Let Argentina bring you on a beautiful trip. From arid canyons to moving glaciers, from roaring waterfalls to crystal lakes, from marshlands to mountains. Wherever your feet lead you, you’ll need some serious hiking boots! With more than 40 National Parks scattered across a territory of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), there’s enough fun for the whole family. Some of them can be reached by public transportation, others require a car; some can be visited independently, others need a guided tour. We’ve partnered with other travel bloggers to bring you all the information here, in this selection of their favourite Argentina national parks.

Note: Due to the difficult economic situation in Argentina as of 2020, all prices are subject to frequent change.


Best national parks in Argentina:


Iguazú National Park

We visited Iguazú National Park in October.

Iguazu waterfall distant view from the Argentine side

Besides the icy south that attracts many backpackers, Iguazú is the most popular national park in Argentina. This protected area of Atlantic jungle surrounds the majestic Iguazú Falls, a Unesco World Heritage site that Argentina shares with Brazil. In fact, there’s an Iguaçu National Park in Brazil too.

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

I am a huge waterfall fan and I love swimming in the splashing pool at their feet. Now, Iguazú just brings the whole concept to another level. The waterfall is so wide it looks like a series of small waterfalls closely falling next to each other. On the Argentine side there are various trails to get a glimpse of the majesty, and we easily spent the whole day there.

The most ecstatic experience was to stand above the falls at the so-called Garganta del Diablo (‘devil’s throat’), where thousands of gallons of water dive into the abyss. We felt so little compared to the strength of nature.

What did you like less?

As one of the continent’s major attraction, everything is very efficiently organised and built out to welcome thousands of visitors each day. It’s definitely not a solitary visit, and sharing the platforms with so many people, sometimes shoulder to shoulder, took away the awe somewhat.

More than 1,300 km (807.80 mi) away from Buenos Aires, the Iguazú Falls aren’t close to any other highlight in Argentina. So travellers have to make a long way just to see them.

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Iguazú:

Best time to go:All year round
Closest town:Puerto Iguazú
How to get there:Frequent public bus from Puerto Iguazú
Entrance price:AR$ 800
Other expenses:potential private tours, cruise

Find more practical information on the park’s official website.

Start planning: Read our guide to visiting the Iguazú Falls.


 

Iberá National Park

Janina from Stromfield Adventures visited Iberá National Park in August.

Sunset on Iberá National Park Argentina

When I visited Venezuela I was promised capybara and saw precisely zero of the hairy beasts, so when we looked at Aguapé Lodge in Iberá National Park, Argentina and the photos showed capybara around their swimming pool, we booked it straight away. Created in late 2018, Argentina’s newest National Park includes swamps, marshes and lagoons covering an area of about 13,000 square km.

Once the light was fading and the wildlife spotting drew to a close, the sunset began. It was simply stunning on all three nights, the burning orange being shown off in its full glory from the bridge into town. It is definitely an emerging destination but we found everything we needed to make this an amazing wildlife experience.

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

The lodge provided delicious food and although it was too chilly for a dip in their pool, we had the whole grounds to ourselves, the bonus of off season travelling. On top of this the first morning I wandered down to the jetty with my camera and spotted a capybara which I decided must be there just to please me – it stayed around the same spot for the whole of our stay!

On top of the amazing birdlife present at the lodge we took boat tours and sped across open water to the marshy edges to discover herons of every description and get up close and personal with the caimans. Our guided walks didn’t give us the howler monkeys we wanted to see, but did allow us to gain a different perspective on this amazing wetland habitat and a particularly photogenic marsh deer.

What did you like less?

It’s difficult to get in and out of, and we spent a lot on our transport, but it was worth every penny for the views, wildlife and sunsets we would get to experience.

