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Overview

South of Argentina's Colorado River, this vast, thinly populated land of beaches, headlands, steppes, forests, lakes and icefields has fascinated armchair travelers ever since Magellan's crew returned to Spain with 16th-century tales of southern giants. In recent years, growing numbers have abandoned their armchairs to behold the Moreno Glacier, near the town of El Calafate, but it's just one of myriad highlights that give good reason for multiple trips.

The shoreline and seas around arid Península Valdés, for instance, have abundant wildlife almost all year, including elephant seals, sea lions, and penguins, but the ...

South of Argentina's Colorado River, this vast, thinly populated land of beaches, headlands, steppes, forests, lakes and icefields has fascinated armchair travelers ever since Magellan's crew returned to Spain with 16th-century tales of southern giants. In recent years, growing numbers have abandoned their armchairs to behold the Moreno Glacier, near the town of El Calafate, but it's just one of myriad highlights that give good reason for multiple trips.

The shoreline and seas around arid Península Valdés, for instance, have abundant wildlife almost all year, including elephant seals, sea lions, and penguins, but the star is the southern right whale — a midwinter arrival. Brushing the Chilean border, the city of Bariloche on Lake Nahuel Huapi is a destination for summer hikers and winter skiers, but there are more solitary locales for hundreds of miles north or south.

In the Pinturas River canyon along National Route 40, Argentina's loneliest road, the Cave of Hands is a World Heritage Site with the Southern Hemisphere's oldest rock art. Argentina shares the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego with Chile, but Ushuaia, the largest city in this "uttermost part of the earth," is the main gateway to Antarctica.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay
  • Language: Spanish, French, English
  • Currency: Argentine Peso
  • Research: Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    October to April, but some areas get crowded in January and February.