Argentina offers a rich variety of outdoor activities and environments, from the subtropical rainforests in the north to the subarctic coast of Tierra del Fuego in the south Argentina maintains a number of national parks, natural reserves, national monuments and provincial parks.
The country has a long-standing and enlightened tradition of setting aside and protecting national and state parks. Patagonia, encompassing the steppes and mountains of the continent's south, is a vast natural wonderland but a visitor to many of the areas within the country is sure to find a regional national park.
Some of these parks are on UNESCO's World Heritage List for natural values.
Tourist visiting the national parks can enjoy fishing, trekking, rafting, horse-riding, mountain biking and photographic safaris and other recreational activities.
It is important to say that there are serveral provincial and local parks, reserves and monuments.
Species that have been declared National Monuments:
Huemul, Southern Right Whale, Yaguarete and Taruca.
Enjoying Tierra del Fuego National Park
Fishing in Lanín National Park
Argentina posseses numerous National Parks especially created to preserve landscapes, geological, and palaeontologic patrimonies, and autochthonous flora and fauna of our country.
These parks have different geographical characteristics and quite varied sorroundings.
Through them, visitor can be in close contact with nature; appreciate astounding beauties such as The Iguazu Falls and the Perito Moreno Glacier, (both declared National Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO); know the flora and fauna of different regions; admire geological formations and fossils; get astounded by the woods, lakes and snow-capped mountains; observe gigantic millenarian larchs and the beautiful myrtles that are unique in the world.
You will find a world of possibilities to live the virgin nature and carry out different activities such as sporting fishing, trekking, rafting, horse-riding, mountain bike and photographic safaris, among others
Here we offer the details of the most important parks:
Calilegua National Park - Jujuy
This park comprises an area of 76.000 hectares. It was created with the aim of protecting a representative part of a mountain subtropical forest.
Its rich fauna consists of species such as the yaguedondí, red squirrel, red agouti, melero bear, ferret, tapir and puma. It is the last refuge of species like the yaguareté.
Its relief corresponds to the slopes of the Serranías de Calilegua, with deep canyons carved by water courses.
It has an underwood sector consisting of White , Yellow wood, the Tipa and the Pacará, which can be higher than 30 m. Then you will find the higher forest or nuboselva, covered by clouds in summer and at the beginning of autumm, with a thick underwood of creepers, lianas and shrubs.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: Jujuy (110 Km.)
Los Cardones National Park - Salta
This Park, which was recently created with the aim of preserving the "giant cactus" (a typical cactus of this region that grows between the 2000 y 3500 m.a.s.l.), occupies an area of 65.000 hectares
The fruit of the "giant cactus", the pascana, is edible, and, in a way, very resistent.This fruit was used both by the aboriginals and later on by the criollos for construction.
Even though it constitutes a real desert, its mountaineous landscapes are extremely beautiful.
The park lodges other vegetal and animal species typical of this place such as the vicuña and the taruca (northern guemal ).
The activities that can be carried out are fotographic safaris, trekking, mountaineering, flora and fauna watching, and others.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: Salta (100 Km.)
El Rey National Park - Salta
It comprises an area of 45.000 hectares and is a magnificent exponent of the forest landscape of subtropical woods. This park keeps its flora and fauna intact.
Sorrounded by mountains of about 1000 m.a.s.l., the park stands out as a natural amphitheatre with streams of crystal water flowing downhill through the valley.
The park lodges a large number of animal species such as: the puma, the yaguareté, the fox, the tapir, the coati, the biting bat, monkeys and others. Birds such as the condor, falcon, and the mount turkey hen. Snakes such as the rattlesnake, cross snake and coral snake. Insects and snails.
The water courses are rich in dorados, American shads, bogues, croakers, etc.
Its flora is represented by several specimens of red cebil, viraró, palo borracho, laurel, white tipa, quina, walnut tree, huge cedar. Other species are lianas, orchids, giant cactus and tunas. At the top of mountains, at 1500 m. of height, you can find elder trees, pines, and herbaceous formations.
There is a hostelry, bungalows and a camping area with sanitary installations and bonfires.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: Salta (185 Km.)
