Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city of Argentina, is the cultural and historic heart of the country. You can easily lose yourself for days or even weeks, exploring the dense yet colourful neighbourhoods and districts of the city, immersing yourself in the nightlife, learning to tango and visiting the multitude of heritage listed sights in Buenos Aires.
The Argentine capital though also makes for a great base to day trip from, and you’ll find that there are a huge array of destinations and attractions within easy reach of the city. You can visit ranches in the countryside, sightsee around colonial towns or get closer to nature in rural Argentina.
You can cross international borders to visit Uruguay or fly over the Andes to land in Chile for the weekend or even make the journey to the Brazilian border to see the mighty Iguazu Falls.
There are a lot of destinations to visit from the Argentine capital, so to inspire your travels, here are our favourite Buenos Aires day trips.
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Day Trips From Buenos Aires
Don Silvano Ranch
A short journey outside of Buenos Aires will bring you into the surrounding countryside, where you can enjoy a Gaucho style day trip at the Don Silvano Ranch. Argentina is famed for its unique Gaucho culture, which today expresses itself primarily through local horse riding and cattle ranching traditions.
At the Don Silvano Ranch, you’ll find a traditional Argentine ranch that’s seemingly been unchanged in centuries. This is perhaps the most touristy ranch close to the capital, but it’s a fun place to visit. If you’re travelling as a family, then this is one of the best day trips from Buenos Aires with kids that you could make, as you’re guaranteed to have a long but action-packed day out that everyone will enjoy.
You can ride horses, see the cowboys working their magic as they round up cattle, and learn more about the Gaucho culture and history, before enjoying an epic BBQ on the ranch.
Santa Susana Ranch
Another great ranch to visit from Buenos Aires is the Santa Susana Ranch, where you can spend a full day immersed in the Gaucho lifestyle. You’ll be able to explore the small museum on the ranch to learn more about the history before you’re treated to all sorts of horse related entertainment.
You can learn to ride from the Gauchos themselves, or just sit back and watch as they entertain the crowd with their incredible horsemanship. They’ll round up cattle, race along the plains and perhaps even pull off a stunt or two.
Barbecues and wine are a big part of Argentinian culture and much of this tradition stems from the Gauchos and the ranches, so at Santa Susana you’ll be able to indulge in a meat feast of incredible proportions, as you drink wine and dine in a wonderfully rural setting.
A visit to the Tigre Delta is one of the best day trips you can make from Buenos Aires. Just an hour outside of the city centre, you can easily reach this area of natural beauty on a tour, by car or even by public transport. However you choose to get there, you’ll quickly be transported far away from the confines of the urban world.
The town of Tigre is the main starting point from where you can journey into the local river delta, where you can find an enormous area of wetlands that are brimming with wildlife. The Tigre Delta is home to a dense network of islands and rivers, and of course, the best way to experience the area is to join a boat tour.
San Antonio de Areco
Two hours north-west of Buenos Aires can be found the small yet fascinating city of San Antonio de Areco. This is true Gaucho country and the region has long been home to ranchers and cowboys making their living on horseback across the cattle plains.
San Antonio de Areco is a traditional Gaucho city, and it was even the setting for a famous early 20th century Argentinian Gaucho novel that portrayed the lifestyle to the rest of the world. You can visit the local Gaucho Museum to learn more about the book and about the traditions and culture of the Gauchos themselves.
Across the city, you can find many Gaucho craftsmen still plying their unique trades, from leatherworking to saddlery. It’s a great cultural experience, but really, the best time of the year to visit is November, when you can catch the local Gaucho festival in full swing.
Puesto Viejo Estancia
Puesto Viejo Estancia is another great ranch to visit when you are staying in Buenos Aires, but you’ll find that this one is a little more upmarket than the regular touristic affairs.
Puesto Viejo is located by the small town of Canuelas, 80 kilometres from the centre of Buenos Aires. The ranch is home to boutique accommodation that blends traditional Gaucho culture with modern luxury in a seamless fashion. You can make this an overnight or weekend trip from the capital, enjoying the pleasant surrounds of the tranquil countryside and making the most of the excellent facilities.
Puesto Viejo is also known for its rich Polo heritage. You can time your visit to coincide with a Polo Day, where you can learn more about what is one of Argentina’s most popular sports. You can learn the rules, watch demonstrations and if you are confident on horseback, then you can even have a go at the game yourself.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is a long way from Buenos Aires, but being one of the most impressive natural sights in the country then it’s worth taking a weekend to visit. The glacier is part of the wider Los Glaciares National Park, an area of supreme natural beauty in the south of the country that’s protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The national park is found along the border with Chile, and it’s not a cheap or easy trip to make, but it could easily be the most spectacular destination in Argentina. The Perito Moreno glacier is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, and unusually for a glacier, it’s actually advancing, rather than retreating.
