You can easily spend a week or two here and never get bored.
When I came for the first time in 2009 I booked two weeks here thinking I would explore more of Argentina.
I ended up spending all fourteen days falling in love with Buenos Aires.
After making the rash decision to simply never leave, I have spent over 13 years here.
And after more than a decade here there are still corners of the city I have yet to discover.
So is just a weekend in Buenos Aires enough?
Simply put, no. But you can cover the highlights in three days in Buenos Aires if you take full advantage of every day here.
This post is my ideal Buenos Aires itinerary for you to get the most out of your short time here, plus suggestions at the end for more things to see if you have more time.
QUICK NOTE: This post contains affiliate links and Sol Salute may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you.
Planning your perfect itinerary for Buenos Aires?
Keep the following tips in mind to help you plan.
Want to see it all in even less time? While not recommended it IS doable, read my one day in Buenos Aires walking tour to see most of the sites in one busy day.
Don’t miss reading these other articles that will help you plan your Argentina itinerary.
First, let’s talk about Buenos Aires accommodation. In such a big city, choosing where to stay can be overwhelming.
I recommend basing yourself in Palermo Soho or Palermo Hollywood, two of the coolest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.
These two areas are home to the city’s cutest boutiques and best restaurants and nightlife. By staying here, you’ll be able to return to your hotel or Airbnb to freshen up and rest before heading back out to dinner nearby.
Airbnb is really a great option in Buenos Aires. You can get an apartment all to yourself for as little as $30-50 US a night.
If you’d rather stay in a hotel (because sometimes having breakfast prepared for you while housekeeping makes up your room is just too good to pass up).
I always recommend Home Hotel in Palermo Hollywood or BE Jardin Coppola (yes, that Coppola) in Palermo Soho.
They both have beautiful gardens and patios to relax in after a day in the chaotic streets of the city.
For more information, read my complete guide on where to stay in Buenos Aires. I break down all the best neighborhoods and accommodation options in each.
When my best friend visited me in 2018, we only had a little over 3 days in Buenos Aires before we jetted off to the Mendoza wineries to drink our weight in Malbec.
I wanted her to see everything.
When I first wrote this post in 2018 it was the itinerary I created for her, step by step. Since then I’ve regularly updated it with new things to see along the way, ensuring that this Buenos Aires itinerary stays up to date and inclusive.
Warning: Be prepared for a lot of walking. Bring comfortable shoes for walking and for cobblestone.
I’ve marked out all of the sites and restaurants mentioned in this itinerary on the map below. It’s color coordinated by day.
Confession, I’m cheating a bit with this Buenos Aires in 3 days itinerary because I’m not counting the day you arrive. It’s arrival plus three full days.
Most flights into Buenos Aires are overnight, arriving in the morning or midday, so you’ll actually have quite a bit of daylight to take advantage of.
Since you’ll be understandably tired from your long trip, take it easy today.
I recommend exploring the shops and cafes of Palermo Soho.
The cobblestone streets of Soho are filled with restaurants and coffee shops to ease you into your vacation.
If you were wanting to eat in the wildly popular restaurants Don Julio or El Preferido de Palermo, you can do that today for lunch.
Be sure to reserve well in advance as they fill up. You can make reservations easily on their websites, they open dates up 3 months in advance and book up fast.
If the weather is sunny, take a taxi to the Bosques de Palermo after lunch and enjoy the beautiful parks of Buenos Aires.
You can rent roller blades, lounge on the grass or stop to smell the roses in the Rosedal rose garden.
For logistical information on how to get to your hotel from the airport, exchanging money, and more, read my Buenos Aires city guide.
I hope you slept well for your first full day in the city because we’re going to hit the ground running.
If you love tours, and I know I do (not sarcasm), this is the best morning for a walking, bike, or history tour.
Starting any new city with a tour is ideal because you’ll have the rest of your time to revisit any spots that interest you most.
Here are the best tours to pick from:
Whether you decide to go on a tour or follow this DIY itinerary, head to downtown to start your day.
Cafe Tortoni is the obvious and popular choice for your morning coffee. This is the oldest cafe in the entire city and oozes European charm.
For an alternative choice (my favorite) head to Confitería Ideal. This historic cafe was closed for just over a decade and reopened in 2023 pristine and polished. It’s even more beautiful than Tortoni, I think, and I know the food is better.
Go early (they open at 7) and you’ll have the place nearly to yourself.
People watch locals on their way to work in the morning over your café con leche and medialunas (Argentina’s gooey dense answer to the croissant).
After breakfast, if you’re going on a tour make your way to your starting point.
If you’re deciding to do it on your own by following this itinerary, find your way to Plaza de Mayo.
We’ll start our tour right here in Plaza de Mayo.
This main square is home to many iconic Argentina landmarks and has set the stage for most of Argentina’s history.
The Metropolitan Cathedral is stoic, looking much more like the Roman Pantheon than a place of worship.
Inside, however, it very much resembles a cathedral and is worth going inside for a look around.
San Martin’s remains are buried in a side chapel.
The Granaderos stand guard at his grave, a cavalry unit founded by General San Martin himself.
TIP: You can watch the changing of the guard in the Cathedral every two hours from 7 am until 9 pm (every 2 hours on the odds). They will march from the Cathedral to the Casa Rosada, with the new guard doing the same march in reverse.
The Cabildo sits on the end of the plaza opposite the Casa Rosada.
You’ll see a Cabildo on the main square in every major Argentine city. They were the seats of government while the country was under Spanish colonial rule.
The museum here is free to visit and has some interesting artifacts to see if you’re interested in Argentine history.
TIP: Cabildo’s second-story balcony offers the best view of Plaza de Mayo from above.
The Casa Rosada at the front of the plaza is the star of the show.
The pink government house, famous for Madonna singing not to cry for her Argentina from its main balcony.
It used to be open for guided visits on Saturdays but it seems to have been paused for a few years now, if anyone hears anything different please comment below!
From Plaza de Mayo, find Calle Florida.
This heavily commercial street lined by shops has been a street in one form or another since the 1500’s when it started as a muddy footpath from the river.
Walk to Galería Güemes at Florida 165. Find the elevators to take you to the viewpoint terrace on the fourteenth floor.
Prices tend to change often in Buenos Aires but it should cost more or less between the equivalent of $2-3 US.
This is one of the cheapest panoramic views in town!
You’ll pay your entrance fee at the top.
Before going, confirm hours and price on their official site here.
Explore the hectic streets of downtown and make your way to Avenida Corrientes for a lunch of decadent pizza.
After exploring the Calle Florida and Avenida de Mayo, make your way to Las Cuartetas at Av. Corrientes 838.
This is also Buenos Aires’ answer to Broadway and people tend to hit up the pizzerias before and after the shows at night.
There are a number of pizzerias on Corrientes, all serving pizza by the slice to busy locals eating lunch in a hurry.
You can order a slice from the cashier and sit at one of the tiny tables up front or sit at a table in the back and order from a waiter.
The pizza here is thick, heavy on the cheese and light on the sauce, so come hungry!
Make it a pizza crawl and visit Pizzeria Güerrin on the other side of 9 de Julio after seeing the obelisk.
After lunch, walk down Avenida Corrientes towards El Obelisco.
Cross 9 de Julio to take a photo in front of the ivy-covered BA in the middle of the avenue in front of El Obelisco.
For more photos and the best view, continue crossing 9 de Julio to the staircase viewpoint on Diagonal Norte.
This massive avenue was named after Argentina’s independence day.
This is one of the widest avenues in the world (the Eixo Monumental in Brasilia recently stole the world record away from us).
While it may not be the world’s widest, it’s still impressive.
Avenida 9 de Julio is wider than a city block at 110 meters and has as many as 7 lanes in each direction.
And in true Buenos Aires fashion, this avenue hasn’t always been a part of the cityscape.
Many city blocks, a beautiful church, and countless historic buildings were demolished to create this avenue.
From here, choose your own adventure for the afternoon.
You can tour one or both of two of the city’s most impressive buildings: Palacio Barolo and/or Teatro Colon.
At the moment you are standing just one block from the city’s palatial opera house, Teatro Colon.
At the moment (as of September 2023), Teatro Colon’s guided tours are offered from 11 am to 4:45 pm, but English language tours are only at 11 am, 12 pm and 3 pm.
Double check current hours on their official site here.
Whether you tour the theater or simply admire the façade, take a few moments to visit the square where it’s located: Plaza Lavalle.
You’ll see the Tribunales courthouse and the theater, the plaza’s two main highlights.
The cafe Petit Colon would fit right in in Europe and is a great spot to rest your feet.
After (or instead of) your tour of the Teatro Colon, go on a guided tour of Palacio Barolo on Avenida de Mayo.
This building, inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, is worth every second you dedicate to it thanks to its beautiful interior and incredible view.
Guided tours are offered in both languages throughout the day.
I HIGHLY recommend timing your tour with sunset to see the sunset behind the Congress from Palacio Barolo’s lighthouse.
Check here for tour options and times, there are plenty of different tours to choose from.
Want some cocktails to end your day?
There’s a rooftop bar inside Palacio Barolo called Salon 1923, click here for information and reservations.
After a brief rest at your hotel, it’s time for dinner. And after pizza for lunch it is time for what Argentina does best, steak.
There are two great dining options where you can try the best of all aspects of Argentine’s asado culture.
Buen dia, I hope you’re rested for day two of this Buenos Aires itinerary because it’s another full day!