Baritú National Park- Salta
With an area of 72.000 hectares, this beautiful place is still isolated. It has a fully irregular relief, with sevaral mountain ridges and folds irregularly distributed. The almost unsurmountable difficulties to reach this zone, added to a tropical climate, the rivers, streams, falls and deep canyons, favoured the preservation of a vegetation of the forest type, and an extrordinary rich fauna.
Among the flora species we can find cedars, pines, American timber trees, walnut tress, lindens, oaks and others.
The zoological reservation is quite abundant, comprising the following species: tiger, pumas, wildcats ounces, lavador little bear, squirrels, monkeys, coaties, etc. There are also several birds, and in the water courses, fish such as American shads, the dorado and the bogue.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: Salta (350 Km.)
Iguazu National Park - Misiones
It was declared Natural Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO. It comprises an area of 67.000 hectares, including its connected reservation.
It nearly constitutes the last exponent of the subtropical forest in the country and includes the world famous Iguazu Falls.
Its existence is aimed at the preservation of the already mentioned falls and of a neighbouring zone representative of the original forest sorroundings of Misiones (before the deforestation carried out by men), last integral refuge of the regional flora and fauna.
This forest used to be an extension of the Brazilian southern forest.
The ground of the Iguazu National Park is reddish and its organic matter comes from the leaves and vegetals which grow densely in the region favoured by the high temperatures and heavy rains.
Its relief consists of light elevations of about 30 metres of height and gullies of about 60 m.a.s.l.in the falls
The Iguazu Falls make up a semicircle of aproximately 2700 metres consisting of 275 falls. Appart from the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's gorge), other well known falls are the Bozetti, Dos Hermanas (Two Sisters), San Martín, Adán and Eva, Tres Mosqueteros (Three Musketeers) and Rivadavia.
The park lodges more than 400 species of birds, about 2000 vegetal species and an immeasurable world of insects making of this ecosystem one of richest natural environments of the country.
It posseses interpretation paths and complete installations for the tourist, including footbridges to appreciate the atounding falls "from the inside"
You can also carry out several activities related to adventure tourism.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: Puerto Iguazú (20 Km.)
El Palmar National Park – Entre Ríos
It is both a Park and a Natural Reservation whose main aim is to preserve the vast Yatay palm trees areas which used to cover the Entre Rios, Uruguay and part of the south of Brazil territories up to the end of the last century.
These palm trees, of almost 12 metres of height, posses leaves of about 2 metres of length with trunks of 40 cm in diameter. Many of these specimens are about 800 years old.
The Ubacay, Los Loros, El Palmar and El Espino streams, which get into the Uruguay river, flow through this park.
In this captivating park, rich in flora and fauna, we find a special contrast, that is the contrast between the palm trees and the forest in galleries situated on the coastlines of the Uruguay river and the streams.
The pasture is closely linked to the palm trees, making up a unique ecosystem where you will find numerous animal species.
Its fauna consists of vizcachas, ferrets, foxes, otters, capybaras, river little woolves, skunks, wildcats and corzuelas.
Among the reptiles there are snakes species such as the pit viper and two varieties of turtles, the painted and the river ones. Another reptile worth standing out is the golden lizard, which is fully harmless.
Among the water birds that inhabit this park we can find the herons, the storks and ducks.
The terrestrial birds are American Ostriches, woodcocks, red herons, falcons, partridges, eagles, calanders, hummingbirds, parrots, etc.
Its relief is ondulated, with clayish sandy grounds, and rocks outcroppings.
The historical value of this park is given by the Barquin and Salvia ruins.
It has an Interpretation Centre over the Uruguay river, right in front of the camping area.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park. Colón (65 Km.)
Quebrada del Condorito National Park - Córdoba
With an area of 40.000 hectares, this park is situated on the eastern hillside of the Pampa of Achala with elevations that range between the 1900 and 2300 m.
The tourist attraction is based on its landscape and geomorphological values: the high pampa covered by pastures, the rocky sierra without vegetation, and the deep gorges.
