Be it the sultry tango or the rugged gaucho culture, Argentina is a seductive destination for travelers seeking immersive and authentic experiences. Of course, the South American nation also has an adventurous side that was once owed solely to Patagonia but has since branched out to its northeastern corner where rich indigenous cultures and those wild cowboys play nice.
On a handcrafted journey with Kuoda, we will show you the best that Argentina has to offer as we blend our expertise with your preferences. From metropolitan cities to remote lands of fire and ice, be inspired by the many sides of this diverse nation on our bucket list of top things to see and do in Argentina.
1. Spend the night on a traditional Argentine ranch
Horses, barbecues (locally referred to as asados) and succulent wines are the basics of an authentic estancia, or ranch, experience in Argentina. These family-owned country homes set on expansive lands are used for horses or cattle, proving they serve a purpose beyond their spectacular style.
Whereas some estancias can be quite posh (think spa facilities, private chefs and even golf courses), others offer a deeper local experience where travelers can share meals and stories with the owners surrounded by rustic decor.
No matter if you opt for a modern or long-standing estancia, at the core of this top Argentina travel experience will be the spirit of slow travel. Get away from it all and spend your days horseback riding and picking up regional culinary skills and nights reading a book by a crackling fire.
2. Trek the iconic Laguna de Los Tres and see Mount Fitz Roy
The small town of El Chalten, located in the Los Glaciares National Park, is the gateway to some of Patagonia’s most iconic hikes. One of Kuoda’s favorite trails to include on a hand-crafted itinerary to Argentina is the Laguna de Los Tres trek because it is a full-day adventure packed with impeccable views of rivers, lakes (you will also have the chance to see Laguna Sucia) and snow capped peaks.
Immersed in stunning mountainous scenery, active travelers will head to Laguna de Los Tres that is towered over by three famous peaks: Mount Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre and Mount Poincenot. Along the way is a mirador with picture-perfect views of the icy and wind-battered Mount Fitz Roy (which is why the trail is also referred to as Fitz Roy hike).
The out-and-back trail is about 16 miles (25 kilometers) in total and is considered moderate to difficult.
3. Visit Ushuaia, one of the southernmost cities in the world
To discover some of the wildest landscapes in Patagonia, one must head south— far south. The last point before embarking on an Antarctica cruise, Ushuaia is one of the southernmost cities in the world. Located in the Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) archipelago, the resort town is perched on a steep hill backed by mountains and next to the Beagle Channel.
A remote destination characterized by majestic natural scenery, Ushuaia offers travelers a lot more to do than one may think is available at the so-called end of the world. Explore the Tierra del Fuego National Park by foot and learn about indigenous communities; kayak in the surrounding bays and rivers; set off on a multi-day adventure cruise to Punta Arenas, Cape Horn and up the coast of Chile, and so much more.
4. Explore the land of fire and ice, Tierra del Fuego
Discover incredible wildlife and landscapes at one of the world’s so-called final frontiers, Tierra del Fuego. Located just 600 miles from Antarctica, ancient glaciers and frigid winds surround Tierra del Fuego, which often causes travelers to question its name (literally translated as Land of Fire). History tells us that 16th-century European explorers once saw the region replete with bonfires lit by the indigenous Yaghan peoples in an attempt to ambush them.
Centuries later, Tierra del Fuego continues to offer the old-world romance of exploration. On a private journey designed by Kuoda, modern-day explorers can venture one short boat ride to the Faro del Fin del Mundo (Lighthouse at the End of the World), walk beside waddling penguins on Penguin Island and hike to sparkling glacial lakes.
Of course, we’ll leave plenty of time on your tailor-made journey for simply sitting back with a hot beverage and taking in the one-of-a-kind views.
5. Peruse the arts in Córdoba, the Cultural Capital of the Americas
The second-largest city in Argentina, Cordoba has an art scene that includes 17th-century Jesuit ruins, the South American country’s oldest surviving university and modern art galleries. It’s this distinctive blend of the old and new that won Cordoba the title of the Cultural Capital of the Americas in 2006. As a bonus, travelers on a unique customized travel itinerary to Argentina will find that the central city is much more relaxed and low-key than the capital, Buenos Aires.
Cordoba’s central square is ideal for soaking up quotidian culture with coffee and has fantastic examples of 16th and 17th-century architecture. Pieces by Picasso and Goya can be found in the Evita Fine Arts Museum, housed in a massive Beaux-Arts mansion. Browse through the weekend street market on Paseo de los Artes and squeeze in some downtime in the city’s largest park, Parque Sarmiento.
6. Get lost in a labyrinth of national monuments in La Recoleta Cemetery
Visiting a foreign cemetery doesn’t usually make it on the bucket list for classic travelers, however, La Recoleta Cemetery is an eerily beautiful destination for those looking for a slice of history and glamor. Located in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of the same name, Recoleta became the city’s first public cemetery in 1822 and would become the final resting place for numerous figures in Argentine society and politics.
