After a couple of years spent locked away during the pandemic, it’s no surprise that a hordes of people are heading out to surround themselves with as much nature as they can. Argentina offers numerous wildlife hotspots you won’t find anywhere else in the world: amazing biodiversity spread across 40 National Parks, making it a wonderful place to spot wildlife.
Wildlife spotting in Argentina
1. Pumas in Parque Nacional Patagonia, Santa Cruz
Facundo Epul, a professional guide, set up his company El Choique to help people get closer to wildlife on hikes. He says that wildlife spotting in Argentina, especially pumas, “is done from a safe distance, about 300 feet, with binoculars. And they look back at you.”
2. Black and white tegu and jaguarundi in Catamarca
Surrounded by striking Palo Borracho trees, which can grow to a great size with massive trunks, in the forests of Catamarca one can spot foxes, peccary, jaguarundi, collared anteaters, black and white tegu and several species of snake. Tours combine car journeys and hikes on which visitors go on a circuit of raised walkways from which they can take stunning photographs.
3.Tapirs and mountain foxes at the Parque Nacional de Calilegua, Jujuy
Nicholas Tinelli, a travel photographer, recommends visiting here because it’s one of the world’s best examples of a yunga mountain forest landscape; recognized as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Home to some very rare animals (such as the yaguareté and the ocelot), others are more plentiful and easier to spot such as tapirs, monkeys, taruca deer, peccary, red brockets, mountain foxes and coati.
4. Condors in La Rioja
The majesty of the condors is plain the moment they spread their wings, which can span as much as 3 meters. One of the best places to see them is the Mirador del Chorro, in the Olta area. One drives there before a two-hour trek to a wooden platform, where they can be easily seen with your bare eyes, although binoculars are also useful. It’s recommendable to go with a guide.
5. Whales and orcas in Península Valdés, Chubut
870 miles south of Buenos Aires, Península Valdés is a hub for travelers from across the world because from May to December it plays host to hundreds of whales. The natural reserve has been declared a UNESCO heritage site and is also home to orcas, Commerson’s dolphins and a diverse array of land animals. There is a vast range of tour companies from which to choose in this unique location for wildlife spotting in Argentina.
6. Burrowing parrots in El Cóndor, Río Negro
This location is home to the largest colony of burrowing parrots in the world, with more than 35,000 nests. 17 miles from the city of Viedma, a 7-mile tourism corridor offers views of the cliffs where these birds live. They share it with oyster catchers, plovers, Magellan geese, black buzzard-eagles and peregrine falcons. The best way to see these animals and learn more about their behavior is on a guided tour.
7. Flamingos in the Mar Chiquita lagoon, Córdoba
Recently named a National Park, Ansenuza is an enormous expanse of wetlands, where several species of pink flamingos from a population of over 200,000 can be found.
8. Coypus, caimans and much more in the Iberá wetlands, Corrientes
Recovering from a series of devastating wildfires that raged during the summer of 2022, the Iberá wetlands make up a unique ecosystem of lakes, grasslands, forests, palm groves, swamps and savannah spanning over seven thousand square miles. It is home to the largest population of swamp deer in Argentina as well as caimans, coypu, peccary, howler monkeys, giant otters, other deer species, anteaters, tapirs and over 350 species of bird. Wildlife spotting can be done on foot, by canoe or on horseback.
9. Bird watching in Río Deseado, Santa Cruz
At this Provincial Reserve, over 30 species of bird present themselves for your viewing pleasure. Watchers can see them from a boat that tours colonies of sea lions and cormorants on a two and a half hour trip. After going around Isla Elena, the boat docks at Bird Island where one can see seagulls, cranes and penguins.
10. Guanaco, antelope and water buffalo in La Pampa
In the vast plains of the Pampas, guanacos, Indian antelope, water buffalo and deer can be seen at sunset. Almost 2000 animals, both native and introduced, live here on an estate that can be visited by 4×4, mountain bike, moped and on foot. Visitors can spend a few days here amid the calden trees and shallow lakes.
Wildlife spotting in Argentina: accessible to all
Jorge Cazenave organizes photography expeditions but says that there’s no need to go on risky adventures. “If you take binoculars with you to the Atlantic Coast, from San Clemente to Tierra del Fuego, you can see dolphins and even humpback whales because 90% of the activity occurs near the coast.” You just need to keep your eyes peeled.