Today we’ll be exploring Recoleta, the neighborhood of the city that is the most Paris of South America of them all.
Wake up for a sleepy breakfast in your hotel or head to one of the many cafes offering “cafe de especialidad.”
In a city infamous for overly sweet toasted coffee, it’s a welcome change.
Pastries have also been a major focus ever since 2020 turned us all into sourdough (masa madre) bread snobs, making breakfast (and mid-day merienda tea time) an elevated, enjoyable experience.
Hit up Google Maps to find a great café nearest your rental apartment or hotel, you won’t have a hard time finding one.
But if you’re looking for a personal recommendation, Atelier Fuerza makes the best medialunas and pastries in the city.
Go right when they open to make sure you get one of their famous Medialunas de Grasa, made with Wagyu fat (drool), before they sell out.
Cuervo is another favorite café of mine with a few locations throughout the city. They have the best avocado toast and excellent coffee.
Buenos Aires has more bookstores per capita than any other city in the world.
Among the hundreds of bookstores to discover here, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is one that’s received international recognition as one of the most beautiful in the world (according to those who know at National Geographic and The Guardian).
Start your day of touring here. Take a taxi or the subway to Av. Santa Fe 1860.
This breathtaking bookstore is housed in a historic theater. Take in the views from the ground floor then head upstairs to the second and third floors for the best views from above.
If you haven’t had breakfast yet grab a coffee and pastry from the café on the stage.
One of the unexpected beauties of Buenos Aires are the many alleyways, or pasajes.
The Pasaje del Correo, also known as Pasaje Suizo, in Recoleta is particularly beautiful.
It’s only a few blocks from El Ateneo Grand Splendid so walk there, passing through leafy Plaza Vicente Lopez on the way.
In the Pasaje del Correo there are restaurants and cafes worth a stop if you’re still hungry.
Warning: I will be suggesting a lot of dining stops along the way today, far more than you can possibly take advantage of. Research them ahead of time to see which looks more interesting to you or just stop at the ones that you happen to be at when hunger strikes!
If you’re not hungry, simply take a photo and wander the surrounding streets.
They are typical of residential, non-touristy Recoleta.
From here you are only a few blocks from the Recoleta Cemetery, our next stop.
Meander down to Av. Alvear to see the mansions on your walk to the cemetery.
There are plenty of ways to get to the cemetery from here and all will be beautiful, but I recommend walking down Avenida Alvear.
This wide avenue is lined with some of the city’s most impressive mansions.
You’ll see the Vatican Embassy, the Palacio Duhau, and Palacio Alvear.
One block before reaching the plaza where the cemetery is located you’ll cross Ayacucho street.
Hang left one block to shop in Arandu.
This saddle shop is housed in a beautiful three story home.
You can pick up high quality leather bags and belts, alpargarta shoes (real deal Tom’s), clothing, and authentic souvenirs.
You’ve now made it to one of the most important Buenos Aires landmarks.
The Recoleta Cemetery’s beautiful tombs are a veritable who’s who of Argentine history.
You’ll see the names of all the streets you’ve been walking on repeated here as past presidents, generals, and all around important historical figures are all buried in this aristocratic cemetery.
The most sought after grave is Evita’s. She’s buried with her family so you’ll see her family’s tomb under the name Duarte.
It’s on a narrow passageway but once you know where you’re going it’s easy to find, thanks to the crowds and walking tours that typically visit her.
NOTE: The cemetery is no longer free of charge for foreign tourists. As of Sept. 2023, it costs $2,834 pesos to enter, only by credit card (in person or in advance online). You can pay in advance here if you want, but it’s not required or really necessary. You wouldn’t be reserving a time slot, just paying in advance and can visit one time any time during the selected month.
Around the cemetery you can see the massive gum tree, supposedly planted in 1823 by the religious order that inhabited the church you also see here.
La Biela is a classic cafe here with a beautiful outdoor setting for a coffee, but in full disclosure, I find it a bit overpriced for the quality and the grumpiness of the waiters.
The Recoleta Cultural Center is located right next door to the church and always features a beautiful, modern mural, which is changed regularly, on its otherwise classic façade.
Here on a weekend?
The square in front of the cemetery is home to a weekly market every Saturday and Sunday.
It’s one of the best markets in Buenos Aires and a great place for souvenir shopping!
In the afternoon, musicians perform at the base of the grassy hill making it the perfect place to lay back and relax if the weather is sunny.
It takes place on both Saturday and Sunday, with artisans selling anything and everything. Since most markets take place only on Sundays (like San Telmo), I recommend visiting here on a Saturday.
Don’t leave Recoleta without taking a look at the larger than life metal flower across Alcorta Avenue next to the columned Law School building in United Nations Square.
This large aluminum flower was gifted to the city by an architect as a show of appreciation for the city that made him who he was.
To get there, take the pedestrian bridge that crosses Av. Alcorta.
Stop for a perfect panoramic view of the law school, the flower, and the avenue below (seen in the photo above). In November, this is the best view of purple jacaranda blooms in the entire city.
Hungry? Because I have even more lunch and food options coming your way.
From the area around the Recoleta Cemetery you can extend your day in the city’s many art museums.
Bellas Arts, the city’s Fine Art museum, is right here across the street from Floralis Generica.
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is a 15 minute walk away (hop in a taxi if your feet can’t take any more). Entrance to this palatial single family home is free of charge and a look into Buenos Aires’ wealthy past.
Walk another 15 minutes (or take a taxi directly) to MALBA, the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires. This museum has an impressive permanent collection and interesting temporary exhibits.
Visit all of, one of, or none of the above museums to round out your day in Recoleta.
Tonight (or one of your other evenings) book a tango show.
In the past year I was surprised to receive a lot of questions from readers who want to avoid tango shows because “they’re too touristy.”
If this is you, forget that, tango shows may be “touristy” but they are fabulous.
The levels of production, the quality of the dance, the music (often performed live with an orchestra)… it is 100% worth going to a tango show during your stay.
Here is a list of the 10 best tango shows in Buenos Aires to choose from.
Personally, I love El Querandi for a smaller venue. To see folkloric music along with tango, book La Ventana. For a beautiful venue and costume, Café de los Angelitos never disappoints.
If you’re still balking at the idea of going to a “touristy” show, then you need to book this milonga tour.
Milonga’s are where to locals go to dance tango. This is a proper dance hall, not a show.
A tour is the best way to see milongas as they’re not typically meant for you to just watch, you are meant to go and dance.
Tours with a local will show you a unique side to the city you won’t see otherwise.
If you itinerary allows, try to do this final day of this Buenos Aires itinerary on a Sunday. The weekly San Telmo Market takes place every Sunday.
San Telmo’s eclectic market is one of the city’s best highlights and a must-visit if you’re spending a weekend in Buenos Aires.
Sleep in and enjoy a leisurely start to the day.
The market doesn’t really get moving until the afternoon and the Caminito in La Boca doesn’t require too much time to explore.
Have a relaxing breakfast or brunch then take a taxi to La Boca to begin your day.
Aim to start your day in La Boca at around 11 am.
Since La Boca is on the southern outskirts of the city, hail a cab on the street or take an Uber or Cabify (Cabify is one of the best apps to download in Argentina).
This open-air museum is colorful, lively and likely what’s on the cover of your copy of Lonely Planet.
Take a stroll on the few blocks that make up the Caminito, taking photos of the colorful walls and tango dancers.
Arriving early will make for better photos as you’ll beat the crowds.
You can even take your own tango photo with one of the performers for a small price (a cheesy but fun souvenir).
Don’t miss the conventillo style homes turned souvenir shops. These former multi-family dwellings are iconic to La Boca.
Wealthy families fled to the northern suburbs during the yellow fever outbreak in the 1700’s.
Less fortunate families were left behind in southern neighborhoods like La Boca.
Previously single family homes became conventillos: multi-family tenement housing.
If you’re hungry while in La Boca, find El Gran Paraiso.
Most restaurants in the Caminito are tourist traps but El Gran Paraiso is a great parrilla located in a convent (you may see a nun or two weave through the tables!). You won’t be disappointed here.
Alternatively, you can wait to eat until your next stop, San Telmo. The dining hall in the indoor Mercado de San Telmo is filled with lunch options. I love the choripans at Juan Bautista.
Traditional parrilla La Brigada in San Telmo is decked out with futbol memorabilia and serves steak so tender they cut it with a spoon.
Desnivel is another parrilla here and is one of my favorites with juicy empanadas and great lomo dishes (I live for their lomo a la mostaza, tenderloin in a creamy mustard sauce).
El Federal is yet another lunch option, grab a greasy milanesa or plate of raviolis in this bar that oozes history.
If you’re visiting on a Sunday for the market, I recommend starting at Plaza de Mayo, right at the beginning.
From here, walk down Defensa towards Plaza Dorrego.
If you’re tight on time, you can start directly in Plaza Dorrego (especially if you already saw Plaza de Mayo on Day 1).
This is also the best idea if you’re hungry as most of the food recommendations above are near here.
The San Telmo Market takes place every Sunday and really gets going in the afternoon (this is not a city meant for the early riser).
There are stalls covering this street for ten blocks, with the antiques located mainly in Dorrego Square.
Don’t miss Casa Ezeiza at Defensa 1179.
This is the classic example of a wealthy single family home that became tenement housing after the yellow fever outbreak.
