Argentina is a country with a great diversity of amazing national parks. Parks with fascinating glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, deep green forests, beautiful lakes and a unique marine life, with penguins, whales and sea lions. You can go hiking for hours, take boat trips, go horseback riding, climb mountains and even glaciers. Or just enjoy the breathtaking surroundings. I visited most of these parks multiple times and always love coming back. In this article I’m taking you to the most beautiful national parks in Argentina and I will give your tips for things to do, tours and the best time to visit.
The Perito Moreno glacier – Los Glaciares Argentina, one of the most beautiful national parks in the south
An absolute highlight during a trip through Argentina is the Perito Moreno glacier, located in Los Glaciares Argentina, one of the most beautiful national parks. This ice mass of up to five kilometers wide and seventy meters high, with its blue glow and shimmers, is a view that you will never forget. What is special is that you can get all the way to the glacier front without too much effort. Special footbridges and trails have been constructed and allow you to admire the glacier from different sides.
The glacier consists of more than 250 square kilometers of ice. If you are lucky you will even see some ice rocks falling into the water, causing a deafening sound.
The Perito Moreno glacier can be visited from El Calafate town. There are several ways to visit the glacier. You can book a tour to the Perito Moreno glacier, go by taxi or rent a car and drive yourself.
Things to do
The best way to admire the glacier is by following the different trails. Another great thing to do is to go on a boat trip and sail along the glacier for an hour. If you want to experience the glacier in a more adventurous way, there are also exciting kayak tours.
Always wanted to hike on a glacier? Then you should not miss the trekking at the Perito Moreno glacier. You can choose from a Minitrekking, where you are on the glacier for about 1 hour, or a Big Ice Trek, where you walk on the Perito Moreno glacier for 3 hours. With crampons, a helmet and an armor you move over the glacier and marvel at the colors blue, turquoise ponds, deep cracks and caves. Unforgettable! It is also possible to visit other glaciers from El Calafate, such as the Uppsala glacier. Keep in mind that tours are very populair and often sold out weeks in advance so book your tours in time.
Want to book your tour in advance and secure your spot? Check out prices and availability here.
- El Calafate: Minitrekking Perito Moreno Glacier
- Big Ice Trek Perito Moreno Glacier El Calafate
- Kayak experience at the Perito Moreno glaciar
- Perito Moreno glacier and boat tour
- Todo Glaciares boat trip to the Uppsala and Spegazzini glaciers
Level of difficulty
This is one of the national parks in Argentina with easy access. The trails are doable for everyone. There are even buses that can take you from the starting point of the walk to the end point, in case you don’t feel like walking at all. If you opt for an ice hike, you will obviously need to put some extra effort. And even though the minitrekking across the Perito Moreno glacier is doable. There is a minimum age of 8 and maximum age of 65 years. You are also not allowed to join if you are pregnant or have physical limitations. The Big Ice tour is more challenging but still doable for anyone with a normal level of fitness. You must be between 18 and 50 years old for this tour.
How to reach the Perito Moreno glacier
You can visit the glacier from El Calafate by private vehicle or go on a tour with transportation and a guide, wich might be interesting if you want to learn more about the history and formation of glaciers in Argentina. There are several flights to El Calafate with Aerolineas Argentinas, from Buenos Aires (3 hours and 15 minutes) and other major cities. El Calafate offers many restaurants, hotels and shops.
In my El Calafate travel guide you will find everything you want to know about visiting the Perito Moreno glacier and El Calafate in Argentina.
El Chaltén & Fitz Roy
El Chaltén is a village, located at the foot of the Fitz Roy, an impressive mountain range, located in the Los Glaciares national park. There are possibilities for a number of great day hikes, ranging from 2 to 10 hours. And the great thing is that you walk from the little town straight into the mountains. Since you walk the same way back and forward on all trails, you can easily return halfway.
If you are a good hiker, don’t miss the hike to Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torre. Both hikes take between 8 and 10 hours but are unforgettable. The visitor center offers free maps and trails are well marked throughout the area, so no reason to get lost. Don’t feel like walking? There are also horseback riding tours that allow you to explore the area in a different way.
