Famous for its magnificent glaciers, El Calafate is a breathtaking tourist destination, located in the Patagonia region of Argentina. The Glaciers National Park is the main attraction, with 47 glaciers such as the Marconi, the Viedma, the Moyano, the Upsala, the Agassiz, the Bolado, the Onelli, the Peineta, the Spegazzini, the Mayo, the Ameghino, the Moreno and the Frias, all of them draining into the Atlantic.
Tour guides, boats and other transporation are available in this area, along with a variety of accomodations to fit every traveler's budget. I personaly recommend you to take the 5 hours boat to experience the glaciers from close
|In El Calafate you will find yourself at the gateway to the majestic world of glaciers. This town is near Lake Argentino, a green water surface covering 1600 km2, with a length of 60 km., a width between 12 and 14 km., and depths from 35 m. in Feruglio on the coast and centre, to 300 m. in the Avellaneda Peninsula. El Calafate connects you with the most unknown and magical geography. The writer and journalist German Sopeia in his book La Patagonia Blanca, Ed. Elefante Blanco,
describes this region as follows: "The viewpoint cannot be better. It is almost the prow of a ship from where we see everything around. ...There is an amazing attraction in white surfaces. One can stay for hours watching an apparently still panorama with a movement that we know gives life to it..." Father De Agostini wrote: "I remain astonished at the spectacular show, and enjoy in advance the happiness of revealing the last secrets of this eternal ice... ...There lies, precisely, the great magic of White Patagonia." El Calafate is 316 km. from Rio Gallegos, over Lago Argentino, 185 m. above sea level, and receives its name from the small bush calafate, indigenous of Patagonia, its fruit is a delicious berry very good for the
||elaboration of jam. According to tradition, whoever eats calafate will return for more. But reality indicates that whoever visits Calafate wants to stay there forever. It is an important tourist resort of both national and international importance, since it is the start of all glacier circuits. It is an oasis of poplars, willows and pines at the border of the steppe. El Calafate presents a dry climate, with an average maximum temperature of 19C, and an average minimum in winter of 2C. In summer the
sun rises at 5.30am and sets at 11pm. In winter the day is shorter, there are only 8 hours of light. El Calafate is the main supplier of the area, a city of around 8,000 inhabitants on a surface of 155,000 hectares, with rivers and creeks draining into the Atlantic Ocean through the Santa Cruz River.
|Expert bilingual guides and travel agencies organize tours and outings to the classical viewpoint of the Perito Moreno Glacier or the audacious expeditions to cross the glaciers. The International Airport of El Calafate, receives direct flights from Buenos Aires, Trelew, Bariloche, Puerto Natales, and other cities
The Perito Moreno Glacier
Everyone that have read my posts know that I am crazy about the Perito Moreno. I discovered it many years ago during a bike trip and since that time I consider it to be the major landmark not only of Patagonia, but of Argentina.
|Perito Moreno Glacier epitomizes the natural beauty and splendor of Argentina. Unique in a variety of facets, including its size, scientific significance, and accessibility, the glacier is an essential for any traveler to the region.
You can spend HOURS exploring its wonders and taking in its breathtaking vistas, barely believing your eyes as they gaze upon the picturesque sight which lies before them.
At first sight, you will be taken aback by the sheer magnitude of Perito Moreno, one of the largest glaciers in both Glaciers National Park and South America. Its walls tower over two-hundred vertical feet (forty meters) from the ground, where the ice meets the Lago Argentino, or Lake Argentina. At this height, equivalent to that of a fifteen-story building, the glacier maintains a commanding presence for approximately five kilometers of horizontal distance. At times the glacier will form an imposing panoramic wall, stretching as far as the eye can see in either direction. This undeniable physical beauty is only amplified when one learns of the scientific significance that the formation brings to Patagonia.
|The most notable feature about the Perito Moreno Glacier is its dynamic and ever-changing facade. Unlike nearly every other glacier on the planet, which recede and dwindle in size over time, the Peritio Moreno formation actually swells with each passing day. Deemed an "advancing glacier," the ice is continually growing and expanding outward, gradually occupying more and more territory. While the glacier is said to move outward at a pace of up to seven feet each day, large chunks of ice falling from the walls make this growth a bit more subtle. This phenomenon also makes viewing the glacier all the more unpredictable and exciting.
Spend an entire day at the walkways if you can, and complement it with a long navigation or with the big ice trek (Glacier Trekking) if you are fit enough. It will not disappoint you !
I encourge you to do both, Trek the big ice and the boat navigation, both are toatlly differnet ways to experience the magnitute of this glacier. Trust me, You'll never forget the time you spend exploring this one of a kind South American wonder.