It is gorgeous inside and offers a peaceful respite from the weekend crowds.
The little shops inside are great for treasure hunting.
Not here on a Sunday? No worries.
San Telmo has even more charm without the market, when you can wander here without the crowds.
In fact, I always recommend those with more time to visit San Telmo both on a Sunday and a weekday to see both sides to this barrio.
Read More: A complete guide on things to do in San Telmo
Still find yourself in San Telmo after sundown, hit up one of the parrillas I mention in the lunch recommendations.
Desnivel or La Brigada will give you a steak you’ll never forget to round out this whirlwind three days in Buenos Aires.
Otherwise, find a restaurant near your accommodation, this city has no shortage of dining. Allie Lazar (the resident food expert of Buenos Aires) writes this yearly restaurant round up filled with the best restaurants.
I hope this sample itinerary helps you organize your time in Buenos Aires.
I’ve written and re-written this many times, making it the best possible way to see all the highlights in only three days.
It’s a bit nonstop and you will cover a LOT of ground.
If you have more time consider one of these add-ons to round out your Buenos Aires itinerary:
Concerned about safety? Read my guide to Safety in Buenos Aires.
Here’s a few frequently asked questions to help you plan your trip.
While it’s easy to get to Buenos Aires with the numerous direct flights from major cities in North America and Europe every single day, it’s not cheap.
Argentina is far and flights are often upwards of ten hours!
This also means that they’re costly. While it’s affordable to navigate Buenos Aires as a foreigner, it’s not cheap to get here.
I recommend using miles or rewards points to get a free flight. I do this all the time for expensive flights to cheap destinations!
I use Travel Freely online to sign up for credit card sign up bonuses.
Travel Freely is a free website that recommends the absolute best bonuses and gets me up to $1,500 US in free travel (keep in mind that it’s for US audiences only, unfortunately).
For more information read my review of Travel Freely here or go ahead and sign up here.
While you can do a lot with just 3 days in Buenos Aires, a week is ideal.
This allows more time to see not only the highlights of the city along with a few day trips to the countryside, Tigre’s river delta, and Uruguay.
Buenos Aires is as safe as any large, metropolitan city.
Take care at night as you would anywhere, when in doubt, take a taxi or an Uber.
Leave valuables in a safe in your hotel and take just what you need. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry that calls too much attention.
YES! This city is best seen on foot so pack comfortable shoes. Get into the streets and explore the neighborhoods, the sidewalk cafes, and the shops.
It can really depend on when you are visiting, the instability of the economy here can make things very expensive or incredibly affordable.
Luckily, right now (updated September 2023) is a VERY affordable time to visit Buenos Aires if you’re used to North American or European prices.
You can enjoy steak dinners, fine wines, and shop for leather without breaking the bank.
Buenos Aires is European and stylish. Dress smart but casual and wear shoes for walking. Pack one night outfit for a tango show and a comfortable pair of jeans for horseback riding at an Estancia.
For more packing help read my Argentina packing list.
Winding along dizzying cliff edges, through indigenous forests, and overlooking breathtaking valleys and waterfalls, it showcases the very best that Mpumalanga province has to offer.
Although a relatively short distance of only around 240 km, the Panorama Route packs a serious punch.
With spectacular natural landmarks around every bend like Blyde River Canyon, Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, God’s Window, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes, you’ll be stopping regularly to soak it all in.
This guide will provide everything you need to plan an epic road trip along the Panorama Route near Graskop.
I’ll share tips on the top attractions, where to stay, getting around, costs, and more.
Learning some fascinating facts about South Africa before your trip will enrich your experience of this incredibly diverse country.
QUICK NOTE: This post contains affiliate links and Sol Salute may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you.
The Panorama Route begins at the town of Graskop, and follows the winding R534 and R532 roads north towards the Kruger National Park.
This guide will prepare you to see the Panorama Route on your own, but sometimes a tour is the easiest option. This guided tour is an easy Panorama Route day trip from Hazyview.
Here are some of the highlights not to miss:
The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world, and the largest green one. The lush cliffs tower up to 800 m high, and stretch over 26 km long.
There are a few excellent viewpoints to take it all in, like the Three Rondavels viewpoint with its iconic hut-like mountain tops, and God’s Window where you can look straight down into the canyon below.
Don’t miss driving along the Blyde River Canyon’s edge itself too for more beautiful lookouts at places like Wonder View and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
Lisbon Falls is one of the Panorama Route’s most beautiful waterfalls, cascading 94 m over 4 tiers down into a rocky pool.
You can take a short trail right to the top for incredible views looking down, and also walk along a path following the fall’s streambed.
Berlin Falls may not be as tall as Lisbon Falls, but it makes up for it with volume.
The falls drops down a staggering 7 cascades spreading 50 m wide.
You can get up close and feel the spray on viewing platforms above and below the falls.
Over thousands of years of erosion, surreal cylindrical rock formations called potholes formed in the bed of the Treur River.
They are known as Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
It’s fascinating to walk along the bridges and boardwalks while admiring these geological wonders and waterfalls.
The Three Rondavels are three huge round rock formations towering 700 m above the Blyde River Canyon, shaped like traditional African huts.
The viewpoint provides perhaps the most iconic view of the entire Panorama Route, with the rondavels in the foreground and the canyon stretching out below.
God’s Window is aptly named for the absolutely breathtaking views it provides from high above the lowveld far below.
From the viewpoint, you can gaze 800 m straight down through a “window” in the cliffside where the treetops of the forested valley floor are visible in the distance.
It’s a dizzying and humbling sight.
Pinnacle Rock is an extraordinary site of erosion that left behind a large pointy rock formation standing all alone on the landscape.
You can take a short, steep hike up to the viewpoint for photogenic elevated views looking down on it.
The Panorama Route passes through both rural areas and villages, so you won’t be short on accommodation options.
Here are some of the best places to stay:
The Panorama Route drive begins in Graskop, reached along the smooth tarred R532 road from Sabie.
From Graskop, you take R534 north to reach sights like Berlin Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and Gods Window.
Higher clearance vehicles are recommended for improved handling along the winding mountain passes.
It’s possible to self-drive the Panorama Route – check rental cars here – stopping at attractions that interest you along the way.
But an even better way is to join a guided full day tour.
That way you don’t need to worry about navigating or finding sights on your own.
You’ll also learn a lot more about the area from a knowledgeable local guide.
If self-driving, be sure to fill up on petrol when you see a station, as some stretches have limited amenities.
Give yourself adequate time to explore each sight thoroughly, as they are spread out over long distances.
Most stops have some short hiking involved too.
The Panorama Route enjoys a mild climate all year round, thanks to its range of elevations from 800 m to 1800 m above sea level. It’s suitable for visiting any time, but the best seasons are:
If you have extra time before or after exploring the Panorama Route, consider spending a few days in Johannesburg checking out the many fun things to do there like the Apartheid Museum, Lion Park, and street art tours.
To visit the Panorama Route, you can expect to pay:
So in total, budget around R2,000-R4,000 per day if self-driving, depending on your lodging and food choices.
Joining guided tours, like this day trip from Hazyview, will be more affordable.
South Africa’s Panorama Route serves up one mind-blowing view after another along its high mountain passes.
Driving it yourself allows you to take as much time as you want to explore sights along the way that pique your interest.
But joining a full-day guided tour lets you sit back and soak it all in without any effort.
Either way, the Panorama Route is an unforgettable experience.
The natural beauty of the Blyde River Canyon region is sure to leave you in awe.
Don’t miss taking a trip to this incredible corner of South Africa!
The Panorama Route is a scenic drive along cliff edges and canyons in Mpumalanga, South Africa. It follows the R532 and R534 past sights like Blyde River Canyon, Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, and God’s Window.
The Panorama Route is located in northeastern South Africa in Mpumalanga province. It starts near the town of Graskop and heads north towards Kruger National Park and Mozambique.
Top attractions are Blyde River Canyon, Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels viewpoint, God’s Window viewpoint, and Pinnacle Rock.
The Panorama Route is approximately 240 km long. With stops, it takes a full day or longer to properly see the sights along the way.
Spring and autumn offer pleasant weather, but it can be visited year-round. Summer may have afternoon rains while winter is cooler with rare snow.
Expect to budget R2000-R4000 per day for accommodation, car rental or tours, food, and attraction entrance fees. Joining a guided tour is more affordable.
Popular places to stay are Graskop, Hazyview, Sabie, and Pilgrim’s Rest which all offer a variety of accommodations.
Author Bio: Billy is a travel blogger from Birmingham, UK. Born deaf in both ears, Billy has always loved geography and travel since a young age, but communication barriers and challenges meant a lack of confidence to go out and see the world. For the past decade, Billy has taken epic global adventures on a budget. Through his blog: BRB Gone Somewhere Epic, Billy dismantles the myth that travel is too expensive, and that you can still enjoy hidden gems even in popular tourist destinations.
Surprisingly (for me), one of the most repeated questions I get is about trains in Argentina.
Truthfully, long distance train travel in Argentina isn’t very popular. Long distance buses reign with 180 degree lay-flat seating and budget airlines like FlyBondi and Jetsmart make covering vast distances much more appetizing.
However, that doesn’t mean there are no trains in Argentina. If you’re a train enthusiast you’ll absolutely have options to explore here!
In fact, in the city of Buenos Aires I prefer to take the train over any other form of transport (buses get bogged down in traffic and the subway has limited reach).
