Last Updated on September 15, 2023
Nestled within the majestic Andes and the Patagonian wilderness, Argentina boasts a treasure trove of mountain towns that beckon travelers to embark on unforgettable alpine adventures.
From the vibrant culture of Tilcara to the tranquil serenity of Villa General Belgrano, these Argentina mountain towns provide amazing experiences surrounded by towering peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and enchanting forests.
In this travel guide, discover Argentina’s best mountain towns, offering a perfect blend of natural wonders and cultural traditions. Whether you’re looking to embark on adventurous outdoor activities or just to enjoy a slower pace of life, explore some of the best mountain destinations in the country.
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This guide at a glance – The best mountain towns to visit in Argentina
- San Carlos de Bariloche: This picturesque town in Patagonia sits at an elevation of approximately 770 meters (2,530 feet). It’s surrounded by stunning lakes and the Andes Mountains, making it a popular destination year-round for outdoor enthusiasts.
- San Martín de los Andes: This charming town in northern Patagonia is situated at an elevation of approximately 640 meters (2,100 feet) on the shores of Lake Lácar. It’s a hub for outdoor activities and nature lovers.
- Caviahue: This small mountain village in Neuquén Province has an elevation of approximately 1,580 meters (5,180 feet). It’s known for its hot springs and proximity to Copahue Volcano.
- Tilcara: Located in the Quebrada de Humahuaca in the northwestern province of Jujuy, Tilcara has an elevation of around 2,465 meters (8,100 feet). It offers a unique mountain desert experience with archaeological sites.
- Cafayate: While not a mountain town in the traditional sense, Cafayate in the Calchaquí Valleys of Salta Province is situated at an elevation of approximately 1,683 meters (5,522 feet). It’s known for its wine production and scenic landscapes.
- La Cumbrecita: This pedestrian-only town in the Sierras de Córdoba reaches an elevation of about 1,450 meters (4,757 feet). It’s known for its alpine-style architecture and hiking trails.
- Villa General Belgrano: Nestled in the Sierras de Córdoba, this charming town is situated at an elevation of approximately 500 meters (1,640 feet). It’s known for its strong German influence, Oktoberfest celebrations, and a serene mountain setting.
- Villa La Angostura: Located in Patagonia near Bariloche, Villa La Angostura is situated at an elevation of around 780 meters (2,560 feet). This town offers access to stunning lakes, forests, and outdoor activities.
- Villa de Merlo: In the Sierras de los Comechingones in San Luis Province, Villa de Merlo is set at an elevation of about 790 meters (2,592 feet). Known for its mild climate, it’s a popular destination for relaxation and outdoor adventures.
- Tafí del Valle: Positioned in the Tucumán Province, this mountain town is situated at an elevation of approximately 2,000 meters (6,560 feet). It’s known for its cool climate, scenic landscapes, and indigenous culture.
- Maimará: This village is part of the Quebrada de Humahuaca and is situated at an elevation of about 2,200 meters (7,218 feet). It’s known for its colorful rock formations and is a great base for exploring the region.
- Uspallata: Located in the province of Mendoza, Uspallata sits at an elevation of around 1,900 meters (6,234 feet). It’s a starting point for exploring the high Andes and is known for its scenic beauty.
San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro
San Carlos de Bariloche, often simply called Bariloche, is one of the best mountain destinations of Argentine Patagonia, perched on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi with the majestic Andes Mountains as its backdrop. Nestled in the province of Río Negro, this town is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, Swiss-inspired architecture, and an array of outdoor activities that draw visitors year-round.
Visiting Bariloche feels like stepping into a storybook landscape. The town’s enchanting alpine-style buildings with timbered facades and flower-filled balconies create a picturesque setting reminiscent of Swiss villages. However, the real magic lies in the surrounding natural wonders.
Bariloche serves as the gateway to Nahuel Huapi National Park, one of Argentina’s oldest and most cherished national parks. Here, you’ll encounter a landscape characterized by pristine lakes, dense forests, and rugged mountain terrain. Adventure-seekers can explore numerous hiking trails, including the famous Circuito Chico, which offers panoramic views of the Andes and Lake Nahuel Huapi.
