Argentina - West
Pampas - The sheer size of the plains, called the Pampas, is overwhelming - but precisely because it is so vast, it becomes not a little tedious. It is said that this is the one place on earth where distances are so great and so flat you can see the curvature of planet Earth. After that - endless fields broken by rows of trees planted to break the fierce winds. The "estancias" (ranches) are enormous, and the homes of some are grand - but unless you have a private entree into one of these old Argentine families, this can be the ultimate nightmare drive if you're traveling with small kids.
Horseback riding - Argentines love their horses, from their world-class polo ponies to the gaucho's working cutting horses. No matter what kind of riding you like, you can find a place to suit. Take English riding lessons, go off on an all-day expedition to explore the land with the guachos.
The Lake district - A magical place filled with Andean glacial lakes, it has alpine highlands at upper elevations and temperate rain forests lower down. Parks are open all year long, but winters are rainy. The summer (December through March) is best for most outdoors plans except, of course the skiing and snowboarding at Bariloche! You can choose anything from luxury hotels to camping.
Nahuel Huapí - Almost two million acres of parkland on the Chilean border, there's a lot to do here no matter what time of year you turn up. Ski, snowboard, hike, fish, climb, canoe, take a cruise.
Boat or fish on Lake Nauel Huapi - The rivers and lakes were stocked with salmon and trout a 100 years ago and they're thriving! Get a fishing license at Bariloche and expect to help little ones pull in the catch: they grow 'em big here.
Snowboard or ski at San Carlos de Bariloche - On the south coast of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, this is a favorite haunt for European and North American ski teams with 1,600 acres of skiing and an Alpine resort that is quite beautiful, a little unexpected - very much like what you'll find in Colorado, British Columbia, Europe.
Hike everywhere! - Lots of well-maintained trails in four very distinct areas suited to different kinds of hiking. Go for a dip in the thermal pools tucked under lowland forests.
Visit a ranch - But don't expect a rough-hewn kind of place. Some double as hotels (on a limited scale) - take advantage of a chance to live like an Argentine grandee! In Mendoza there are at least two worth visiting:
Los Alamos - Go horseback riding take a walk through the vineyards and wine cellars or go rafting or fishing nearby. This ranch dates back to 1830 and is well known for its restaurant and cellar - so look forward to a beautiful ride followed by a great meal.
Chateau d'Ancon - Located in Tupungato, the estate has vineyards and a beautiful 2,500 sq. ft manor house filled with exquisite antiques from both sides of the Atlantic (the family originally came from Limoges, France). Once home to a Governor the beauty of the grounds and the manor are not to be missed.
Puente del Inca - Puente del Inca is a natural rock formation, a limestone bridge over the river. Nearby are hot springs, and the rocks are bright yellow and green, like melted ice cream. These formations are quite stunning, and visitor's have come from far and wide to see them - Charles Darwin sketched the formations on his voyage in the 19th century.
Historic vineyards - The area of Mendoza is almost entirely devoted to vineyards - fed by fresh mountain streams that come from high in the Andes. While you may not want to have the kids join you for wine tasting - they will want to clamber down the stone stairwell that leads to rooms where wines "rest." Starting with the Gonzalez and Correas family vineyards in the 1840s, the area quickly attracted rival vineyards. One large winery that welcomes visitors all year is Bodega Suter, where you'll see examples of how wine was made 100 years ago - and the very modern steel drum production of today.

twitter instagram vimeo travelforkids