Herald favorites: Argentina’s best hiking spots 

From Buenos Aires to Patagonia, here are some mountainous destinations you can't miss when visiting the country

Argentina’s incredibly varied geography means that there’s usually something for everyone when it comes to vacations. If the thought of a comfortable chair and the sound of crashing waves bores you to sleep, then perhaps an energizing trek up a mountain or jaw-dropping views of valleys will be more your style.

From a quick trip to Buenos Aires province for some top-quality deli to end-of-the-world adventures in Patagonia, here are five of the Herald’s favorite mountainous destinations.

Tandil & Sierra de la Ventana

Photo: Wikimedia

You don’t need to leave Buenos Aires province to enjoy challenging treks: 639 kilometers southwest of BA City, you can find the Tres Picos Mount near Sierra de la Ventana. 

Standing at 1,239 meters above sea level, the summit towers over the surrounding area. This means you can see Bahia Blanca city some 60 kilometers away. The trail can be done during daylight or at night and over a single day or two.

For a more family-oriented trip, Tandil City offers plenty to do. The Cerro Centinela complex offers a shorter trip up the top or a chairlift there, where a 72-tonne menhir stands over seven meters tall.

In the town center, you can find several options to indulge in as it’s home to the famed Argentine charcuterie Cagnoli. In fact, the salami you can get in Tandil has its own certificate of authenticity.

Bariloche & El Bolsón 

Photo: Diego Mur

In the Patagonic province of Rio Negro, you can find the charming lakeside town of Bariloche. Almost as famous for chocolate as for hiking, it makes a great base for a longer stay in the Patagonian Andes.

Warm up with day hikes like the wooded trails of Cerro Llao Llao, which offer panoramic views of the Argentine lake district. For multi-day trekking, head into the mountains for the four-shelter circuit that is the Nahuel Huapi traverse — make sure to register your trek with authorities so they can be on the lookout.

Be sure to map out the refugios (shelters), where you can find food and accommodation, as well as camping sites. Don’t forget to book in advance!

Starting from Villa Catedrál or Los Coihues, you’ll find refugio Frey first, just one day away. A charming three-hour hike through Patagonian forests, you can also spend the night. Once you’re there, you can extend the walk up to the towering ridges of the nearby peaks or swim in the lake.

Cerro López, where condors float in the mountain winds, is another great, albeit steep, day hike. The full circuit takes five days, but you don’t have to hike the full route — you can walk out from any refugio in a day.

Some 120 kilometers south of Bariloche, there are still more trails to discover, like tourist-favorite El Cajón del Azul in El Bolsón. The 20-kilometer trail has medium difficulty, but you can stop at a refugio to spend the night. Be sure to enjoy the cold water and great views on the river banks at the mountain’s feet.

El Chaltén

Photo: Wikimedia

Known as the national capital of trekking, at El Chaltén you can find trails that require anywhere from two hours to five days to complete.

The pick of the bunch is the Laguna de los Tres trail, which takes you from the foot of the Chaltén (or Fitz Roy) Mount to the glacier Laguna de los Tres. It can take five to 12 hours to complete depending on expertise and choice of trail. Be mindful of the final two kilometers, which are the hardest and shouldn’t be rushed.

The view of the melting glaciers isn’t only for looks; you can also load up water for your adventure.

Other options include Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, and Piedra del Fraile. While most trails are within national parks and free to access, those at the Lago del Desierto are private and require reservations and an entrance fee.


Photo: Wikimedia

The end of the world or the beginning of all trails. Nestled between the mountains, the southernmost city in the world Ushuaia is surrounded by trails. If you’re in a hurry and are up for an easy walk, then Martial Glacier is just a 15-minute drive away from the city. From there, a two-hour walk will lead you to the glacier. On your way back, you can enjoy tea and cake from the tea house at the base of the mountain.

The most difficult trail is called Ojo del Albino and rewards visitors with the sight of small icebergs at the end. This 8-hour trail requires a mountain guide to go with you, even if you are an experienced traveler.


Photo: Wikimedia

Known for its special connection with outer space, the Cerro Uritorco in Córdoba is a must. Visitors often report out-of-this-world experiences, and UFO sightings are regular. Your trail to a close encounter of the third kind starts at Capilla del Monte, where the 1,900-meter ascension begins.

For the skeptical, a two-day trek from Tanti City to Los Gigantes is the way to go. The trail is also considered to be of medium difficulty, but you have to report your journey to the National Park as it’s considered a risky zone.

You’ll reach an altitude of 2,300 meters after 15 kilometers, crossing streams and valleys. If you want to reach the summit of Los Gigantes, you’ll need to climb over the wall on one of 400 climbing routes.


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