Top Destinations in Argentina (outside of BA)

(Photo by teipsum)

Summer is the time when locals take vacation and in Argentina there are many locations that are well worth visiting during the year’s warmer months. Of course, the most popular destinations are the beaches, both in Argentina and in Uruguay.  The Atlantic coast is a favorite of many and some of the hottest places to visit include Pinamar, Villa Gesel, Mar del Plata, Necochea and Punta del Este in Uruguay (find a full list of recommended beaches here).

Further South, in the Chubut province is Puerto Madryn a beautiful spot that is popular for scuba diving and for whale watching between the months of July to December.

(Photo by Perfídia)

The rest of the Patagonian region is also very popular due to its stunning lakes, forests and mountains. Recommended places in this region include Calafate in Santa Cruz, where the famous Perito Moreno glacier is located; El Chalten, which is the Argentine trekking capital; Bariloche; the beautiful Villa La Angostura, and many other towns and hidden spots, surrounded by vibrant buzzing nature.   The climate in the South is dry and it is an area known for its cuisine based on lamb,  trout,  smoked meats, berries and chocolate.

(Photo by gkamin)

Bordering the Andes, a little further up north is the Argentine wine region in the provinces of Mendoza, La Rioja, San Juan,and Salta. This area’s sceneries are also stunning and there are several wine routes in which visitors can stop by different wineries and try everything wine related. The fiesta de la vendimia  (harvest festival) will take place in March this year and from the 26th of February to the 5th of March there is a fun-packed event being prepared by La Morada de los Andes.  (http://www.lamoradadelosandes.com)

(Photo by David Alberts)

As previously mentioned Salta is part of the country’s most prolific wine region and it is also the home to a large indigenous community and unique landscapes. This makes it a very popular destination along with its northern neighbor Jujuy, despite the scorching heat. In this region referred to as el Norte (the north), some of the top attractions are the Cerro de los Siete Colores in Purmamarca and the famous Quebrada de Humahuaca in Jujuy, amongst many others.  Along with Gualeguaychu, in the province of Entre Rios, this is also one of the areas that make big celebrations for Carnival.

(Photo by Carina_85)

Another very popular tourist destination is Córdoba, which is a province in the center of the country with access to hills, rivers, streams and small cascades.  Some popular places are Villa Carlos Paz, La Cumbre, Capilla del Monte (reputed to be a place with unique energy and alien sightings!), the German village Villa General Belgrano and other tranquil towns (including San Pedro, a hippie commune and Cumbrecita an eco town). This region is also known for its typical alfajores.

(Photo by bitxo)

Finally, Argentina’s most popular tourist destination is the Iguazu Falls in Misiones. The sweltering heat dissuades many but still the stunning beauty of these well-known waterfalls attracts many a visitor. The province is also known for its unique vegetation and red earth, and for a stunning location called Saltos de Moconá, which is a long line of 10m high waterfalls that can be seen when the river tide is low.

Carnival Festivities in Argentina

(Photo by Paula Silva)

Brazil is the first destination that comes to mind when Carnival season arrives, however colorful festivities take place in most South American countries. Since carnival weekend is coming up we share with you some of the most effervescent alternatives in Argentina.

Gualeguaychu, Entre Rios: The Gualeguaychu Carnaval festival, in the province of Entre Rios to the North of Buenos Aires, is the most popular in Argentina. It is similar to the Brazilian Carnival and also includes a spectacular parade with choreographies, and fancy costumes.

Corrientes:  In the Corrientes province, which limits both with Entre Rios and Brazil, the carnival is also celebrated with big productions and a lot of street dancing. Some of the best places to go for the Corrientes festivities are Paso de los Libres (where there is a bridge connecting to Brazil), Goya, Santo Tomé, Esquina, Monte Caseros, Curuzú Cuatiá and Empedrado.

Salta: The Salta carnival is a showy display of dancing and feathers but also of  indigenous traditions related to harvest rituals. Water is one of the protagonists of the Salta festivities as it represents purification. It is not uncommon to end up soaking wet from unexpected water filled balloons and buckets. In the Calchaquí Valley, after the water games and street festivities, “carnavaleros” gather in someone’s house to have abundant lunches. In the evening dancing takes place at parties where flour and confetti is thrown. Finally, the carnival is buried on a Sunday. A hole is dug in the ground and the pullcay, a doll that symbolizes carnival, is buried whilst people sing, dance and cry.

Jujuy: The Jujuy and the Bolivian carnival have a lot in common. In the Quebrada de Humahuaca there is a predominant representation of demons that animate the festival. Costumes including masks with horns are accessorized with necklaces made of fruits, onions,  and goat cheese, amongst other edibles. These demons also carry traditional instruments and go around the city enticing the public to dance and participate. Finally the carnaval is buried in the afternoon on the outskirts of the village. Since they only like participation from those who are culturally linked with the celebration it is difficult to learn where the burial will occur. At the burial they dance and reverence the symbolic devil, surrounded by offerings of fruits, coca leaves, and chicha. Once the burial is finished those dressed up as demons quickly change back into their clothes.

In other Argentine provinces there are also Carnival festivities, but not to the same degree of those previously mentioned. In Buenos Aires it is common to run into murgas, learn more about them here.