Glacier trekking is the most first-hand way to experience the Perito Moreno formation. By mini-trekking across the icy surface, you'll feel the chill of Patagonia, hear the roar of falling ice blocks, and see beautiful vistas of Lake Argentina. This is typically a half-day tour, including a brief walk through the glacial forests, and introductory discussion on glaciology, and an hour long hike on the glacier itself. Because of the complex nature of the Perito Moreno Glacier, only guided tours are allowed to trek on the ice. Thus, you should remember to book their mini-trekking excursion in advance. Unfortunately, children under eight years of age are not permitted on the glacier trek.
Glacier Viewing Cruises
||If you are afraid from walking on the ice...
There are a number of boat excursions that allow you to observe the vastness of the Perito Moreno Glacier without actually setting foot on the ice's surface. While the boat will likely maintain a safe distance from the glacial walls, you'll still experience the exhilarating feel of rocky waters caused by the icy debris falling from the glacier. Atop a turquoise sea of chilly waters spotted with countless icebergs, your journey can last anywhere from a single hour to an entire day.
Best time to go:
Nov to April. 2 days in Calafate are the minimum that you should spend there.
||Located within Los Glaciares National Park, El Chalten is a small mountain village surrounded by glaciers, lagoons, lakes, and mountains. Backpackers, climbers, trekkers and nature lovers come to El Chalten in order to gain access to Cerro Torre and Cerro Chalten (or Mount Fitz Roy.) Known as two of the most difficult mountains to climb in the world, Cerro Torre and Cerro Chalten are also formidable competitors for most beautiful.
El Chalten is also known amazing climbing, camping, horseback riding, fishing, rafting, and even fauna and flora excursions.
|The village of El Chalten is located about a 140 Miles(220 KM), or roughly 4 hours driving, from the bigger tourist center of El Calafate. El Chalten is quite isolated and luxuries such as cell phones and cash machines are not available at this point in time. Although El Chalten is far removed from civilization, internet terminals and telephones are widely available to communicate with the outside world.
Weather in El Chalten and El Calafate is similar, and can be found on the El Calafate Weather page.
Upon arrival in El Chalten, a local park ranger will give you some instructions concerning the area. You will also be given a good map of the village along with a map of the trails, campgrounds, and sights in the area. Take this chance and ask a local expert any questions you may have.
From El Chalten you can take a number of hikes that can last from a few hours to a full day or over a number of nights. The map created by www.ElChalten.com is an excellent introduction to the region. You can also find there descriptions of the many excursions you can take from El Chalten.
|Monte Fitz Roy
Mountain Fitz Roy rises eleven thousand feet into the air and proclaims its greatness over the surrounding icelands. The Fitz Roy mountain range is visible for hundreds of miles around and the village of El Chalten is blessed with this excellent view.
Mountain Torre is even taller than Fitz Roy, but is not as majestic. The base of this mountain and the end of one of the trails is a beautiful creamy colored mountain lake called Laguna Torre.
||Horseback Riding at El Chalten
Although El Chalten is a hiker's and mountain climber's haven, almost all of the beautiful sights can be experienced on a horseback riding tour. Excellent tours start from El Chalten and take you all around the area. Reserve these excursions in advance to avoid availability problems when you are on your trip.
|Puerto Madryn - Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia
If you like a unique wildlife sanctuary Peninsula Valeds is the place for you. It is the ideal place for close-up watching of whales, penguins, dark dolphins, elephant seals, sea lions, birds and Patagonian land-based species such as lesser rhea, mara (Patagonian hare), foxes, skunks or flocks of guanacos.
Read more by clicking the following post:
Puerto Madryn - Peninsula Valdes Overview
Located at the foot of the Andes Mountains by the south coast of the Nahuel Huapi Lake,
Bariloche is my favorite city in Argentina, since it is active 365 days a year,
That's because it has a lot of scenerious to offer in summer time & a Ski resort in Winter Time .
Just a two hour flight ride from Buenos Aires, and yes, you can start enjoying the beauty of San Carlos de Bariloche.
