Perhaps the most well known tourist destination in Patagonia, Bariloche is located on the southern shores of the Lake Nahuel Haupi in the western extreme of the Rio Negro province. Surrounded by majestic mountains and lakes, it is the preferred vacation spot for many Argentines. It originated as a German colony more with more connections to Chile than Argentina. As it was so remote and disconnected from the rest of Argentina, it wasn’t until the arrival of the railroad in the 1930s that it really began to flourish as a city. The charming city center was designed to have the appearance of a traditional European central alpine town. All year round, Bariloche offers a picturesque and diverse setting for travels and adventures.
Salta and Jujuy
Nicknamed “La Linda,” Salta is known for the beautiful, natural scenery of the valleys in the region. Salta is situated in the Andes Mountains in the southernmost region of what was once the Inca Empire. It has a strong Spanish tradition, which mixed with the Argentine “gaucho” (cowboy) culture, creates a unique identity, rich in folklore and filled with striking, colonial architecture. There is plenty to see in the region of Salta and its neighboring state Jujuy, so at least a four to five days - or even a week - would be recommended for your visit.
Mendoza’s slogan - “the land of good sunshine and good wine” - says it all. Mendoza is set in the foothills of the Andes Mountains and famously lodges Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. Also the center of the Argentine wine industry, Mendoza is an oasis of culinary and wine successes, as well as thrilling outdoors activities like rafting and horseback riding. Mendoza is great for a three or four day weekend, or even a week.
Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, lies at the tip of the South American continent in between the Martial mountains and the famous Beagle Channel. Part of the province of Tierra del Fuego, it is located less than 20 miles from the Chilean border. Within Argentina, it is well known as a center for technological manufacturing as well as tourism. Whether you’re skiing or snowboarding on the Cerro Castor or taking a boat across the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia is a destination best enjoyed outdoors, despite the frosty temperatures. Arrive to land of penguins with a three and a half hour flight, and take advantage of the breathtaking landscapes to wow your friends with pictures from the “fin del mundo.”
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, is just across the Rio de la Plata river from bustling Buenos Aires, but it seems worlds away. Its “Barrio Histórico” (historic quarter), which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is constructed of winding cobblestone streets and colorful houses, reminiscent of the port city’s Portuguese roots. Colonia is usually enjoyed as a day trip, but if you’d like a relaxing weekend away, it’s a nice option for that too.
Taller than Niagara Falls and four times as wide with 275 cascades spread in a horseshoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazú River, the Iguazú Falls offer an unforgettable experience and a spectacle of nature. Upon seeing Iguazú’s sheer beauty, the United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed, “Poor Niagara!” Iguazú is perfect for a three-day weekend getaway.
Buenos Aires City
Called the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of South America and has cultural offerings for everyone, ranging from myriad restaurants and historical sites to dance houses and expansive city parks. It has enough entertainment options to keep you satisfied for a lifetime, and indeed, many who visit end up staying forever. The city has a population of 3.5 million people, with a metro area containing 12 million more, so it is the bustling hub of the country and offers a fast-paced backdrop to work and life.
San Isidro has a strong identity as a value-centered community with a focus on family, social clubs, friends, and sports, and it is one of the most affluent cities in the region. With a population of about 292,000 “sanisidrenses” (residents of San Isidro), San Isidro offers more of a small town feel where people know each other personally, but at the same time, it is still a very attractive place to live and visit because of its historic landmarks, vibrant sports offerings, and green waterfront venues.
A pleasant getaway from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires, Tigre is a popular weekend jaunt for “porteños.” Located on the river delta, Tigre literally lives on the water. You can rent kayaks, take a boat ride, enjoy lunch by the riverside, and take a stroll along the riverbanks. Tigre is also known for its local markets and varied merchants, so it is an excellent place to find handicrafts and gifts.
Considered the second city of Argentina, Córdoba is nestled within a low mountain range known as the Sierras de Córdoba. It boasts Argentina’s oldest university, a mix of great nightlife and culture, and lots of cute little resort towns in the surrounding area. The locals, known as Cordobeses, are jovial folks renown for their fondness for making practical jokes. As in the rest of Argentina, family, friends, and asado are staples, but Córdoba even has its own provincial beverage: fernet and coke. While the city itself is important architecturally and historically, nearby are enough lakes, rivers, and streams to keep you connected with nature throughout your visit. Porteños look at Córdoba as a place to escape from big city life, so it’s common to spend a day or two in Córdoba capital and then head to the outskirts in the surrounding mountains to enjoy the lush green views.