Since Argentina is such a vast country filled with beautiful and interesting destinations in every corner and with only about two weeks to explore it, we knew we’d have to pick only a few places to visit. While we would have loved (and still would like) to travel north to explore the area of Salta, visit the wine region of Mendoza, and see the famed Iguazu Falls, we knew our top priority was experiencing Patagonia. And it did not disappoint!
We flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, known as “la cuidad al fin del mundo” (the city at the end of the world) because of its location at the tip of South America. (It’s the most common port for cruises going to and from Antarctica!) We spent three days here and found the town to be really lovely, despite its chilly weather even in the middle of summer. From there we flew to El Calafate which we used as a jumping off point to visit Perito Moreno Glacier, and then hopped on a bus to explore the smaller town of El Chalten for four days.
Here are the highlights from our time in each destination:
- Staying in a cozy Airbnb with the kindest hosts – Tamara and Asucena – at the top of a hill overlooking the town.
- Cruising the Beagle Channel, a natural passageway between Argentina and Chile, where we saw imperial cormorants and South American sea lions.
- Hiking to Laguna Esmeralda which provided some gorgeous views (and lots of muddy steps) along the way to the lake.
- Eating delicious empanadas at a chocolate shop in town!
- Taking a day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier – Wow. Wow! WOW!
- Located in Los Glaciares National Park, this glacier is 97 square miles and 19 miles high. It is highly unique in that it remains the same size year after year – it naturally expands and retreats at the same rate, while most other glaciers in the world are continuously melting.
- We took a cruise to view the south face of the glacier up close and then watched the north face from a platform. While observing it we saw many large pieces of ice fall off the glacier – you could hear it crash into the water. Such a surreal experience!
- Post-hiking craft beers at La Zorra bar.
- A fantastic dinner at Don Pichón – grilled lamb and vino tinto!
- It’s no surprise that all of our days in El Chaltén involved hiking. Here were our favorites:
- Laguna Capri – a steep hike to a turquoise lake with a beautiful mountain backdrop. We had a picnic at the top and enjoyed the view.
- Laguna Torre – a long, but worthwhile trek to another lake with clear views of snowy mountains, including Mount Fitz Roy.
- Chorillo del Salto – more of a walk, actually, to a stunning waterfall.
- Happy hours at the Cervezeria (delicious pizza, too) and Don Guerra.
- Delicious Argentinian ice cream (a birthday treat!) at Domo Blanco.