Bariloche is surrounded by spectacular lakes, mountains and foothills. A great place for winter travelers to visit, Bariloche features skiing, hiking and water sports activities galore. During the summer, things heat up and beaches like Playa Bonita and Villa Tacul come alive with sunbathers and fishermen. This changing of environments allows you to enjoy a diversity of experiences in Bariloche.
|I bet you will be enchanted by the city's views of soaring mountains, clear lakes, and beautiful pine woods, all in the heartland of the nearby Nahuel Huapi National Park. With charming Swiss chalet style stone and wooden architecture, international ski slopes, and renowned chocolate shops, Bariloche is a place where time seems to have stopped. With a wide range of options for tourism, both conventional and adventurous, I throng to Bariloche year after year to breathe in its fresh mountain air and enjoy its truly everlasting beauty.
|Sights near Bariloche
Bariloche is in close proximity to several other nearby attractions worth seeing during your visit. From Argentina's Oldest National Park, Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, to the renowned Circuito Chico, and even day trips to the enchanting Isla Victoria, opportunities are plentiful for the dream sight-seeing vacation.
|Summer in Bariloche
During the summer, if you are adventurous you will love Bariloche's guided river rafting, paragliding, kayaking, golfing, hourse riding and much much more activities, all within the city or in close proximity.
Are you an intense thrill-seeker?
Try mountaineering excursions which are a popular attraction, including repelling, climbing, and biking. Such unbeatable scenery and unique opportunities make these activities a truly life-changing experience.
Last summer I have done the rafting in Bariloche, I really recommend it for families, it is not a hard rafting as I did in Costa Rica.
But the river there in summer is very calm, and we had very friendly waterfalls to cross by the river, then it was included in the rafting
fee a delicious Asado, Yammi Yammi !
|Winter in Bariloche
Winter in Bariloche provides excellent opportunities for skiing, an activity enjoyed from June to September.
The main mountain is Cerro Catedral, only 18 kilometers from the city, with peaks resembling gothic temples and 53 runs of various difficulty for skiers of every level. A smaller skiing destination a few hours away from Bariloche is Cerro Chapelco in San Martin de los Andes.
For more detailed information on Snowboarding & Skiing in Bariloche
click there --> Skiing in Bariloche Overview
If Bariloche's fantastic skiing and adventurous sports aren't enough for you, the city itself is thriving with cultural dining, dancing, and shopping. There are several surrounding area museums, including Don Moises Private Museum and the First Settlers Museum, and a plethora of great restaurants and entertainment, all within a few blocks of your lodging.
Here are some AWESOME ! excursion you can do, while staying in Bariloche ...
Isla Victoria / Arrayanes
The excursion takes in Puerto Panuelo 25km from Bariloche, in front of Lla Llao Hotel. After half an hour of sailing through Nahuel Huapi lake, vessel reaches Anchorena harbour in Victoria Island.
You can use the chair lift to get to high points in the island for scenic views of Anchorena bay and the area surrounding Llao Llao hotel. It is also possible to walk to Puerto Gross or visit Playa del Toro. After sailing a few minutes you arrive to Arrayanes Forest, considered unique in the planet.
Puerto Blest and Los Cantaros waterfalls
Vessels depart from Puerto Panuelo going around Blest arm to arrive at Puerto Blest next to Chile. This is a dreamed region with norwegian fjords. It is possible to observe Centinela Island and very close the deepest part of the lake is recahed, at Cascada Blanca beaches. Puerto Blest is next. An exhuberant, magnificient place. The last point of this tour is Lago Frias. Along the way and on its way back, the great thing is you sailing among enchanted waterfalls.
National Park Nahuel Huapi was founded on 1934. The Park has 750,000 hectares and is comprised of three main strips of vegetation: hydrophilic wood, mesophil wood, shrub-like steppe. Trees as Nire and Maiten are located in the low valleys. Myrtle and Mirlo are close to the bank of rivers and lakes. Myrtle constitutes some of the most valued species in the national park.
If you are out of time this tour is exceptional. The beauty of the landscape all around Nahuel Huapi lake is astonishing. There are a few stops at Lopez Bay and the Panoramic point that will have you appreciate scenic views at large. One key point in this tour is the visit to Llao Llao hotel, a prominent turist attraction. This visit includes Puerto Panuelo and Eduardo Chapel. It is possible to view majestic Tronador mountain and Lopez Hills. The Chapel is home for paintings of reknown Raul Soldi. About 17km into the tour you can take a chair lift at Campanario and reach the top of the hill for a scenic view of the region. At the hill and along the way, tea houses and coffee shops enhance your visit with their delicacies.
Lopez Hill id found at the shores of Lopez small lake. It is possible to get here through a narrow passage comprised of beautiful lengas, coihues and reeds. At about 1600 mts of altitude and a 3 hour trip you reach Lopez shelter, built by the 'Andino Club of Bariloche'. Lopez Hill is a one of my favorite places to trek and climbe. If you are 4x4 adventurous a great trip is to reach 'Colonia Suiza' ...
This excursion starts in Bariloche towards the west. Many years ago french and swiss immigrants arrive in the area to settle down. They were all known as wheat producers. Today, their descendants still produce food but their output is more sophisticated. At Colonia Suiza you are able to enjoy delicacies and specialty home-made treats not found anywhere else.
