Argentina is an incredible country, and we packed in as much to see as possible during our time here. I was never much drawn to wildlife sightings. Experiences like safari or whale watching were never of interest. Argentina changed all of that for me.
My world has been opened, and our encounters with wildlife have granted me a newfound appreciation for nature. Perhaps everyone would care a lot more about climate change if they step away from concrete jungles a bit more often and be in touch with Mother Earth.
Below is a summary of our itinerary through Argentina, with relevant blog posts linked to provide more details. I hope this guide helps you to discover Argentina, and see what this mesmerizing side of our planet has to offer!
Day 1-4: Buenos Aires
Explore Buenos Aires’ vibrant culture. Enjoy a tango show, learn about the colorful history of historic La Boca neighborhood, and indulge in delicious Argentinian steak.
Lodging: Friend’s home in Palermo
Day 5: Salta
Fly up to Salta and prepare for an epic road trip. This transit hub is filled with its own fascinating history with lots to discover.
Lodging: Villa Vicuna Boutique Hotel
Day 6: Humahuaca
As we drive from Salta up North toward Humahuaca, landscape switches from luscious to rocky, reaching the impressive 7-color mountain, a geological marvel.
Lodging: Munay Humahuaca
Day 7: Purmamarca via Tilcara
Purmamarca is an ideal transit hub for trips to Salinas Grandes. Before arriving from Humahuaca, stop in Tilcara, drive up toward the waterfall Del Diablo and see this beautiful valley from above.
Lodging: Huaira Huasi
Day 8: Salta
Head to Salinas Grandes to see this vast salt flat in person. Bring sun protection! Enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Take the road less traveled back to Salta for an up-close encounter with some beautiful vicunas.
Lodging: Solar de la Plaza
Week 2: 4 Days in Ushuaia & 4-Days in El Calafate
Day 9-12: Ushuaia
Fly to Ushuaia, and get a taste of being at the End of the World. Cruise down the Beagle Channel and go for a hike at Terra Del Fuego.
Lodging: Cabanas del Martial
Day 12-15: El Calafate
Fly North to El Calafate. Experience glaciers first-hand at Perito Moreno, and see the real-life Patagonia logo at Mount Fitz Gerald in El Chaltén.
Lodging: Solares Del Sur Patagonia
Day 15: Trelew
Fly Eastward to Trelew for impressive wildlife sighting. Prepare for another epic road trip in this region.
Lodging: La Casa de Paula Bed & Art
Day 16: Gaiman via Punta Tombo
Get up close with penguins at Punta Tombo, pay respect to sea lions at Isla Escondida, and end the day with high tea in Gaiman, and learned about the incredible history of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia.
Lodging: Posada Los Mimbres
Day 17-19 Puerto Madryn
Drive up to Puerto Madryn and enjoy the last few days of Patagonia with more animal sighting, including whale watching at Penisula Valdés!
Lodging: Dazzler by Wyndham Puerto Madryn
Alternative Itinerary Options
If I could do it over, these are a few modifications that I would consider to spread our time less thin and also a more cost-effective journey.
Combine Northern Argentina and Northern Chile
We weren’t 100% sure that we would travel across Chile, so we had planed two separate trips between Buenos Aires to Northern Argentina and Santiago to Northern Chile. One option is to combine these two northern regions in one trip to eliminate the back-and-forth. The downside is that the sceneries are somewhat similar, and you may not appreciate as much as if you took separate trips. I feel seeing these two northern regions nearly two months apart helped me appreciate them more individually.
Skip Ushuaia and Allot More Time in El Chalten
While visiting the city at the “End of the World” was a unique experience, in retrospective, the carbon footprint and costs to reach this remote area didn’t seem worth it. Instead, I would have allocated the time and resources to more days hiking in El Chaltén, and spend a few nights in this town, rather than a short day trip from El Calafate.
Focus on either Northern & Center Argentina or Patagonia
Argentina is a rather large country. Our itinerary was comprehensive, but also felt really rushed, and absolutely not environmentally friendly. A great alternative may be to focus on one region and spend a lot more time slow traveling through it rather than attempting to cover the whole country. When a trip is really hectic and filled with so many activities, sometimes travel fatigue sets in, and we fail to enjoy a place as much. Slower and more focused travel can be an excellent alternative to get to know a place more intimately.