Itinerary 1: Buenos Aires and Surroundings
This is what most people will do, having only a week or less of vacation. Buenos Aires by itself is a great city to spend a holiday and provides a great base to explore the surrounding attractions! After Spending a few days in Buenos Aires, it is worth spending a day or two in Mar del Plata, considered the best beach in Argentina. It’s pretty cold to be a holiday beach (sea lions love the area for its cold waters), so best months to visit are December and January. Outside these months the beach is pretty empty, but being a city of over a million people, it will always offer the usual city life.
Uruguay offers the best beach options south of Brazil, and Argentians know this. No wonder you will see them all invading their northern neighbor in the Summer! So including a side trip to Punta del Este in Uruguay in January is a must, with a nice little stop in Montevideo and Colonia, a cute little town on the other side of Rio de la Plata.
Close to Buenos Aires (and also considered a suburb) is La Plata, a part of the city that stretches on the shores of El Rio de la Plata. It’s a great place to stop for a day or two at one of the many Kite surf clubs to learn the sport or to ride and River’s shallow waters. The waters are a little brownish, making it no Hawaii… But it’s as clear as it gets to Argentinian Standards.
Other stops that could be considered are Tigre, a little town westward and also a little further, Santa Fe and Rosario, Leonel Messi’s home town and a nice city in the summer. I had the chance to discover it with local friends of mine during holiday season, where people love to hang out on an island in the middle of the River to enjoy sunny days and party all day!
Itinerary 2: The Essential South Loop Around Argentina
This is the must do trip of Argentina, the “cream de la cream” of its destination in the south. This itinerary will probably take around 3 to 4 weeks so plan more time than you need because chances are you will want to stay extra days while you discover new options on the way. Start in Buenos Aires and follow the itinerary one. Catch a bus and Go straight to Bariloche, where you will meet more Brazilian tourists in search of satisfying their dream of touching Snow than local Argentines. This place is stuffed with activities so you can reserve a few days.
Continue down with the good bus service going along route National 40, where you will cross villages in the middle of deserted valleys that seem to appear from nowhere. Eventually, you will arrive at the highlight of Argentina in my opinion: El Chalten and El Calafate. This is where I managed to shoot some of my best photography in my online studio emporiostudio.com, thanks to the beauty of its glaciers, blue lakes, and stunning hiking trails. Next stop is Ushuaia to reach the most southern city, where you can plan tours and hikes around the area and islands and also a visit to the penguins.
On the way back up I recommend flying to avoid backtracking, but coming back through the coastal road is also an option, through Puerto Madryn.
Itinerary 3: The Road to Patagonia
Start by including the Itinerary 1’s recommendations, then start going west towards Rosario for a day, and all the way up Puerto Iguazu to visit its majestic Water Falls. Make sure to include a visit on the Brazilian side as it is much more enjoyable to see it from that angle. For those countries that need a Brazilian visa, a one day visa is available to visit the falls from Puerto Iguazu. Take a Bus to Salta in the north, a nice peaceful city that many travelers use on their way to Bolivia. If you have extra time, I highly recommend doing a 3-day adventure to Uyuni, in Bolivia, where you will find the biggest Salt Flats in the world, a great place to stack up some wonderful pictures for that Instagram account.😃 Continue to Cordoba for a few days, Argentina’s Second city and a place that I have long wanted to discover more on a future trip. Then reach Mendoza to experience a bit of Wine culture, visit a Malbec winery and treat yourself with some of my favorite wines in the world. If it’s winter, it’s worth stopping skiing in Las Leñas, king of ski resorts in the Andes. Continuing to Santiago de Chile is another option, the road is amazing by itself, crossing through the Peaks of the Andes.