In the winter, Bariloche transforms into a winter wonderland, drawing skiers and snowboarders to Cerro Catedral, one of South America’s premier ski resorts. The mountains are blanketed in snow, and the town comes alive with après-ski festivities.
During the warmer months, the area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, from kayaking and mountain biking to mountaineering and paragliding. The Circuito Grande, a scenic drive through the region, allows visitors to explore the diversity of the landscapes.
San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén
Nestled in the heart of northern Patagonia, San Martín de los Andes is a great mountain town know for its pristine landscapes and unspoiled natural beauty. Located in the Neuquén Province of Argentina, this charming town sits on the shores of Lake Lácar, surrounded by the Andes Mountains.
With its stunning vistas, crystal-clear lakes, and lush forests, San Martín de los Andes is a perfect destination for outdoor adventures and relaxation.
As the gateway to the renowned Lanin National Park, this town offers a wide range of activities, from hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding in the winter months. Its proximity to the Seven Lakes Route (Ruta de los Siete Lagos) allows visitors to embark on one of the most scenic drives in Argentina, passing through a landscape that seems almost otherworldly in its beauty.
In town, there’s a small sandy beach where you can enjoy water activities like swimming and boating. You can stroll around the lake or hike the easy trail to Laguna Rosales. Another easy hike worth doing nearby is the hike to the beautiful Chachin Waterfall.
Don’t miss the scenic Islita and Playa Bonita, both popular places to visit near town. You can walk there under an hour or go by car, but note that the road is not good.
Tucked away in the remote and pristine reaches of Argentine Patagonia, Caviahue stands as a hidden gem, perfect for adventurous travelers seeking a taste of Argentina’s wild side.
Located in the Neuquén Province, this small mountain village is a tranquil haven nestled in the shadow of the majestic Copahue Volcano. Surrounded by wilderness, volcanic landscapes, dense forests, and a network of rivers and hot springs, the town itself is charming, with its cozy lodges, rustic architecture, and welcoming atmosphere.
Caviahue is a year-round destination. In the winter, its slopes transform into a wonderland for snow enthusiasts, with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The warmer months are ideal for trekking expeditions and day hikes, leading to hidden waterfalls, stunning lakes, and breathtaking vistas.
You can take a guided hike to the summit of Copahue or relax in the thermal waters at the nearby Copahue Hot Springs (open from December through April).
Around town don’t miss seeing Las Maquinitas where you can see geothermal activity (most of the time), and hike to El puente de Piedra and/or the Salto del Agrio both near the volcano. Note that in order to explore the area, it’s recommended to have a 4W.
Nestled in the rugged landscapes of the Argentine northwest, Tilcara stands as one of the best towns to visit in Argentina, offering a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.
Situated in the province of Jujuy, Tilcara is located in the heart of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed gorge that traces its history back thousands of years.
Tilcara is a place where time seems to slow down, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich cultural life of the region. The town is known for its well-preserved adobe architecture, characterized by mud-brick buildings and cobblestone streets that lend an authentic, old-world charm to the surroundings.
One of the most iconic features of Tilcara is the Pucará de Tilcara, an ancient pre-Inca fortress that overlooks the village. This archaeological site offers a fascinating glimpse into the indigenous history of the area, with its stone structures, terraces, and a small museum that provides insights into the ancient way of life.
The Quebrada de Humahuaca, with Tilcara as its central point, offers numerous opportunities for exploration. The region is dotted with colorful rock formations, dramatic gorges, and picturesque villages, making it an ideal destination for hiking and trekking.
Popular trails include those leading to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) and the Paseo de los Colorados, where the vibrant hues of the rocks create a stunning visual spectacle.
In town, don’t miss the local market and shops, where artisans showcase their crafts, including traditional textiles, pottery, and handwoven goods.
Tucked away in the heart of Argentina’s northwestern wine country, Cafayate is a charming and enchanting town known for its rich viticultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and laid-back vibes.
The town features colonial-era architecture, tree-lined streets, and a welcoming atmosphere with the Calchaquí River meandering through the valley. The town’s local markets are perfect for picking up handmade crafts, textiles, and regional delicacies.