While walking the seemingly endless aisles of mausoleums and headstones, keep an eye out for notable names like Eva Peron as well as Nobel Prize winners, presidents and even a granddaughter of Napoleon. A showcase of architectural styles that range from Art Deco to neo-gothic, La Recoleta Cemetery becomes more charming and peaceful the longer you tour it.
7. Feast your eyes on the Hill of Seven Colors in Purmamarca
If you’re young at heart, the sight of a rainbow arching into the sky continues to have the power to delight. Imagine embarking on a carefully curated itinerary to Argentina and witnessing a hill with a medley of colors that is equally breathtaking.
Cerro de Los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors) borders the Quebrada de Purmamarca in Argentina’s remote northwest. Ribbons of earth color the sides of the hill in hues of green, white, purple, yellow, red, pink and brown. In this order, the colors reveal the time period of erosion, from oldest (600 million years ago) to youngest (1-2 million years ago).
This colorful natural phenomenon is seen along the Andes in South America (think Peru’s Vinicunca, also known as Rainbow Mountain). At 2,333 meters above sea level, Argentina’s rainbow hill is at a far more comfortable altitude than Peru’s (5,200 masl) and far easier to access.
8. Bike the Circuito Chico in Bariloche
Pedal into Swiss vibes upon the Circuito Chico loop in San Carlos de Bariloche (better known as Bariloche) in Argentina’s Patagonia region. Winding through the Llao Llao National Park, Circuito Chico is an iconic stretch of tarmac with continuously stunning views of the nation’s lake district.
Though the route is just 17 miles out and back, the beauty of the ride is found in all of the pit stops and excursions found along the way.
Beginning on the south shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, your scenic bike ride can lead you to small beach communities, panoramic views of the Cerro Campanario (by way of a cable car), the Patagonia Brewery for a cold pint and of course those charming Swiss-style homes. The unique excursion is a must-do on any traveler’s eco-friendly luxury tour of Argentina.
9. Step into an ancient fortress at Pucara de Tilcara
Built around the 12th-century, the pre-Inca ruins known as Pucara de Tilcara have become one of the most popular tourist sites in the Jujuy province. Strategically located at the annex of three creeks in northwestern Argentina’s Quebrada de Humahuaca, the fortress was likely used as a defense point. Meaning ‘strength’ in Quechua, there are numerous other pucarás in the Quebrada however none as complete as that of Tilcara as it was rebuilt by archeologists beginning in 1911.
Besides its role as a defense station, Pucara de Tilcara also served as a village with temples, agricultural terraces and houses. Visitors can even witness the pens that once housed llamas, an important part of the local economy. With a high concentration of ancient culture, pair your visit to the Pucara de Tilcara ruins with a visit to the Archeological Museum of Tilcara.
10. Practice ethical tourism with indigenous communities in Puerto Iguazu
As experienced responsible travel designers, we know that the most meaningful trips include immersive experiences that reveal customs and traditions different from your own. That’s why Kuoda loves to include a visit to the port city Iguazu on hand-crafted itineraries. Not only is it the gateway to Iguazu Falls, but Iguazu is also home to indigenous Guarani villages.
Guided by a native of the community, we’ll visit a Guarani village in the Misiones province in northeastern Argentina. Accompanied by a local, we can take a deeper and more respectful look into the daily lives and values of the Guarani people. Soak up information about medicinal plants, traditional handicrafts and agricultural practices that have been passed on by countless generations.
Through ethical and regenerative tourism we can continue to support local communities that are dedicated to preserving rich indigenous cultures.
11. Ride a cable car up to Cerro San Bernardo for outstanding views of Salta
The sweetheart city of northwestern Argentina, Salta is most popular for what it offers on street level: amazing museums, trendy cafes and a rocking live music scene. But to take it all in and appreciate the natural beauty of the town and its surroundings, it is important to change perspective. That’s why we at Kuoda have included a ride up to Cerro San Bernardo on our top things to see and do in Argentina.
Though it can also be reached by foot or bike, the cable car ride up to Cerro San Bernardo feels exquisitely local and can be quite fun for young travelers on a family vacation— even if it lasts less than 10 minutes.
At the top of the hill is of course a panoramic view of the mountainous Salta. After snapping photos and gazing across at one of your new favorite cities in South America, explore the handicraft market, watercourse and wine bar, all located on Cerro San Bernardo.
12. Ride with gauchos across the Ibera Wetlands
Sure, you’ve heard of and have likely gone horseback riding, but did you ever hear the term horse-swimming? In the wetlands of northeast Argentina’s Ibera National Park, traditional cowboys known as gauchos will take you on a wet and wild ride through the marshes.
Travelers can either be pulled in a canoe by a sturdy horse or ride bareback (and perhaps barefoot) into the marshes, only to eventually glide off the horse and swim beside its majestic and muscular body.
The unique cowboy culture of the wetlands differs from those in the drylands of Patagonia, and this Argentina travel experience is all about immersing you in the unknown. Home to caiman, hundreds of species of birds, marsh deer and more, the expansive Ibera National Park was created as recently as 2018 yet has quickly become a Kuoda favorite for adding to custom-made trips.