A surface area of near 2.8 million square kilometers allows Argentina to be a more than an appealing destination for ANY kind of traveler, as it’s almost impossible for someone not to find a place to do something that they love or experience a new adventure. It goes without saying that the country’s great variety of wildlife, landscapes and weather make it the perfect spot for outdoor activities and sports. Among them there is one that stands out for its originality and countless possibilities: kayaking. It doesn’t matter if you want to feel a rush of adrenaline by getting into extreme and dangerous river courses or just go for a peaceful trip through calm waters; there are plenty of destinations in Argentina where it’s worth getting wet!
Updated to January 2024
In the southern province of Río Negro you can find the most visited place of the Patagonia and the second of the whole country: the city of Bariloche. Its secret is, obviously, its perfect location: right at the foot of the Andes, next to a beautiful lake and INSIDE the national park of Nahuel Huapi. Imagine kayaking through Brazo Tristeza and enjoying the waterfalls, cliffs and imposing hills like López, Cerro or Tronador, with its three summits and amazing glaciers. Meanwhile, for adventure seekers who can’t settle for just a 12 hour excursion, there are also expeditions that last two or three days along the intense blue waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake or the emerald ones of Mascardi, at the south of the park. The unique beauty of this corner of the world is even more noticeable by boat and it’s definitely within everyone’s reach!
2. “Los Glaciares” National Park
Breathtaking and unbelievable natural beauties of the world hide at the very south of the country, in El Calafate, considered one of the top destinations of Argentina. I’m talking about the glaciers, the more than 200 that can be found in the 7,000 square kilometers that occupies The Glaciers National Park. What if instead of (or after) doing the typical hike on and around these enormous ice caps you could jump on a canoe and discover other frozen secrets? It goes without saying that if you set foot on this natural park you HAVE TO see Perito Moreno, but if you also dare to go kayaking on the magnificent water mirror that is Lake Argentino, you will navigate through beautiful landscapes, unseen flora and fauna, gigantic floating chunks of ice, cliffs, mountains… Furthermore: you’ll be fortunate enough to see other less known glaciers like Heim, Onelli, Agassiz and, of course, the great Upsala.
If you feel inspired, have a look at our recommended travel itinerary.
Have you dismissed the idea of kayaking because you don’t have the budget or the time to go far away from Buenos Aires during your stay in Argentina? No worries! There’s also an option for you. Only thirty kilometers north from the capital -40 minutes by train- is the town of Tigre, famous for its colonial mansions, its delta, and its peaceful atmosphere that make it pretty popular between porteños or tourists who want to relax for a couple of days.
The delta is a result of the Paraná river mixing with the land and harbors a unique scenery for a place that is so close to the concrete jungle of Buenos Aires. That’s why it’s the perfect landscape to get lost for hours, especially if you are inside a kayak. With the vast number of channels and rivers, the different intensity of the currents that can be found make it the best spot both for beginners and experienced navigators who want to enjoy a trip surrounded by islands, trees, flowers, deer, more than 200 species of birds and (beware!) plenty of mosquitos…
Potrerillos Dam in Mendoza is one of the most relaxing experiences you can have. Only forty-five minutes away from Mendoza capital by car, you will reach the heart of Potrerillos Observing the calm waters dance beneath the kayaks makes this visit a favorite for those seeking to combine the beauty of the Andes mountain range with the tranquility of the iconic Mendocino dam.
At an altitude of just over 1000 meters above sea level, at the foot of the pre-Andean region, and with the Cordón del Plata as a backdrop, Potrerillos has this body of water with a length of 14 kilometers and an almost 3-kilometer maximum width, reaching a depth of 70 meters (this varies depending on the water flow). It was built for the regulation of water in the northern area of Mendoza.
Another great destination for kayaking in Mendoza is the Atuel Canyon. Located 34 km from San Rafael, the so-called “Atuel Rapids” invite you to experience the river through adventure. There is a perfect combination of imposing landscapes, nautical activities, and adventure. The rapids of the Atuel River are one of the main destinations for rafting, kayaking, and cool river activities.
Written by Irene Valiente