Argentina is a phenomenal country for photographers. There are so many different places and a nice variety of photography destinations within the country. You can be doing street photography in Buenos Aires one day, photographing whales in Puerto Madryn a week later, and then soon standing among epic peaks in Patagonia. It really is a photographer’s playground.
This is a guide for photographers to Argentina.
Best Time of Year
You won’t likely find me telling you there’s a bad time of year for photography. I think you can go to Argentina and make great photos any time of year. That said, in my opinion, there is a clear best time to visit Argentina: the fall.
In the month of April, you’ll have fall colours in Patagonia. Then if you can head north from there you’ll follow the fall colours while also not getting too hot. The north can be oppressively hot in the summer. In Patagonia, most of the locations are closed or inaccessible in the winter. And while the spring is also pretty good, it can be rainy.
Travel Logistics for Argentina
Before I get into the destination itself, I want to cover some things about travelling in Argentina that will make your lives easier.
Flying from destination to destination in Argentina is possible, and it’s probably the best way to do things if you’re covering a lot of distance. However, the airlines in Argentina are famously over-priced and it can get costly.
The buses in Argentina can be incredibly comfortable, some offering even full flat beds. I’d recommend that if the journey is less than 12 hours on the bus, you might be best off taking the bus.
Taxis are fairly reliable, and uber is available in the bigger cities. Most will take credit card, but you’ll need to ask before you get in. It’s also recommended to either make sure they’re using a taxi meter, or agree to a price before you get in.
The Currency / Cards
I could write a novel on the money situation in Argentina, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll explain that hyper-inflation is a never-ending problem in Argentina. They’ve tried to solve it these days by offering foreigners a better exchange rate when paying by card – to hopefully get some money into the banks.
It means that the price you see isn’t always the price you pay. For example, in 2023 when I visited the exchange rate was almost twice as good when paying by card vs. cash. Hotels listed on websites like booking.com would say 100 Euros. Then, I would pay with credit card and only 50 Euros was charged.
So, I highly recommend that you use credit cards in Argentina.
That said, this information can and will change.
Booking accommodation before you arrive in Argentina might be a bit confusing. That’s a result of the above explanation about the money situation. When you book online, the cost of accommodation might look insanely high, but it’s actually fairly reasonable.
Like I mentioned above, you’ll likely actually pay much less than what booking.com or other websites will tell you the price is. If you don’t trust me, be sure to book with free cancellation. I almost exclusively book my accommodation here. It’s just the safest bet, and you can get that free cancellation I mentioned.
In Argentina, there are hotels, hospedajes (guesthouses) and hostels. Some apartment locations are showing up as well.
Camera Equipment for Argentina
I really dislike answering camera gear questions. Everyone has totally different opinions on what they should and shouldn’t pack. So, I will only give a little bit of advice on the topic.
Lenses: You’ll definitely want an ultra-wide lens like a 16-35mm. You’ll also want a standard lens in the 24-105mm range. A 70-200mm will come in handy as well. If you’re looking for pumas or whales, 100-500mm or something longer will also be useful.
Tripod: If you’re travelling to Patagonia and plan on doing some long exposure photography, be sure to pack a really sturdy tripod. A cheap one will definitely not get you sharp images with the heavy wind. It might also collapse and cause you camera damage.
The Photography Destinations in Argentina
This photography guide will be listed from north to south, not in order of preference. And as is always the case with my photography guides, the list will be limited to places that I have visited.
San Salvador de Jujuy
Locals just refer to it as Jujuy. It’s a really cool place to base adventures into the Argentinean altiplano and to the lagoons and salt flats in the region. Jujuy feels a bit like the wild west – and I guess it kind of is. You’ll likely need wheels or hire a driver/guide to get the most of things in this area.
If anyone tells you there’s a more beautiful waterfall in the world than Iguazu Falls, they’re lying. Iguazu is absolutely incredible. You should plan on spending at least one full day here, and ideally two.
There is a hotel inside the park you can stay at which will allow you the ability to photograph the falls at sunrise and/or sunset. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck to park hours.
The city is very photogenic, actually. After visiting Buenos Aires a number of times, I did eventually try to get some photography done there and was pretty happy with the photos I made. There’s a nice variety of places from La Boca to La Recoleta.
The one thing I would say is to please be careful with your camera gear after dark. Neighbourhoods like La Boca, for example, can get pretty rough in the evening.
Most people know Mendoza due to its wine production. And, actually most of the photography-related happenings in the area are based on the wine community as well. Mendoza itself is a lovely city, although it’s not overly photogenic unless you’re into street photography.
The city of Bariloche is extremely popular with Brazilian and Argentinean tourists, but other foreigners just seem to skip passed it. I honestly have no idea why.
Bariloche is set among a number of beautiful lakes and mountains. There is an abundance of good food, chocolate, and beer. And the photo opportunities up in this part of northern Patagonia are spectacular.
The main attraction to Puerto Madryn definitely isn’t the city. The city itself, while pleasant enough, is just that: a city. The main attraction here is to get out into the waters and find sea based wildlife. There are seals, penguins, and of course whales. The whale-spotting tours are especially good in the season when the transient whales are passing through in the spring and fall.
The sleepy town of El Chalten is the hub of outdoors in Argentinean Patagonia. It’s set beautifully at the food of Fitz Roy mountain and surrounded by majestic woodland and glacial lakes. A photographer could easily spend a week exploring all the photo locations in the El Chalten area and not get bored. If you’re into landscape photography, this is the one.
Perito Moreno Glacier
A visit to Perito Moreno Glacier is a must for any photographer. To visit this incredible glacier you’ll want to base yourself in the city of El Calafate, which is about an hour’s drive. Photographers will be a bit dismayed to find out they can only enter the park after sunrise and must leave before sunset. The good news is that the boardwalks in front of the glacier make for a great place to photograph. You can also do a boat tour, or a glacial walk which will get you a different perspective all together.
Most people are visiting Ushuaia to either say that they’ve visited the southern most city in the world or to join a trip to Antarctica. However, what most don’t realize before arriving is that Ushuaia is so beautiful. In fact, if you weren’t planning on going there as a photographer, you should change your plans to include it. You have nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park to photograph, and the area around the city itself is stunning.
Photography Workshops and Tours in Argentina
If you’re looking to join up with a photography workshop or tour in Argentina, there are plenty. Most of these workshops tend to focus on the Patagonia area. However, some also include northern Patagonia and Iguazu Falls. And while my photo tours to Patagonia are likely on hold for a couple of years as I focus on new destinations, I will be leading a trip at some point that visits Iguazu Falls.
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