Argentina has many unique natural and cultural wonders to offer, with more than 30 National Parks throughout the country. Some of those are so special that they’re recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Before telling you everything about Argentina UNESCO World Heritage sites, we would like to share this quote. It’s the perfect explanation of why we have heritage sites and need to continue caring about them:
‘Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage, are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.*’
Argentina UNESCO Heritage Sites
Let’s now take a look at the extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage sites, Argentina.
Iguazu National Park
In north-eastern Argentina, you’ll find the magnificent Iguazu National Park, better known as the Iguazu Falls. Shared with both Brazil and Paraguay, their massive falls are one of the highlight destinations during any Argentina tour. It’s a semi-circle canyon reaching up to 80 meters in height and spanning 2,700 meters in diameter.
On the Argentine side, you’ll enjoy front-row views as you explore wooden walkways that wind through the jungle, right up to the water. Here you have the chance to attend one of the boat adventures – don’t even think twice, just do it! Travel as close to the heart of the Devil’s Throat Canyon as anyone is able to get, of course getting drenched as you go under the water itself.
The Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls will be visited by a short trail through the Iguazu National Park, to then be treated to a stunning panoramic view of the Devil’s Throat.
The climate is subtropical and over 2000 vegetation species have been identified. The national park is home to animals such as giant anteaters, jaguars, toucans, black howler monkeys, prego monkeys, and ocelots among many others.
This makes it one of the most incredible UNESCO sites in Argentina, especially for nature lovers and wildlife fanatics.
Ischigualasto & Talampaya National Parks
Jumping over the northwest, we’ll take a tour through the Ischigualasto and Talampaya National Parks. This upper set, located in the northwest desert region will make you feel like a teeny, tiny little thing, with a bursting sense of excitement.
This area contains the most complete continental fossil record known from the Triassic Period. Also known as the area pre-Jurassic Dinosaurs reigned, with which we’re more familiar. It’s fascinating how much has been learned from studying the ancient, and we do mean ancient fossils that paint – literally paint – the story of our predecessors.
Many visiting these National Parks will begin their day with Talampaya National Park with its soaring red canyons, cliffs, and unique rock formations. Here you will be able to see many of the ancient vertebrate and flora fossils. In the afternoon your Ischigualasto, also named ‘Moon Valley’ visit will complete the day. Until today 6 sites of rock art have been discovered and other cave and rock overhang sites will also impress you.
This is the perfect Argentina World Heritage site for photographers, so get your cameras ready!
Los Glaciers National Park
Finally, it’s time to travel all the way to the South of Argentina, where we’ll find Los Glaciers National Park in the region that is widely known as Patagonia. This Park is home to stunning landscapes of glaciers, lakes, and mountains.
It contains the largest ice mantle in the world, outside of Antarctica. And boasting 47 glaciers, with some of them being among the few in the world that are actually advancing. One of these is the beloved Perito Moreno Glacier, probably the most famous of all.
You can attend a boat ride to closely watch large chunks of ice break and crash below into the lake with a soundtrack suitable for its dramatic fall. There’s also the opportunity to conquer the Glacier on foot, hiking across the ice itself and ending with a little whiskey reward – complete with the glacier ice for your cocktail.
Though it can be visited all year round, Los Glaciers National Park is best (and busiest) from November to February as you’ll feel much warmer exploring the outdoors. This is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Argentina worth braving the cold for.
Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis
Between 1609 and 1818 the Jesuit Order created towns that’s purpose was to elevate and protect the local Guarani Indians. While the remains of these 30 missions are spread across Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, four of them are located in Argentina. These UNESCO sites in Argentina are:
- San Ignacio Mini
- Nuestra Señora de Santa Ana
- Nuestra Señora de Loreto
- Santa María la Mayor
While all of these are famous sites in Argentina, San Ignacio Mini is by far the most popular one to visit. You can wander around the ruins and remnants of the old town. A church, town square, and many other building remains can be seen.
Nature has started to claim this site back. Many of the ruins are somewhat overgrown, and you’re sure to see wildlife like lizards wondering what was once inhabited by humans.
Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas
In Santa Cruz, you’ll find a series of caves that contain exceptional and unique cave art. It’s estimated that this cave was created between 13 000 and 9 500 years ago. Cueva de las Manos means “cave of the hands” which is an apt name for the site, as much of the cave art is created with a series of handprints.
The creators of the artworks are thought to be hunter-gatherers of the Patagonian region as there are many hunting scenes and depictions of animals on the cave walls too. If you’re looking for sites in Argentina to inspire your creative side, this is one of the unmissable Argentina historical sites.
Other Popular Sites in Argentina
While UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the creme de la creme of tourist attractions, there are a multitude of other popular sites in Argentina. Here are a few historical landmarks in Argentina worth a visit during your trip.
Volcan Lanin is a volcano located on the border between Argentina and Chile. It’s become increasingly popular with locals and tourists as a hikers and climbers paradise. It’s located within the Lanin National Park. Many hikers pass through it on the Seven Lakes Route which explores many of Argentina’s most beautiful landscapes.
You can simply visit the park and see stunning views of the snowy peak from the side of a serene lake. Or you can choose to take on the challenge of hiking the volcano. This hike is not for the faint-hearted. You’ll need to take adequate supplies and be prepared for the snowy summit of the mountain. However, the views are nothing but epic from the top.
