In Argentina, a treasure trove awaits your clients. The country is well known for its cultural attractions, varied landscapes and great diversity of climates—from the lush rainforest surrounding Iguazu Falls and the stunning multi-hued landscapes and rich indigenous history of Salta and Jujuy to the grand lakes and snow-capped Andean peaks around Bariloche, not to mention the imposing glaciers in southern Patagonia.
And it goes without saying that no visit to Argentina is complete without soaking in the culture and sophistication of its capital, Buenos Aires. But this South American country offers far more than these better-known destinations. Following are some alternative recommendations for those clients who are a bit more adventurous and prefer more off-the-beaten-path locales or are looking to discover something new on a return visit to Argentina.
Valley of the Moon—Where Dinosaurs Reigned
Ischigualasto Provincial Park, more commonly referred to as Valley of the Moon because of its topography, is located in the northeastern province of San Juan and next door to Talampaya National Park. This UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, considered of great scientific importance, is very popular with paleontology lovers who come to admire the almost complete sequence of the Triassic period of the Mesozoic era and view the giant footprints of the dinosaurs that used to live in this area some 180 million years ago. The park is located about a 4-hour drive from the city of San Juan, and its main circuit, spanning about 25 miles, can be visited exclusively by car in about three hours and accompanied by an authorized guide. One of the most magical ways to explore Ischigualasto is on a full moon evening tour, which must be booked two days in advance.
Talampaya National Park, La Rioja—Exploring the Past
Neighboring Ishigualasto Provincial Park, Talampaya National Park is also a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site and provides great insight into one of the more important Triassic periods as it houses a rich diversity of fossils. The park’s impressive rock formations of red sandstone are the result of water erosion in a desert climate. It’s only possible to visit the park on a guided tour; various types of tours are available, including walking, biking, or in comfortable mini-buses with no walking involved. Like neighboring Ischigualasto, there are full moon evening tours for a memorable experience.
Campos de Piedra Pomez, Catamarca—Otherworldly
Considered one of Argentina’s seven natural wonders, Campos de Piedra Pomez, which literally translates to “Fields of Pumice Stone,” is located in the northern Catamarca province and dazzles with its desolate, otherworldly, and labyrinthine landscape of white volcanic rock. Over 5,000 rock formations up to 32 ft. high are concentrated in an area of about 40 sq. miles. The area’s inhospitable climate (the best time to visit is September to April and early morning visits are recommended before strong winds pick up in the afternoon) and more difficult access make it a great option for die-hard adventurers. It is only possible to access the park with a four-wheel drive vehicle and licensed guide.
Esteros del Ibera, Corrientes—Wildlife Galore
One of the most important freshwater reservoirs in South America and the second largest wetland in the world, the Ibera Wetlands are located in the northeastern province of Corrientes and house about 30 percent of Argentina’s biodiversity with 4,000 species of flora and fauna. One of Ibera’s main objectives is to re-introduce valuable species, such as the yaguarete, Pampas deer, anteater, tapir, collared peccary, red-and-green macaw, bare-faced curassow, giant otter, maned wolf and the red-legged seriema. There is also a project for reintroducing the jaguar to this natural habitat after an absence of over 70 years. A must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers.
Located in central Argentina, the province of Cordoba and its namesake capital city, Argentina’s second largest city after Buenos Aires, offer a wealth of natural and cultural attractions. In the city of Cordoba, architecture enthusiasts will find a rich collection of colonial and contemporary architecture, and the city is home to Argentina’s oldest university, the National University of Cordoba, established in 1613. Visitors will also get to step back in time to visit the Jesuit Block and its estancias, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its collection of 17th and 18th century buildings. They are considered a great example of a vast religious, political, economic, legal, and cultural system that extended over 150 years and blended European and Native American cultural elements with contributions from African slave laborers.
Just under an hour’s drive west of the city lies the resort town of Villa Carlos Paz, on the banks of San Roque Lake, a popular destination for those who like sailing and other water sports.
The town of Cosquin, meanwhile, is famous for the festivals it hosts such as the Cosquin Folk Festival, one of the most important folk music festivals in Latin America, as well as Cosquin Rock with performances from some of the best rock bands from Argentina and across the Spanish-speaking world.
Beer lovers can delight in the annual National Beer Festival, more commonly referred to as the Argentine Oktobefest, in the town of Villa General Belgrano located in the lush Calamuchita Valley. This picturesque town with a Bavarian feel was settled by Germans and other central Europeans and is famous for its craft beers and Central European delicacies.
La Pampa—Home of the Guacho
Argentina is famous for its Pampas, the sprawling grassy plains that have shaped gaucho culture. La Pampa province provides travelers with the opportunity to experience the immensity of these plains and sierras that extend as far as the eye can see and immerse themselves in the traditions of Argentine gauchos, visit classic estancias, and regale in an authentic asado (Argentine barbecue). Nature and wildlife enthusiasts can visit the Luro Park Reserve, home to the endemic calden tree and populations of red deer and rhea.
For more information, visit argentina.travel. For information on Argentina’s best fishing spots, check out Argentina—Keeping it ‘Reel’ Want to learn more about Argentina’s culinary prowess? Read A Toast to Argentina’s Cuisine