There are many great reasons to visit Argentina, from the bustling streets of Buenos Aires to the quiet glacial gateway of El Calafate. You’ll view epic panoramas of craggy mountains and sail upon exquisite alpine lakes fed by nearby ancient glaciers. We know there are different Argentina tours to choose from so to help you further explore the idea of taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to another hemisphere, we’ve put together our 5 favorite reasons to explore the country on our Argentina: Walking in Patagonia vacation.
The World Class Walking: One of our favorite days begins with a lovely morning stroll to the Los Glaciares National Park Ranger Station where you’ll learn more about the history and natural wonders of this Patagonian region. Continue uphill on the Mirador de los Condores trail, where you’ll be rewarded with spellbinding views of the Adela mountain range, including the picturesque peaks of Cerro Torre and Monte Fitz Roy (the inspiration for the famous mountain logo of the Patagonia clothing company). The lookout point at the highest elevation of your walk is in a strategic vantage point for sightings of magnificent gliding condors.
The Rugged Mountain Town: Close to the Chilean border, El Calafate, is an old settlement town which has grown into a magnet for nature lovers, trekkers, and mountaineers; its outpost quality is hard to resist. You may want to browse the shops along Paseo de los Artesanos, brimming with local handicrafts made from leather, silver and alpaca wool. Or walk from your hotel to the shores of Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve, where flamingos and black-necked swans wade.
The Magnificent Glaciers: There are over 45 glaciers in Los Glacieres National Park, the largest of which, the Viedma Glacier has a surface area of almost 1000 square km! After sailing upon azure waters across Harbour Tunnel Bay on a catamaran, you’ll arrive at a rocky promontory and disembark to begin your ice trekking adventure. Once instructed on the technical and safety procedures, you’ll begin the exploration of this massive glacier.
The Big City: One of the perks of a VBT vacation is the optional pre-trip extension (the post-trip extension takes you to the much heralded Argentina Wine Country in Mendoza). If you choose to take advantage of this option, you can enjoy exploring the capital of Argentina for three days before flying to Patagonia. Buenos Aires is one of the world’s great cities, often referred to as the “Paris of South America” with its grand baroque buildings and wide avenues. Your hotel, in the upscale and centrally located Recoleta neighborhood, is just steps from such historical sites as the cemetery where Eva Peron (Evita) is buried. Explore the nearby neighborhoods of Palermo Viejo with chic bars and designer shops or wander the renovated docks of Puerto Madero with their superb restaurants. No visit to Buenos Aires would be complete without a visit to San Telmo, the oldest part of town where tango dancers perform on every corner.
The Food: The food in Argentina, Patagonian cuisine in particular, is largely defined by the curing and smoking of meats – especially the Patagonian lamb – which are prepared by grilling for several hours over an open fire. Keep in mind that while winter is drawing near when you depart for Argentina, spring will be in full bloom once you arrive. Local vendors line the streets selling a variety of baked goods like empenadas and various pastries – be sure to sample an alfajor, a sweet cookie infused with local caramel. To wash it all down, or if you’re in need of a caffeine boost, sample Argentina’s unique tea, mate which is prepared by steeping dry leaves (and twigs) of the yerba mate plant in hot water. Traditionally, mate is consumed with friends by drinking it out of a hollow gourd with a metal straw.