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Iberá:

Best time to go:March-May when the weather is cool and not wet
Closest city (town):Posadas (Colonia Carlos Pellegrini)
How to get there:By bus to Mercedes, then minibus
Entrance price:free
Other expenses:Potential private tour; accommodation

 


If you’ve missed the capybaras of Iberá, you get another chance at El Palmar National Park. This park is located along the River Uruguay, between the cities of Colón and Concordia. A flat savanna covered with palm trees (hence its name), the local fauna also includes woodpeckers, ñandús, foxes and viscachas. It won’t make it to the top of your backpacking South America bucket list, but it’s a nice detour if you’re around.


 

Los Cardones National Park

Alex from Career Gappers visited Los Cardones National Park in August.

Long stretch of road in Cardones National Park, Argentina

One of Argentina’s lesser-explored beauties, Los Cardones National Park covers a swath of desolate, arid land in the country’s north-west. It is characterised by high-desert landscapes, ravines and valleys, complemented by expansive cactus-filled plains.

Sitting almost entirely between 2,500 and 5,000 metres above sea level, it is one of South America’s highest national parks.

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

The scenic drive from Cachi to Salta along Ruta 33 passes along the northern perimeter of the park, and is the perfect way to catch a glimpse of its highlights. We drove this route during a road trip around the wider Salta region.

It incorporates the legendary Recta Del Tin Tin, an impossibly long stretch of straight road at 3,000 metres altitude as you enter the park. This section of the drive is particularly impressive at sunrise, when you can stop, get out and witness the morning light draped across the desert and valley vistas.

Driving further on, the road winds through the park’s sierras, with ample opportunity to stop and enjoy the view, or amble off-piste for a walk into the wilderness.

What did you like less?

The only real drawback to Los Cardones National Park is its remoteness and inaccessibility. Although Ruta 33 provides an inroad to explore its landscapes, it is rough going, and in places little more than a dirt track. Take care driving over the loose stones, and sit tight for a bumpy ride – it’s worth it for the stunning visual pay-off.

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Los Cardones:

Best time to go:Spring or Fall, when it’s neither too hot nor rainy
Closest city (town):Salta (Cachi)
How to get there:By bus or by car (hitchhiking possible) on winding mountain roads
Entrance price:free
Other expenses:Day tours possible from Salta

 


 

Talampaya National Park

Canyon in Talampaya National Park, Argentina
Photo: Creative Commons (Gino Lucas T. / CC BY)

The northwest of Argentina is home to a semiarid scenery that brings you straight to another planet. A planet of flat-wall canyons adorned with strange rock formations, dry vegetation and dinosaurs fossils.

Talampaya National park (La Rioja province) is the best representative, together with its neighbour Ischigualasto Provincial Park (San Juan province).

(Note: As of 2020, Ischigualasto is not officially a “National Park”.)

What is unique about this national park?

This otherworldly sensation is common on a South America trip, where extreme landscapes are as diverse as they are unique. But the dry moon-like canyons in northern Argentina really are something else; they also bring back in time with the fascinating presence of dinosaur fossils.

With landscape features somewhat similar to the deserts near Atacama (Chile) or Tupiza (Bolivia), Talampaya also houses a botanical garden showcasing the local flora. 

What are the drawbacks?

It can be very hot, to the point where it becomes unbearable for some of us, so try to go in the morning or evening. It’s essential to bring good sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses) and a lot of water. With no public transportation, the park is fairly secluded and difficult to access on your own.

The guided tour is also quite expensive; for this reason, some visitors deem it better to visit Ischigualasto, which is cheaper and more diverse.

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Talampaya:

Best time to go:Winters can be very cold and summers are hot and rainy. So choose spring or fall.
Closest town:La Rioja (Villa Unión)
How to get there:By car, or with a bus tour from (San Agustín del) Valle Fértil
Entrance price:AR$ 400
Other expenses:expensive tour (impossible to do without); camping place if needed.

To visit also:

Sierra de las Quijadas national park is another moon-like landscape of dry red canyons and weird rock shapes. Located in the San Luis province, it can also be reached from the town of San Juan.