The highlight of the town lies in its winemaking tradition. Surrounded by vineyards that produce some of Argentina’s finest Torrontés wines, make sure to explore local wineries and bodegas to indulge in wine tastings. The vineyards themselves are set against a backdrop of towering red rock formations, creating a surreal and striking contrast.
The Calchaquí Valleys features scenic drives along the Quebrada de las Conchas and its whimsical rock formations such as the Amphitheater and the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat).
For those who seek adventure, Cafayate offers opportunities for trekking, horseback riding, and mountain biking amidst the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Andean foothills.
La Cumbrecita, Córdoba
Located in the Córdoba Province, La Cumbrecita is a picturesque pedestrian-only mountain village known for its alpine-inspired architecture, lush forests, and laid-back vibes that offers a peaceful escape from the bustle of modern life.
Stroll through the winding cobblestone streets along charming alpine-style chalets adorned with flower-filled balconies, a postcard-perfect setting reminiscent of European mountain villages.
Make sure to sample some local treats and enjoy the town’s unique gastronomy, with cozy tea houses, bakeries, and restaurants offering dishes like fondue, strudel, and artisanal chocolates.
Surrounded by dense pine and cedar forests, pristine streams, and cascading waterfalls, the area features numerous hiking trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints and natural wonders. Popular routes include those leading to the Cascada Grande waterfall and the Cerro Wank mountain.
Villa General Belgrano, Córdoba
Nestled in the heart of the Sierras de Córdoba, Villa General Belgrano is a charming alpine-style mountain town known for its rich German heritage, festive Oktoberfest celebrations, and serene mountain settings.
Featuring timbered chalets, flower-filled window boxes, and cobblestone streets, the town is a great place to relax for a few days and enjoy the surrounding mountains.
Explore the town’s German roots through its charming tea houses, bakeries, and restaurants, where you can savor traditional German treats such as strudel, pretzels, and much more.
However, it’s during the annual Oktoberfest celebration that the town truly comes alive. Modeled after the famous Munich festival, Villa General Belgrano’s Oktoberfest is a lively and spirited event, complete with lively music, colorful parades, and, of course, plenty of beer.
The Sierras de Córdoba provide a picturesque backdrop, offering opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and ATV riding.
The nearby Embalse Los Molinos reservoir provides water sports and relaxation opportunities.
Villa La Angostura, Neuquén
Surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of Argentine Patagonia, Villa La Angostura is an ideal destination thanks to its serene beauty, alpine charm, and proximity to some of the most stunning natural wonders in the region.
The town is surrounded by the Andes Mountains and graced with the shimmering waters of Lake Nahuel Huapi, creating a picturesque setting. Take a stroll around town, enjoying the Swiss-inspired architecture, quaint lodges, and flower-filled gardens.
Nahuel Huapi National Park offers snow-capped peaks, dense forests, and pristine lakes with hiking and trekking trails winding through ancient forests, leading to hidden waterfalls, serene lakeshores, and panoramic vistas. Among the popular trails is the challenging Bosque de Arrayanes hike, where you can admire the unique myrtle forest, a rare and protected ecosystem.
On the lake, you can go kayaking, sailing, and swimming, make sure to explore its islands, beaches, and bays. Cruising the lake is one of the best things to do in Argentina!
During the winter months, Villa La Angostura transforms into a snow-covered paradise. Nearby ski resorts, such as Cerro Bayo, offer opportunities for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in a stunning mountain setting.
Villa de Merlo, San Luis
Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Sierras de los Comechingones, Villa de Merlo is a peaceful mountain town where you can enjoy the mild climate, lush landscapes, and the relaxed atmosphere.
Villa de Merlo is a hidden treasure of Argentina, thanks to its scenic setting with verdant parks, tree-lined streets, and an inviting central square that serves as the heart of the community. Its alpine-inspired architecture, with charming cottages and picturesque gardens, adds to the town’s overall appeal.
The climate in Villa de Merlo is a notable feature, with mild temperatures year-round, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a break from extreme weather. The combination of clean mountain air and a lush environment makes it a top destination for relaxation and outdoor exploration.
