costs are per person, per night and go from USD 1.- to USD 1.50 depending on the hotel category.
Last season we included this in the quotes but we are no longer going to do it, because the hotels are instructed to charge this directly to passengers.
IGUAZU & BARILOCHE. Hotels in these 2 cities will charge clients an ECOTASA (Local tax) at the check out. The average amount in Iguazu is USD 1 per person, per day
In Bariloche the cost varies between USD 1.5o to USD 3.50 per person per day according to the hotel category.
Best Times to Visit Different Areas of Argentina
THE LAKE DISTRICT IN NORTHERN PATAGONIA“Bariloche, San Martín de los Andes & Esquel”
When to travel: Year round except for May, when the weather is quite rainy.
Ski season includes June, July, August and sometimes September at the slopes of Cerro Catedral in Bariloche, Mt Bayo in Villa La Angostura, Chapelco in San Martin de los Andes, and La Hoya ski resort in Esquel.
Together with Chile, this area is much more developed than the southern tip of the continent (usually referred to as the “End of the World”). The unparalleled beauty of the Lake District, with famous mountain resorts such as Bariloche offer a wide range of activities such as hiking, climbing, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, horse riding and more during the summer. The most scenic golf course in Latin America is “hidden” in this area, close to the famous LLAO LLAO Hotel.
The Northern Lake District stretches from Lake Aluminé in the North to Esquel in the South, and encompasses 4 beautiful National Parks (from North to South): Lanín NP (San Martin de los Andes), Nahuel Huapi NP (Bariloche), Lago Puelo NP (El Bolsón) and Los Alerces NP (Esquel).
This area is also a fly fishing paradise; it is still one of the few places in the world where one may catch genuine wild trout.
SOUTH ATLANTIC COAST“The Galapagos of the Atlantic”
When to travel: Year round but for May when the fauna presence is limited.
In the numerous gulfs, bays, inlets and peninsulas along the vast Argentine shoreline of the South Atlantic we may find large colonies of marine animals. Owing to the various ocean currents which mix along this coast, and thanks to the relatively low traffic and fishing activity, the sea is still rich in plankton, algae, fish and shellfish that in turn serve as food of enormous birds and marine mammal populations.
Areas such as Valdes Peninsula, Bahia Bustamante and Puerto Deseado congregate unique species as Southern Right whales (from June to mid December at Valdes Peninsula), various species of dolphins, orcas, southern elephant seals, South American sea lions, Magellan penguins (from late September to March), and various species of cormorants among others. All of these areas are ideal for bird watching and also for mountain biking and hiking in the lower Chubut River valley. Together with the wildlife, Welsh settlements are to be visited and the famous Welsh Tea will be awaiting visitors. A true wildlife paradise!
PATAGONIAN ANDES “The realm of condors, glaciers, lakes and forests”
When to travel: Year round but for mid May to mid June when most of the activities are not available and many properties are closed. As for the route 40 North of El Calafate, the activities and visits are limited to October until the end of April
One of the most beautiful landscapes in the Western Hemisphere is found in the Patagonian Andes. For this reason a chain of Argentine and Chilean National Parks protects this natural beauty. Numerous lakes fed by glacial run-off reflect the majesty of the snow-capped peaks. The mountainsides are covered by forests of sub Antarctic beech trees, many of which change color spectacularly in autumn.
Surrounded by this magnificent vegetation are the immense glaciers, most likely the highlight of any trip to this region. Between the 48 and 51 South parallels, the Andes Range is covered by a large extension of permafrost known as the Patagonian continental icecap, which stretches for 560 miles from north to south. Being so large, it is also called “the third pole” after its huge concentration of ice. It is the origin of 47 major glaciers, such as the famous Perito Moreno glacier. But it is also known all over the world for its dramatic steppe at the foot of the imposing Fitz Roy and Torre Mountains, a “Mecca” for climbers from all over the world. These areas allow for hiking, trekking, horse riding, over landing and accommodation in remote and isolated estancias located by turquoise lakes.