Level of difficulty
From easy, normal to hard, depending on the trail you choose. Some parts of the trail are really steep but with some perseverance and without any physical limitations, you should be good to go. There is always a way to turn back. Bring solid hiking shoes and a windjacket and be prepared for all kinds of weather situations, as weather changes quickly.
Do you want to know more about hiking in El Chaltén? Check out my El Chaltén travel guide, including tips for trails, tours, best time to visit and a packing list.
Best time to visit El Chaltén
The best time to visit El Chaltén is in the Argentinian spring and summer, between November and February. Many trails are not accessible in winter. In addition, it is longer light in the summer, so you can hike for more hours.
How to reach El Chaltén
El Chaltén can be reached from El Calafate within 3 hours. In El Calafate you will find many tour and transportation options to El Chaltén. The road that leads to El Chaltén is just beautiful. On clear days you can already see the impressive granite rocks halfway the road.
Iguazú Falls Argentina – one of the most beautiful national parks in the northeast
In the northeast, on the border with Brazil, you will find the impressive Iguazú falls. Around 275 waterfalls, surrounded by a tropical vegetation, are plunging into the Iguazú River. It is one of those places that can give you a sense of how truly astounding nature can be. There are two ways of visiting the falls: From the Argentinian side and from the Brazilian side. And both sides make you experience the falls in a completely different way.
On the Argentine side of the border, you can cross several bridges and walk along the waterfalls. The Brazilian side offers a nice overview, where you’ll see the waterfalls from a distance. On both sides you will pass bromeliads, orchids and iguanas. Colored butterflies will follow you for minutes while coatis run curiously around in search of food.
What to do at the Iguazú falls
One of the highlights is the walk to La Garganta del Diablo, or the Devil’s Throat. At the top of this waterfall, surrounded by gigantic water clouds, you’ll get the most spectacular view of the crashing water. From the Argentinian side you can see the waterfall from above and on the Brazilian side from below. You get quite wet on both sides, so protect your cameras.
On the Argentine side, you have the possibility to go on a boat trip, that takes you around the falls. Be prepared for some serious showers, as you will experience a waterfall shower. Something not bad at all and even refreshing, given the tropical heat. But I recommend bringing a towel and some dry clothes, so you can change afterwards.
In Brazil it is possible to make a helicopter flight. With a maximum of 5 people, you’ll fly over the falls for about 10 minutes. That might feel short, but it is certainly enough to enjoy the views. From above, you can clearly see how the falls originated one day, as cracks in the earth. Of course this flight is not cheap, but it is truly an amazing experience.
Level of difficulty
There are clear and easy walking paths. Little trains, take you from one location to another, as distances between the trails and falls in the Argentinian park are long.
Best time to visit
You can visit Iguazú all year round. March, April and September could be the most perfect months though because of the water level and convenient temperatures. As Iguazú is located in a tropical environment, it can rain any time of the year. Tip: Try to avoid weekends and holidays as much as possible, as it will be very crowded at both sides, with local toursist coming from Argentina and Brazil.
How to visit the Iguazú Fall national park in Argentina
The Iguazú falls in Argentina are accessible from Puerto Iguazú town. There are several flights from Buenos Aires and other major cities, with Aerolineas Argentinas. The falls in Brazil are accessible from the city Foz do Iguaçu. It is also easy to visit Foz Do Iguaçu from Puerto Iguazú, for a day, or the other way around. Both cities offer many hotel and restaurant options.
Los Alerces national park
Los Alerces is definitely one of my favorite national parks in Argentina. You will find yourself between deep green forests and immense lakes, with the Andes mountains in the background. This area makes you realize that there are actually hundreds of colors blue and green. The park is known for its giant trees, including the Patagonian cypresses, hence the name Los Alerces. An average cypress seems to grow up to 50 meters high and 4 meters wide. You will also encounter cedars, conifers and other cypress species. It is particularly a tourist destination for the Argentines but if you come here outside the Argentinian holiday period, you almost have the park to yourself.
What to do
It is possible to drive through the park by car and stop at various places to go for walks. There are numerous trails, ranging from 1 hour to 7 hours. One of my favorite trails is the hike at “Las Pasarelas Rio Arrayanes”. You cross the river and walk on a flat path for an hour and a half. Along the way you will get to know the Patagonian trees and enjoy views of the lakes and surroundings.