The town offers a wide range of outdoor activities. The Sierras de los Comechingones provide hiking and trekking opportunities, with trails that lead to panoramic viewpoints and hidden waterfalls. Visitors can explore the Reserva Florofaunistica de Rincón del Este, a protected area that is home to diverse flora and fauna.
The town’s location in the San Luis Province allows for easy access to various attractions, including the Salto del Tabaquillo waterfall, the El Filo viewpoint, and numerous hikes.
In town, window shop along Avenida del Sol, have a meal or drink on the main square, watch the sunset from one of the viewpoints, and visit the historic Templo Antiguo Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
Tafí del Valle, Tucumán
Located in the Tucumán Province, Tafí del Valle is a picturesque mountain town famous for its cool climate, dramatic landscapes, and a rich blend of indigenous and Spanish influences. This charming town is perched amidst the Andean foothills, making it a great destination to explore the stunning natural wonders of Northern Argentina.
Stroll around town, featuring colonial-style architecture with white-washed buildings, red-tiled roofs and ornate balconies. The central plaza, adorned with colorful flowers and surrounded by charming cafes, serves as a hub of activity and a gathering place for locals and visitors alike.
The landscape surrounding Tafí del Valle is nothing short of breathtaking. The town is situated near the Sierra del Aconquija, a mountain range known for its lush forests, crystalline lakes, and pristine streams. Embark on hikes and treks that lead to remarkable vistas, hidden waterfalls, and tranquil lakeshores. Popular hiking destinations include the Cerro Nuñorco and the Quebrada del Portugués.
The town is part of the Ruta Del Artesano which features local artisan’s workshops throughout the region. Visit a couple and shop for souvenirs.
In nearby El Mollar, you can enjoy watersports on the Dique la Angostura and tour the Museo Los Menhires, an open-air archaeological museum.
Nestled within the rugged beauty of the Quebrada de Humahuaca in the Jujuy Province of Argentina, Maimará is a picturesque mountain village surrounded by stunning landscapes, vibrant colors, and a deep connection to the Andean culture. It’s a great base to explore the natural wonders and rich traditions of the Argentine Northwest.
Maimará is known for its adobe architecture, characterized by earthen walls, blending seamlessly with the colorful cliffs that surround it.
The Cerro Paleta del Pintor, a colossal hillside adorned with vibrant mineral pigments that paint a breathtaking palette across its surface, is a must-see. As the sun moves across the sky, the colors shift, creating a mesmerizing display that has earned this landmark its name, “Painter’s Palette.” Make sure to take a hike to one of the viewpoints for a closer look.
Maimará is located near the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed gorge known for its rich cultural history and unique geology. The village’s location allows easy access to the area’s iconic landmarks, including the Pucará de Tilcara, the Salinas Grandes salt flats, and the vibrant town of Purmamarca, famous for its Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors).
Nestled in the shadow of the majestic Andes Mountains, Uspallata is a beautiful mountain town that serves as a gateway to the high-altitude wonders of the Argentine Andes.
Uspallata is a place where nature takes center stage. The town itself is characterized by its modest and rustic charm, with quaint lodges and inviting eateries lining the streets. The backdrop, however, is anything but ordinary: the towering peaks of the Andes Mountains provide an awe-inspiring setting.
One of the highlights of Uspallata is its proximity to the Cordillera de los Andes, making it an ideal starting point for exploring this pristine mountain region. The town is surrounded by a network of trails that wind through the mountains, offering opportunities for hiking, trekking, and horseback riding. Adventurous travelers can embark on high-altitude adventures that take them deep into the heart of the Andes.
Uspallata is also for its proximity to Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas. While scaling the mountain is a challenging endeavor reserved for experienced mountaineers, visitors can hike the easy Valle de los Horcones interpretative trail for stunning views.
The region surrounding Uspallata is dotted with natural wonders. The Inca Bridge (Puente del Inca), a unique geological formation and one of the top historical sites in the country, is a short drive away. The Hill of the Seven Colors (Cerro Siete Colores) is also a must-see.
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