As one of the ten largest countries on earth, Argentina has carved out a niche as one of the travel industry giants. Whether its the awe-inspiring Mt. Fitzroy or the Perito Moreno glacier down in Patagonia, the lush vineyards of Mendoza, or the fantastic sights of Buenos Aires; you´re not short on fabulous locations to visit.
Though if you stick with the gringo trail, you´ll be missing some truly incredible places!
Don´t get me wrong, all of those places are worth visiting. However, after a long road trip through the land of gauchos and vino, I discovered these popular locations were just cherries on top of a very large sundae.
Here are some places you should consider on your next visit!
I´m certain you´ve heard of this magical waterfall, which is reputed to be the second largest on earth. Though surprisingly, the majority of tourism at Iguazu comes from other South American nations. Foreigners from other continents visit, but not in the volume you´d expect for such an impressive natural wonder. Many people skip the Argentinian side of the falls altogether in favor of the more sweeping, panoramic views offered by Brazil.
This would be a terrible mistake!
Having seen both sides of the falls, if I had to choose one, I´d pick Argentina since there´s a LOT more to see and do on that side. There are hiking trails and numerous looks outs that bring you into close proximity of the falls, including the famous Gargantua del Diablo, which is where the falls are at their largest. Wildlife can be seen on the trails to the different look-outs. My husband and I saw monkeys, a caiman (alligator), and tons of beautiful birds.
And of course, the famous Coatis!
Also, for those who choose to do the boat ride under the falls, which I highly recommend, it´s considerably cheaper in Argentina.
This pretty little town in the state of Entre Rios isn´t even a blip on most people´s radar, but it should be on yours! Aside from the trendy dining options downtown and the spectacle of gauchos breaking wild horses on the side of the road, this town has some delightful things to share with the savvy traveler.
There´s the Castillo de San Carlos (Castle of San Carlos), which both hosted the author and served as part of the inspiration for the book The Little Prince. There are also clear water, sandy beaches along the Rio Uruguay for you to cool off on a hot summer day. Just north of the city, there´s a lake with water sports and campsites.
This is also a border crossing for those looking to continue to Uruguay over land.
Another hidden gem that´s the capital of its namesake state, which sits across the river from Paraguay. Disproving the myth that all border towns are seedy, Formosa welcomes visitors with its panoramic waterfront boardwalk, friendly locals, delicious dining, and trendy shops. If you arrive from the desolate Charo region, this will truly be a breath of fresh air!
There´s a historic mission, picturesque churches, and a natural history museum with interesting artifacts of the region. Camping and tours of Parque Nacional Rio Pilcomayo are available, as well as fishing. This is also an official border crossing with Paraguay.
Another state capital that deserves a shout out is this diamond in the rough. Dating back to 1573, Cordoba has the oldest church and university in the country. The latter of which took almost 300 years to complete!
A fascinating blend of colonial and modern architecture, the second-largest city in the country doesn´t disappoint its visitors. Museums, art galleries, botanical gardens, historic walking tours, terrific dining, and nightlife options abound. The mountains outside town are a popular location for horseback riding and tours of Argentina´s less-traveled wine vineyards. My only regret is not having more time to spend in this charming place!
Remember to take it slow when traveling through Argentina! There is much to see and do in this incredibly diverse nation. Just a heads up, the majority of businesses (especially in rural towns), close around 1:30-2 p.m. and won´t reopen until around 7 p.m.