Boasting incredible landscapes that range from imposing glaciers and icefields to pampas grasslands, mountains and waterfalls, Argentina is an epic destination full of opportunities for responsible tourism. Fortunately, that’s at the heart of what we do here at Original Travel. Eco-friendly activities abound, from cycling around the vineyards of Mendoza, to green train rides through Iguacu National Park, to horsing around in Patagonia. But understanding sustainability in Argentina means looking at some of the country’s biggest eco-projects as well as how visitors can help to preserve its spectacular natural resources. Let’s dive in.

The Political Climate

On a national level, sustainability in Argentina is at something of a crossroads. Between 2010 and 2020, Argentina made significant progress by adopting policies such as the ‘Biofuels Law’, the ‘Renewable Energy Law’ and imposing a carbon tax on fossil fuels. During this time, the government declared a climate emergency and a draft Climate Change Law was passed. The country also announced the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In line with this pledge, Argentina has begun to reduce its emissions, mainly through a decrease in deforestation, a situation which has been helped by the introduction of a ‘Forest Preservation Law’. Yet it remains somewhat unclear how the current government will take these policies forward. In November 2022, the World Bank Group’s Country Climate and Development Report presented Argentina with a possible roadmap for transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Bottom line? If the country implements additional policies to increase low-carbon energy sources, it could surpass its goals. But it could just as easily not meet them if no additional action is taken.

Sustainable Tourism in Argentina

Minimising impact on the natural environment and ensuring the preservation of a tourist destination are crucial elements of sustainable travel. Let’s take a closer look at some of Argentina’s most important ecotourism regions and how visitors can reduce the impact of their adventures and positively contribute to sustainability in Argentina.

Sustainable Excursions in Northern Argentina

Exploring Iguacu National Park: Iguacu Falls is one of Argentina’s most popular tourist attractions. Responsible management of the surrounding national park not only helps to conserve one of the world’s largest and most spectacular waterfalls, it’s also crucial to the survival of diverse plant, bird and animal species. In addition to revenue from entrance fees helping to protect the area, visitors can explore the Argentine side of the park on foot or via an ecological train. The relaxing ride has a dramatic climax – the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat), the largest and most powerful of all the cascades. the other in its neighbour who shares the falls, Brazil.

Environmental protection in the Ibera Wetlands: Located in the province of Corrientes in north-eastern Argentina, the Ibera Wetlands are one of South America’s most important protected areas, supporting an incredible range of wildlife. This rich ecosystem is protected by a Natural Provincial Reserve as part of the RAMSAR Convention to conserve the wetlands and use them sustainably. Green developments include a solar power generating station and sanitation and waste management facilities.

Sustainable Excursions in Buenos Aires

Cycling around the city: The capital’s ciclovías or bike paths make it easy to explore Argentina’s captivating capital sustainably. Enjoy a traditional tour of the southern area, soaking up Caminito, La Boca, San Telmo and Parque Lezama. Alternatively, explore the artsy and elegant Recoleta district and the modern docks of Puerto Madero. Many hotels provide guests with bicycles free of charge. Or try the bamboo bikes, a truly eco-conscious way to explore Buenos Aires.

Take to the water in the Tigre Delta: Visitors to Buenos Aires can enjoy a sustainable day tour to the Tigre Delta – a group of islands connected by channels of water and lush vegetation. Cruise along the delta via kayak or on a rowing tour (always with a local guide), combining adventure and nature in the same activity.

Sustainable Excursions in Argentina’s Wine Regions

Horse power in Cafayate: Cafayate in north-west Argentina is part of the Calchaqui Valley wine region. Riding in the Argentinean landscape is a way of reconnecting with traditions and embracing the local way of life. In this area, vineyards alternate with dramatic geological formations. A guided ride invites visitors to appreciate – and protect – the area’s austere beauty. 

Cycling in Mendoza: Sustainable tours are about reinventing how we connect with traditional places, and wine tours in Mendoza are a classic stop. After enjoying gourmet food and one or two glasses of the best wine in Argentina, why not cycle between the vineyards? It’s a great way to explore the land and see how the locals cultivate and harvest the grapes.

Sustainable Excursions in Patagonia

Hiking in Chaltén: Chaltén is arguably Argentina’s most sustainable destination, walking being its biggest draw. All Chaltén’s hiking trails are part of Los Glaciares National Park, so visitors can see some amazing flora and fauna while doing what you can to protect the environment (don’t litter, hike off established paths or disturb wildlife).

Environmental education in El Calafate: Travellers can visit the Glaciarium, just outside the town of El Calafate, to learn more about glaciers, their formation and the dangers they face due to climate change. It's a worthwhile crash course in glaciology before visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world’s most iconic glaciers. 

Go gaucho on an estancia: Visitors to Patagonia can spend a morning horsing around on Argentine purebreds, riding through a wide range of terrains from pampas to hill country along ancient cattle trails, before visiting Laguna Nimez, a famed birding spot that's home to a wide variety of birdlife.

Anyone interested in trips that prioritise sustainability in Argentina can contact our expert team to arrange an original, and environmentally aware, adventure.

Contact one of our Argentina specialists