TIERRA DEL FUEGO “The end of the world”
When to Travel: Year round but May and sometimes September, when there is little activity and most of the tours are not available.
Best months: From October to April – July and August and sometimes September are ideal to go skiing at the End of the World.
When the first Europeans arrived to this legendary island at the lower tip of Patagonia, it was inhabited by several hunter-fisher-gatherer Indian tribes who built large bonfires to protect themselves from the penetrating cold of these extreme southern reaches. The first Spanish navigators to sight these shores from their boats named the large island "Tierra de los fuegos” (today Tierra del Fuego), which means “Fire Island” in English.
Tierra del Fuego contains all the different ecosystems that typify Patagonia on a single island: South Atlantic coast, bushy steppe, Andes surrounded by glaciers, snow, lakes and forests. As if this wasn’t enough, the island also has its unique sub-Antarctic rainforest. Unexpectedly lush beech forests are covered with a magic carpet of green mosses and lichens waving in the wind in this seemingly enchanted forest. The legendary Beagle Channel explored by Darwin is now available to search for its varied wildlife: sea lions, penguins, cormorants.
ANTARCTICA “The myth of the Southern lands”
When to travel: Antarctic season goes from December to March.
There is no single definition of the Antarctic, although the phrase “The Antarctic” generally means the continent of Antarctica, together with its surrounding ice shelves, islands, and seas. In geopolitical terms, the Antarctic encompasses the whole area south of the 60th parallel, which is the area to which the Antarctic Treaty applies.
Antarctica is the fifth largest continent with an area of roughly 14 million square kilometers (5.3 million square miles). Most of this area, however, is a vast permanent ice sheet averaging 2.000 meters (6.600 feet) in thickness. Only about two percent of the total landmass is visible, as mountains and coastlines.
The curved tail, which is made up of an expanded land mass at its base known as Lesser Antarctica and a long narrow part named the Antarctica Peninsula, extends for some 1.200 kilometers (744 miles) towards the southern tip of South America and is located in the eastern Pacific Ocean sector.
Lesser Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula (where the cruises get) consist primarily of two separate mountain ranges made up of metamorphosed sedimentary rocks that were formed in the deep sea and contain beds of volcanic ash and lava intrusions.
The highest continent………
Taking the ice cap into account, Antarctica is the highest of the world’s continents. The highest pint is the peak of the Vinson Massif (5.140 meters or 16.960 feet) in the Ellsworth Mountains along the coast of the Weddell Sea in Lesser Antarctica. There are many mountains over 3.000 meters (9.900 feet), but most are smothered by ice.
Lesser Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula are much younger dating from only about 200 million years ago. Together they consist primarily on two separate mountain ranges made up of metamorphosed sedimentary rocks which were formed in deep sea and contain beds of volcanic ash and lava intrusions. The alpine mountain range forms the Antarctic Peninsula and extends from the peninsular tip to lesser Antarctica, but disappears under the ice of Ellsworth Land and Byrd Land, where it becomes much more widespread. Many of the mountains in this range extend above the ice and form the isolated peaks and outcrops that are seen today in Lesser Antarctica. A second line of mountains runs along the northwestern coast of the peninsula which forms Adelaide Island, the Biscoe Islands, the Palmer Archipelago, and the South Shetland Island.
A chain of islands and the connected sea floor ridges link the South Shetland Islands with the South Georgia Island, and the South American continental shelf. This area is referred to as the Scotia Arc, which has a long history of volcanic activity and earth movements. Here the earth’s crust is divided into a complex series of tectonic plates.
The driest continent
Surprisingly, Antarctica is the direst continent. By definition, most of the continent is a desert. There is very little precipitation each year in the interior, and the vast amount of ice and snow which make up the polar ice cap has accumulated over many millions of years. The mean annual accumulation for the entire continent amounts to less than five centimeters (two inches) of water equivalent, which is just slightly more than that of the Sahara Desert.