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A country of mammoth proportions, it’s little wonder Argentina has no less than 46 National Parks and nature reserves.
From the high Andes in the north to the end of the world in the south, Argentina’s National Parks cover pretty much every landscape imaginable.
Ice fields, mountain passes, glaciers, wetlands, wildlife spectacles and natural wonders. It’s all covered.
Many of the parks are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, something Argentines are rightly proud of.
Made up of 275 waterfalls, the natural wonder that is Iguazu Falls is simply wow!
The ferocity and power of the falls is spell binding.
But this isn’t a day trip to look at some impressive cascades from afar and go home again.
Exploring the Argentinian side of the falls is a whole day out. And it’ll take you at least as long to explore it all.
With kilometres of walkways and a jungle train to help you get around the enormous site, you may even need to return the next day (half price) to discover all the park has to offer.
The sheer scale of the falls are indeed impressive but there’s more to the National Park that water. There’s an abundance of birds and wildlife too.
We caught our first every glimpse of a Toucan here, enormous catfish swimming against the flow at the top of the falls, swifts making death defying dashes to their nests behind the falls.
If you’re especially lucky, you could even spot the elusive jaguar.
Visiting Iguazu Falls is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list worthy destination if ever there was one.
Ibera wetlands are an unsung gem of Argentina’s National Parks.
While Brazil’s Pantanal may be world renowned, Ibera is as wonderful and in many ways more so.
More easily accessible and offering far more value for money, Ibera National Park is a wildlife lovers dream.
Capybara munch on grasses at the road side, caimen skulk in the murky waters of the lagoon and howler monkeys, well howl in the tree tops.
And oh the birds! We’re not talking nondescript little brown birds either. Rufescent tiger herons, 5-foot jabiru storks, crowned eagles and glittering-bellied hummingbirds.
Access to this National Park is completely free and you can even find several free campsites at different entrances around the park.
Ibera wetlands became a National Park at the end of 2018, largely thanks to the efforts of Tompkins Conservation.
As with vast swathes of Chilean Patagonia, like Pumalin Park and others along the Carretera Austral, Kristine Tompkins and her late husband Doug donated land through their foundations Conservation Land Trust (CLT)) and Flora & Fauna Argentina.
If you find yourself anywhere near the north of Argentina, don’t miss visiting the wildlife haven of Ibera National Park.
A relative short distance from Argentina’s most well known wine region, Mendoza, Sierra de las Quijadas National Park is virtually unknown.
Yet the hidden landscape here is stunning. Deep red canyons, formed by towering columns of rock formations stretch out as far as the eye can see.
A rich variety of Argentinian wildlife like guanacos, Patagonian hares and condors make the park their home.
This was one of our favourite places for hiking in Argentina. The trails aren’t especially difficult but there’s something quite special about having an entire National Park to yourself!
It’s no wonder we love Argentina so much!
A bit like Sierra de las Quijadas National Park, we had Lihue Calel National Park all to ourselves too.
It’s remote location deep in La Pampa province, means few passers by.
With no big ticket natural wonders, or nearby popular tourist attractions, Lihue Calel National Park (Lihué Calel Nacional Parque in Spanish) doesn’t even make it onto a tour bus itinerary.
It’s exactly the reason we encourage you to make the effort.
The hiking here was a little more challenging, and if you’re far more lucky than us, you may even spot a puma, known to patrol the campsite!
The snow capped Lanin volcano gives its name to this National Park.
But especially wonderful, Lanin National Park absorbs the northern end of the Argentinian Lake District.
Trekking adventures aplenty, fly-fishing and water sports, all in the shadow of the unmistakable cone of the volcano.
We suggest you kick start your visit to Lanin National Park in San Martin de los Andes.
Covering the southern end of the Argentinian Lake District, Nahuel Huapi National Park is all about the lake of the same name.
Nahuel Huapi Lake is enormous and the best way to explore is on a road trip.
Take the infamous Ruta de los Siete Lagos (7 lakes route) from San Martin de los Andes to Bariloche. You can spend a day or a week on this short drive so no need to feel rushed.
You’ll get more from this road trip if you take your time!
Sharing its name with Chile’s relatively new Patagonia National Park on the Carretera Austral, Argentina’s Patagonia National Park is quite special too,
In the heart of the golden Patagonian steppe, you can find half of Chile’s largest lake.
Lago Buenos Aires (the Chileans call it Lago General Carrera), is a glacier lake and a surreal sight.
Turquoise waters, surrounded by mountains, little with islands and with hidden gems like the Marble Caves, make this a perfect reason to cross the border into Chile and explore more.
A little further south and you can explore 9000 year old rock art at Cueva de las Manos. Ancient nomads once roamed the Steppe hunting and gathering in a true nomadic style.
They used minerals to blow “paint” handprints onto the walls through straws made from bone.
The handprints are so well protected from the wind and elements, they remain barely worn to this day.
For many reasons, Los Glaciares is our favourite of all the Argentina National Parks we’ve visited.
Covering vast swathes of southern Argentina, it gets its name because there’s over 300 glaciers spilling out from the Southern Patagonian Ice Fields.
The most famous of course is Perito Moreno Glacier, a day trip you won’t forget in a hurry.
If you only need one reason to visit Los Glaciares National Park, this is it.
And if you need another reason, then there’s what has become one of our favourite places in the entire world, Mount Fitz Roy.
The towns of El Chalten and El Calafate service the thousands of tourists visiting the region each year.
You can drive between the 2 towns through the Patagonian Steppe - a one day road trip worth every minute of the drive.
We get giddy with excitement when we think about this region. Los Glaciares National Park is quite extraordinary.
Just go and see for yourself.
Argentina’s southernmost National Park, Tierra del Fuego has amazing scenery right at the end of the world.
Explore the park on a guided tour or better still, under your own steam.
There’s over 30 kilometres of hiking trails, unparalleled views over Beagle Channel and free camping in the final frontier before Antarctica!
The deep fjords surrounding the park were formed by retreating glaciers. Bahía Lapataia is one of the highlights of any visit here.
And more than any other National Park we’ve visited in Argentina, visitors learn about the cultural past of the indigenous Yámana people who once lived here.
If you’ve travelled all the way tot Ushuaia and the end of the world, make sure to visit one of Argentina’s most tremendous National Parks.
A guide to Argentina’s National Parks
The Administracion de Parques Nacionales take care and maintain Argentina’s National Parks.
Every park has onsite rangers, knowledgeable about the area and passionate about protecting it for future generations.
For every park we’ve visited in Argentina, our interactions with the rangers and the educational information provided, enhanced our experience. They do such a marvellous job.
Camping in the National Parks of Argentina
It’s possible to camp in many of Argentina’s National Parks, often for free.
Facilities tend to be basic.
Bathrooms and (often cold) showers, fire pits, overnight parking spots, a place to pitch a tent and often covered barbecue areas are all any nature loving camper need though.
Admission to Argentina’s National Parks
Many of Argentina’s National Parks and reserves are completely free to visit.
For the few parks with an entrance fee, they tend to have exceptional value for money, world class facilities and cater for thousands of visitors.
For example, entrance to both the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls and Perito Moreno Glacier is a mere ARG $800 (about US $9 or GBP £8).
On our list of Argentina’s National Parks above, we only paid to enter Iguazu National Park, Los Glaciares (and then only Perito Moreno Glacier – the rest of the park is free) and Tierra del Fuego National Park.
All other parks on our list were free.
For the latest admission fees, check on Argentina National Parks website.
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