Chances are pretty good that if you're planning a trip to Argentina, you already know about Buenos Aires. You're also probably familiar with famous attractions like Iguazu Falls, Mendoza wine country, and Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia. If you already know all the big spots, how about adding somewhere a little bit off the beaten trail to your itinerary? Here are 5 unique places in Argentina to check out.
Argentina's third largest city isn't flashy like Buenos Aires or dramatic like Mendoza, it's just really, really nice. Wide, leafy boulevards, busy parks, and sunny riverside beaches make this a city for walkers and those who love to soak up colorful atmosphere. Just four hours away from Buenos Aires, it's a good weekend trip destination to experience life outside of the capital.
Rosario is notable for being the birthplace of one Che Guevara, and tourists can visit his birth-house to pay tribute (or not). Rosario is also a good base for horseback riding, kayaking, sailing, and more. For those who love nightlife, consider that Rosario is the Salsa Capital of Argentina; so be sure to pack your dance shoes!
Much is made of Argentina's Italian and Spanish culture, but the German and Swiss influence is strong too. San Carlos Del Bariloche is a picture perfect reproduction of a city in the Swiss Alps, right down to the St. Bernard dogs displayed throughout town. Nestled at the foot of the Andes and surrounded by beautiful lakes, the city is famous for its skiing, striking neo-gothic architecture, and its chocolate factories. This is also a great base for a variety of treks around beautiful Nahuel Huapi National Park.
You've probably heard of the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, but did you know that Argentina has its own salt desert? The Salinas Grandes is the dried up remains of an enormous saltwater lake located in the Salta province of Northern Argentina. While not as impressive as the ones in Bolivia, these fields are far less crowded, charge no admission fee, and the road even goes right through the flats, so that they can be explored by car. You can experience the beauty of the flats easily either as part of a tour or on your own as part of a self-drive option. Just watch out for altitude sickness - the field is 13,000 feet high!
Mendoza is the most popular destination in Argentina's wine country. If you have a little extra time though, consider a side trip to San Juan, the area's second largest city. San Juan isn't as tourist-centric, but it has a lot of interesting attractions including a gorgeous modern cathedral and a tango museum. More importantly, San Juan is the perfect base for exploring a variety of wineries as well as Ischigualasto National Park, known for its strange Triassic rock formations.
This small eco-village is the definition of remote, but it's worth the hike if you're in the Corrientes region and want to really escape and connect with the nature. Colonia is located deep in the Ibera Wetlands; a 1300-km nature reserve, rich with wildlife including capybaras, howler monkeys, and anacondas. The wetlands can be explored via boat or on horseback. The town has only 500 permanent inhabitants but is set up for tourism, and there are hostels and several eco-lodges on-site.
Is a trip to Argentina on your bucket list?
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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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