A country with a surface area of almost three million square kilometers is the perfect crib for an infinite variety of climates, habitants, flora and fauna. Across the 3,000 kilometers that separate the North from the South of Argentina, you can discover unique environments and wildlife, composed of both native species and those that arrived during the prehistoric age and decided to stay in this chaotic but amazing land.
What if you don’t have enough time to stop and enjoy every corner of this nation? What if you could only visit one region? Let us help you choose the Argentina adventure that suits you best by exposing the different sides to Argentina’s wildlife: North vs. South!
1. Tropical Birds and Tiny, Delicate Species in the North
Jungles, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, wetlands, hills… the North of the country is a cocktail of landscapes where you can find an endless variety of plants and animals.
If you fly to Iguazú Falls (in the province of Misiones) you’ll find the subtropical rainforest which is home to the most curious species of Argentina wildlife, like the giant anteater, the howler monkey, the pig-shaped tapirs, peccarys, and big cats such as the yaguareté, the jaguar, the puma, and the ocelot.
They all cohabit with yacarés (crocodiles), the boa constrictor, the dangerous and venomous yarará (a pit viper) and tropical birds like hummingbirds, flamingos, toucans, and swallows. Amongst them, the most mischievous is the coati: in spite of its cute looks, it can turn out to be the most aggressive of them all (especially if you are holding a sandwich or a something sweet). Don’t let him fool you!
Iberá Wetlands (in Entre Rios province) is also one of the most popular Northern destinations, where amazing Argentine endangered species can be seen. In this subtropical and swampy North-Eastern area of the country lives the marsh deer (the largest in South America), the river wolf (a mixture between an otter and a seal) and the fabled aguará guazú, a kind of red fox with long, black legs that has been in real danger of extinction for many years now.
In addition to tropical, wet climates which were already mentioned, the North of Argentina also features the open grasslands and spectacular mountains of the Salta and Jujuy province, where you might find other species like the armadillo, and the ñandús, who are related to the ostrich. More conventional animals like hawks, foxes, deers or falcons can be spotted in this area, but the most outstanding ones hide in the mountains. If you’re a hiker, you’ll come up on llamas, guanacos, and vicuñas between the bushes.
If you want to meet wildlife of the rainforest and Iberá marshlands, check out this 5 day trip.
2. Loads of Penguins and Huge Powerful Whales in the South
Valdes Peninsula, Tierra del Fuego, Perito Moreno, Chaltén… many of Argentina’s most amazing destinations can be found in the South of the country. These places are visited by thousands of nature lovers every year who are enticed, not only by their undeniable beauty, but also by the adventures they can experience in extreme temperatures and unique sceneries that harbor a great variety of Argentine wildlife.
The rhea, the mare, the cougar, the cormorant, andthe huemul are all awaiting your visit, although you’ll probably be most eager to encounter the world’s smallest deer: the pud. If you’re fortunate enough, you’ll get to know the smallest cat in the Americas, the kodkod, or, perhaps, the largest flying bird of this side of the world: the Andean vulture.
During your visit, don’t forget to take your time and enjoy a delicious plate of fish, as it’s the most ideal part of the country to try sardines, squid, salmon, hakes and the unbeatable centolla (king crab) of Tierra del Fuego. If you approach the water, you might discover the hiding place of elephant seals, orcas, dolphins, sea lions, sharks and many kinds of penguins, including the lovely magellanic ones of the Patagonia region.
However, amongst all of these interesting ocean inhabitants, there is one that stands out above the rest: the southern right whale. This overwhelming mammal can weight up to 50 tons and can only be seen during the months of June and December, when they approach the coast in order to give birth to their offspring. Peninsula Valdes whale watching is the top- drawer experience if you wish to view these giants in action… Are you ready?
If you want to have a close-up encounter with the magellanic penguin and the southern right whales check out these itineraries.