While Argentina is perhaps best known for its sweeping, sparsely-inhabited steppe in the south, a thriving range of habitats are contained in this diverse, vast country. Subtropical jungle reigns in the north, while epic stretches of coastline complete an impressive richness of ecosystems and wildlife. Budding zoologists and wildlife fanatics, this is the list for you: the five best spots for seeing Argentina animals in their natural habitats.
1. Argentina Animals in The Valdes Peninsula – Chubut Province
A seemingly-barren peninsula on the Atlantic coast close to Puerto Madryn, the Valdes Peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage nature reserve which is populated by a sizeable range of marine species.
Here you’ll see:
- Elephant seals who breed between August and March but are resident in the area year-round. The breeding period is the best for wildlife watchers, as the species spends the majority of their time during the rest of the year hunting squid in the water.
- Colonies of sea lions lounging on the Valdes Peninsula beaches for the vast part of the year.
- The Southern Right Whale – one of the most anticipated of all the Argentina animals that breed in this region – which arrives into the Golfo Nuevo bay from May to calve and nurse its young. This species remains in the waters off the coast of the peninsula until December.
- Bottle nose and Commerson’s dolphins are also regularly sighted in these seas.
- Another of the area’s most spectacular visitors, a pod of around 25 orcas are resident between October and November. Their unique hunting method of beaching themselves in order to catch a sleeping elephant seal or sea lion is an impressive sight.
- This stretch of land is also inhabited by guanaco, armadillos, rheas and gray foxes.
2. Argentina Animals in Iguazú National Park – Misiones Province
The Iguazú Falls straddling the Argentine/Brazilian border are not only the location of the largest waterfall system in the world, but surrounded by subtropical rainforest which is host to an impressive array of wildlife. Another UNESCO World Heritage designated area, Iguazú National Park contains lush vegetation and rare flora and fauna.
Animals native to the area include:
- The endangered giant otter and the at-risk giant anteater make up some of the rarest Argentina animals found here.
- Other animals living in this habitat include the South American tapir, howler monkeys, jaguars, yacare caiman and jaguarundi.
3. Argentina Animals in the Yacutinga Private Nature Reserve – Misiones Province
50 miles (80km) east of Iguazu Falls lies the Yacutinga Private Nature Reserve, an area known for its incredible diversity of bird species; over 320 different types of birds have been observed in this region. Thanks to the warm climate and high levels of humidity, the environment is characterized by dense forest, making it an ideal place for birdwatching – particularly if you’re equipped with a set of binoculars and a keen eye.
Species to search for here include:
- Various types of parrot, including the scaly headed parrot and red-capped parrot.
- Caciques, including the noisy red-rumped cacique.
- Toucans and other members of the Ramphastidae family, including the spot-billed toucanet and the saffron toucanet.
4. Argentina Animals in Puerto Deseado – Santa Cruz Province
Penguin Island, 12 miles (20 km) from Puerto Deseado is a unique spot for Argentina animals: it is the location of the only continental settlement of rockhopper penguins in all of South America.
Despite around 15 breeding sites known to exist in Chile and Argentina, the Penguin Island Provincial Reserve is the only accessible colony and is where a few thousand rockhopper penguins raise their young between October and April. The nearby Magallenic penguin colony and the black-browed albatrosses, blue-eyed cormorants and southern giant petrels who grace the skies complete the range of Argentinean wildlife visible near Puerto Deseado.
5. Argentina Animals in Iberá Wetlands – Corrientes Province
Smaller and less well-known than the nearby Pantanal, which covers parts of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, the Iberá Wetlands are the second largest in the world; a 3.2 million-acre network of bogs, swamps and lagoons that teem with Argentinean animals. It’s claimed that over 4,000 animal and plant species exist in this ecosystem, making up over a third of all of Argentina’s biodiversity.
Some of the main Argentina animals to watch out for here include:
- The native jaguar was the first species to be reintroduced to the area in 2015 as part of the extensive repopulation program by the Conservation Land Trust.
- Capybaras, pampas deer and caiman are the most common wildlife, although the rare giant anteater and giant otters are also found here.