The train network within the city and to the outer suburbs and nearby towns is very expansive.
There are also a lot of tourist/historic trains throughout the country worth taking to see the epic views only they offer.
And, of course, you can travel long distance by train as well (even if the destinations are limited).
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While possible to travel via long distance trains in Argentina, the most popular (and famous) trains are these historic, scenic trains.
So I’ll start this Argentina trains travel guide off with some short, scenic train rides that have become must-do experiences across the country.
One of the most popular tourist trains in Argentina is Salta’s Tren a los Nubes.
This train line was originally built a century ago to connect Argentina’s northwest to the border with Chile in the Andes.
Today it’s a tourist attraction (and wildly popular one at that). The majority of the route is by bus, connecting passengers from the city of Salta to the village San Antonio de los Cobres.
In San Antonio, passengers board the train and enjoy epic views of the Puna and Quebrada del Toro until reaching the highlight, La Polvorilla Viaduct.
It’s a full day excursion but if you won’t have a car to do a Salta road trip, this is an excellent alternative to see some of the province’s natural wonders.
Click here for more information on booking your train to the clouds.
From the tippy top of the country all the way to the end of the world, the second-most popular tourist train in Argentina is in Ushuaia.
El Tren Del Find Del Mundo was originally built to serve the prison and transport timber.
Tierra del Fuego was originally settled as a penal colony and newly arrived prisoners were put to work constructing proper buildings.
To do so, a train was built to connect the prison camp to the lumber camp. Over the years it’s been extended and improved and luckily, today Ushuaia no longer serves as a penal colony and the train no longer transports freezing, exhausted prisoners.
Instead, it transports freezing and well-rested tourists to the Tierra del Fuego National Park.
The excursion is a popular one and offers unique viewpoints of the mountains.
There are different classes you can choose from for more spacious seating and upgraded meal options.
For more information, click here to read about and reserve your Tren del Fin del Mundo experience.
Keep Reading: The Best Things to do in Ushuaia
La Trochita, which literally translates to Little Gauge, is a 750 mm narrow gauge railway.
The train originally formed part of Ferrocarriles Patagonicos, a network of rails across Patagonia.
It became largely famous in Paul Theroux’s work The Old Patagonian Express, about his adventures across the trains in Argentina.
Today it operates as a heritage train and you can take it from either of the two terminals.
From Esquel, the ride covers 18 kilometers, ending in the Nahuel Pan station, a Mapuche community.
There’s a 45 minute break here to enjoy while the train turns around for the return journey.
If you’re in El Maiten, the ride lasts 2.5 hours total, ending the Apeadero Ingeniero Bruno Thomas before returning back to El Maiten.
Looking for a scenic train in Buenos Aires?
The Tren de la Costa connects the city of Buenos Aires to the Tigre river delta.
It’s an excellent Tigre day trip and a great way to experience Buenos Aires’ river (as the city center itself logistically has turned its back to the riverfront).
The train departs from northern suburb Olivos at Maipu Station. You can either connect with the Mitre train line from Retiro downtown or simply take a taxi to remove any stress or logistics.
There are a number of beautiful stops along the way with historic stations, cafes, and paths to the riverfront.
Read my complete guide to the Tren de la Costa to plan your day.
The trains in Buenos Aires are one of my favorite modes of transport.
And I’d know as I live one block from a station. It is a life saver.
First you’ll need a SUBE card, which is the card required for all public transportation in Buenos Aires.
Typically, you can get one easily in any Subte station for a small fee. Some kioskos (minimarkets) also sell them. Once you have money loaded onto them you’re free to use them at all train turnstiles.
Scan your card on the way in and again on the way out as fees differ depending on how far you go.
The two most important train stations are Retiro and Constitución and they are conveniently connected by the Linea C subte line.
Click here for a complete list of the metropolitan train lines in Buenos Aires.
Trains from Retiro (and there are a few different stations in Retiro) travel to the northern area of the city. The station most people are referring to when they say Estacion Retiro is the Mitre line.
Trains from Constitución travel to the southern suburbs and towns.
Both stations have guided tours (in Spanish) that are very interesting! You need to fill out this contact form to sign up.
The process (and language restrictions) can make it hard for the casual tourist but if you’re a Spanish speaking train/history enthusiast I do recommend it.
Here are a few ideas on where you can take the train from to from Buenos Aires, if you’re looking for a little inspiration.
Finally, I’ll end this Argentina trains guide with long distance travel.
While the list of destinations for long distance trains in Argentina is a bit limited, it IS possible to travel by rail if you’re so inclined.
Click here for a complete list of all the long-distance and regional destinations. Below I’ll list some popular tourist destinations you can reach by train from Buenos Aires:
COMFORT TIP: Camarote is the term for sleeper car. It’s something you’ll want to know when booking an overnight ticket to Tucuman, Bahia Blanca, or Cordoba.
Click here for more information on where you can buy your tickets (with in person ticket booths listed), but…
BUDGET TIP: If you purchase your ticket online, you’ll receive a 10% discount.
My husband and his family tell stories of loading their old Renault into a train car and riding down to Patagonia, where all sorts of family road trip adventures unfolded.
Unfortunately, in the 1990’s the train from Buenos Aires to Patagonia ceased operations.
In 2014, a portion of this historic line was re-opened, starting in Bariloche in the Andes, crossing the Patagonia steppe to Viedma on the Atlantic coast.
It’s an 18 hour journey with one weekly service each way.
On Friday evenings the train departs from Viedma, arriving just after midday on Saturday in Bariloche.
The return journey departs from Bariloche on Sunday evening, arriving just before midday in Viedma on Monday morning.
Click here for reservations, they release tickets three months at a time.
There are sleeper cars and even cars dedicated to carry your car, in case you want to do your own Patagonia road trip.
While Argentina’s rail system is a far cry from Europe, it is still a viable way to travel here.
If you’re a train enthusiast, I hope that this article has helped you organize your travels.
If you’re simply looking for how to get around, I hope this article has helped you figure out when a train is a good idea (getting around the city or for a cheap day trip!) and when it is not (that trip to Mendoza or Patagonia, for example).
If you’ve traveled by train in Argentina, please let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your experience, or questions if you’ve got them, too.
Hotel or cabin?
WHICH hotel or cabin?
But some things can really make or break a trip, like your meals and where you base yourself.
The internet has also given us so much information that it’s easy to overanalyze things.
So here you go, an article all about where to stay in Bariloche, to help YOU to overanalyze things and pick the best hotel or house for your trip.
I promise your type A planning efforts aren’t in vain.
Bariloche is no longer a small mountain village, those days are long gone.
It’s a big city that has seen a lot of growth in recent years.
Everywhere you look are hotels, complexes of cabins and hostels.
In fact, there’s a housing crisis here for locals because everything is being marketed to tourists, but that’s a story for another article…
My point is, you have a lot to choose from here.
First, choose which area of Bariloche that you want to stay in and then choose from there.
This article is divided up that way, by area with options for each, but if you’re in a hurry and want a quick TLDR of places I love here you go.
Where to stay in Bariloche TLDR:
The obvious answer is always to stay right in the heart of the action.
But should you stay downtown?
If you’re a backpacker or on a budget, the best hostels are in the city.
Also, I always recommend renting a car in this area of Patagonia (check rates for Bariloche) but if you don’t want to or can’t, staying downtown is convenient.
The city center is walkable and the city has good public transportation to most tourist sites (also, taxis are abundant).
The downside is that downtown Bariloche is not beautiful, at all.
If you choose downtown, look for somewhere near the Centro Civico, or main square.
Where to stay downtown:
Playa Bonita is a beautiful neighborhood and compromise.
It’s right on the water with beautiful views and is centrally located between the city center, Cerro Catedral (for you ski bunnies), and the Circuito Chico.
It will be most comfortable to have your own car here but public buses circulate on the main road, Bustillo or you can get by with tours and taxis.
Where to stay in Playa Bonita:
The Circuito Chico is a short circuit around the peninsula about 20 kilometers from the city center.
It is one of the most scenic areas of Bariloche with a lot to do and see (read my full Circuito Chico guide).
Driving to the Circuito Chico from downtown, you’ll notice kilometer markers along the side of the road.
Bustillo is the main road in Bariloche, bordering Lago Nahuel Huapi, and the kilometer markers refer to how far out on Bustillo you are.
The area is referred to as Los Kilometros and I’ve stayed out here for our past two stays in Bariloche and really like it.
Out here we’re close to the sites and trails on Circuito Chico, far from the hustle of downtown, and a lot of the main shops and restaurants downtown have a second location out here (like my main love, Oveja Negra empanadas, for example).
I will admit that it takes about 20 minutes to get downtown and so I rarely go, but I don’t miss it.
The beauty is out here, I feel one or two days in the center for a tour or a special meal (like the decadent milanesa at La Fonda del Tio), is enough.
Commit even further, and stay ON the Circuito Chico.
You’ll find a lot of hotels and cabins here.
It’s a gorgeous area to stay if you want to be surrounded by nature.
You likely won’t head into the city center much, but you won’t miss it.
Where to stay in “Los Kilometros” & Circuito Chico:
If you’re coming to Bariloche to ski or snowboard, and nothing else, then definitely stay IN Villa Catedral.
The drive to and from the ski resort can be brutal(ly annoying).
If you don’t leave very early in the morning and then finish your day early, think 4 pm and cut your skiing short, you’ll be in slow, stop and start traffic twice a day.