Within the park we can find the gigantic and spectacular crevice of 800 m. of depth and 1500 m of separation between edges, with vertical walls impossible to climb and the Condoritos river running all along its bottom.
This territory constitutes the easternmost natural habitat of the Condor, the coated eagle and the peregrin falcon. These huge birds inhabit and nest in this zone and especially in the gorge.
A male condor of the region is about 3,50 m. between its wing extremes and is around 1,50 m.hight.
At the Interpretation Centre you can receive a lecture about the park, its fauna and flora.
In the gorge and its sorroundings you will find the southernmost tabaquillos woods in the world.
Here, the most important rivers of the province (Suquía, Xanaes, de Los Sauces) are born.
The activities that can be carried out are mainly the environmental interpretation, flora and fauna watching, fotographic safaris, trekking, horseback riding, and lanscapes visits.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: Mina Clavero (50 Km.)
Talampaya National Park - La Rioja
This park, which occupies 215.000 hectares, is an autochthonous flora and fauna natural reservation, and palaeontologic and archeological deposit.
As long as geological formations are concerned, this park is formed by strata that make up deep canyons of around 180 m. of height. This canyons were wind eroded giving birth to curious formations such as the Monk, The Wise Man, the Tower, and many others.
Another interesting formation is the so called "Lost City", a depression of approximately 2 km. in diameter, formed by a series of curious formations, labyrinths, and several inner rivers.
The fauna of this region consists of guanacos, Patagonic hare or maras, foxes, ferrets and sierra squirrels.
Finally, in Tampalaya we can see several petroglyphs and ceramics belonging to the inhabitants that occupied the land before the arrival of the colonization, and which are still object of numerous studies of scientists and investigators from all over the world.
Talampaya posseses a vehicles private service that is in charge of taking the visitors into the park, showing them different circuits with the precense of specialized guides.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: La Rioja (170 Km.)
Sierra de las Quijadas National Park– San Luis
This park occupies 150.000 hectares and is composed of piled geological formations of grey and reddish colouring coming from the Mesozoic Age. This formations were wind and water eroded throughout the centuries.
These sierras were first called “Pequeño Cañón del Colorado” (Little Colorado Canyon), due to its resemblance to the famous canyon.
Due to the erosion, the formations acquired capricious forms reaching its maximun climax with the so called “Potrero de Aguada”: a succesion of bleachers, cliffs and cornices.
The Portillo Mount, with its 1200 metres, is the maximun height of the zone.
Going towards the western border of the Park we can find isolated water mirrors, some of them permanent, others, most of them, temporary. The limits of these scarcely deep water courses vary according to the volume of the Desaguadero river.
Its vegetation is scarce and represented by the Jarillas, a great variety of shrubs and cactus, white quebrachos and other species.
Among the fauna that inhabits the place we find species that are in danger of extintion such as the gato moro, the red vizcacha rat and the smaller blind picho. There are also animals in critical state of survival such as the gato del pajonal, the wildcat, the puma, the red fox, the small grey fox, the guanaco, etc.
Besides, we can find the following birds: the peregrine falcon, the condor, The black neck swam, the yellow cardinal bird, the red eagle and others.
This national park posseses remarkable palaeontologic registers, such as prehistoric reptile fossils.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: San Luis (120 Km.)
Lanín National Park - Neuquén
It comprises an area of 379.000 hectares. 194.600 hectares belong to the park and the remaining 184.400 belong to three sectors of reservation.
Within this park lies the magestic Lanin volcano, hence its name, with its 3776 m.a.s.l. and its almost perfect conical form.
This park was created with the aim of preserving a representative sector of the Andean-Patagonic region absent from other protected areas such as the pellin oak, evergreen beech, and araucaria woods (whose valuable wood was highly exploited at the beginning of the last century).
Its mountaineous relief is rich in lakes. Most of them were originated by the advance of the glaciers during the Quaternary period. Within the park you will find the following lakes:Huechulaufquen, Paimún, Lolog, Lácar, Meliquina, Hermoso, Escondido, Machónico and others.
