Argentina is one of those destinations that really does have it all, and we think it’s important to do what we can to keep it that way. From the colourful cities where authentic parillas (steakhouses) rub shoulders with chic cocktail bars, the traditional villages which protect valuable indigenous traditions, to the abundant vineyards that produce world-famous wines and the wide-open landscapes punctuated by snow-dusted peaks, this diversity and natural beauty needs protecting. The urge to travel more responsibly has become an irresistible force in recent years, with many countries upping their sustainability initiatives as a result (including Canada, Costa Rica and Brazil), and Argentina is also getting in on the action. Sustainable tourism in Argentina takes many forms, but in line with our concept of Kintsugi Travel (where we aim to build back travel with a more positive impact than before the pandemic), here are several ways to travel sustainably in Argentina that benefit both the visitor and the destination.
- Undertourism in Argentina
- Philantourism in Argentina
- Community-Based Tourism in Argentina
- Indigenous Tourism in Argentina
While the term ‘overtourism’ is relatively new, it’s apt for describing the ever-growing tide of tourists that have long been encroaching on the world’s most sought-after spots. Social media has played a part in exacerbating the issue, as formerly lesser-known gems have become hot commodities and ubiquitous bucket list additions. Overtourism poses a problem for locals, tourists and Mother Nature alike, resulting in frustrated residents, endangered environments and disgruntled travellers (when stuck in lengthy queues for attractions and eateries). Our collection of ‘undertourism’ destinations aims to counteract these concerns, by promoting under-the-radar areas which offer a more rewarding experience for both visitors and natives. As the eighth largest country in the world, it’s no wonder that Argentina plays host to a fair few hidden treasures. A perfect example would be a stay at EOLO, a former estancia (cattle ranch) situated in Patagonia, which is within easy reach of the UNESCO-stamped Los Glaciares National Park. Boasting breathtaking views at every turn, you’ll be far from any kind of crowd here – the perfect antidote to overtourism.
As part of our desire to make travel a force for good, we’re keen to champion countries that benefit most from tourism. You can support local economies simply by being there and spending money within the community, and Argentina is no exception. Tourism is an important economic pillar in many regions, with the travel and tourism sector contributing around $34 billion to the country’s GDP and supporting almost one million jobs in 2021. The tourist industry is also a prominent puzzle piece within the conservation jigsaw, acting as a driving force behind the upkeep of the country’s 35 national parks. Entrance fees for parks such as Iguacu National Park and Tierra del Fuego, along with paid tours by local guides, go towards protecting the land and its resident species. The income generated serves as an incentive for maintaining these natural wonders and promoting sustainable tourism in Argentina. What better reason to book that bucket list-topping trip around Patagonia? You’ll be contributing to the landscape’s preservation for future generations.
When it comes to sustainable tourism in Argentina, local communities play a key role; they act as custodians of traditional culture, facilitate conservation projects and invite visitors to participate in protecting their terrain. Contribute to community-based tourism by staying in locally-owned lodges, visiting rural villages and taking part in traditional activities. We can organise stays on family-run historic estancias, where you’ll be introduced to the famed traditions of Argentina’s gaucho cowboys. Learn about how the horses here are bred and cared for, join the gauchos as they carry out their daily duties and head out on horse rides across the estate. By visiting, you’ll be helping support these rural communities and contributing to the preservation of their traditional ways of life. Other means of participating in community-based tourism include trekking with native guides, shopping in artisan markets and attending regional festivities.
Along with vital environmental initiatives, sustainable tourism in Argentina involves protecting the rights of indigenous communities and preserving their customs. With some 35 indigenous groups and roughly 600,000 inhabitants who are descendants of native tribes in Argentina, the country is well-versed in indigenous practices. We’ve spent time establishing relationships and creating authentic and sensitively planned interactions with the natural guardians of some Argentina’s most stunning habitats. Learn about new ways of life, hear stories and listen to the difficulties these communities face in our everchanging world, through experiences which are mutually beneficial to travellers and citizens. Join the Guaraní community in the province of Misiones to hear about their age-old traditions and indigenous nature-based ethos, or head to Salta and learn some of the Quechua community’s native language.
Written by Luisa Watts