Nature photographers and dinosaur lovers will enjoy their time in this semiarid scenery. In a way similar to Talampaya and Ischigualasto, it attracts slightly less people on its couple of rocky trails.

 

Lanín National Park

Erin from Sol Salute visited Lanín National Park in March.

River and mountains, that's Lanin, Argentina National park

Parque Nacional Lanín is one of Argentina’s many stunning national parks in Patagonia. It’s located north of the popular city of Bariloche, next to the equally beautiful (and lesser-visited and slightly more affordable) San Martín de los Andes.

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

What is great about Lanín National Park is its stunning beauty. The beaches along Lake Lacar are ideal for disconnecting. Quila Quina and Playa Yuco are two great places to spend a warm afternoon. Bring a picnic and if it’s warm enough, take a dip in the lake.

There are also kilometers and kilometers of hiking trails of varying difficulty levels. Lanín is an outdoor enthusiasts’ dream as the trails are gorgeous and you’ll likely get to enjoy the trail without even running into another hiker.

It is also home to one of the country’s most beautiful drives, the Ruta de los 7 Lagos (which it shares with neighboring Nahuel Huapi National Park).

Visiting Lanín National Park is one of the best things to do in San Martin de los Andes, so I recommend basing yourself there for at least a few days. Whether you’re a hiker, a fisherman, or just wanting to lounge on the lake’s shore, you’ll have plenty of activities to fill your time there.

What did you like less?

What’s not great about Lanin National Park (and there’s not much that’s not great, to be honest!) would be the facilities once you’re in the park. There is not much in the way of public restrooms or restaurants. This is why I recommend packing your own snacks and water, it’s always best to be prepared.

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Lanín:

Best time to go:Summer: December-February
Closest city (town):Bariloche (Junín de los Andes)
How to get there:By bus or by car
Entrance price:AR$ 400
Other expenses:Possible tours, camping, kayaking, horse riding

 


 

Nahuel Huapi National Park

Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan visited Nahuel Huapi National Park in January.

View on Glacier Castaño Overo in Nahuel Huapi national park

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

Nahuel Huapi was established as a national park in 1934, which makes it the oldest national park in Argentina. The main focus of the park is the eponymous Nahuel Huapi Lake, whose name means “Jaguar Island” in the Mapuche language, and the surrounding mountainous scenery.

It’s filled with fantastic hiking opportunities such as the Paso de las Nubes trail, offering spectacular views of Mt. Tronador and various glaciers that hang from its slopes. Glaciers such as the Glaciar Castaño Overo are some of the most incredible I’ve ever seen, outdone only by those I saw on my trip to Antarctica from Ushuaia.

What did you like less?

The town of Bariloche, on the shores of the lake, is a pleasant enough base from which to start your visit to the park. But its popularity with Argentine school groups and honeymooners means that accommodation can be scarce and significantly more expensive than elsewhere in Argentina.

The areas of the park that are accessible by vehicles can also get overrun with domestic and regional tourists. This is especially true of Ventisquero Negro, which is not even a very attractive glacier when compared with others in the park. The easy solution to this problem is to hike! You will see much more impressive glaciers this way, and you will probably have them all to yourself. 

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi:

Best time to go:October-November, when the weather gets nicer but not many people yet
Closest town:Bariloche
How to get there:Frequent public buses or easy hitchhiking
Entrance price:AR$ 400
Other expenses:winter sports, horse riding, cruising, etc.

Note: Some hiking trails in the park are not that well signed. You need to be especially careful if there is a lot of snow on the ground, as it may be covering up some of the trail markers.

Read more: Our selection of hikes near Bariloche


Close-by is Los Arrayanes National Park, one of the tiniest protected areas in Argentina. Just a stroll away from the small touristy town of Villa La Angostura, it stretches on a peninsula into Lake Nahuel Huapi. Its particularity is a forest of century-old arrayán trees (Chilean myrtle), natives to this part of the Andes mountains.