Tigre is a city found just north of the famed Buenos Aires. While the city is a fascinating one, and well worth exploring, the Delta is where the real treasure lies. The Tigre Delta is the life of the city as it’s used as a means of transport and provides a place for vendors to ply their trade.
Take a water taxi down the Tigre Delta and see the incredible way of life of the people who live, work and travel on the river. You’ll see many houseboats along the way, as well as informal vendors selling their goods on the water.
The Tigre Delta is one of those unforgettable Argentina sights that will keep you coming back to the country, again and again.
If you’re looking for things to do in Buenos Aires, this cemetery located in the heart of the city has got to be on your list. What attracts visitors to such a strange site is the incredible architecture that it’s comprised of.
Mausoleums, statues, and columns, along with its 5000 vaults, make this an incredibly interesting building to explore. It’s also the final resting place of almost every prominent Argentinian politician or celebrity of the past two hundred years.
Iglesia San Francisco
The title of ‘most impressive colonial building in Argentina’ most certainly goes to Iglesia San Francisco. It’s located in the wonderful city of Salta and is known for its sturdy white pillars and elaborate architecture.
This 17th-century church is not only beautiful on the outside (which is illuminated at night), but the interior is well worth meandering through too. Many tourists make the trip to Salta just to see this architectural marvel.
Ushuaia is commonly referred to as ‘the end of the world’ by Argentinians and tourists alike. It’s the southernmost city in the world and is the starting point for many trips to Antarctica. It’s had many functions over the years, including acting as a penal colony and a naval base.
Today the city is a major tourist attraction and a must-visit during your travels of Argentina. It’s home to the End of the World Museum, as well as a maritime museum. It’s also filled to the brim with up and coming restaurants, hotels, and casinos, so it makes a great place for exploring the surrounding region.
The Esteros del Ibera wetlands are some of the biggest in Southern America. They’re also home to a large number of unique animals that can’t be found in many or any other places in the world. If you’re ready for wildlife spotting in Argentina, this is the place to do it.
Take a boat ride, hire a canoe, or walk on the pathways to spot some of Argentina’s most unique animals. Anacondas, armadillos, caimans, capybaras, howler monkeys, and rhea are just a few of the species you can expect to see on an adventure to the Ibera wetlands.
Monte Fitz Roy
If you’re looking for the most dramatic scenery in all of Patagonia, Monte Fitz Roy has got to take the cake. This iconic Andes peak is located near the Chilean border and is a real sight for sore eyes.
The granite mountain peaks and lower ice fields, juxtaposed against a foreground of rugged jungle-like terrain makes for some incredible photographs. It’s a scene that will likely take your breath away, so it’s worth traveling almost any distance to see it.
It’s likely you’ve seen this area on a multitude of postcard pictures of Argentina. It’s colorful, vibrant, and celebrates the Italian immigrants that settled in Argentina during the 1800s. Caminito is located in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires and is possibly one of the liveliest areas you’ll ever come across.
Picture colorful houses, street artists selling their art on the sides of the road, and tango dancers performing in the streets as music fills the air. If you’re in the mood for a little celebration during your time in Buenos Aires, this is surely the place to do it.
Cordoba, although not often talked about in comparison to Buenos Aires, is Argentina’s second-largest city. It’s a mere five hours drive from Buenos Aires, and most frequently used as a stopover by tourists on their way to the Andes mountains.
The city is filled to the brim with 16th-century colonial-style buildings, especially in the city’s historical portion. This is where you’ll find Córdoba Cathedral. A Roman Catholic church built in 1580. The building has many frescos and murals, as well as a very unique altar made of silver.
The church also has an impressive collection of gold votive offerings worth having a look at.
Ready to accomplish a bucket-list goal during your time in Argentina? Why not climb South America’s highest peak. The peak rises an impressive 22,800 feet above sea level making this quite a challenge. That being said, it is possible for even moderate level climbers to accomplish summiting this mountain.
It isn’t advised to venture out alone, but there are plenty of local guides that are more than happy to lead the way. There is even the option to have a donkey carry your travel necessities. This sure does take the weight off your shoulders.
While known for many things, this region in the foothills of the Andes is the main wine region of Argentina. It’s home to over 1,200 wineries, giving you an incredible selection of places to choose from.
The high altitude combined with the fact that these grapes get over 300 days of sun every year, makes Mendoza the perfect winemaking area. It produces over 70% of the wine made in Argentina and just a small taste will have you realizing why.
Explore the Mendoza Wine Valley, or take a wine tasting tour to some of the most popular wineries in the area. Archaval Ferrer, Ruca Malen, Vistalba, Clos de Chacras, and Catena Zapata are just a few of the best wineries in the area. If you’re a wine fanatic, be sure to visit this beautiful area for not only stunning views but delicious wines.
Wrapping Up Argentina UNESCO Sites
With such incredible world heritage sites, Argentina is a great place to hunt for some of UNESCO’s finest on the list. If you’re looking for the highlights of Argentina, then starting with UNESCO listed sites is a great place to start.
You’re sure to see some incredible things along your journey, so be sure to take your camera with to each and every stop. These are a few memories you’ll want to encapsulate for a lifetime. Whether you’re looking to explore Buenos Aires, or the lesser-known hidden-gems of the country, Argentina has a UNESCO site to suit your fancy.
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