Argentina offers a rich variety of outdoor activities and environments, from the subtropical rainforests in the north to the subarctic coast of Tierra del Fuego in the south. The country has a long-standing and enlightened tradition of setting aside and protecting national and state parks. Patagonia, encompassing the steppes and mountains of the continent's south, is a vast natural wonderland.
El Palmar National Park.
In northeast Argentina, near the Uruguay border. This national park was founded to protect the habitat of the palma, a type of palm tree threatened by overgrazing cattle. Wonderful wildlife observation, but wear boots to avoid death by snakebite -- the park is home to three different venomous snake species.
Iguazz National Park.
Home of the big, big splash -- 5000 cubic metres of water per second plunging 920 feet down, down, way down. Above the falls (and we hope not over), terrific paddle sports and wildlife observation in the park's 136,000 acres of unblemished subtropical rainforest.
Laguna Blanca National Park.
Set aside to protect the black-necked swan -- great birdwatching.
Lanin National Park
. Lake District treasure, the blissfully forgotten step-child to Nahuel Huapm National Park.
Nahuel Huapm National Park . Very developed. Mountainous mostly. Full of features, including resort hotels and the like. Good fishing and hiking.
Los Alerces National Park
A preserve for the "alerce" (Fitzroya cupressoides), a massive conifer called the sequoias of South America.
Los Glaciares National Park
A UN World Heritage Site, preserving an awesome biosphere taking in large highland lakes reflecting mountain peaks, plus the eponymous glaciers.
Perito Moreno National Park
In the southern Patigonian Andes. High and wild, with pristine waters.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Austere terrain and a romantic location. Argentina's only coastal national park is home to a vibrant array of perservering wildlife.
Natural Reserves & National Monuments
Bosques Petrificados National Monument . A large, windswept petrified forest: haunting and dramatic.
A barren peninsula ringed with natural reserves teaming with coastal wildlife, including sea lions, elephant seals, whales, penguins, and lots of seabirds.
. . . and Also. . .
Aconcagua Provincial Park
Aconcagua is the highest mountain peak in the western hemisphere, as well as the highest peak outside of Asia. A popular challenge to mountain climbers, but if you're not in peak shape, forget about it. Many people have died who were not even attempting the summit.
Los Cuevos de las Manos . Cavewalls covered with painted outlines of hands: the mystical trace of the Tehuelches, a vanished people.
Mar del Plata
The Jersey Shore Goes to Bueno Aires: beaches, kitsch, and a few bemused sea lions.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication