Argentina is a vast country, holding some of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. There’s a reason why Argentina is the top spot in South America for tourists, with one of the planet’s most jaw-dropping sights from north (Iguazú Falls) to south (Perito Moreno Glacier). You can travel to almost any corner of the country and come across something entirely unforgettable.
Unfortunately, many of us may had the pleasure of trying to get a picture at the Garganta del Diablo at Iguazú Falls. This essentially consists of squeezing in to any empty space available and having about 30 seconds to get that “perfect” snap with the cascading falls in the background. Not exactly how some want to experience natural, pristine beauty.
There are, however, other amazing lesser-known places that you nomads need to check-out, where you won’t be consumed by a horde of obnoxious tourists.
The Shipwreck of Desdemona (Cabo San Pablo)
For those of you who are visiting Tierra del Fuego, perhaps you should visit the Shipwreck of Desdemona, rated one of the top 10 eeriest shipwrecks in the world. This is only accessible by car, 170 km from Ushuaia on Ruta 3, and is practically untouched by tourism. For the full experience, some courageous (or stupid?) explorers have even ventured inside and witnessed the true extent of the erosion of the ship. Enter at your own risk.
Desdemona had a tragic end to her life, after being ran aground in 1985 while on a trip from Comodoro Rivadavia. She now rests on a beach at Cabo San Pablo and will probably spend the rest of her life being eroded by the all-consuming rust.
This is something a bit different to tell your friends after your travels and the likelihood is they’ve probably never heard of it, so claim this discovery as your own.
Minas de Wanda (Misiones)
If you’re planning on going to visit Igauzú Falls, why not take a quick detour for the afternoon? The gemstone site, 62 km from Puerto Iguazú, is yet another of Argentina’s hidden gems (quite literally). To get there you’ll need to take Ruta 12, which connects Puerto Iguazú with Posadas. The town of Wanda is famous for its semiprecious stone mines, with amethysts, topaz, and much more. Here you’ll be able to take a guided tour, and have the chance to see how the gems are extracted, cut, and polished. At the end you can even buy jewelry and other trinkets from mines themselves, naturally.
For more information on opening hours and how to get there visit their website: Wanda mines
Charles Darwin’s Beach
You’ve all probably heard of Mar del Plata, which you may also know as the beach thats gets absolutely rammed in the summer. To avoid this tourist trap, just keep driving and don’t look back.
In the nature reserve of Pehuén Co, you’ll be able to escape all the porteño holiday-makers and be able to relax. You won’t have to worry about tripping over the bodies glimmering with suntan oil. Even though, this is a UNESCO site, not many people know of this beach’s existence; the quiet town boasts a stretch of white sand and the perfect surfing conditions. In fact, this place really does look like something off a postcard.
It is also home to a site of rock formations from over five million years ago, discovered by Charles Darwin himself. The site, Monte Hermoso, was originally a riverbed full of wildlife, including giant sloths.
The Ancient Stone Men (Tucumán)
In the northwestern area of Argentina you can find some rather peculiar ancient phallic shaped rocks. Situated 15 kilometers from Tafí de Valle in the Archeological Reserve of Los Menhires lie the Ancient Stone Men. These formations are from one of the first potter tribes in Argentina’s northwest, and symbolize fertility and fecundity (hence their shape).
At the National Archaeological site, you’ll have the chance to see intricate engravings of geometric design in the granite pieces, some of which even reach a height of three meters and weigh up to four tons.
If you’re on a road trip to see Tafí de Valle or Cafayate, you should definitely swing by here. Alternatively, there are a variety of tours you can join if you don’t have a car, just check out Condor Travel.
For more information: Welcome Argentina
Laguna Grande (Catamarca)
Calling all you adventurers out there, this secluded lagoon in the Catamarca province offers something off the beaten track. Laguna Grande is situated along the road that heads toward the crater of volcano Galán. This both rugged and remote landscape can only be accessed with 4×4 vehicles, so you’ll have to load up everything you need in something with a bit of power.
This place is probably for the more experienced explorers as you’ll be more likely to observe the natural flamboyance of flamingos than a group of sandal-wearers with flashing cameras. Despite being a registered UNESCO site, home to 19,000 flamingos, it’s almost unknown to tourists, making this the perfect escape.
Here you’ll be able to go trekking, rock climbing, camping, and even kayaking (if you have one) – the true adventurer’s paradise.
Many of you who live in Buenos Aires forget that there’s whole country out there waiting to be discovered. It’s easy to get stuck into a mundane routine, being squashed into a Subte car and feeling a bit like a sardine in a tin.
Maybe it’s time to escape the concrete jungle and dodge the tourists; venture out and explore these virgin lands. From a relaxing beach to a spooky shipwreck, Argentina has a bit of everything and it’s time to wow both yourself and your friends with your adventures.