This excursion provides a relaxing time. The first part of the tour is by boat. The "Victoria II" sails through the 'Seven Colors Lakes' towards the center of the Andes. It crosses Agustin Justo, Fray Elguea and Bonete Hills to get to Tronador hotel just in time to have lunch. Try to walk through Vuriloches Valley all the way up to the Ventisquero Negro, located at the base of Tronador Hill. The trip back to Bariloche is done via Mascardi Lake and it is as magnificient as the first part of the trip.
Los Alerces Waterfalls
Starting at CR 258 on the way to Mascardi Valley. The tour path takes place via Gutierrez and Mascardi lakes. Crossing the bridge over the Mascardi river you suddenly arrive to Pampa Linda. Shady woods, Ventisquero Negro and Vuriloches Valley must also be crossed. You will walk a pleasant gravel path to finally reach 'El Mirador' from where to enjoy the waterfalls.
It takes about 16km to reach the shelter located at 1200 mts above sea level. Some special equipment might be needed to walk from the shelter up to Laguna Verde or to the spectacular 'Mirador' at the top of the valley. During winter you can practice skiing, cross-country skiing and ski mountaneering using sledges. The national snow celebration takes place here so it pays to be informed about the schedule of events in advance.
7 Lakes to San Martin de los Andes Route
|There are two ways to get to San Martin (located in the province Neuquen), the regular road which most of the traffic is on and the other through the Amazing 7 Lakes.
The stretch of National Road N 234 that joins the towns of San Martin de los Andes and Villa La Angostura, includes in only 110 km the best of the geography and nature of Patagonia, becoming the most well-known regional tourist circuit of the area.
In this Amazing route, the mountains are deployed and the forest of Cypress trees opens its way among the rocks.
There are more than 7 lakes along the 100 kms through river valleys and past lakes. Its possible to camp any where along the route but I think the best way to appreciate the route is by bike, or hourseback riding. I Have done it with horse and I was amazed by the lake view I have seen on my way, each turn brought another spectacular view.
The most beautiful of this journey's lake is Lake Hermoso's shore, it is a small lake, surrounded by forest and with a beach that faces west, very sunny and sheltered from the wind. There's a camping place, a storehouse, some vacational houses and a pathway which goes along the southern side of the lake. The road goes on up to Lake Machonico, where the landscape is drier.
Finally after incredible view you will reach San Martin de los Andes which is located in a broad valley formed by the action of glaciers and rivers.
||Like Bariloche, San Martin has two peak periods winter for skiing at Cerro Chapelco and summer for trekking, climbing, etc in the nearby Parque Nacional Lanin. Brave souls also swim in the chilly waters of Lago Lacar on the western edge of town.
Between these times, it's a quiet little town with a spectacular setting that retains much of the charm and architectural unity that once attracted people to Bariloche. A boat ride on the lake is pretty much a must if you're passing through.
Another cool and close by places are Catritre beach and Villa Quila Quina.
The forest of Pellin oak trees frames the continuous ascent, and the first houses of rural people and the sheep grazing begin to appear, all sorrounded by the Chapelco mountains.
||The Pil Pil viewpoint is the perfect excuse to appreciate from the top all the beauty of the Lacar Lake, Vizcacha, Savannah and Colorado hills, and part of the valley's stream that gives the name to the place.
|The Arroyo Partido (Meaning: Divided Stream)
This is a natural oddity, since the small stream that carries thawing water from the summit of Chapelco mountain runs across a bed of stones, and from there on, it opens into two different arms. The left one is called Arroyo Culebra (Snake Stream), because it seems to creep as a snake, looking for the waters of Hermoso River and continuing its way to the Atlantic Ocean. The right one is called Pil Pil and thanks to the waters of the Lacar Lake, it drains into the Pacific Ocean.
Villa La Angostura
Villa La Angostura, as well as San Martin de los Andes, has experienced an important population and urbanization growth in recent years. Strategically located on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake, between Inacayal, Bayo and Belvedere hills, offers ski activities in winter and a wide variety of options in summer, such as fishing, non conventional tourism and adventure tourism.
This town has become the gateway to Arrayanes National Park, entering to this impressive forest of Arrayan trees along a terrestrial access. This circuit can be finished returning by ship, enjoying a guided tour.
Another geat attraction in Villa la Angostura is hiking, which is best in the nearby Parque National los Arrayanes. The beautiful walk to the tip of the peninsula will take about three hours (12km). The surrounding forest is known for its singluar cinnamon tone, which is exclusive to this area. It is a tree with twisted bark, white flowers similar to orange blossoms and a purple fruit. Some of the trees grow as high as 20 meters.
