If my writing goes south, I know what to do. After 5 years of actively putting together my own itineraries, I think it’s safe to say I’m a pretty good travel (party, event, anything) planner. I get so many emails and DMs stating the following:
Hi Lesley! I have 7-10 days to spend in Argentina. Where should I go?!
Please use this as a guide to plan accordingly. Do you want mountains or city life or waterfalls or wine? SO MUCH is happening down south, so take a peek at all the options below. After living in Argentina for two years and now being a frequent visitor (and wannabe citizen), I’ve put together my favorite itineraries with LATAM Airlines – the only way to get down south!
Much unlike Europe, South America isn’t too savvy with the rail system, which leaves planes and buses as the main means of transportation. If you do have a shorter time frame in South America, I urge you to A) extend it (you’ll thank yourself later) and B) never, ever take a long bus ride (you’ll curse yourself later).
USA –> Buenos Aires
From anywhere in the U.S. and direct from Miami, flying LATAM Airlines to Buenos Aires was so comfortable. Traveling from LAX on the Dreamliner, I did a stopover in Santiago before flying into Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires. The food on board was better than a lot of restaurants I’ve been to ON LAND and honestly…I could’ve stayed in the sky hours longer with those lay flat seats and that Mendoza wine. Long-haul flights are my happy place 🙂
As far as the city of Buenos Aires goes, please check out my City Guide to Buenos Aires here full of hotels, restaurants, neighborhoods, bars, shopping and days trips. You’ll probably want at least 3 days here.
Domestic Travel inside Argentina
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
AEP –> FTE
The best thing about traveling domestically from Buenos Aires? Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery airport is right inside my beloved Palermo neighborhood. It takes approx. 15 minutes or less to arrive at check-in where I get all the feels before boarding a plane south. El Calafate is the gateway to Argentine Patagonia where all the tourists (and twice myself now) have hiked the Perito Moreno glacier. It’s kind of a right of passage when you venture this far and while you’re here… absolutely rent a car and pay a visit to Fitz Roy in El Chalten (~3 hour drive from El Calafate). Where to stay? Look no further than Eolo, a place so nice I’ve stayed twice!
Now that I have you hooked on Argentine Patagonia, feel free to cross into Chilean Patagonia with Quasar Expeditions. My favorite road trip I’ve ever taken was on their curated 9 Day Overland Safari trip in one of their Jeeps. Stop at Tierra Patagonia for your new favorite hotel at the southernmost tip of the world…then you’ll really be in trouble (i.e. want to stay forever). I’m making plans to retire here for sure.
As for timing in Patagonia, this is hard to answer. I would make time for at least 2-3 days in El Calafate and the same amount of time in El Chalten. Crossing into Chile would take up another 4 days at the very minimum on your itinerary…but timing depends on SO much, mostly the kind of traveler you are and if you want to pack it all in. Honestly, I could spend a lifetime here and still have so much to see in a second life. To properly explore this massive region of the world, it takes a precious resource: TIME.
Drink, Drank, Drunk
AEP –> MDZ
Discover the Argentina Malbecs of Mendoza and treat your taste buds to some wine tasting while soaking up the view of the Andes. The first time I stepped foot in this South American wine country and sipped its fine Malbec, I was hooked, not to mention drunk in love with Mendoza. Besides the copious amounts of delectable vinos throughout the various regions, the views of the Andes aren’t too shabby either. After visiting the region five different times and all in different seasons, I’m a self proclaimed wine oenophile and snob. Find out more on what to sip, see and where to sleep 😉 You’ll want at least 3 days here to soak it all up!
Definitely Go Chasin’ Waterfalls
AEP –> IGR
You hear them before you see them. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per second rushing over one of the world’s most awe-inspiring attractions. Bordering the countries of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, the Iguazú Falls are located where the Iguazú River tumbles over the Paraná plateau. I walked along both the Argentina side and Brazilian side. I saw the falls from a boat. Hands down, the coolest perspective is from the air via helicopter! I stayed at the Sheraton a few years back (or try the brand new Awasi hotel) on the Argentina side or the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas in Brazil. Both are mere feet from the falls. You’ll want 1-2 days here, depending how much you want to revel in all the water!
LATAM flies to many destinations inside Argentina and may I suggest the following: Salta for more wine (MmmMm Torrontes!), Bariloche (crazy beautiful scenery/hiking and yummy chocolate!), and Ushuaia where you can hang out with the penguins in the world’s southernmost city. If you have another week+ and bank account to spare, I’d hit Antarctica while you’re down there.
I get around a lot…meaning I fly a ton. I’m on an airplane it seems every other week, and I’ve done my fair share of research in the South America airline industry. The best in the game is LATAM Airlines, Latin America’s largest airline holding company based out of Santiago, Chile. Being a member of the oneworld alliance with more than 750 destinations in over 150 countries around the world pretty much puts them at the top of my Bookmark Bar. In my experience, the company excels in offering various flight times and destinations, modern planes, in-flight services/amenities, and the best wine list out there.