A Gap Year in Argentina
Gap years in Argentina are growing in popularity, with lots of travellers waking up to the amazingness of South America as a backpacking destination.
Argentina is a little like someone dropped a European country in another continent; its capital Buenos Aires is a hot blur of sizzling steak, steamy tango and slick bars and nightclubs, all beefed up with some sexy Latin American flair. What it lacks in famous landmarks it makes up for in unique, thrilling atmosphere.
There's also Cordoba, which doesn't skimp on the nightlife but is also home to beautiful Spanish colonial architecture. The focal point is Plaza San Martin and the neo-Baroque Cordoba Cathedral. You could also head far south to Ushuaia, which calls itself the end of the world, or high above sea level to Salta for a quieter visit to quaint cafes and superb museums.
Outside the cool urban sprawl, Argentina is home to the iconic Iguazu Falls, which make a racket that will ring in your ears for years to come, the working farms of practicing gauchos (cowboys), the vast lake district surrounding Bariloche where you can wonder for days, the tasty winelands near Mendoza, the epic expanse of Patagonia and the nature hotspot of Peninsula Valdes where you can see humpback whales getting romantic with each other.
The highlight is Glacier National Park in the south near the border with Chile, which, as the name suggests, has a really big glacier. The entire area is an amazing place to explore, but you're really unlikely to forget trekking across a glacier.
Click the 'Best Experiences' tab above for more things to do in Argentina.
Backpacking in Argentina is a brilliant idea with a diverse range of stuff to do, and the buses and hostels tend to be pretty comfortable too. All-in-all this is a top gap year destination, so start planning your adventure!
Top Experiences in Argentina
Argentina is an increasingly popular gap year destination, and it's not difficult to see why. It has everything from vibrant South American cities, some of the most stunning and varied wildlife and scenery in the world, and heaps of tradition to sink your teeth into. A comprehensive list is impossible, but this should whet your appetite.
Go to the edge of the world
Ushuaia is (debatedly) the southernmost human settlement in the world, sitting on the very tip of the Tierra del Fuego. The area is an explorer's dream, and you can also use it as a launching point for a trek into Antarctica, the ultimate gap year adventure.
Greet the dead in Buenos Aires
The capital city's Cementerio de la Recoleta is a dark and dramatic necropolis home to a host of important figures from Argentina's history, including the monument built as Evita's final resting place.
Wave at some whales
There are few better places in the world for whale watching, and from July to December the Peninsula Valdes offers a spectacular viewpoint for seeing the migration of these epic, spectacular creatures.
Drink until the sun comes up
Argentina has a big bar culture, especially in Buenos Aires, and numerous places offer delicious cocktails and a huge selection of Argentinian wines. Just make sure you can remember where your hostel is.
Learn to tango
The music and dance of tango was born in Argentina, and although you'll find it running deep through all of Argentinian culture, Buenos Aires is particularly rife with it, featuring classes, free performances, dance halls, and more.
Trek across a glacier
We're mentioning Patagonia a lot because it's one of the most spectacular natural places on the planet. Arguably its highlight is Perito Moreno, a Glacier National Park that will make you feel like you're trekking an alien landscape.
You haven't really seen a waterfall until you've visited Iguazu. The falls tumble between Argentina and Brazil, surrounded by lush rainforest, creating the most unholy racket, and offering a sight you're not likely to forget.
Eat more meat than ever before
South Americans like their meat, and Argentina is no exception. You won't have realised how many different ways beef can be cooked until you've toured Buenos Aires restaurants, local eateries in smaller towns, and plentiful street food offerings.
Catch some culture in Cordoba
One of the most cultural cities of the Americas, Cordoba has four excellent galleries - all within walking distance of each other - a vibrant film scene, and huge weekend craft markets offering the most unique souvenirs.
Relax on the Costa Verde
All this exploring is going to tire you out. Head to Costa Verde between January and March to enjoy 15 hours of sunshine a day by relaxing on the beautiful, often quiet beaches.
Make the Most of Argentina
We've got a wide range of tours and projects you can do in Argentina on your gap year. You might want to experience the country and beyond at your own pace, or you can take a volunteer placement. There's everything from helping out with local communities in poor rural areas to interning at the parliament on a political internship. However you want to make the most of your gap year, we've got an option for you.
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Advice & Tips on Backpacking in Argentina
Argentina's a pretty big place. It's home to everything from salsa to skiing to the southernmost city on Earth - Ushuaia. So you might need a spot of help getting around and seeing the sites. This section has all our best advice on everything from language to food to things to do.
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