There are a lot of options right here at the foot of Cerro Catedral, just do your best to book as far in advance as possible.
Where to stay in Villa Catedral:
Plot twist, what if the best place to stay in Bariloche is actually deciding to go to Villa La Angostura instead?
Villa La Angostura is just one hour north of Bariloche and still has that small mountain village charm that Bariloche long outgrew.
Read my guide on The Best Things to do in Villa La Angostura
Also on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, you get the benefits of the same activities.
Hikes, kayak, and sunset sails.
Also, the town has its own share of specialty chocolate shops.
Villa La Angostura is also closer to the scenic Ruta de los 7 Lagos and Circuito Grande scenic drives than Bariloche.
So, if you’re considering Villa La Angostura instead, here’s where I love to stay there:
The short circular route, as the name describes, is a short scenic drive 23 kilometers from downtown Bariloche.
You could spend as little as a few hours driving it, stopping at scenic viewpoints along the road as you go.
Alternatively, you could spend the entire day exploring the many hiking trails, tucked away beaches, and restaurants here.
This guide is a breakdown of all the sites to see along the route from hikes to beaches, where to eat, and how to do it
Whether you drive it, bike it, or hike it, here’s how to get to the Circuito Chico in Bariloche.
All of the sites mentioned in this post are pinned in the map below.
There is a lot to do in this area of town.
We stayed near here for a month and I found myself venturing into the Circuito Chico loop quite often for hikes, beaches, or just to eat and shop.
You could spend as little or as much time here as you want, depending on your interests.
Just before the Circuito Chico, the Cerro Campanario chairlift and view is 100% worth it.
You can hike to the top for free, but save yourself the effort and take the chairlift.
The 360 degree view from the top is the best in town.
Get a hot chocolate and cake from the cafe at the top or bring your own mate to enjoy from one of the many viewpoints.
This small wooden chapel stands at the top of a hill overlooking the Hotel LLao Llao and Puerto Pañuelo.
Turn left on the side road and drive uphill to park in the lot just behind the chapel.
The Llao Llao was designed and built by Architect Alejandro Bustillo in 1938.
It is one of the most iconic hotels in Bariloche.
Whether you stay here or not you can make reservations for tea or lunch in the many restaurants or treat yourself in their spa.
Across the Llao Llao is Puerto Pañuelo.
Two of the best day tours on the water depart from here:
If you love lower effort, high reward hikes then you’re going to want to hike the Circuito Chico.
Shorter trails in the Llao Llao Municipal Park can be done in 2-3 hours and don’t require you to register in advance (like you need to do to hike in Nahuel Huapi National Park).
Below are just the more popular hikes in Llao Llao Municipal Park, click here for more complete information about the park.
Note that the park closes the trails on windy and stormy days. Check their Instagram page if the weather seems suspicious.
FOOD TIP: The Llao Cafe del Bosque food truck is parked in the parking lot of the Sendero de los Arrayanes and makes the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Definitely go after your hike for a treat!
At KM 29, you’ll see a sign to turn off for Villa Tacul, take the weaving dirt road uphill and back down again to some of the most beautiful beaches in Bariloche.
The name Villa Tacul is in honor of Ismael Tacul, whose family was one of the many indigenous tribes removed from their land in the 1950’s by the national park.
Some of his children have returned here in 2007, creating a sminall community of Mapuche people repopulating their land.
At one extreme of Villa Tacul you can see ruins from a hotel built in 1946, destroyed by the government a decade later.
Like all abandoned ruins in Argentina, there are rumors around the ruins claiming it was a Nazi bunker. (While this conspiracy is often true in Argentina, I haven’t seen any proof of this one).
Bunker or not, go for the beautiful forest lined beaches.
Bring your mate and snacks on a beautiful sunny day, you won’t regret it.
A beautiful small lake a short walk from the main road.
It weaves through the forest and feels very much like you are walking through a fairy tale.
There’s a wooden pier that’s very picturesque and thanks to that, can be very crowded and hard to enjoy as it deserves.
But that also depends on if you arrive at the same time as a tour group, if so, just wait it out to enjoy the view in peace.
If it’s a still day, the laguna will mirror the peak behind it.
You’ll see the access to Bahia de los Troncos almost immediately after the sign for Laguna Lago Escondido.
After a short walk through the same forest (I actually took a wrong turn and instead of the Bahia de los Troncos I ended up at Laguna Lago Escondido, so, they connect).
Yet another beautiful beach on the lake in Bariloche, bring your mate and a book, enjoy.
Park and walk uphill about 5 minutes to reach a mountain cemetery, the resting place of many who died dedicating their lives to the mountains.
Skiers, mountaineers, and the like rest here in the place they loved best.
Visit with respect.
Colonia Suiza is a short drive from the Circuito Chico.
It could be a stop in your Circuito Chico itinerary or a destination on its own.
As the name suggests, this is a historic Swiss town where settlers originally built their homes when immigrating to Argentina.
It’s turned into quite the tourist trap but if you look closely, you can see remnants of the original settlement here and there (especially further from the main food court area).
Curante in Mapuche means hot stone, meat and vegetables are buried underground with the heat source (covered in leaves).
The Goye family brought Curanto with them when they arrived to Argentina via Chile.
👉🏻 Visit Colonia Suiza midday on a Wednesday or Sunday. This is when they operate the Curanto meal services and when most restaurants and shops open.
A mini-theme park for dinosaur loving kids, Parque Nahuelito is filled with life size statues of dinos.
It may seem random at first, but with many fossils discovered in Patagonia, this area of the world is actually a great destination for dinosaur obsessed toddlers (or adults, I’m not judging you Ross!).
Make sure to check their website for hours since visits are done as a guided visit.
The most beautiful panoramic view in Bariloche, this mirador is a must see.
You’ve likely seen this view photographed in your guidebook or post cards, so definitely stop for your own memories.
There is plenty of parking on either side of the road, be very careful crossing the road with the curves here.
Yet another beach and viewpoint on the Circuito Chico.
This bridge is a great photo op and as the name suggests, the bay is protected from the wind making it a good stop even with less than ideal weather.
Skip the tacky souvenir shops on Mitre street downtown, visit these carefully curated boutiques for handcrafted items you actually want:
San Carlos de Bariloche is the largest and most well-known city in northern Patagonia, but it’s far from the only charming mountain town that should be on your radar.
Each town is ideal for a long weekend city escape but the region overall is begging for a road trip.
This article is a list of all the best places to visit in the Argentinian Lake District from north to south.
This region is popular year-round.
There is no true low season anymore but slightly less busy.
The busiest time is always summer (the holidays through February) when Argentines take their vacations.
Spring (October-early December) is my favorite time of the year with warm weather, cool nights, and wildflowers.
Fall is another great shoulder season option.
Winter is a great time to take advantage of the ski resorts and hearty food here, but not ideal for hiking.
But I recommend avoiding the final half of July when Buenos Aires’ school system (city and province) has its winter holidays.
The area explodes, it will be busy and at its most expensive.
Below are the best destinations to visit in Northern Patagonia, but first here are some quick tips to keep in mind as you plan:
San Martin de los Andes is a small city at the northern end of the Lake District in Argentina.
It’s most Argentines favorite destination in the region, which is easy to see why once you visit.
San Martin de los Andes is large enough to have all that you’d need from a city but small enough to still have the charm of a small mountain town.
The town itself is built on the shores of Lago Lacar and serves as the gateway to Parque Nacional Lanin and the northern edge of the Ruta de los 7 Lagos scenic drive.
For the adventurous among us, there are a number of hikes in the national park.
For the lazy (relaxed) among us, there are plenty of beaches like Quila Quina, Playa Yuco and Hua Hum to take in some sun or swim in the summer.
Villa Traful is a tiny town off of the Ruta 40.
It’s a small detour off the 7 Lakes Drive but home to quite a massive lake of its own, Lago Traful.
This small village is your ideal destination if you want to disconnect with nature or practice extreme sports.
There’s not a lot to do here but in the best of ways.
Villa Traful is home to hiking trails, a submerged forest you can scuba dive through, kitesurfing and windsurfing when the weather is right, fly fishing, and more.
Recent years have brought a lot of growth to Villa Traful and with it, more hotels beyond the usual campsites and cabins, but it still remains a bit sleepy compared to big brother Bariloche.
Villa La Angostura is my personal favorite (but just saying that feels a bit like picking a favorite child).
It’s a smaller village that in every way feels like a village and not a city.
At just an hour from Bariloche, it’s close to the region’s largest airport and my favorite alternative to its big city neighbor.
Villa La Angostura has all of the same activities you’ll find in Bariloche from lake kayak excursions and hikes to its own ski resort, Cerro Bayo.
It has a much cleaner feel than Bariloche with an adorable downtown and pristine beaches on Lago Nahuel Huapi.
Luxury resorts like Las Balsas (a Relais & Chateaux) property will spoil you here but there are options for all budgets like this cabin.
In Situ Viajes is a Patagonia specialty travel agency based in Villa La Angostura, tell them you heard about them here and they’ll book the best excursions and stay for you.
Bariloche, the powerhouse of the Argentinian lake district.
It is a major city in Patagonia and far from the old mountain village of yester-year.
Being home to the region’s largest airport means it is the easiest to access. There are flights just about every hour from multiple airlines.
This is likely where your trip to the lake district in Argentina will begin.
If you love hiking, visit in the warmer months to take advantage of the unique mountain hut system (refugios).
