A list of the top 10 things to do in Argentina, from visiting Perito Moreno Glacier to exploring Tierra del Fuego at the end of the world.

Top 10 things to do in Argentina

1. Perito Moreno Glacier: This stunning expanse of blue ice was quite unlike anything we’d ever seen. A magnificent 250 sq km (97 sq mi) in area and an average of 74m (240ft) in height, the alien landscape is awe-inspiring not just in sight but also in sound.

There is a constant cracking, crackling sound as pieces of ice break away and crash into the water below. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of a car-sized chunk of ice slicing away and falling to the lake.

2. Iguazú Falls: Iguazú is not the biggest waterfall in the world but its trans-border location between Brazil and Argentina and excellent walkways make it one of the most accessible.

The Argentinian side provides access to the Devil’s Throat, the chasm where approximately half of the river’s flow falls, while the Brazil side offers wider panoramas. We recommend booking the boat ride that goes up to and at times under the cascades.

3. Hiking in El ChalténPatagonia’s El Chaltén hiking trails are on the bucket list of every serious hiker. The trekking capital of Argentina provides access to a network of well-maintained hiking routes with some of the best Alpine viewpoints in the world. The routes are rambling and chaotic at times (underestimate the ever-present winds at your peril) but the rewards are big.

The imposing towers of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre steal the show but the magnificent World Heritage listed Parque Nacional Los Glaciares has much to offer hikers at every level.

4. Tierra del Fuego: There are few places in the world that evoke the old-world romance of true exploration. Tierra del Fuego is one of them. The capital, Ushuaia, is nestled between the Martial mountains to the north and the Beagle Channel to the south.

There is a variety of things to do including museums, monuments, a lighthouse, sea lion and penguin colonies, a scenic train ride and the unmissable Tierra del Fuego National Park. Plus you get to say you’ve been to the end of the world!

5. Reserva Faunística Península ValdésThis Unesco World Heritage site is one of South America’s best wildlife reserves. The sanctuary is huge with a total area of 3,600 sq km (1,390 sq mi) and more than 400km (248mi) of coastline.

Visitors can spot sea lions, elephant seals, guanacos, rheas, Magellanic penguins and countless seabirds. The biggest attraction, however, is the whale watching which offers a chance to see the endangered southern right whale.

6. Buenos Aires: The Argentine capital of Buenos Aires feels like Europe but has a real Latin American twist. There are several neighbourhoods to explore, our favourite of which is the lively and bohemian San Telmo. In many ways, San Telmo is a microcosm of Buenos Aires itself: new versus old, speed versus slow, familiarity versus discovery.

The neighbourhood is a good base for accessing the city’s major sights and parks. It’s also the prefect place to try your hand (or feet) at Tango, one of the world’s sexiest and most sophisticated dances.

7. CórdobaThe country’s colonial-era second city was the Cultural Capital of the Americas in 2006, and it shows. There are four excellent municipal art galleries, all within walking distance of each other and the city centre. There is also a thriving alternative film scene, weekend craft markets sprawling for blocks and easy access to quaint mountain villages.

8. Mendoza: This is wine country, and good wine and good country at that. Most people visit Mendoza principally to do a wine-tasting tour at the many bodegas in or near the city. The low-rise city is spread across the wide valley of the Río Mendoza with the permanently snowcapped peaks of the Andean cordillera less than 100km away visible from downtown.

9. Quebrada de Humahuaca: This intense landscape of whitewashed settlements sits against a backdrop of dazzling salt-flats, lush valleys, cactus forests, windswept steppe and deep gorges. The spectacular rock formations with their multi-coloured and undulating waves define the region and have helped secure the valley as a World Heritage listed site.

10. Bariloche: The Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi and the dazzling Lago Nahuel Huapi are the main reasons for visiting Bariloche. The popular town, known as Argentina’s vacation capital, faces the lake and the park encompasses the town. It is home to the country’s best winter sports resorts and serves as an ideal base for visiting the pristine landscapes that surround it.

Lonely Planet Argentina covers all the top things to do in Argentina. The guide includes colour maps and images throughout, highlights and itineraries, insider tips, essential information, honest reviews for all budgets, cultural insights and over 50 local maps.

Lonely Planet South America on a shoestring is a great help if you need to keep costs down during a trip to South America.

Lead image: Dreamstime