If you are tired once you arrive, you can take the Catamaran Futaleufu to return, which is a scenic ride, passing along Bahia Manzano. In the wintertime there is skiing at Cerro Bayo, but you are better off carrying on to Chapelco near San Martin de los Andes. This trip can be done by mountain bike, rental car or tour bus.
The provincial capital is the world's most southernmost city, located in a dramatic setting, with jagged glacial peaks rising from sea level to nearly 1500m (4920ft). The Museo del Fin del Mundo (Museum of the End of the World) has exhibits dedicated to the Indians, nature, local history and the many shipwrecks that happened in the area. The nearby Martial is within walking distance and yields spectacular views of the city and the Beagle Channel. The city of Rio Grande is mostly a petroleum service center facing the South Atlantic and, though of no particular interest, the surrounding countryside offers good hiking opportunities (particularly around the Garibaldi Pass, where lenga tree forests show striking displays of red leaves during autumn). Some 18km (12 miles) west of Ushuaia, the Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina's only coastal national park, comprises rivers, lakes, forests and glaciers.
Ushuaia is also a major port for cruises departing to the Antarctic. Day-trips to Antartica, costing US$630 including return flights, lunch, and a tour, are possible from Malvinas Argentina International Airport.
Ushuaia is arguably the southernmost city in the world. Located in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago off the south of South America, Ushuaia is a popular tourist locale and happily serves as a gateway to travelers cruising to Antarctica. Ushuaia is a also a fun getaway in itself, with casinos, restaurants, and a plethora of hiking and winter sport possibilities.
The highest peak in South America, the Aconcaqua, can be found in Mendoza and attracts adventurous mountain climbers from around the world. Easy access to the Andes Mountains allures travelers to premier ski resorts in the winter. Also a wine producing region, this city has a downtown area filled with museums, outdoor equipment supply stores, cafes, and bars, making it the perfect destination to visit before an adventure into the Andes.
Mar del Plata
Located approximately 400km (250 miles) from Buenos Aires, this is the main tourist resort on the Atlantic coast. Often referred to as Mar del Plata. Sandy beaches attract thousands of people (most of them Argentinian ja ja) during the December to March season. The many grandiose mansions testify to the city's upper-class origins. Interesting sites include the Villa Normandy (which has a distinctive French style), the Iglesia Stella Maris (a church with an impressive marble altar), the Torre Tanque (an 88m/289ft tower offering good views) and the Villa Victoria (once a literary salon). The Banquina de Pescadores is a picturesque wharf near the port with many restaurants and cafeterias. Mar del Plata is also the site of the largest gambling casino in Argentina.
Atlantic Coast Elsewhere
Other well-known resorts on the Atlantic coast include Villa Gezell, Pinamar, Miramar and Necochea, the latter being well known for the Parque Miguel Lillo, a large green space beside the beach, whose pine woods are popular for cycling and riding. New resorts are constantly springing up along this stretch of coastline. Most can offer deep-sea fishing and watersports.
Further south, some 650km (407 miles) from Buenos Aires, lies Bahia Blanca, the largest southern city, whose massive port makes it one of the country's major commercial centers.
The area known as the Pampas consists mostly of flat agricultural land and contains the provinces of Buenos Aires and La Pampa as well as parts of Santa Fe and Cordoba. The area is well known for its horse-breeding tradition and cattle ranches.
Located 56km (35 miles) southeast of Buenos Aires, La Plata is the capital of the Buenos Aires Province and an important administrative, commercial and cultural center. It has one of the country's best universities.
South of La Plata lies the Sierra de la Ventana, whose scenic peaks attract many hikers and climbers. One of the most popular peaks for climbing excursions is the Cerro de la Ventana (1136m/3408ft), which is located within the Ernesto Tornquist Provincial Park.
The capital of the Santa Fe Province is linked to Parana, capital of the Entre Rios Province, via a tunnel beneath the River Parana. Mainly important as an agricultural and industrial center, Santa Fe's colonial past is still visible in its streets and squares, though there are also many modern buildings. The nearby city of Rosario, on the west bank of the River Parana, was where the Argentinian flag was first raised and its biggest attraction is the impressive, boat-shaped Monumento Nacional a la Bandera (Monument to the Flag). La Semana de la Bandera (Flag Week) is celebrated annually in June. Nearby is the town of Rufino, an important center for cattle raising. Walking and trekking are popular in the Lihue Calel National Park, an area consisting mostly of desert, located some 226km (142 miles) southwest of the city of Santa Rosa, and known for its pink granite rock formations (reaching up to 600m/1968ft).
Misiones, El Chaco & Mesopotamia
The Misiones Province has a subtropical climate and is nearly surrounded by Paraguay and Brazil. It is most famous for its Jesuit missions and the spectacular Iguazu Falls. El Chaco is a sparsely populated area of nature reserves and parks. Mesopotamia usually refers to the area between the Parana and Uruguay rivers and comprises the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes.
The capital of the Misiones Province is joined to Paraguay by a modern bridge. The province is well known for its old Jesuit missions, and the most impressive Jesuit ruins can be visited at San Ignacio, some 50km east of Posada. Jesuit carvings and art are on display at Posada's Museo Regional. The gigantic Yacyreta Dam lies 200km (125 miles) upstream from Posada.
The capital of the Chaco Province is Resistencia, which prides itself on being a "city of sculptures" (there are over 200 of them), and is a major crossroads for Paraguay and excursions through the Chaco to the northwest. The Chaco National Park is a large expanse of swamps, grasslands, palm savannahs and forest, which is rarely visited as camping is the only available accommodation. Interesting nature reserves within the area include Estricta Colonia Benitez (in eastern Chaco) and the Pampa del Indio Provincial Park. Campo del Cielo is an area famous for its meteorite fragments dating back some 6000 years.
The capital of Formosa Province is a good starting point for excursions to the northern Chaco. Interesting buildings in the city include the Casa de Gobierno, which has been declared a national monument. Apart from Formosa's annual week-long Fiesta del Rio (a nocturnal religious procession), one of the main regional attractions is the massive Rio Pilcomayo National Park, an area of swamps, marshland and savannah on the Paraguayan border, whose Laguna Blanca is an ideal spot for birdwatching.
Corrientes, the capital of its namesake province, is one of Argentina's oldest cities. The General Belgrano Bridge over the Parana River joins the city to Resistencia, the capital of the Chaco Province. Among Corrientes' oldest churches, the Sant Cruz de los Milagros and the Convento de San Francisco are worth a visit. In the north of the province lies the Esteros del Ibera, an area of marshland, lagoons and lakes providing a refuge for hundreds of bird species, reptiles and mammals such as swamp deer and capibara (the world's largest rodent). There are numerous remains of Jesuit settlements in the vicinity, notably at Yapey', the birthplace of Jose de San Martin. Cattle ranches (estancia) can be visited at San Gara, Atalaya and San Juan Poriah. Well known for its fiestas and carnivals, the Corrientes is also the land of the chamama, a characteristic type of rhythmic music derived from the polka, celebrated in the annual National Chamama Festival.
The capital of the Entre Rios Province can be reached from Santa Fe via the Hernandarias Tunnel under the River Parana. East of Parana, near the border with Uruguay, Concepcion del Uruguay has numerous spas and river beaches (on the River Uruguay), notably at Banco Pelay and Itapo. The nearby city of Gualeguaychu is famous for its carnival, which rivals those of Rio and Bahia in Brazil. Further north, some 360km (225 miles) from Buenos Aires, lies the El Palmar National Park, whose main attractions are the old yatay palms, some of which are nearly 800 years old.
Located on the bank of the River Primero, Cordoba has preserved much of its colonial past and character. Some of the most interesting colonial buildings include El Cabildo (the Town Hall) and the Casa del Obispo Mercadillo. One of the best streets in which to see colonial buildings is the Calle Obispo Trejos. Also worth seeing are the churches San Francisco and San Roque. Argentina's first university, the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba was founded here. The scenic mountain hinterland known as the Sierras de Cordoba is dotted with colonial hermitages and tourist towns: Cosquin hosts an annual folklore festival and la Falda is a popular resort for excursions to the Sierra Chica. Around Cordoba, numerous Jesuit churches can be visited: Alta Gracia, 35km (22 miles) southwest of the city, is one of the best known. Also of interest is the town of Jeses Maria, which hosts the Fiesta Nacional de Doma y Folklore, an annual celebration of gaucho horsemanship and customs.