 

Lago Puelo National Park

We visited Lago Puelo National Park in December.

Lago Puelo, a national park near El Bolsón, Argentina

Not far from Bariloche and Nahuel Huapi National Park lies another protected area around a lake. The Puelo lake is just a short ride to the south of the alternative village of El Bolsón, a common weekend getaway for residents. 

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

Lake Puelo might not be as heavenly clear or stunning blue as the myriad others in the Lake District, but it makes for a pleasant surprise. It can get pretty busy on the weekend and in the warm season; but it’s a local crowd that’ll help you understand a part of Argentina. Crash in with locals for a taste of mate and asado!

We enjoyed a hike around the shore, through a reforested area, until a secluded beach. Forest fires are common in the area unfortunately, and you can see burnt patches all around the lake.

What did you like less?

As we said, Lake Puelo is not a hidden gem. You can sure follow a trail around the lake for some lonesome adventure (some say you can hike or sail across to Chile), but the main “beaches” are quite the hotspot. Go during the week for more tranquillity. The weather can also be windy and wet, so bring a good wind and rain jacket whatever the time of year.

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Lago Puelo:

Best time to go:Summer: December-February
Closest town:Bariloche (El Bolsón)
How to get there:by public bus or by car (hitchhiking easy)
Entrance price:AR$ 350
Other expenses:/

To visit also:

A gorgeous, well-maintained and surprisingly overlooked protected area, Los Alerces National Park is only a 30-minute drive from the town of Esquel. Too often overlooked by travellers backpacking in Argentina, it’s a perfect alternative for hikers in search of the alpine beauty of Patagonia without the hype of Nahuel Huapi.

The park is home to endemic fauna and flora, impending mountains and lakes with improbable names. There are several trails with clear signs and not many visitors. Beauty is there and so should you!

 

Monte León National Park

Sandra from BlueMarble Vagabonds visited Monte León National Park in April.

Monte León National Park, Argentina

Monte León National Park in Argentina is located in Southern Patagonia and was established in 2004. It stretches on 36 km (22 mi) along the Argentine coastline and a traveler can find here not only diverse wildlife but also a few palaeontological sites and a remarkable landscape.

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

The park is home to one of the biggest colonies of Magellanic penguins in Argentina and is one of the best places to walk among penguins in Patagonia for free. Getting an up-close look at those adorable birds in the wild is an unforgettable experience! The park also contains a sizeable population of guanacos, pumas, cormorants and grey foxes.

This remote place doesn’t receive as many visitors as other more famous national parks of Argentina. Therefore, it is not unusual to wander around by yourself, especially if you visit it out of the main season like we did (at the beginning of April).

What did you like less?

While the remoteness of the park is an advantage if you want to avoid the crowds and you’re looking for an authentic experience, the lack of public transport makes it difficult to visit it. Besides, the park can be closed down anytime in case of rain due to the bad road conditions, so it’s good to schedule an extra day or two.

While there’s clearly some room for improvement in regards to managing this national park, Monte León is, without a doubt, one of the hidden gems of southern Argentina and as such well worth a visit!

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Monte León:

Best time to go:December-February to see the baby penguins
Closest city (town):Río Gallegos (Comandante Luis Piedrabuena)
How to get there:Public buses to or from Río Gallegos can stop at the entrance
Entrance price:free
Other expenses:/

 


 

Los Glaciares National Park

Steph from Worldly Adventurer visited Los Glaciares National Park in March.

Mount Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

Home to the dazzling glaciers and an array of trails through splendid and remote scenery, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is a true highlight of Argentine Patagonia.

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

In its southernmost stretches, the Perito Moreno glacier stands. This lumbering mass of ancient ice is spectacular for how close you can get to it, thanks to boardwalks that cross the ground just a few hundred metres from the glacier’s snout. From here, you can watch as ice in house-sized chunks peels off and crashes into the water below.