It’s a very active glacier, and you can see chunks of ice falling and collapsing as it constantly shifts. You can watch the glacier in action from afar, or you can get close and trek across this enormous sheet of ice.
You can fly from the capital to the tourist hub of El Calafate to visit Perito Moreno, so technically this is one of the only day trips from Buenos Aires to Patagonia that you could make if the flight schedules work out. In reality, though, this falls into the category of overnight trips from Buenos Aires, assuming you want to make the most of your time in Patagonia.
Despite being located far from the capital, as with Patagonia, flight connections mean that it’s also technically possible to make day trips Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls.
The iconic waterfall is the largest in the world, and it forms the border with Brazil far to the north of Buenos Aires. It’s well over a thousand kilometres by land, but you can fly into the town of Cataratas del Iguazu on the Argentinian side of the falls, as there are regular connections from Buenos Aires through the day. It’s a long way though, so you might want to consider turning this into an overnight or weekend trip if you have the time.
The waterfall is shared between both Argentina and Brazil and you can visit both sides easily for different views of this natural spectacle. It’s one of the most impressive sights in the world and you can get right up close to the largest of the plunge pools by walking out to viewing platforms or by taking boat rides. The surrounding forests are protected by national parks too and you can enjoy immersing yourself in the local nature on the many hiking trails found in the area too.
Closer to Buenos Aires, you can find the intriguing town of Carlos Keen, which is just an hour into the countryside. Carlos Keen was once a bustling, thriving commuter town that boomed when it was connected to the country’s rail network in the late 19th century.
The boom didn’t last long however and only a few decades later the town was almost deserted when the rail stop was taken away. Carlos Keen became a ghost town but recent efforts have seen it remarkably revitalised by tourism as visitors make the journey here to see the rustic, wild west looking streets and buildings and to meet the few locals that still call the town home. It’s like taking a step back in time and that’s caused Carlos Keen to become one of the most popular day trips from Buenos Aires.
Next to Carlos Keen, you can find the somewhat larger town of Lujan. This is one of Argentina’s most historic towns, as it dates back to the mid 18th century and is home to one of the most important churches in the country.
On religious holidays, Lujan swells with Christians and pilgrims that visit the iconic Lujan Basilica, and it’s estimated that visitor numbers rise into the millions. If you don’t like crowds, then avoid the religious holidays, of course, but you could also witness a unique side of local life when the pilgrims are in town.
Buenos Aires is found facing across the Rio de la Plata towards Uruguay, and it’s easy to visit the Uruguayan capital Montevideo on a day trip.
There are many tour companies offering day trips from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, and there are ferries connecting the two capital cities together. Montevideo is a very different experience from Buenos Aires as the city is much smaller and much quieter. It’s located along Montevideo Bay, where you can find pristine, white sand beaches with skyscrapers rising directly behind the shoreline and a 10-mile long boulevard connecting everything along the coast.
It’s an exceptional location, but more than this, Montevideo is a great place to learn more about Uruguayan history and culture. Stroll through the Plaza Independencia, visit the imposing Del Cerro Fort and explore the many national museums and art galleries before returning to Buenos Aires in the evening.
Colonia del Sacramento
Another of the day trips from Buenos Aires to Uruguay that you can make is to Colonia del Sacramento. The city is found across the water from Argentina and it’s actually much closer than Montevideo. Indeed, many of the ferries from Argentina to Uruguay will stop only at Colonia del Sacramento, making it much easier to travel to and somewhat of a transport hub.
It’s a small city, but it’s one that’s packed with history, as Colonia del Sacramento can claim to be one of the oldest settlements in Uruguay. The city dates back to the late 17th century when it was founded by the Spanish and today it boasts one of the best preserved colonial quarters that can be found anywhere in South America.
If you’re looking for another international excursion from Buenos Aires, then look to the west and over the Andes mountains to Chile. From Buenos Aires, there are regular flights to Santiago, the capital of Chile and with a flight time of under two hours, you could make this a long day trip if you desire.
It’s better to take the weekend of course, because Santiago is a city that’s rich in both culture and history and there’s plenty to see and do. You’ll quickly realise that Chile is very different from Argentina, with different dialects of Spanish spoken and different styles of food eaten.
Take a whistle-stop tour of the national museums to learn about Chilean history, delve into the excellent restaurants and cafes and admire the snow-capped Andes mountains that surround the city and that provide such a beautiful setting.
Recommended Day trips from Buenos Aires
- Polo Match and Lesson Day Trip from Buenos Aires
- Iguazu Falls Private Day Trip from Buenos Aires with Airfare
- Tigre Delta Sightseeing Cruise from Buenos Aires
- Gaucho Day Trip from Buenos Aires: Santa Susana Ranch
- Gaucho Day Trip from Buenos Aires: Don Silvano Ranch
- Private Tour: Colonia del Sacramento Day Trip from Buenos Aires
- Day Trip to Montevideo from Buenos Aires