Kayak, mountain bike, or just eat fondue and chocolates, there is an endless number of activities to choose from here.
It’s also a major winter destination, Cerro Catedral is the largest ski resort in South America, read all about winter in Bariloche.
Cerro Otto and Piedras Blancas are also great for families, with sledding and snow shoeing.
I highly recommend spending at least a week here if this is your only destination.
If you want to do a road trip, spend a few days here then choose to go north to Villa La Angostura, Villa Traful and San Martin de los Andes OR head south to El Bolson and Trevelin.
El Bolson is Patagonia’s hippie paradise, ask an Argentine their thoughts and it is love or hate and nothing in between.
Me? I love El Bolson.
It’s 2 hours south from Bariloche and the natural beauty here is epic.
El Bolson is in a valley rather than right on the lakes like the towns mentioned above.
It was founded in the 1960’s by hippies, giving way to the reputation that remains today.
There’s an artisan market three days a week and you can pick up some really unique things there from tie dye shirts (are you surprised?) to international food trucks.
The hiking here rivals – if not beats – Bariloche, with the largest system of mountain huts/refugios in Argentina.
Visit neighboring Lago Puelo and Lago Epuyen if the weather is warm for kayaking or just to rest by the water.
El Bolson is ideal for backpackers but any families or outdoors lovers looking to get off the beaten path will love it here.
Caveat that in peak months like January there is no such thing as off the beaten path, and El Bolson is very much on Argentines’ radars, even if it’s not on as many North Americans’ or Europeans’ itineraries.
Trevelin is the furthest south and the town is booming.
Tourism here has exploded in recent years among Argentines and I can only imagine it will soon be on everyone’s radars.
The town’s picturesque tulip field put the area on the map.
If you want to see the tulips, you have to go in October and book well in advance because everyone wants to see the tulips.
Read more: A Complete Guide to Trevelin
The area is also a haven for fly fisherman, with luxury lodges like this. Season begins in November and I also recommend planning in advance.
Trevelin also has three wineries making GREAT wine, Casa Yague was my favorite, don’t miss it.
History lovers will also be happy, this Welsh settlement has a few museums paying homage to the original founders’ way of life.
There are also cherry and raspberry farms, hikes, a stunning national park, and more to fill your days.
Listen to me when I’m telling you that Trevelin is a destination you don’t want to sleep on.
Want to see even more of Patagonia, check out these destinations:
Argentina is divided into touristic regions, one of them is Patagonia.
Within Patagonia there are also regions divided up based on geography (and I’m just talking about Argentina’s side, you could go even further and include Chile’s half).
There’s the rugged Atlantic coast, southern Patagonia (think El Calafate’s glaciers and Ushuaia’s literal end of the world) and then Northern Patagonia’s Lake District (Bariloche and surroundings).
You may have grand plans of a Patagonia tour, hitting up the sites in a week or so.
The reality, though, is that the connectivity of these different regions can leave a lot to be desired.
They’re far apart, snow complicates the routes in winter, and there honestly aren’t as many flights as (I think) there should be.
Bariloche and El Cafalate/El Chalten are two major Patagonia destinations.
You’d think they’d be easy to travel between them.
You’d be wrong.
This article is a break down of your options if you’re trying to fit both of these Patagonia power houses into your itinerary.
El Calafate is Argentina’s glacier capital in the southern portion of Patagonia.
It’s a short drive from El Chalten and its epic day hikes.
Bariloche is in Northern Patagonia, it is Argentina’s Lake District.
If you want to see both, here are your options.
The easiest way to get from Bariloche to El Calafate (and vice versa) is 100% to fly.
Unfortunately, there aren’t daily direct flights.
Before you make your itinerary too tight, check flight options for your dates.
Be flexible, put priority first on the flights then build your trip around that.
If there are direct flights, they’re likely just a few days a week.
All other flights route through Buenos Aires, and yes, that’s a hassle.
But even with the layover in Buenos Aires it’s still less time and effort than a long distance bus or driving, especially if traveling during the snowy winter months.
So, without a doubt, flying will always be my first choice.
Next up is every South America backpacker’s favorite, the long distance bus.
And this particular bus ride takes 27 hours.
I don’t care how flat the seat lies or how many bathroom pit stops it makes, that’s too many hours in a bus for me.
The cost at time of writing is only an average of 5,000-10,000 pesos less than the flight.
That is 10-20 USD to save a day of your life?
Still insisting on the bus?
The only company to run the bus from Bariloche to El Calafate route is Taqsa Marga.
You can choose semi-cama or cama seating, I always splurge for the cama on buses in Argentina.
This way you get to lie flat and get proper rest but if you’re on a very tight budget, semi-cama is the cheapest option.
The El Calafate to Bariloche bus route does not run year round.
Ruta 40 is not safe during the snowy winter months.
I’ve heard you can do a circuitous route via Rio Gallegos, but a quick look at the map will show you that this is not on the way.
Don’t do it. Just fly.
The bus runs in warmer months, starting in October and ending on May 1st.
Check their website for tickets to see when it’s running.
Tickets are available for purchase about three months in advance, give or take.
Earlier than that and you won’t see any availability, regardless of when you’re traveling.
If you’re still reading this then you must really want to drive, you have to really want it because it’s an 18 hour drive.
And while I love a road trip, this isn’t one I’d recommend.
The drive itself is monotonous, just you, straight highway, and the Patagonia steppe.
You will see a lot of guanacos though, so there’s that.
Another main complication will be getting a car, renting a car to drop off nearly 20 hours away will be either impossible or include very expensive surcharge.
I really only recommend driving if you have your own car, van, or motorhome that you’re crossing the country with.
Also, like with the bus, you’ll only want to do this in the warmer months. Do not drive it in winter when the roads freeze.
If you need a pit stop, and you will, stay the night in Perito Moreno then keep going to El Calafate/Bariloche the next day.
And if you have a lot of time to enjoy the drive, the towns of El Bolson and Trevelin just to the south of Bariloche are worth spending time in along the way.
I feel as if this article was a long way to say, book a flight.
But for the intrepid traveler with the time to enjoy it, the bus or driving can really be an adventure.
However you get there, you are in for a good time.
Also, have you heard of Ushuaia?
The city at the end of the world connects very easily to El Calafate with direct flights.
This can be an alternative to Bariloche (thanks to it’s connectivity you can easily do a Buenos Aires – El Calafate – Ushuaia – Buenos Aires route), or in addition to!
Muscles get tight after walking across Paris or sitting still for 8 hours on the red eye.
Tempers flare due to jet lag and our diets are off kilter.
Maintaining your personal yoga practice while on vacation can make all the difference.
Choosing the best travel yoga mat for your needs will make those hotel room chaturangas even easier.
This post is a complete guide to the best travel yoga mats on the market (and I’ve tried them all!).
Don’t have time to read the whole article? Here’s a quick breakdown:
Keep reading for more suggestions and more details…
There are so many yoga accessories and props on the market today that it can be hard to decipher what you truly need and what’s just extra fluff.
A travel yoga mat, for me, is not fluff.
Personally, I find having a travel mat with me on the road makes the difference in whether I practice or not.
Stepping foot on my mat simply puts me in the right headspace to practice.
I wholeheartedly think travel yoga mats are important for traveling yogis.
This post is a complete guides to help you find the perfect mat for you!
I own and regularly use three mats on this list, and thanks to friends, I have practiced on the rest.
Not sure what you need in a travel mat?
At the end of the article I go into detail on what’s important to look for.
If you’ve decided to take your yoga practice on the road with you and you’re looking for the best travel yoga mat for you, then you’re in the right place!
Here are a list and breakdown of the best options for a yoga travel mat in 2023.
This YOGO Ultralight travel mat is perfect for frequent travelers and quickly became my favorite.
It’s an incredibly compact yoga mat that even comes with its own built-in straps and handle.
Unfold it, practice, then easily roll it back up into its straps.
The texture is very similar to Manduka’s travel mats but with added features.
Cleaning has also been very easy because I just use the built-in handle to hang it in the shower.
Rinse it off while you shower (with a gentle, neutral soap) and leave it hanging to dry.
You can read my full review of the YOGO mat here.
The surface of this mat reminds of the Manduka travel mat. It’s smooth but very grippy.
That’s because the YOGO mat is also made from renewable tree rubber.
And even better, as a company, they give back by planting food-bearing trees and providing restorative agroforestry training in Africa.
A major detail that sets YOGO apart?
This mat is designed to be sanitary.
The folding system allows for the bottom of the mat to never come in contact with the top.
You don’t have to worry about rolling the hotel room floor germs onto the top of the mat, where you rest your face in child’s pose.
Manduka is a fantastic brand (and one of my favorites).
I actually their travel mat in two different colors, three of their prolite mats (as my main, daily use mat) and I live for their affordable eQua towels when I practice hot yoga.
Manduka is well-known for its quality, so it was a given that their travel mat was also going to be good quality yoga mat. Colors are simple but beautiful.
Manduka’s eKO Superlite foldable yoga mat for travel should be at the top of anyone’s list. It’s lightweight at 2.2 pounds and folds up to the size of a single pair of jeans.
Manduka mats are very grippy and smooth. You won’t slide around in warrior 2.
It’s a very environmentally friendly, non toxic yoga mat.
Manduka mats include no PVC, toxic plasticizers or harmful dyes, They’re made from sustainably harvested natural tree rubber and are biodegradable.
