Well known for its sports stars such as Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Guillermo Vilas, and Gabriela Sabatini, Argentina is also home to several historical and natural must-see sites. The most important and famous of among have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here are five of them.
Los Alerces National Park
Located in the Andes Mountains ranges, in the Futaleufú River basin system of northern Patagonia, the Los Alerces National Park is home to moraines, glacial cirques, and clear-water lakes caused by successive glaciations, and most importantly, it is the Alerce forest. The endangered Alerce trees are endemic to South America and are the second longest-living (the oldest is nearly 2,600 years old) tree species in the world. Here they are part of some of the last portions of the continuous Patagonian Forest. It is one of the five temperate forest types in the world and the only eco-region of temperate forests in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Best time to visit: January and February
Iguazu National Park
The highlight of the Iguazu National Park is the waterfall at its heart. It is a vast site, approximately 80 metres high and 2,700 metres broad, and is situated on a basaltic line along the border of Argentina and Brazil. Multiple cascades make it one of the most fantastic sights in the world. The waterfall is surrounded by a sub-tropical rainforest, with over 2,000 species of plants, and hosts wildlife such as jaguar, caiman, tapir, giant anteater, howler monkey, and ocelot.
Best time to visit: March, April, and September
Home to the breeding population of the endangered Southern right whale (which had almost disappeared due to excessive whaling), the Península Valdés in Patagonia is an important site in the conservation of marine mammals. A narrow strip of land connects it to the mainland, and the peninsula's mushroom shape keeps it shielded from the rough south Atlantic. Therefore, its calm waters are an ideal breeding, calving, and nursing place for various species. It is also the breeding site for the Southern elephant seals and the Southern sea lions. Did you know? The orcas here have adapted their hunting strategy to the local coastal conditions.
Best season to visit: June to December
Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System
Spread over 30,000 km, Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System, is the Inca civilisation's communication, trade and defence network of roads. It was constructed over the centuries and went through some of the world's most extreme terrains, like from the peaks of the Andes, at an altitude of more than 6,000 m, down to the coast. It runs through deserts and rainforests across the length and breadth of the Andes. The 6,000 km of the Qhapac Ñan, Andean Road System has 273 component sites and was selected to show the network's social, political, architectural, and engineering achievements. This includes associated infrastructure for trade, accommodation, storage, and places of religious significance.
Best season to visit: May to October
Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas
Created between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago, the Cave of The Hands of The Cueva de las Manos at Río Pinturas is cave art in the form of outlines of human hands. There are also depictions of hunting scenes and animals, such as the commonly found guanacos. Natural mineral-based colours have been used, such as iron oxides for red and purple, kaolin for white, natrojarosite for yellow, and manganese oxide for black. These minerals have been mixed with an unknown binder element and used on the rock surface. It is believed that the people who created this art could have been the forefathers of the hunter-gatherer communities of Patagonia, which the European settlers ran into.
Best season to visit: September to February