The northernmost sector of the park –reached from the village of El Chaltén– draws hikers in their droves and is free to enter. Day hikes can be joined together to form multi-day tramps through landscapes that switch between wind-flattened pampas and wind-deformed woodlands.

The most famous is the steep hike up to Laguna de los Tres for views of the craggy mountain Monte Fitz Roy, or you can take on the challenge of the four-day Huemul Circuit, with vistas across the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.

What did you like less?

One of the biggest downsides of visiting the park during any of the most popular months (November through February), is that you’ll find the boardwalks beneath Perito Moreno and the trails outside of El Chaltén crammed full of other visitors.

What’s more, prices to enter the southern section of Los Glaciares have always been excruciatingly high – although the instability of the Argentine peso has softened this blow a little.

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Los Glaciares:

Best time to go:October & April are shoulder months to escape the crowds
Closest town:El Calafate (or El Chaltén for Mount Fitz Roy)
How to get there:Public buses from El Calafate; private tours
Entrance price:AR$ 800
Other expenses:Possible tours, boat tours & ice trekking

The Perito Moreno glacier is listed in our selection of South America’s best treks.


To visit also:

Not to be confused with the aforementioned glacier of the same name, Perito Moreno national park lies in another part of Patagonia. It’s very remote and therefore hard to access and probably the most quiet of all Patagonia national parks.

Tour companies offer the craziest experiences, like ice trekking on the glacier, kayaking, cruising, or just standing there gaping at the beauty of the world. 

Book ahead of time and hope for a clear day to be able to watch the ice as it cracks and falls. Prepare also against the cold, the wind and the potential rain.

 

Tierra del Fuego National Park

Claudia from My Adventures Across The World visited Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Tierra del Fuego NP, the most famous National Park in Argentina

Tierra del Fuego National Park is packed with interesting sights and there are many viewpoints from where to enjoy expansive views of the mountains and the coast. What’s best, it is a fantastic hiking destination with trails for all levels and length.

The park marks the end of Ruta 3 – the Pan-American, which finishes in Lapataia Bay. Make sure to walk to the Mirador Lapataia for incredible views. Another must see in the park is Acigami Lake as well as the tiny post office which marks the southernmost in the world.

Why is this your favourite national park in Argentina?

Tierra del Fuego National Park is one of the best places to visit in Argentina for any nature lover. Easily accessible from Ushuaia, there you will find the vegetation that is typical to this part of the world, and various animals species which include guanacos, cormorants, red foxes and even kelp goose.

Rabbit and North American beaver are also common; the latter one has a strong impact on the local ecosystem to the point that local authorities are studying solutions to cut the population.

What did you like less?

The only bad thing there is the hostel. Really – it’s the only option and both the people and the food are nasty. BUT in 2019 a new place opened up.

 

Useful information about Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego:

Best time to go:Summer: December-February
Closest town:Ushuaia
How to get there:by minibus from Ushuaia, or on the Fin del Mundo Train
Entrance price:AR$ 560
Other expenses:Possible guided tour

Keep in mind that the bus station is 8 km outside of Ushuaia and you need to get there by taxi. Another option to visit the park is that of a guided tour, which takes you to all the highlights.

Note: There are no garbage disposal bins in the park so make sure to take any trash back home with you.

Are you planning a hiking trip? Which ones of these Argentina national parks attract you the most?
Tell us in the comments section below!


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Who am I?

Anna and Anthony are long-time travellers, polyglots and all-kinds-of-art-lovers. They write about eco travels, nature hikes and cultural discoveries, mainly in South America, on the budget travel blog Green Mochila.

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4 Comments

  1. Wow!! Another amazing collaboration post! I had no idea Argentina had so many national parks!! I’d love to visit every single one of them. Ok, it’s time to visit Argentina once covid subsides and we can properly travel again. I will definitely be referring back to this post!!

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I actually think your blog needs far
    more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for
    the information!

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