Argentina – Family holiday guide

Wild, remote regions are balanced by historic cities, ancient towns and rich cultural experiences. Visit with kids to ride the plains in the company of gaucho. Head south to the far reaches of Patagonia where the coast almost touches Antarctica and great glaciers rule the land. Spend time on the beach at Costa Verde, climb in the Andes, sail some of the world’s largest waterfalls or explore limitless wetlands teeming with rare wildlife. It’s an extraordinary country and an incredible adventure.


Why go on holiday in Argentina

  • UNESCO World Heritage sites

    Argentina has ten UNESCO World Heritage sites including Los Glaciares and Iguazú National Parks.

  • Accommodation choices

    There’s a wide choice of hotels in Buenos Aires and the provincial cities. But think about staying in Estancias and Hosteria in Argentina for a more local experience of the country – more affordable too.

  • Direct flights

    Direct flights to Buenos Aires from the UK take approximately 14 hours. Direct flights from Buenos Aires to provincial airports make even the most remote areas of this enormous country accessible for family holidays.

  • Beaches

    Costa Verde seaside towns like Pinamar, Cariló and Mar de Las Pampas have huge beaches three hours’ drive from Buenos Aires.

  • Natural wonders

    Argentina has ten mountain ranges including the Frontal Cordillera stretch of the Andes along the country’s western border with Chile, and the 250km² Perito Moreno glacier in Southern Patagonia is one of the few on Earth accessible by land.



Where to go

Buenos Aires

Argentina’s capital is just as colourful, exotic and intriguing as you imagine it would be. What you might not expect is effortlessly cool street style, incredible restaurants, elegant Parisian style architecture, gorgeous city parks, the Rio de la Plata waterfront and masses of child-size entertainment.

  • Buenos Aires is a big city and always busy. Get a street map, divide into barrio and start exploring at Plaza Italia, right in the centre: hub of museums, galleries, shops, restaurants and the city’s transport network.
  • Barrio Palermo is the city’s largest district and good for international hotels, holiday apartments and Airbnb.
  • Don’t miss: Bioparque Temaiken; Museo de los Ninos; Parque Lezama; Bosque de los Rosedales; Delta del Parana boat cruises; Puerto de Frutas Sunday markets; Parque de la Costa, the biggest amusement park in South America.
  • Buenos Aires has direct flights to La Pampa, north and south Patagonia, Córdoba, Santiago.
  • Visit during summer (November to March) for temperatures between 25˚ and 30˚. The city can be very humid in high summer, so at weekends locals head to beach resorts like Mar del Plata, two hour’s drive south on the Atlantic coast.

El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park, Patagonia

Between September and May, the town of El Calafate in Santa Cruz Province becomes one of Argentina’s most popular destinations. It’s the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park and the Perito Moreno Glacier: a 250km² ice-field and one of the very few glaciers in the world accessible by land.

  • El Calafate’s almost solely focused on tourism and has a good range of hotels from basic two and three star to luxurious international five-star resorts.
  • The town’s ‘hosteria’ are cosy, local guesthouses, wonderfully welcoming to families and a good alternative to hotels in this extraordinary part of the world.
  • The Fitz Roy and Chalténand Torre mountains are also in Los Glaciares. They’re considered to be the country’s most challenging climbs, but guided treks and hikes in the foothills are fun with older kids.
  • Activities, tours and experiences can all be arranged through registered operators in El Calafate. Several UK companies also specialise in Argentina adventure packages for families, which include Southern Patagonia.
  • El Calafate’s a bustling, modern town with good shops, restaurants and places to stay. But the surrounding environment, climate and outdoor activities are most suited to holidays with older kids and teenagers.
  • Top outdoor activities for families include: trekking on Perito Moreno; Fitz Roy and Chalténand Torre mountain hikes; guided tours of Balcón del Calafate and the Petrified Forest; ziplining, horse riding, sailing, hiking, camping and walking in Los Glaciares.
  • Closer to Antarctica than Buenos Aires, El Calafate has temperatures between 10˚ and 16˚ from September to March, dropping to daytime lows of -7˚ in June, July and August.

Córdoba, Central Argentina

Argentina’s second city, Córdoba’s at the heart of the country and a good family holiday base for exploring historic Córdoba Province. Considerably more temperate climate-wise than Buenos Aires, summer temperatures seldom rise above 24˚ and winter lows sit at about 11˚.

  • Córdoba’s one of the loveliest Colonial cities in South America and immersed in history thanks to its pole position on the ancient Royal Road. Good choice of affordable four-star hotels and aparthotels in the city centre.
  • Set in a valley surrounded by mountains, Córdoba’s sierra are packed with outdoor activities from trekking and horse riding to mountain biking, climbing and heritage tours – they’re also the best place to see Condors in flight.
  • Don’t miss: Quebrada del Condorito National Park; the flamingos at Mar Chiquita Lagoon; World Heritage Jesuit Square; Córdoba Cathedral; Córdoba Art Market; January’s ‘Festival of Taming’ for astounding riding displays; folklore and beaches at Cosquin.
  • Best time to visit is spring and summer (September to March), weather is warm, sunny but not too hot and low humidity.