Optionally, you can extend this easy hike, with a hard 7-hour hike. I only recommend this trail if you are into a lot of climbing. It is also possible to cycle and fish in the park. But even if you only feel like driving around, it is worth the visit. You can stop at so many places, sit down and enjoy the view. There are also camping possibilities. Free maps are available in the visitor centre.
Level of difficulty
It is up to you. You can make it as easy and hard as you wish.
Best time to visit
The area is wet and windy from April to September. In spring and summer, on the other hand, it is sunny, without it being too hot. However, as in the entire part of Patagonia, the weather can change within a minute. It is important to be prepared for rain, cold and sun at the same time. The Argentine holiday season runs from January to February. It will then be busier than the rest of the year.
How to reach national park Los Alerces in Argentina
Los Alerces is best reached from the city of Esquel, which is about 280 kilometers from Bariloche. Because the park is large, it is recommended to rent a car and take several walks from here. You can also drive through the park on the way to or from Bariloche. Don’t want to rent a car? You can book tours from Esquel.
Tierra del Fuego national park Argentina
Tierra del Fuego, known as the Land of Fire, is located in the southernmost part of Argentina. The park is situated on the famous Beagle Channel, near the city of Ushuaia. It is called “the end of the world” because it is the last piece of land before you reach Antarctica. The idea of being at the end of the world, makes this destination very unique.
What to do in Tierra del Fuego Ushuaia
The main reason to visit this national park is to go for beautiful hikes. There are several trails, including short distance hikes of 45 minutes or long walks of a few hours. I recommend taking the Costera, a trail of about 3 to 4 hours (8 km). You walk partly through the woods but most of the time along the Beagle Channel. All places and corners offer a different view of the canal, because of the trees and the special light. And every minute of the trail is worth it. You will walk along beech forests, marshes and peat and observe numerous waterfowl, geese, beavers and birds of prey. And if you’re lucky, you’ll even bump into a red fox.
Something to pay special attention to are the shell-covered hills. These are the former huts of the Yaghan, the former inhabitants that lived here hundreds of years ago. In this isolated place there is also a special post office, “the end of the world post office”, where you can send a post-card and have a stamp put in your passport.
Do you know where the name Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) comes from? When the Europeans first visited this part of the world, they saw many fires from a distance, which were lit by the local people. At that time it was named Land of Fire (Tierra del Fuego).
Level of difficulty
Easy, normal, hard and completely up to you. There are different ways to visit the park. Some parts are accessible by bus or car. You can get off at a number of places, take photos and go for a short or long walk. The visitor center offers clear maps, including bus schedules.
Check the prices and availability for a tour through Tierra del Fuego here.
Best time to visit Tierra del Fuego
The best time to visit this national park in Argentina, is between September and April. In winter it is cold and slippery and many hiking trails are closed. Ushuaia can still be visited in winter times, but more as a snow destination to go on a dog sledding tour among others.
How to reach Tierra del Fuego Argentina national park
Book a taxi and have him drop you off at different places. There are fixed rates and you can book transportation at the taxi station. Want to go on a guided tour? Check out prices and availability and book your Tierra del Fuego tour here. These tours include a guide, something very recommended if you want to learn more about the flora and fauna. Ushuaia is located in the southernmost part of Argentina. There are daily flights with Aerolineas Argentinas, JetSmart en FlyBondi from Buenos Aires (3 hours and 20 minutes), El Calafate (1 hour and 20 minutes) and Bariloche.
Discover the best things to do in this Ushuaia Argentina travel guide, including tips for hikes, tours, my favorite restaurants, best travel time and where to stay.
Nahuel Huapi national park
The Nahuel Huapi national park is located in the lake district of southern Argentina, in the province of Río Negro and Neuquén. The park is 710,000 hectares and consists for the most part of the Nahuel Huapi lake, including its islands and forests. It is often called the Switzerland of Argentina, because of the many mountains and lakes. The views of the shimmering water, the green forests and snowy mountain peaks are truly breathtaking. Bariloche is the main city to access the national park and a popular holiday destination for the Argentines.
