Planning a trip abroad used to be subject to the recommendations of faded travel guides or the limitations of organised tour packages, but with new technology comes a world of new experiences to be unlocked. Instagram in particular, with its geotagging function, has allowed previously undiscovered or off-the-beaten-track sites to be shared worldwide by curious explorers. A new generation of travellers therefore are bypassing traditional forms of tourism to discover these hidden gems for themselves and recreate these beautiful shots, to be shared amongst friends and fellow travellers.
This article looks at some of the most iconic images being shared from Argentina, ranging from beautiful buildings in central Buenos Aires to views of some of the remotest regions of this huge and spectacular country. Argentina has long been a popular tourist destination, with its countless national parks and breath-taking scenery appealing to those wanting to dive into nature. For those who prefer the cities, a trip to Argentina is to step into a dizzying melting pot of cultures - from sumptuous cuisine, beautiful European architecture, some of the best wine in the world, and of course, tango dancing.
With its hugely varied climate and geography (the highest and lowest points in South America are both in Argentina), there is so much beauty to be seen beyond the tourist trails, and millions of visitors each year are getting more and more creative in exploring some of the furthest corners of the region. As coronavirus keeps us at home, here are some of the most beautiful and interesting places tagged in the past year, hopefully inspiring some trip-planning and discoveries of your own...
El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Starting off with one of the most viral, we have El Ateneo Grant Splendid, named by National Geographic in 2019 as the “world’s most beautiful bookstore.” This shop and café, located on Santa Fe Avenue in Buenos Aires, was originally built as a theatre in 1919. It later got converted into a cinema before finally becoming the bookstore it is today. Despite all the changes, the building still retains most of its original decorations and features as a theatre, complete with stage and window boxes (now cosy reading nooks). This bookstore is worth a whole day trip to wander through and read books in; and, of course, warrants a beautiful Insta of its rows and rows of shelves.
This neighbourhood of Buenos Aires feels like it was made for Instagram. Originally an Italian immigrant community, the area has become a popular tourist destination in recent years thanks to its vibrant coloured buildings. Over time the area has become more and more colourful with street-art appearing all over the sunny streets, walls and even trees. Nowadays flea markets, boutique and souvenir shops and street performers are all to be found when wandering through this maze of streets.
Outdoor restaurants specialising in Italian cuisine, line the streets and offer the perfect view for street tango performances. Finally, make sure to pay a visit to the Caminito, a popular street and open-air museum with funny models of famous Argentinian figures and plenty of beautiful exhibits to snap photos of.
If you can’t wait until quarantine is over to immerse yourself in La Boca, check out this 4k walking tour video that brings the bright streets of this beautiful neighbourhood to your living room.
Not to be overshadowed by La Boca, the neighbouring district of San Telmo is another beautiful place to visit. Influenced greatly by the Spanish art deco and art nouveaux style of the early 1900s, a wander around this district offers an eclectic sample of stunning Argentinian architecture. Now a bit of a bohemian area, there are also plenty of artistic cafes and restaurants around where you can fill up on coffee and empanadas.
Perito Moreno Glacier
Out in Los Glaciares National Park in the southwest Santa Cruz Province lies the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most iconic tourist attractions in the region. Named after the explorer Francisco Moreno, this breath-taking world heritage site makes for a highly exciting visit since its dynamic nature makes it prone to thunderous ruptures. Falling ice sheets, the size of buildings, are a common sight for visitors and make for incredible photographs. In recent years tour companies are also offering guided excursions onto the ice, offering opportunities to recreate the popular perspective-shifting images seen from sites like the salt flats of Bolivia.
Monte Fitz Roy
To any aspiring travel photographers looking to capture stunning landscape images, look no further. Located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the Fitz Roy mountain marks one of the world’s most mesmerising mountain silhouettes with its sharp jagged peaks jutting up to the sky. There are various points within the park to capture this mountain, popular sites being Lake Capri or Laguna de Los Tres, with its 360-degree views. Both sites make excellent treks and can be done independently or with a tour.
Salta La Linda
Salta is the 7th most populous city of Argentina and is increasingly becoming a major tourist destination due to its beautiful architecture (its nickname Salta la Linda means “Salta the Beautiful”). Popular attractions here include the Museum of High Mountain Archaeology which contains the perfectly preserved remains of Inca children. A cable car will take you up San Bernardo Hill, where panoramic views reveal the whole town.
Quebrada de Humahuaca
In the farthermost north of the country lies Quebrada de Humahuaca, a stunning valley dubbed the “rainbow valley” after its colourful geological layers. Images of these hills hardly seem believable as the layers of colour appear to have been painted on with a brush. However, this natural wonder is 100% real and merits an incredible road trip, particularly for those interested in the history of the Incas, for whom this was an important caravan route.
If in the Salta region, an excellent road trip itinerary could be to start in Cafayate, snake through the cavernous valleys through Salta City, onto Quebrada de Humahuaca, before joining onto popular routes in Bolivia. When starting in Cafayate, the real jewel of this town is its vineyards and wine production. Plenty of wineries in town offer vineyard tours and wine tasting sessions, promising beautiful strolls through countryside and sweeping views of the region’s mountain scenery.
Iguazu Falls (Cataratas del Iguazu)
Perhaps Argentina’s most famous landmark, the Iguazu Falls collectively constitute the largest waterfall in the world. Located in the Misiones province, the falls form the border between Argentina and Brazil. Walkways and panoramic viewing areas bring visitors very close to the falls, allowing them to feel the overwhelming force of the fall and marvel at its power. Legend tells that when Eleanor Roosevelt first visited Iguazu Falls, she reportedly exclaimed: “Poor Niagara!” One of the greatest natural wonders of the modern world and appearing in countless films and photographs, no visit to Argentina is complete without standing under the spray of this staggering site.
Talampaya National Park
If you haven’t had enough of World Heritage Sites, Argentina has plenty more to offer. Talampaya National Park, located in La Rioja Province, certainly earns its title, offering mesmerising views of deep red desert landscapes. A site of great archaeological interest and geological history, only 5% of the region is open to visitors, and that’s mostly through organised tours. Tours can be organised from La Rioja city and take visitors deep into the red canyons. Your guide will point out examples of some of the most impressive rock formations and the best angle for powerful photographs.