Around the World

Extreme Destinations for an Argentina Trip

If you plan to visit Argentina and are in search of adventure, the country boasts a plethora of landscapes that might fit the bill. Due to geography, Argentina possesses varied wild vistas. The western border is marked by the Andes, producing some high altitude, singular places in which the action of the earth is clearly etched. To the south, as temperatures get colder, the low mountains host ancient glacier fields, some of the last of their kind in the region. Continue farther south and you reach the very tip of the continent, shared with Chile, where some of history’s greatest explorers made their names and sometime met their fates. In short, travelers seeking extremes have plenty to choose from to organize a trip to Argentina.

In the far northwest are some of the world’s most photographical landscapes. Salta is the base city for exploration here. It is one of Argentina’s oldest Spanish cities and its fifth largest. This colonial jewel is surrounded by treasures of nature. Travel by car and you’ll see dry hills suddenly give way to multicolored canyons, in shares of brown, red, tan, yellow, orange, and green. Magnificent geologic formations invite exploration on foot, bike, and horseback, while ruins of old settlements inspire wonder at the region’s oldest human inhabitants. Tilcara, Humahuaca, and San Pedro are just some of the landmarks to hit

Further south is Mendoza, a destination better known for its wines and leisure rather than for extreme adventure. However, Mendoza lies on the foothills on the Andes and on a clear day, the mighty Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, is visible in the distance. Climbers and trekkers tackle bigger or smaller parts of this formidable slope as they wish. For multi-day treks, camping is also permitted.

El Calafate is squarely in Argentina’s Patagonia region. This town is a base for one of the most popular destinations for Argentina trips and that is Perito Moreno, the famous glacier. Although it is highly visited, the glacier is still a solid reminder of the earth’s icy past. Calving chunks of ice crash into Lake Argentino with humbling power and trekking on the glacier’s surface reminds one again of the relation between the human body and the raw size and force of nature. A possible add-on to the itinerary is a venture into Torres del Paine National Park in neighboring Chile. El Chalten is another, smaller town where trekkers gather to venture into the gorgeous foothills of the region. Hikes to Mount Fitz Roy and other nearby peaks are the most popular activity.

Argentina (with Chile) boasts possession of the southernmost tip of South America. The biggest city here is Ushuaia, which one served as a penal colony and now is a pleasant Patagonia city. Skiing in Cerro Castor is a popular winter activity, and in the summer months (which are still chilly at this latitude), travelers like to hike in the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park or cruise on the Beagle Channel, sometimes all the way to Punta Arenas in Chile. Finally, Ushuaia is also the starting point of many an Antarctica cruise.