5 Must Visit World Heritage Sites in Argentina

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5 Must Visit World Heritage Sites in Argentina

Date: Jan 26, 2023
Author: Collins.cidar 637 No Comments

Argentina a perfect country for a road trip and outstanding view. If you are thinking of having a trip of a lifetime, then it would have to be Argentina. Argentina has been enticing visitors with energetic cultural heritage and outstanding landscape view over years. From the busy city to the colorful culture, stretch down to all kinds of magical landscape. Travel to Argentine comes alive with a lot of incentive to travelers. In below we have put together traveling guide to Argentine.

Iguazu National Park

Iguazu National Park/Photographer:Christhian Gruhn/Unsplash

Located in Misiones Province in the Northeastern tip of Argentina and bordering the Brazilian state of Parana to the north, Iguazú National Park, jointly with its sister park Iguaçu in Brazil, is among the world’s visually and acoustically most stunning natural sites for its massive waterfalls. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1984. Across a width of almost three kilometres the Iguazú or Iguaçu River, drops vertically some 80 meters in a series of cataracts. The river, aptly named after the indigenous term for “great water” forms a large bend in the shape of a horseshoe in the heart of the two parks and constitutes the international border between Argentina and Brazil before it flows into the mighty Parana River less than 25 kilometres downriver from the park. Large clouds of spray permanently soak the many river islands and the surrounding riverine forests, creating an extremely humid micro-climate favouring lush and dense sub-tropical vegetation harbouring a diverse fauna.

In addition to its striking natural beauty and the magnificent liaison between land and water Iguazu National Park and the neighbouring property constitute a significant remnant of the Atlantic Forest, one of the most threatened global conservation priorities. This forest biome historically covering large parts of the Brazilian coast and extending into Northern Argentina and Uruguay, as well as Eastern Paraguay, is known for its extreme habitat and species diversity, as well as its high degree of endemism. Around 2000 plant species, including some 80 tree species have been suggested to occur in the property along with around 400 bird species, including the elusive Harpy Eagle. The parks are also home to some several wild cat species and rare species such as the broad-snouted Caiman.

Jointly with contiguous Iguaçu National Park in Brazil, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986, it constitutes one of the most significant remnants of the so-called Interior Atlantic Forest. Today, the parks are mostly surrounded by a landscape that has been strongly altered due to heavy logging, both historically and into the present, the intensification and expansion of both industrial and small-scale agriculture, plantation forestry for pulp and paper and rural settlements. Jointly, the two sister parks total around 240,000 hectares with this property’s contribution being c. 67,000 hectares.

Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks

Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks/Credit:coopermoisse/iStockphoto

Ischigualasto-Talampaya Natural Parks are located in the northern part of central Argentina comprised of two adjoining protected areas. These are Ischigualasto Provincial Park (60,369 hectares) in San Juan Province and Talampaya National Park (215,000 hectares) in Rioja Province, jointly covering 275,369 hectares west of the Sierras Pampeanas. The property is situated within Argentina’s Monte ecoregion, a warm scrub desert along the Eastern Andean foothills. Against the backdrop of an attractive mountain landscape the property is a scientific treasure of global importance. It harbours the sedimentary Ischigualasto-Villa Union Triassic Basin, consisting of continental sediments deposited during the entire Triassic Period. This Basin boasts an exceptionally complete record and sequence of plant and animal life in the geological period from roughly 250 to 200 million years ago which represents the origin of both dinosaurs and mammals. Six distinct sedimentary formations contain the fossilised remains of a wide range of ancestral animals and plants revealing the evolution of vertebrates and detailed information on palaeoenvironments over the approximately 50 million years of the Triassic Period, and the dawn of the “Age of the Dinosaurs”. The ongoing scientific discoveries are invaluable for understanding palaeontology and evolutionary biology.

The property is located in an arid region in the rain shadow of the Andes. Further to the significance for research the property has important archaeological values, such as 1500 year-old petroglyphs. Exceptional landscape features include red sandstone cliffs reaching 200 metres in height in Talampaya National Park and, in Ischigualasto Provincial Park, white and multi-coloured sediments creating a stark landscape named “Valle de la Luna” or “Valley of the Moon”. The site has sparse desert vegetation, characterised by xeric shrubs and cactus, with interspersed trees. The desert environment contains several rare and endemic species of flora and fauna.