Some people complain of an obnoxious rubbery smell fresh out of the box, but this fades with use. If it really bothers you, give it a deep cleaning before your first use.
The Manduka mat is a very sticky mat, which is a good thing, but this can cause it to bunch up in transitions.
It’s a very thin yoga mat, which can be tough on the knees (but that’s nothing a knee pad cushion or folded hand towel can’t solve.)
In fact, I always have a folded t-shirt or hand towel next to my mat for this purpose because all travel mats are notoriously thin.
Since originally writing this article, Manduka has come out with a travel mat version of their popular pro mat.
Being a serious fan of the Manduka Pro, I can’t wait to get my hands on this travel version.
They have taken their best mat and made it a bit lighter.
The pros to the pro mat (pun intended) are that it’s a big thicker than the Manduka travel staple, eKO Superlite) at 2.5 mm.
It also has that texture that I love.
Some report having to break the pro mats in to get it sticky and avoid slipping on it.
I’ve never had that problem.
This mat weighs a bit more than the eKO Superlight at 3.2 lbs (versus 2.2 lbs).
Decide what you prioritize: the lighter weight of the eKO Superlight or the thickness of the Pro Travel.
Stay with me to the end of this post for my recipe for all-natural homemade mat cleaner!
MIKKOA Travel Yoga Mats are the most beautiful yoga mats I have ever seen.
Most notably, their mats are a hybrid of yoga mat and yoga towel.
If you practice Bikram or Heated Vinyasa and don’t want to pack both a towel and a mat, then this is the best travel yoga mat for you.
It’s two in one.
I got the Galaxy Aurora pattern pictured below but there are other unique patterns to choose from.
They also offer regular yoga mats and beach towels.
The microfiber is very smooth and you may slip at first.
It’s ideal for a sweaty practice because, like most yoga towels, they get grippy with sweat.
You can fix this by giving the mat a quick spritz with the studio’s yoga mat clear spray bottle at the start of practice.
Jade shares the top of the yoga mat market with Manduka.
In fact, most yoga studios offer either Manduka or Jade mats as their rental mats so you know you can trust their quality.
Jade’s Voyager mat is an extremely lightweight yoga mat at only 1.5 pounds.
The mat folds up compactly to easily fit in your suitcase or backpack.
Jade is a very sustainable company and gives back by planting a tree for every mat purchased.
If you trying to decide between the Jade Travel Mat and Manduka, in my personal opinion it comes down to texture.
Both companies produce a great anti-slip yoga mat, but where Manduka mats are smooth, Jade mats have more texture that you’ll feel under your feet.
Read Next | The 5 Best Online Yoga Programs I Use
Gaiam is a great yoga company because they offer good quality yoga mats at very accessible prices.
The Gaiam travel mat folds into a 10″ x 12″ compact square.
While most travel mats are folded for travel but best stored rolled, Gaiam’s is made to be stored folded.
The mat is perforated for easier folding, these markings may or may not bother you during your practice, but it’s something to keep in mind.
This Gaiam yoga mat weighs 1.8 pounds and has a smooth (besides the creases for folding), grippy texture.
It comes in fun patterns that are a bit more subdued than those on the MIKKOA mats.
I was unable to find any information regarding Gaiam’s environmental practices.
This mat is ideal if you’re focused on improving your alignment.
Liforme’s AlignForMe markers will remove any doubt on proper hand and foot placement.
The Liforme Yoga Travel Mat is thicker, wider, and longer than most travel mats.
Consequentially, it’s the least compact mat on this list.
It’s not foldable (it’s only stored rolled and comes with its own yoga mat carry bag).
This means it won’t pack into smaller luggage easily for the minimalist packers out there.
It’s also heavier than the other mats here at nearly 4 pounds.
Honestly, while I’ve loved using my friend’s Liforme mats, it’s too big for me to justify as a regular travel mat.
If you want a mat that’s easier to transport around the city or bringing in and out of your car, however, this is a great option.
I find the Liforme mats to be extremely soft.
The surface is smooth but has a good grip and it’s a high-quality yoga mat and thicker than the typical thin travel mats.
If you don’t mind the weight and prefer a thicker mat with more cushion, then this is the mat for you.
The only con to travel yoga mats derives from the main pro, they’re very thin!
This is why it shouldn’t be your main mat for your daily practice (unless you practice on carpet), it can really tire your knees.
When I travel on a hard floor while traveling, I usually bring a hand towel or t-shirt with me to provide a cushion for my knees during poses like tabletop or low-lunge.
But if you have particularly sensitive knees, there are specific cushions (like these) out there for you that may provide superior support and grip on the mat.
After investing in your new travel mat, be sure to take good care of it so it will last through all your exciting travels.
Here’s some tips and tricks to get serious mileage from your new mat.
While most travel mats on this list are foldable yoga mats, it’s best to not store them that way long term.
I travel with my Manduka Superlite folded, but when home or at the hotel, I store it rolled like a regular mat.
This just prevents unnecessary wear and tear.
It’s also important to maintain a clean mat.
Give your mat a cleaning after each trip to keep it sanitary, grippy and long-lasting.
Use an all-natural cleaner for the best results. I particularly love this lavender cleaner.
While the above cleaner is easiest for travel with its small, compract spray bottle, when at home I make my own mat cleaner in a large, glass bottle.
Of course, you can use whatever empty bottle you have laying around, but I bought these amber glass spray bottles on Amazon because they’re easy on the eyes.
I fill them 3/4 of the way with water and top it off with white vinegar.
Generously add in drops of lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil.
Before choosing the perfect travel yoga mat, it’s important to know what to look for.
Here are the 5 most important features you should keep in mind while shopping for your mat.
First and foremost, how much your travel mat for yoga weighs dictates how often you’ll actually pack it.
Packing is an art-form and with overweight luggage fees as high as they are, you should first check how much each mat weighs, the lighter the better.
Almost all the mats on this list weigh 2 pounds or less.
Some prefer a little extra weight for the comfort of more thickness (like Liforme mats).
How small does the travel yoga mat fold down?
For me, foldability is the most important feature to save valuable suitcase space.
Is this mat sticky? Does it offer good grip so you’re not sliding all over the place in Goddess pose?
Or is the non-grip texture so rough that it will irritate you when you’re relaxing in supine positions?
If you’re sensitive to textures (a bit of a Princess and the pea), then you may prefer a smoother mat, like the Mikkoa mat on this list.
Do you practice hot yoga? You’ll need a grippy mat, like Manduka or YOGO, for when the sweat inevitably begins to flow.
Yoga is more than a workout, it’s a way of life.
One of the main tenants of the philosophy is the concept of ahimsa: practicing a lifestyle of non-harm.
Be mindful when purchasing your yoga mat and consider sustainability.
Is it made of an ecologically friendly material?
Does the company contribute to green causes?
Like this Jade mat, they plant a tree for every mat purchased.
This last one may seem less important, but is it?
Your yoga practice is personal and an outlet for self-expression.
Do you want a mat in a color that will calm you or in a bright pattern that will energize you?
If you’re working on a specific chakra, you can search for a mat in its color to help keep you mindful of it.
Some mats are more technical, with markings to help with alignment, like Liforme.
Others are just jaw-droppingly beautiful, like Mikkoa.
You’ll be spending a lot of time on your mat, so be sure to find one you love.
Europe feels like an endless fount of opportunity with city escapes at your fingertips.
Argentina, in contrast, the distances are vast and don’t usually work well for a quick weekend escape.
Just a weekend in places like Patagonia or Salta will only leave you wanting more.
But in reality, there are a lot of destinations a stone’s throw from the city perfect for a long weekend from Buenos Aires.
Looking for a few days of peace away from La Ciudad de La Furia?
The following are some of my favorite weekend getaways from Buenos Aires.
Some can be reached by bus and train, so no car? No problem.
But others are best enjoyed with your own car, if you don’t have one check rates and availability for rental cars.
And if you drive, read my guide to driving in Argentina before you go.
📍Distance: 5-7 hours, depending on the town you choose
🚗 Reachable by car, bus, or train
The Atlantic Coast and its beaches doesn’t get enough love from international visitors, in my opinion.
But that doesn’t mean it’s off the beaten path, it’s very much on the local’s beaten path and any long weekend brings them in droves to the beach.
What I love is that there are a number of towns here to choose from and each has its own vibe, there’s something for everyone.
Mar Azul is my balneario (beach town) of choice. It’s small, peaceful and unpretentious.
From Mar de las Pampas to Pinamar, big city Mar del Plata and surfer’s paradise Chapadmalal, there’s a beach for everyone.
It’s also easy to navigate if you don’t have your own car. There are options by bus and train.
Read my guide to the Beaches of Buenos Aires for more information.
📍Distance: 4.5 hours, 370 km
🚗 By car
El Palmar is a national park under 5 hours by car from Buenos Aires.
And yes, under 5 hours in Argentina counts as doable for a long weekend getaway. It’s a big country.
The park preserves the Yatay palm tree and you can see wildlife like capybara, vizcacha, and foxes.
There are campgrounds and complexes of cabins that are great for families.
📍Distance: 4.5-5- hours, 360 km
🚗 Reachable by car or bus
Tandil a city yet feels a lot more like a sleepy town.
It’s one of the best weekend trips from Buenos Aires for those looking for nature and fresh air.
The rolling hills of the sierras that surround Tandil are a beautiful and welcome surprise after hours of the flat pastures of the pampas.