The Mendoza Province is Argentina's main wine-producing region and the annual grape harvest festival, the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, is held in the provincial capital, Mendoza, at the end of February and the beginning of March. Founded in 1521, Mendoza is characterized by tree-lined streets and a large network (some 500km/32 miles) of irrigation channels. The Andes mountain ranges can be seen in the distance from many parts of the city, whose universities, museums, theaters and art galleries testify to a lively cultural life. Interesting museums include the Museo Sanmartiniano (for history) and the Museo Popular Callejero (architecture). Most wineries near Mendoza offer tours and tasting. Some of the province's main wine cellars are located in San Rafael. Near the border with Chile lies the famous Mount Aconcagua (6995m/22,944ft), the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere, located within the Aconcagua National Park. A good starting point for exploring the area is Uspallata, located in a serene valley surrounded by mountains. Some of the best ski resorts can be found at las Leoas (one of Argentina's most prestigious winter sports resorts, open from June to October), the Valles del Plata and los Penitentes. Also worth visiting is the striking Puente del Inca, a natural stone bridge over the River Mendoza; and Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), a famous monument in the high Andes, nearly 4000m (13,120ft) above sea level, offering magnificent views.
San Juan, capital of the San Juan Province was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1944. Today, the city is characterized by wide, tree-lined streets and fairly modern buildings. Around 60km (38 miles) southeast from here, the small town of Vallecita attracts large numbers of pilgrims who come to visit the famous Difunta Correa shrine (with the busiest times being around Easter and Christmas). The city of Agustin del Valle Furtil is a good base for excursions to the Ischigualasto National Park, a desert valley also referred to as "the valley of the moon", owing to its distinctive rock formations and fossils dating back some 180 million years.
The capital of Jujuy Province, San Salvador de Jujuy, was once a stopover for colonial mule traders. It has an interesting Indian market, the Mercado del Sur and, at Termas de Reyes, thermal baths overlooking the scenic canyon of the River Reyes. North of the city lie the colorful dry landscapes of the Quebrada de Humahuaca and its isolated peasant villages. The indigenous village of Purmamarca is surrounded by the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors), whose layers show different geological periods. Further up stands the Paleta del Pintor (Painter's Pallet), named after its view of the multi-colored surrounding mountains. The Calilegua National Park lies on the province's eastern border. It has abundant birdlife, some dense subtropical cloud forest and offers good views of the Gran Chaco from Mount Hermoso (3600m/11,808ft).
The city of Salta, capital of Salta Province, is reputed to have the best preserved colonial architecture in Argentina. The most significant buildings are grouped around the central square, including the Cathedral, the Cabildo (Town Hall) which houses the Museo Historico del Norte, the Museo Colonial and the Museo de Bellas Artes and the Iglesia San Francisco. The province is well known for its spectacular train journey, el Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds), which ascends the Quebrada del Toro and climbs up to the puna (plateau). The climax of the trip is the crossing of the la Polvorilla viaduct (4182m/13,716ft above sea level). Around 100km (63 miles) south of Salta, the Quebrada de Cafayete is a landscape of barren sandstone known for its distinctive formations, such as the Garganta de Diablo (Devil's Throat). Surrounding Cafayete are many vineyards, which flourish in the warm, dry and sunny climate. Los Cardones National Park is known for its large cacti, reaching heights of up to 6m (20ft).
In Salta we find the old Argentina. The northwest part of the country is the one where the first Spanish settlers and the aboriginal inhabitants first mix, and keeps so far a historical flavour since that time. El tren de las nubes is a must and Cachi, Cafayate, and Quebrada de Humahuaca are worth to visit too. 3 days minimum. Best time to go is from April to October.
Salta, Argentina, is visited by tourists from all over the world, drawn to this city for its beauty and historical interest. Lying in the fertile Lerma Valley, surrounded by mountains, the aesthetic experience of visiting Salta is apparent with its striking colonial Hispanic architecture, hundred-year-old monuments, cathedrals, and plentiful museums. Travelers also use Salta as a base for excursions to the Andes, most notably the "El Tren a las Nubes" tour (The Train in the Clouds).
Another Andean province offering green valleys with subtropical vegetation surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Within the Tafi Valley lies the Parque de los Menhires, named after its interesting collection of stones decorated by Tafi Indians. Also worth a visit are the ruins at Quilmes, an ancient fortified citadel built by Quilme Indians.
This province is flanked by the Sierra del Colorado in the west and the Sierra Graciana in the east, with San Fernando del Valle del Catamarca being the provincial capital. The region is popular for hiking, trekking and horseback riding tours to the surrounding mountains.
Santiago del Estero
The provincial capital of Santiago del Estero Province, named after the province, is the country's oldest city, with numerous churches and old colonial buildings. The province is renowned for its spas and warm thermal pools, the most popular being at Rio Hondo and las Aguas del Sol.
This province has a large variety of mountains, canyons, gorges and red-earthed plains. The Talampaya Canyon is one of its most famous natural attractions, owing mostly to its peculiar rock formations. The town of Nonogasta has many vineyards and wine cellars open just for you ja ja. La Puerta de Talampaya is well known for its petroglyphs.
