Argentina is the second largest country in South America, but it is a place blessed by nature's tender touch. It is, in fact, famous for not just being an economic powerhouse but for its bounty of natural wonders. As home to such a collection of eclectic landscapes likes grassy plateaus, glaciers, snow-capped mountains and massive waterfalls, visitors who don't get lost in the diverse towns will most certainly get lost amongst these five natural wonders that are sure to steal their breath away.
As perhaps the most famous natural landmark in Argentina, the Iguazu Falls paints a magnificent landscape similar to Niagara Falls on the border of Canada and the United States or the Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Iguazu Falls sits on the border of Argentina and Brazil, hosting 275 different falls in a 2.7 kilometer stretch of land. The tallest falls drop 81 meters while the shortest only fall around 15 meters into a massive canyon creating a wonderful rainbow spray in the subtropical area. It is said that to fully appreciate the falls, ten days must be allotted to explore them fully, which includes crossing the border to Brazil. However, most visitors don't often have that much time to spend, but the general splendor still leaves a lasting impression.
Esteros del Ibera
The wetlands reserve of Esteros del Ibera in northern Argentina is one of the less visited, but still stunning natural wonders in Argentina. The marshland displays just how flexible the landscape in Argentina can be. The temperature constantly teeters between sub-tropical and temperate making for a vast variety of weather and some pretty intense storms. The main draw of Esteros del Ibera is the wildlife. The marshes are home to caimans, marsh deer, coypu, otters, howler monkeys and the rare maned wolf, as well as over 350 species of migratory and native birds. The lakes and wetlands are punctuated by floating islands and an abundance of water vegetation that present endless ways to explore the area.
Tierra del Fuego
Have you ever wanted to visit the end of the world? Tierra del Fuego, or the Land of Fire, is the most southern point in not just Argentina, but South America. It received its ominous name by explorers who could spot the campfires of native Yamana tribesmen from the sea. Isolated and difficult to reach, it is no small wonder why explorers like Magellan and Darwin thought this archipelago was the very end of the world. Today, Tierra del Fuego continues to be a land of mystery and adventure for the outdoors person. Visitors can spend one day sailing amongst glaciers and icebergs, while the next they are hiking through mountains and forests. One of the favourite ways to spend time in Tierra del Fuego is to tour the many shipwrecks in the area. Some are hidden among the shores while others are visible just beneath the waters. Although the sub-polar climate is harsh, Tierra del Fuego is home to several booming cities, the biggest of which, Ushuaia, is the southernmost city in the world and a hub of activity. Due to the high wages in Ushuaia, this former penal colony has steadily been attracting a large population. It is also a hot spot for expeditions and tours of Antarctica and its coast.
Patagonia is easily Argentina's most beautiful region. Nestled on a stretch of Andes Mountains, the cobalt lakes, azure glaciers, emerald trees and snow-capped mountains in the back drop make it nothing short of enchanting. Among the plateaus, visitors will find houses and hotels with enviable views of the mountains as well as overlooking Argentina's Lake District. To the east, visitors can watch whales gliding through the marine sanctuary on the Valdes Peninsula. In Southern Patagonia, the landscape takes a dramatic turn. With the still snow-capped Andes Mountains in the backdrop, the whole landscape turns to vast deserts edged by rugged cattle land and melting glaciers. Although vast and diverse in its landscape, Argentina has begun rapidly developing the infrastructure in the area to allow visitors easier access to this magical land and an all around better stay.
Glaciers National Park
Luca Galuzzi - www.galuzzi.it
Glaciers National Park is the second largest national park in Argentina as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. Like its name suggests, it is named after the giant glacial ice cap in the Andes Mountain range that runs along the border of Argentina and Chile. The ice cap is so large it rivals those found in Antarctica and Greenland, albeit it seems out of place in a land that can go from tropical to freezing. Tourists that are ready to soak in the scenery can travel the park along a four-hour driving route that spans gravel and dirt roads. Hikers can climb the smaller mountains and walk over glaciers. The biggest draw of Glacier National Park is the two lakes - Lake Argentino and Lake Viedma. The lakes feed the Santa Cruz River that flows into the Atlantic, but the visitors can frequently spot icebergs in the lake waters, making for a magnificent view.