The flora of this park consists of the Pehuén, typical of this zone, the ñire, the lenga, the espinillo; and the valdiviana forest were we find cipreses, mushrooms, ferns, caña cohihue, etc.
Among the mammals: guemal, pudú (short deer), huillín (river woolf), puma, red and grey foxes, skunks, ferrets, red deer, wild boar, etc.
The characteristic birds are gulls, herons, woodpeckers, rayaditos, thrushes, etc.
The ichthyic fauna comprises both autochthonous species such as the puyén, Patagonic herring, etc.; and exotic ones such as the rainbow trout, fontinalis, brown trout and the close salmon (apt for sporting fishing).
Here you can take part in a large number of activities, mainly related to adventure tourism, and fishing, and several terrestrial and lacustrine excursions.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: San Martín de los Andes (about the park)
Los Arrayanes National Park – Neuquén
In the Quetrihué Peninsula, near to Villa La Angostura, you can find this small park whose object is to preserve a landscape unique in the world: The myrtle woods.
It is a native tree of singular beauty. Its twisted trunk has a cinnamon colouring bark covered by white irregular spots and is both cold and very smooth to the touch. It grows in a very slow way, reaching heights of about 12 and 15 metres with a trunk of approximately 50 centimetres of diameter.
Other species that can be found here, appart from the myrtle, are: palo santo, the maitén, the laurel and the cinnamon. among the birds that inhabit the park are the chucao and the Patagonic thrush.
Among the mammals we find the red fox, the skunk, the pudú (short deer), and the huillín (river woolf).
This park can be reached from Villa La Angostura through a walking path.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: Villa La Angostura (in one of the borders of the park)
Nahuel Huapi National Park – Neuquen and Río Negro
First South American Park and one of the first in the world, this vast and wonderful park occupies an area of 766.000 hectares (the park and two reservations).
It has a mountaineous relief typical of the southern Andes. Its geomorphology presents medium height mounts, glaciers, rivers, lakes, woods, and valleys.
The most important peak of the park is the Mount Tronador with 3554 m.a.s.l.
It has a large number of lakes such as the vast Nahuel Huapi, the Traful, the Correntoso, the Falkner, the Villariño and others.
Among the birds we can find the cormorant (queer species that inhabit the Victoria Island), cooking gulls, black neck herons, woodpecker, witch heron, great bustard, etc.
The autochthonous fauna comprises : guemal, puma, pudú (short deer), huillín (river woolf), red fox, skunk, short weasel, etc. Among the exotic fauna we have the red deer.
The ichthyic fauna comprises both the autochthonous species such as the perch, the puye, the Patagonic herring smelt etc.; and the exotic ones such as the Rainbow trouts, fontinalis, marrón y el close salmon (apt for sporting fishing).
A singularly attractive point is the mouth of the Frías river, coming from the homonymous pond, in the westernmost extreme of the Blest Arm of the Nahuel Huapi Lake. Here the deep blue waters of this arm receive the green opalescence of the Frias waters.
The Mirador, excelent watching point over the Traful lake, is a spectacular cliff thar falls abruptly over such lake.
The erosion has left its signs in the rocky figures of the Valle Encantado (Enchanted Valley), which, due to its capricious and suggestive forms, have received names such as Indian Head, God's finger, etc.
The main sports that can be practised within the park are: skiing, mountaineering, trekking, sporting fishing of salmonids and cannoying.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: San Carlos de Bariloche (about the park)
Puelo lake National Park - Chubut
This National Park comprises an area of 23.700 hectares and offers a mountainous scenary (with heights that exceed the 2000 m. of height) and woods with quite strange species that do not exist in other Andean Patagonic parks.
The Puelo lake, after which the park was named, has a bluish green tone and its waters are more temperate than most of the Patagonic lakes due to its low height. (205 m.a.s.l.).
All around the area, as if framing the place, there are imposing mountains such as Tres Picos and the Vanguardia with hanging glacierscan that can be appreciated the whole year.
Its fauna, favoured by the inaccessible geography of the park, is actually being recovered and is mainly represented by pumas, pudues and guemals. Within the lacustrine environments there are autochthonous species such as the criolla perch, and exotic ones such as the salmonids (Brown and Rainbow trouts).
