Driving Northward, while contouring the eastern side of the Andes, we spent many weeks venturing ourselves in the Argentinian Patagonia–400,000 square miles of glacial lakes, ice fields, great peaks, green valleys, vast deserts, and forgotten roads–and part of it only us girls, plus Kai and Killay, while my dad travelled abroad for work. I must admit, I have been procrastinating so much on writing about Argentina…even though our time there was unforgettable in many ways. I believe one of the reasons why our trip to Argentina was so memorable is the following–it was the last place we lived “normally” before covid-19 swept over the world changing everything. Additionally, it was the last country we travelled to before ending our three-and-a-half-year trip across the Americas, since we weren’t allowed into Uruguay. However, Argentina was also one of the countries, which I personally believe, to have the most beautiful national parks in the world: Los Glaciares NP, El Chalten, and Nahuel Huapi NP. All of these national parks blew my mind away, and an entire trip could be planned around the sole purpose of visiting each one of them, plus a whole bunch of picturesque, European-like towns and hikers-getaways, as well as eating great quality alfajores.
Los Glaciares National Park
Los Glaciares is a national park near the Argentinian/Chilean border, located in the southwest region of the Andean Mountain Range, and hosts one of the largest ice caps in the world. Tourists can stay in El Calafate, an exceedingly touristy and charming town, where one could easily spend the whole day exploring. Since El Calafate is the nearest city to Los Glaciares, tourists can go to the national park either by bus or car from their hotels. Since we were on a tight schedule and had one day to enjoy the park, we did the following attractions: visit the Perito Moreno Glacier through footbridges, where one can go by bus and walk back to the restaurant through the bridges, all while observing a massive ice field; and have a close look of the Perito Moreno Glacier with a boat tour (make sure to do reservations beforehand).
On our way from El Calafate to El Chalten, a hiker/backpacker-town a few hundred kilometers north, we gave a ride to two girls from Spain, and it was a blast to share our stories while on the large roadtrip. We even stopped to have some coffee by the road and observe the humongous mountains, and snow-capped peaks before us–what a view!
El Chalten was completely different from El Calafate, while one city’s tourism thrived on high-end tourism, the other buzzed with young backpackers and laid-back burger/beer joints. El Chalten is a hiker’s paradise, and one could easily spend four days just to get a few hikes done; unfortunately, we were on a rush and opted to do one of the longest hikes in the area rather than a few short ones. The chosen trekk was the Laguna de los Tres, considered to be the ultimate day-hike of the region with a classic view of Mount Fitz Roy soaring above a glacial lagoon; additionally, the hike is 21 km round trip, and is considered to be moderate-difficult, thus, be prepared. Even though Laguna de los Tres is the longest day-hike, it’s extremely worth it–the view from atop is mesmerizing!
Nahuel Huapi National Park
I think the Nahuel Huapi National Park is one of the most popular parks in Argentina, since it’s only 20 km away from Bariloche and the oldest Argentinian parque nacional. The park surrounds the glacial lake Nahuel Huapi and lies on the base of the Andean Mountain Range, the tallest peak, Monte Tronador, reaching a height of 3,554 meters. Interestingly enough, the name “Nahuel Huapi” derives from the Mapuche tribe, where nahuel means “jaguar” and huapi means “island”.