Misiones Province, North East Argentina

Tucked between Paraguay and southern Brazil, Misiones is famous for waterfalls, miraculous rivers and rainforest adventures in complete contrast to the glacial wonders of Patagonia’s far south.

  • Sub-tropical Posadas is a romantic coastal city, capital of the Province and historic gateway to Misiones’ spectacular natural phenomena. Another Jesuit stronghold, it’s awash with historic buildings, museums, galleries and gorgeous squares. Good base for touring the province.
  • Puerto Iguazú is the closest city to Iguazú National Park for guided tours and a wide range of four-star family hotels.
  • Don’t miss: Iguazú National Park; Moconá Falls; World Heritage San Ignacio Ruins; Paraná Waterfront; El Soberbio; Route 12 for mission cities like Eldorado, Montecarlo and Jardin América.

Best time to visit is spring (September to December) when temperatures are between 20˚ and 25˚ and humidity’s low.


What to do

  • Bioparque Temaiken, Escobar
    This large natural park about 50km from Buenos Aires has a zoo, aquarium, natural history museum and enormous botanical gardens. Shuttle service from Plaza Italia.
  • Parque de la Costa, Buenos Aires
    South America’s biggest amusement park has all the world class white-knucklers in place but sticks to Argentina for lovely, outdoor restaurants and live entertainment.
  • Whale Watching, Puerto Pirámides, Chubut Province
    Chubut Province in South Patagonia is one of the best locations in the world for incredibly close encounters with Killer and Southern Right Whales.
  • Estancia Huechahue, North Patagonia
    This traditional working cattle ranch has been welcoming families as guests for almost 30 years. Flights from Buenos Aires to San Martin de Los Andes take just over two hours.
  • Iguazú National Park, Misiones Province, Northern Argentina
    The Iguazú Falls are one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world and Argentina shares the collection of 280 with Brazil in this national park on the border of both countries.
  • Los Glaciares National Park, El Calafate
    Even in natural phenomena-rich Argentina, the petrified forests, glaciers, mountains and ice rivers of Las Glaciares stand head and shoulders above almost all others.
  • Riding Argentina
    Conquistador, gaucho or just bobbling along on a pony? Horse riding is woven into almost every aspect of Argentinian culture and there are fantastic tours all over the country for experienced equestrians and complete novices.
  • Quebrada del Condorito National Park, Córdoba
    Rugged and adventurous national park close to the city of Córdoba. Good for climbing Sierra Chica and Grandes and one of the only places to see Condors.
  • Iberá Wetlands, Corrientes
    The 700,000ha Iberá Wetlands is an unspoiled wonderland of traditional gaucho culture, stunning natural phenomena and sightings of howler monkeys, capybara, giant otters, caiman and anaconda.
  • Argentina Natural History Museum, Buenos Aires
    To put the vast landscape and diversity of Argentina into context, this comprehensive museum is well curated for kids and has events throughout the year.


Educational value for kids

  • Santa Cruz Province is where to see the Hands’ Cave in the Rio de las Pinturas Canyon. The cave’s almost 600m deep and its walls are covered in handprints and paintings dating back as far as 13,000 years BC.
  • Iconic Route 40 covers over 5000km from El Calafate in Southern Patagonia along the western Andean ridge to the border of Bolivia, even the shortest drive’s unforgettable.
  • Argentina’s Estancias (farms and estates) range from working cattle ranches to grand English-style country parks. They’re wonderful places to stay with kids from the awe-inspiring La Pampa grasslands to the outskirts of cities like Buenos Aires and Córdoba, the Andes Mountains and Southern Patagonia.
  • Argentina is famous for magnificent rail journeys and beautiful steam trains. La Trochita across the Patagonian Steppes from Esquel on the Old Patagonian Express is an amazing adventure with kids.
  • Take a guided walking tour of Colonial Córdoba for a fascinating insight into the influences which shaped this historic Argentinian city.
  • To understand the complexity of Argentina’s Jesuit heritage explore the ruined Missions round Pasados – if you only have time for one make it World Heritage San Ignacio.
  • Barrio tours of Buenos Aires in spring (before it gets too hot) are a fun way to get ‘inside’ this wonderful city with the help of friendly, multi-lingual locals.
  • The sheltered waters round Antigua are ideal for diving lessons and the island has several excellent schools.
  • Spend the day at the English Harbour and put the British element of Antigua into context for kids.
  • Visit for carnival and kids can see where Notting Hill came from originally.
  • Dickenson Bay is water sport heaven and almost everything’s taught by well-qualified local instructors.

 

Getting around with kids in Argentina

Route 40 crosses Argentina from end to end and stretches for 5000km, so it is possible to drive around if you have plenty of time to spare. But using the country’s network of trains, buses and planes is a much easier way to get about with kids. If you’re thinking about combining more than one province or experience in your Argentinian holiday, several UK companies specialise in multi-centre tours. Being aware of the distances and relative remoteness of many areas is essential for independent travellers, pay particular attention to weather variations across the country too: temperatures in the south drop dramatically between May and August.



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