Argentina Wildlife: North vs. South Animal Diversity

Argentina Travel Posted on 04/10/2019

Let us help you choose the Argentina adventure that suits you best by exposing the different sides to Argentina’s wildlife: North vs. South.

Updated to January 2024

1. Argentina’s Wildlife Diversity

A country with a surface area of almost 1.865.100 square miles is the perfect crib for an infinite variety of climates, habitants, flora and fauna.

Across the 1864 miles 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 could only visit one region?

These are some of the wildlife species you will find in the North of Argentina and in Patagonia, heding South.

2. North of Argentina

Tropical Birds and Tiny, Delicate Species in Iguazú

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.

Howler Monkeys and The Ocelot

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: giant anteater, the howler monkey, the pig-shaped tapirs, peccarys, and big cats such as the yaguareté, the jaguar, the puma, and the ocelot.

Coatis, the little thieves of the jungle

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!

Wildlife sanctuary in Iberá Wetlands

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.

Salta and Jujuy, Border to Bolivia

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.

Here 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.

A tucan in Iguazú Falls rainforest

2. Loads of Penguins and Huge Powerful Whales in the South

Penguins in Ushuaia and Península Valdés

Valdes Peninsula and Ushuaia are the most famous places to meet the Magellan Penguin. In both destinations you can travel to visit natural rookeries, watch them wadling, swimming and cadling its calfs.

Many of Argentina’s most amazing destinations can be found in the South of the country, the famous Patagonia.

Patagonia is 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.

Penguins tour

Other Patagonian wildlife you may meet

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.

Whales in Península Valdés, stars of the UNESCO Natural Reserve

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?

3. Summing up

Argentina wildlife, wether if you travel to the North or the South, will surprise you.

The most important thing is to choose the right season if you expect to see some species like the whales in Península Valdés.

Check out these Wildlife and Nature itineraries, and tailored them to your budget.

Questions? Write to Us