When you choose to travel to Argentina you’re definitely taking into account the natural richness of a country with a wide range of amazing landscapes. Among them emerge 33 national parks, places of a great beauty and with a scientific interest which are protected and conserved in ideal conditions.
From north to south, from east to west, from the border with Bolivia to the very end of the world in Tierra del Fuego, all around the nation… here are the ones that you cannot miss:
This park is often considered the eighth wonder of the world and is located in the southern Santa Cruz province, on the border with Chile. The Glaciers National Park has the largest ice cap after Antarctica and Greendland and holds one of the most unique natural formations of the world: the glaciers. More than 7.000 square kilometers of ice, huge lakes, woods… and a freezing climate.
But even the low temperatures aren’t an obstacle for the presence of life: not only can you find amazing Magellanic subpolar forests but also more than 1,000 species of birds and other animals like the cougar, the guanaco or the ñandúes. However, the main attraction of the park are the great 47 glaciers and the more than 200 smaller ones that have contributed to it being declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Among them, you will definitely be taken by the imposing Perito Moreno. Not a single tourist of the thousands that travel to Argentina and approach the site every year leaves without walking on Perito while they watch, listen, savor and FEEL everything it has to offer.
On the other side of the country, at the northern border with Brazil, awaits an entirely different park with high temperatures, tropical wildlife, and another dazzling present from nature: the waterfalls. The most popular national park of Argentina (it received more than a million visitors in 2014) is also one of the oldest, founded in 1934.
Both sides are home to a great variety of flora and fauna, some of which are endangered species like the jaguar, the tapir and the ocelot or charming ones as the butterflies, the toucans or the coatis, known for their tendency to grab the lunch of distracted visitors… Never lose sight of them, although maybe this is difficult to achieve when you arrive to the most fierce, astonishing and exceptional waterfall of them all: Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat).
Located in the northwest of the country and in the central province of La Rioja, the 2.150 square kilometers (that were once home to the first dinosaurs!) are considered world heritage since 2000. Due to its mysterious desert, huge rock formations, great valleys, deep canyons and its unquestionable archeological value, this park has become an essential visit for hikers and nature lovers that travel to Argentina and want to avoid the chaos and bustle of the major cities. Although it is sometimes labeled as a smaller version of the Grand Canyon of Arizona, the calm, peace and sometimes loneliness that the ancient petroglyphs and ceramics transmit can’t be found in any other corner of the world.
Just at the foot of the Patagonian Andes, a vast and dazzling land offers the visitor one of the richest wildlife of the country and almost any natural formation imaginable. Lakes, mountains, forests, rivers, valleys, waterfalls and even glaciers make up the 7.000 square kilometers of the Nahuel Huapi Park and its two reservations.
It’s the perfect place not only for hikers but also for sailors, athletes and anyone who wants to enjoy an unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful but still less-known reasons to travel to Argentina.
Tierra del Fuego
The southernmost protected area of Argentina not only stands out for being at “the end of the world,” but also for the peculiar and diverse landscapes formed by rivers, melting of the glaciers that became lakes, waterfalls, bays, valleys and mountains sometimes impossible to reach or cross.
Although the extreme climate has provoked a shortage of wildlife, you won’t leave the park without seeing guanacos, foxes, rabbits and beavers. Apart from having the possibility of walking through the paths, climbing its mountains, jumping on the end-of the-world train or simply laying on the bays and forests, in its limits you can find the Beagle channel, where penguins, seals and one of the best known lighthouses of the world are awaiting to be seen.
Written by Irene Valiente