Los Alerces National Park

Los Alerces National Park/Photographer: Sole D’Alessandro G./iStockphoto

Los Alerces National Park is located within the Andes of Northern Patagonia and the property’s western boundary coincides with the Chilean border. The property coincides with the formally gazetted Los Alerces National Park covering 188,379 ha and has a buffer zone of 207,313 ha comprising the contiguous Los Alerces National Reserve (71,443 ha) plus an additional area (135,870 ha) which forms a 10 km wide band around the property except where it borders Chile.

The landscape in this region is moulded by successive glaciations creating a scenically spectacular variety of geomorphic features such as moraines, glacial river and lake deposits, glacial cirques, chain-like lagoons, clear-water lakes, hanging valleys, sheepback rocks and U-shaped valleys. The Park is located on the Futaleufú River basin which encompasses a complex system of rivers and chained lakes, regulating the drainage of the abundant snow and rain precipitation. The property is dominated by the presence of Patagonian Forest which occupies part of southern Chile and Argentina. This forest is one of the five temperate forest types in the world, and the only ecoregion of temperate forests in Latin America and the Caribbean. The property is vital for the protection of some of the last portions of continuous Patagonian Forest in almost a pristine state and it is the habitat for a number of endemic and threatened species of flora and fauna including the longest-living population of Alerce trees (Fitzroya cupressoides), a conifer endemic to South America.

Los Glaciares National Park

Los Glaciares National Park/Photographer: Hans-Jürgen Weinhardt/Unsplash

Los Glaciares National Park is located in the Southwest of Santa Cruz Province in the Argentine part of Patagonia. Comprised of a National Park and a National Reserve it has a total surface area of 600,000 hectares. Los Glaciares owes its name to the numerous glaciers covering roughly half of the World Heritage property. Many of these glaciers are fed by the massive South Patagonian Ice Field, the most extensive South American relict of the glaciological processes of the Quaternary Period. In addition, there are impressive glaciers independent of the main ice field. The property therefore constitutes a massive freshwater reservoir.

The Upsala, Onelli and Perito Moreno Glaciers calve into the icy and milky waters of the huge Lake Argentino, which is partly included in the property. The most striking sight is the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. This large glacier blocks a narrow channel formed by Lake Argentino thereby raising the water level temporarily. This in turn causes regular thunderous ruptures of the glacier tongue into the lake.

Península Valdés

Península Valdés/Credit:nicolamargaret/iStockphoto

Peninsula Valdes is located in the Argentinean Province of Chubut. The peninsula of approximately 360,000 hectares reaches more than 100 kilometres eastwards into the South Atlantic Ocean. Its roughly 400 kilometres of shoreline include a series of gulfs, including the extensive Golfo San Matias to the North and Golfo Nuevo to the South, both covering several thousand square kilometres. The dynamic coastal zone features rocky cliffs of up to 100 metres in height, shallow bays and shifting coastal lagoons with extensive mudflats, sandy and pebble beaches, active sand dunes, and small islands. The wetlands, some of them today also recognized as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, are associated with the tidal areas of the Peninsula and provide significant nesting and resting sites for numerous migratory shorebirds. The diverse terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems of Peninsula Valdes contain natural habitats of extraordinary value from both a scientific and a conservation perspective.

Connected to the mainland only through a narrow strip of land, the mushroom-shaped peninsula and its shore are almost insular in nature. Its calm gulfs, sheltered from the rough South Atlantic, are key breeding, calving and nursing areas of the Southern Right Whale and many other marine mammals, such as Southern Elephant Seal, Southern Sea Lion and Orca. There are important breeding colonies of shorebirds and tens of thousands of nesting Magellanic Penguin. The land ecosystem is dominated by Patagonian Desert Steppe, representing more than half of the plant communities distinguished in Argentinean Patagonia despite its relatively modest size. Terrestrial wildlife includes Guanacos, one of South America’s native camelid species, and the Patagonian Mara, a rodent endemic to Argentina. There are 181 recorded bird species, including the Lesser Rhea, the White-headed Steamer Duck, endemic to Argentina, and the migratory Snowy Sheathbill.

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