Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay: Just a short ferry trip from Buenos Aires, Colonia is Uruguay's best example of colonial life. The Old Neighborhood contains brilliant examples of colonial wealth and many of Uruguay's oldest structures. Dating from the 17th century, this beautifully preserved Portuguese settlement makes a perfect day trip. A few resorts and estancias are in the area, making for a great trip extension for overnighting.
Salta: Salta, which sits in the Lerma valley of Argentina's Northwest, has an eternal-spring-like climate and the nation's best-preserved colonial architecture. It's surrounded by the fertile valley of the provincial capital, the polychrome canyons of Cafayate, and the desolate plateau of La Puña.
Cafayate: Set amid a pink, sandy landscape of cactus-dotted vineyards, the sleepy town of Cafayate has donkeys grazing on the central plaza and heaps of unlocked bicycles outside schools and churches. The sun-drenched area offers palatial-style wineries and luxurious wine lodges.
Villa Carlos Paz: A quick getaway from Córdoba, Villa Carlos Paz surrounds the picturesque Embalse San Roque. Although it's actually a reservoir, vacationers treat San Roque like a lake, and they swim, sail, and windsurf in its gentle waters. Year-round, visitors come to Carlos Paz to play outdoors by day and party by night.
Purmamarca: A little white church built with adobe and cactus sits in front of a rainbow-colored mountain in the northern Jujuy province. It is a picture that can be used in every Argentine travel brochure, and is.
La Falda: An excellent base from which to explore the Punilla, La Falda lies between the Valle Hermoso (Beautiful Valley) and the Sierras Chicas. Argentines come here for rest and relaxation, not wild entertainment. Crisp, clean air, wonderful hikes, and quiet hotels are the draw.
Chacras de Coria: Once considered a summer getaway for wealthy Mendoza families, Chacras de Coria is just 20 minutes from downtown Mendoza, but it's offset by its shady, gentle, rural lifestyle. The town has great bistros, excellent small inns, a lovely town square with an antiques market on Sundays, and a great ice-cream shop.
Villa la Angostura: With cottages owned by a "who's who" of Porteños, Villa la Angostura is becoming somewhat of a jet-set stop in Patagonia. It has plenty of coastline along the north shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake for sailing, fishing, swimming, and sunning. The sweet main street is tidy and quaint, with good shops and some excellent restaurants. The eastern suburb of Bahia Manzano has a collection of cozy wooden lodges that hug the shore. In the winter, the local ski hill Cerro Bayo may be Patagonia's best-kept winter secret.
San Martín de los Andes: City planners in San Martín had the sense to do what Bariloche never thought of: to limit building height to two stories and to mandate continuity in the town's alpine architecture. The result? Bariloche is crass, whereas San Martín is class, and the town is a year-round playground to boot. Relax, swim, bike, ski, raft, hunt, or fish -- this small town has it all.
El Chaltén: If you've ever wanted to relive the Wild West, you just might get your chance here in El Chaltén. On the verge of modernity, the area is influenced above all by the ever-present wind and by the beautiful granite spires of Cerro Torre and Mt. FitzRoy, which tower above town. It's a ramshackle place, with few paved roads, lots of half-built homes, and a remarkable selection of good restaurants. The vibe is for adventurers and nature lovers who are willing to sacrifice some comforts for awe-inspiring nature and friendly locals.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.