There is a large variety of birds with more than 100 registered species.
The park, offers different activities for the visitors: swimming, sailing in catamaran ships (reaching up to Chile), and sporting fishing.
It has an organized camping area, guided horseback riding, and boats rental, among other attractions.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: El Bolsón (15 Km.)
Los Alerces – Chubut
The park comprises a total area of 263. 000 hectares. It was created with the aim of preserving an exceptional natural patrimony: the larch woods.
These conifers, a truly botanical curiosity, are about 3.000 years old and 60 metres high with trunks of about 3,5 m. in diameter.
This Park, just as the other National Parks located in the Andean Patagonia, posseses an uneven mountaineous relief with valleys peppered by rivers and lakes of unparalleled beauty among which we can find the Futalaufquen, Verde, Menéndez and Rivadavia lakes.
These water courses are rich in salmonids and you can practise sporting fishing over them.
The mountain lovers will feel a strong attraction towards the Mount Torrecillas and its beautiful snowcapped peak with eternal snow of approximately 100 m. of thickness.
There are a large number of paths suitable for trekking and for the organization of walking tours to be in close contact with nature.
Its flora gathers the peculiarities of the Andean-patagonic woods and its fauna is quite varied, including exotic species just as the european wild boar and the mink.
The Visitors Centre, The National Park Intendancy and its Forest keeper headquarters are meeting points and ideal places to obtain information. The Limonao (Lago Futalaufquen), and Chucao Ports (Lago Menéndez), are the departure point of some lacustrine excursions, which, together with the terrestrian ones, let us enjoy this exceptional park.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: Esquel (40 Km.)
The Glaciers National Park - Santa Cruz
Declared Natural Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO, this park includes one of the most spectacular landscape beauties in the world: The glaciers.
It occupies 600.000 hectares and is surrounded by lakes, woods and mountains.
You will find here the imposing Perito Moreno Glacier, the Upsala Glacier, and others.
Despite the glaciers static appearance, they are constantly moving and that's why great blocks of ice are constantly getting off their extremes and falling into the water.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is the most spectacular and the easiest one to reach: with its 80 m.of hight above the sea level, it is admired by thousands of tourists coming from all over the world.
Within the park there are two important lakes: Argentino and Viedma.
The Mount Fitz Roy, which dominates the whole surrounding landscape, belongs to a mountain range of peerless beauty existing within the park.
Its fauna preserves species in recesion or danger of extintion such as the guemal, the hullín, the pudu (short deer), the huanaco, and others
Several lacustrine and terrestrial excursions can be carried out within the park, and you can even have the possibility to walk over the Perito Moreno to be in close contact with the gacier's ice, meeting its peaks and inner ponds.
Tourist Destination nearer to this park: El Calafate (80 Km.)
Tierra del Fuego National Park - Tierra del Fuego
This park constitutes the southernmost protected natural area of the Argentine Republic. It comprises an area of 63.000 hectares.
It has a fully irregular relief with a succesion of steep mountains, rivers, and lakes giving birth to several astounding landscapes.
A series of mountain ranges with north to south orientation act as barriers that divide the park into valleys quite difficult to reach.
As long as the arboreal vegetation is concerned, it is represented by six species: cinnamon, leñador, notro, lenga, ñire and sour cherry tree. The flowers, which increase in summer, are: yellow violets; white, green and yellow orchids; everlasting flowers; white and yellow daysies, and others.
This park preserves the following animal species: red foxes, huanacos, rabbits, beavers, condors.
There are plenty of birds, and among the species that we can find are the Patagonic woodpecker and the rayadito. Being the only national park that has a sea coast (over the Atlantic Ocean) it offers the unique opportunity of watching birds such as the black head albatross, the petrel, and others; and also some sea mammals.
Among the ichtyc fauna of sweet water we find the puyen and the peladilla. There are exotic salmonids, such as the Rainbow and brown trout suitable for sporting fishing.
In the sea we can find robalo, the pollack, taled Argentine hake and the sardines.
There exists a varied infrastructure within the park.