What to do
There are countless options for hiking, outdoor activities and boat trips. Each height has its own plant species and in the woods you will be surrounded by impressive trees. A popular destination is a day trip to Puerto Blest, where you can go for a few short hikes. A boat will bring you from Puerto Pañuelo to Puerto Blest and back.
It is also possible to explore a number of areas by bike or horse. In addition, the area offers some great kayak and rafting tours. Check out the different tours and activities in Bariloche here.
Level of difficulty
Completely up to you. You can make it as easy and hard as you wish.
Curious about Bariloche? Discover the best things to do in this Bariloche Argentina travel guide, including tips for hikes, tours, restaurants, best travel time and where to stay.
When to visit
Bariloche and the Nahuel Huapi lake have two seasons. In spring and summer (September – April), it is an outdoor holiday destination. In winter (June – August), this is Argentina’s skiing paradise, where you can enjoy yourself at the ski slopes. For outdoor activities and boat trips, it is best to come in spring, summer and autumn.
How to reach Nahuel Huapi national park
Bariloche is a 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires and a 1 hour and 45 minutes flight from El Calafate. Aerolineas Argentinas and JetSmart offer different flights within Patagonia. It is also possible to visit other cities in the lake district, such as Villa La Angostura and San Martín de los Andes. I recommend renting a car in Bariloche and explore the area on your own.
Peninsula Valdes Argentina | one of the best national parks to observe sealife
Peninsula Valdes is a protected nature reserve on the east coast of Argentina, near the town of Puerto Madryn. Numerous animals gather annually, to mate and raise their young, due to the favorable climatic conditions. This national park in Argentina is therefore one of the best places in the world to see whales, seals and penguins in their natural habitat. Besides that, animals such as nandus, a kind of ostrich, armadillos, vicuñas and condors live here.
What to do around Peninsula Valdes
From Puerto Pirámides on Peninsula Valdes, daily boats depart between May and December for a whale watching tour. Since the mother whales often swim with their young on the surface, you will actually have a real good chance of seeing them.
It is also possible to make a big tour on Peninsula Valdes. You will stop at different viewpoints to observe animals and go for short walks. Keep in mind that distances on the peninsula are immense (60 x 100 km) and the roads are unpaved. So you will be driving for at least 2 hours to get from one point to another. On the way you enjoy the endless Patagonian steppes and grass plains passing by.
Curious about Peninsula Valdes? Check out prices and availability and book your Peninsula Valdes and whale watching tour here.
Punta Tombo is a peninsula, located in the Atlantic Ocean, near Peninsula Valdes. Every year, in Argentine spring, more than one and a half million penguins arrive here to breed. Between September and March you can visit this place to literally walk by their side. Punta Ninfas is a peninsula with a smaller Magellanic penguin colony and more limited visitor capacity, giving you a sense of exclusivity and privacy.
Beste time to visit Peninsula Valdes
The best time to go whale watching in Puerto Madryn is between May and December. In December, when the young are strong enough, the whales return towards the waters of Antarctica. The penguin colony of Punta Tombo and Punta Ninfas can be visited between October and March.
How to reach Peninsula Valdes
Want to learn more about Peninsula Valdes national park in Argentina and how to get there? Discover everything you want to know about Peninsula Valdes and surroundings in my Puerto Madryn travel guide.
Argentina travel itineraries
Argentina is a country that you can explore for months. But what if you a limited amount of time and still want to get the most out of your travels? What should you see and do? Have a look in my Argentina itineraries, I will give you tips for destinations in Argentina, hikes, national parks, tours, things to do and restaurants to include in your trip. Enjoy and get inspired to visit Argentina!
More about Argentina
Did you enjoy readig this article about Argentina national parks? Do you want to learn more about this beautiful country? With Passport the World I am taking you on a journey to discover Argentina. Discover more in my next articles.
- Things to do in Argentina
- Things to do in Ushuaia | tips for your stay
- Discover whales, penguins and sea lions in my Puerto Madryn travel guide
- El Calafate – a comprehensive guide with everything you want to know
- El Chaltén Argentina – a comprehensive guide with hikes and tips for your stay
- Discover Bariloche in Argentina
- Iguazu falls – everything you want to know
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