Comprising the provinces of Rio Negro, Neuquen, Chubut and Santa Cruz, Patagonia the southernmost portion of South America (located in both Argentina and Chile) is a vast region with numerous parks and nature reserves. The Patagonian coast is home to large herds of seals, sea lions, blue whales and thousands of penguins.
One of the best-known resorts in the southern Lake District is San Carlos de Bariloche, which is surrounded by lakes, glaciers and forested mountains and which has both modern tourist amenities such as shopping areas and casinos, as well as hiking, mountaineering and picnic sites. Skiing is possible in Gran Catedral, a well-known resort with modern facilities. The nearby Nahuel Huapi National Park contains the massive Nahuel Huapi Lake, stretching over 100km (63 miles) to the border with Chile. Within the lake area lies the Isla Victoria, a natural sanctuary, which can be reached by private or organized boat trips. Traveling south, a road through spectacular scenery, passing the shores of three lakes, leads to El Bolson, 130km (82 miles) from Bariloche, known for its hops and fruit orchards. The Feria Artesanal, a market held in El Bolson on Saturday (and on Thursday during summer), provides a good opportunity to sample local dishes. Possible excursions within the area include the trail to the Cabeza del Indio, a rock formation resembling the noble savage, with good views of the Rio Azul and Lago Puelo en route.
The town of Junin de los Andes is well known for trout fishing and offers good access to the Lanin National Park. Nearby San Martin de los Andes, located on Lake Lacar, is close to one of Argentina's main winter sports destinations in Cerro Chapelco. San Martin is connected to Bariloche by a scenic road (also called the 7 lakes route), leading past spectacular lakes and through a landscape of snow-capped mountains, waterfalls and gigantic trees. The region's principal attraction is the Lanin National Park, a fairly untouched area dominated by the extinct, snow-capped Volcan Lanin (3776m), and characterized by rare plant and animal species (including raul, a type of beech, and pehuin, the monkey puzzle tree). On the northern shore of Nahuel Huapi National Park lies Villa la Angostura, a resort whose main interest is the nearby Los Arrayanes National Park.
Located on the Quetrihu peninsula (connected to Angostura by an isthmus), this park is best known for the El Bosque de Arrayanes, a forest of arrayan (cinnamon-barked) trees, many of which are over 100 years old. The Siete Lagos scenic road connects the park to San Martin de los Andes.
Puerto Madryn, founded by Welsh settlers, is a popular base for excursions to the nearby wildlife sanctuary at the Peninsula Valdes nature reserve in Chubut Province, where large numbers of sea lions, elephant seals and penguins frequent the beaches. Further north, the Isla de los Pajaros bird sanctuary is home to cormorants, flamingos and egrets. A number of trails and spots in the area provide opportunities for observing colonies of sea lions and elephant seals, notably at Punta Delgada, in the sheltered bay of Caleta Valdes, below the cliffs of Punta Loma and the nature reserves of Punta Norte and Punta Piramide the latter also being the main base for whale-sighting trips to the Gulf of San Jose, the best time to see whales is from August to December. The Punta Tombo reserve is known for its vast colonies of Magellanic penguins (around half a million of which use the reserve as a breeding ground from September to April). Further south, near the sunny town of Esquel, is los Alerces National Park, which protects vast stretches of the tall and long-lived (400 years) alerce conifer trees.
One of the province's main attractions is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed los Glaciares National Park, an area of great natural beauty, with rugged mountains and numerous glacial lakes, including Lake Argentino. Accessible from the busy tourist town of El Calafate, the park's centerpiece is the Moreno Glacier, one of the earth's few advancing glaciers. Huge icebergs calve and topple into Lake Argentino at the so-called Canal de los Timpanos (Iceberg Channel), and there are nearby catwalks and platforms from which to observe this event. It is also possible to visit the Upsala Glacier via a boat trip from Puerto Bandera along Lake Onelli and past floating icebergs.
Tierra del Fuego
Over half of this remote southern province belongs to Chile. Tierra del Fuego is the gateway to the Antarctic.
Long a rival tourist destination to Buenos Aires, Cordoba is considered by many to be the cultural heart of Argentina. With colonial architecture located across from electronics manufacturers, the clash of classic and contemporary is quite apparent. Music, theater and the arts are especially prevalent here, with several important South American writers as natives of Cordoba in the past century.
Nestled within Argentina's Parana River Delta ecological zone is Tigre, a pretty town on one of the thousands of islands that abound here. With its plethora of small rivers, channels, and backwaters, this subtropical wonderland is best explored by boat or cruise. Once in Tigre, travelers will find great local restaurants, accommodations, two museums, and many water sports, including fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.