Read my complete guide to Tandil for more.
Rent a luxurious suite at Estancia Ave Marie or a family friendly cabin like this and enjoy the short hikes, horseback rides, and world famous salami and cheese Tandil is known for.
While you can easily take a bus, it’s more enjoyable if you have you’re own car as the beauty of Tandil lies in its surroundings.
📍Distance: 1.5 hours, 120 km
🚗 By car or bus
San Antonio de Areco is a small town just outside of Buenos Aires.
It’s famous for its preservation of tradition and gaucho culture.
For most it’s a day trip with a day spent at one of the historic estancias outside of Buenos Aires.
But San Antonio de Areco is genuinely one of my favorite destinations in Argentina and when I need to get away, this is where I run to.
It’s perfect for a long weekend away.
Spend one day at an estancia, another exploring the historic downtown, and a third (and fourth..) relaxing at your rental home. Bring meat for an asado, plenty of wine, and you’ll want for nothing.
You can get there by bus but getting around can be tricky without a car. If you’re carless, consider staying at one of the boutique hotels downtown.
📍Distance: 2-4 hours
🚗 Reachable by ferry
Just across the river, neighboring Uruguay is a great getaway from Buenos Aires.
You can take the ferry to Colonia de Sacramento, Carmelo, or Montevideo and spend a few days in your area of choice.
Montevideo may be a capital city but it is much quieter than bustling Buenos Aires and can be a welcome change of pace.
And while Colonia is one of the most popular day trips from Buenos Aires, I find that day trip destinations are best appreciated overnight, once the hoards depart.
Carmelo, whose ferry departs from Tigre, is surrounded by vineyards where you can taste Uruguay’s emblematic tannat.
Once your there, you can rent a car to make a road trip out of it. Uruguay is so small you can jet across to the coast and back easily in a long weekend.
Without a car, stay close to town and relish in the peace of Colonia or Montevideo’s culture.
Read more: The Best Things to do in Uruguay
📍Distance: 1 hour
🚗 Reachable by train
This may be the easiest Buenos Aires weekend trip logistically speaking, being just a short train ride away.
The Tigre Delta is just outside of the city but feels world’s apart once you navigate deeper into the canals and leave the port behind you.
Read more: A Complete Guide to Visiting Tigre
Rent a stilted home like this one for a weekend away for the best experience.
Most islands have small shops where you can get the basics but I recommend bringing most of your supplies, like meat and fixings for an asado and, of course, wine.
The best bonus about staying in Tigre is that you can rent the home for just you and your family, but being so close to the city friends can come out for the day for an asado.
Getting around the delta is easy with lanchas interislenas (that operate like city buses) or by hiring a private water taxi.
📍Distance: 2 hours
🚗 Reachable by train or car
Chascomús is a lovely small town just south of Buenos Aires.
At just 2 hours south of the city it’s an easy trip with or without a car.
The town’s laguna is the main attraction.
Bring your bike or rent one for the day to ride around the water.
We spent a whole morning doing this, stopping for mate and snacks along the way.
The weekend market is a great option for lunch and souvenirs.
Don’t miss the Capilla de los Negros, a rare remaining monument to the country’s slaves and their influence on the country.
These are just a few of the many, many short trips from Buenos Aires.
If you appreciate small towns, the options are really endless.
So many small towns in the Buenos Aires province have beautiful vacation homes with parrillas waiting for you to move in for the weekend and host afternoon asados.
What’s your favorite escape from the city? Let me know in the comments!
The Best Day Trips from
Salamis and dried cured meats from Tandil are the best the country.
And while it’s all I knew about before going (one track mind, I tell you), there’s a lot more to do in Tandil than just gorge on charcuterie.
The rolling hills offer treks and vistas as well as a well-preserved historic center.
This small city in the province in Buenos Aires makes for a perfect long weekend from Buenos Aires city and is ideal for families.
Tandil was founded by Basque and Italian immigrants in 1823.
Attacks by the native populations scared most settlers away until it was officially declared a city in 1895.
Tandil is a small city that feels like a sleepy town, settled among rolling hills (or sierras).
And surrounding those sierras that surround Tandil are miles and miles of flat pastures and farmland.
Dairy farms, called tambos, contribute to Tandil’s famous salami, cured meats, and cheeses, using methods brought by the original Basque and Italian settlers.
Tandil is 305 kilometers (190 miles for you fellow yankees) from Buenos Aires.
In practical terms, it is about a 5 hour drive south.
I highly recommend driving your own car, you can check rental rates here.
The drive is fairly easy, starting on Ruta 3 where you’ll share the road with a lot of long haul truckers.
When you connect onto Ruta 30 it’s nothing but you and pastures all the way to Tandil.
Getting around Tandil once you’re there is infinitely easier if you have your own car and the most beautiful accommodation are cabins in the outskirts of town.
Metered Parking – Note that the parking in downtown Tandil is now metered. Locals have a designated card to pay the meters, tourists can pay in Kioscos (convenience stores) in town. Tell them how many hours and they’ll give you a receipt to put on your dash, restaurants may also be able to do this for you if you’re dining there and need parking.
If you can’t or don’t want to drive, you can take the bus to Tandil from Buenos Aires.
Check bus schedules on Busbud or on Plataforma10.
Take note of the station your bus leaves Buenos Aires from. Retiro is the most convenient. I wouldn’t leave out of Liniers or Dellepiane, especially late at night.
Salami, sierras, and fresh air are among the best things to do in Tandil.
This small ciudad bonarense is the perfect city escape from Buenos Aires.
Picada is the name for a charcuterie platter here in Argentina.
Of all the popular foods in Argentina, I think picadas don’t get the attention they deserve.
Epoca de Quesos is a family run delicatessen and restaurant in the historic center.
Teresa Inza opened the shop in 1990.
The daughter of a self-made Tambero (dairy farmer), she used her expertise to not only found the best restaurant in town but to also transform the city’s cheese production.
She influenced many dairy farmers to infuse different spices and flavors into their cheeses and I think we all owe her a big thank you.
Today her children run Epoca de Quesos, keeping the family tradition alive.
How to visit Epoca de Quesos – Go early. They don’t work with reservations and it gets crowded.
Go right at noon for lunch and you’ll have time to explore all the nooks and crannies that are overflowing with history and all the vibes.
Order a picada, which comes in the form of a pile of cheese, ham, salami, and pickled vegetables.
They open early at 9 am if you want to pick up some cheeses and meats to take home. This is a great time to go for photos if you want to avoid the crowds.
If you’re in Tandil, try all the salami you can stomach… lomo ahumado, hams, cheese.
Las Dinas Chacinados can’t be missed. They have a few shops in the area, one downtown and another at their cabins outside town.
They let me try a few things when I couldn’t make up my mind and I was a big fan of the salami made with wine and garlic!
Familia Green has a beautiful restaurant in town and is known for their cheeses and ice cream produced from sheep’s milk.
Apparently, production with sheep’s milk is seasonal and when we went (in winter) it wasn’t available.
In this case, they use cow’s milk but follow the same procedures to keep quality and flavors as close to the original as possible.
The space itself is beautiful! Great for a coffee or spot to work for the afternoon, even.
La Piedra Movediza, which translates to Wobbly Rock, is a quirkly emblem of Tandil.
The original boulder was 300 tons of granite.
It balanced precariously at the top of the hill, wobbling from side to side. In 1912, it fell and broke into 3 pieces. You can still see them at the base of the hill.
In 2007, President Nestor Kirchner donated a replica of the original stone, because WHY NOT.
The replica was balanced in the exact spot as the original and you can view it today.
It’s a short but steep climb to the top so wear comfortable shoes.
The views from the top are gorgeous and worth the short trek (if the fake rock doesn’t do it for you).
What’s at the top of El Centinela?
That’s right, another precariously balanced boulder.
Except this one remains standing and the entire complex has a lot to offer.
A beautiful walking path or chairlift to the top, activities like zip lines, horseback rides, mountain biking, and more.
Read more about the Complejo Cerro El Centinela here to plan your visit.
This lake as formed by a damn on the Langueyú River on the edge of town.
You can rent boats on the water or just enjoy the green space surrounding the shore.
It’s very popular with locals, especially on the weekends.
If you have kids, visit the Parque Soñado de los Niños, a park filled with playgrounds and slides galore. It was our toddler’s personal paradise.
Visiting in summer? There’s also a water park called Balneario del Sol.
Yet another beautiful park in Tandil, Parque Independencia is just 10 blocks from downtown but on the outskirts it offers some excellent views (great for sunset).
The Castillo Morisco stands as the main entrance, not far from the Dique del Fuerte, you could easily combine the two activities.
Tandil is very devout, so it should surprise no one that there’s yet another Christ statue on a hill (especially in a town so famous for its hills).
It’s on the same side of town as La Casacada, a short hike to a beautiful waterfall, in case you want to make the short drive a little more worth your time.
I recommend renting a cabin or house outside of the city to take full advantage of the beautiful surroundings.
If you don’t have a car or are on a budget, there are a lot of options in town.
This time we stayed in town because it was such just a quick trip and we needed to keep costs down.
We rented a small apartment from Girasoles Sierras.
The space was basic but very comfortable and the hosts were very kind and helpful with tips for exploring the area.
Departamentos Arco Iris is another great budget option. I didn’t rent from him because he didn’t have any availability but the owner was very, very helpful.