Guide for Discovering Argentinian Flora and Fauna

Stepping out to discover the local biodiversity is an alluring plan for travelers that find themselves in Argentina. Here we provide you with details on where to go and when to visit to see the most amazing species.

Argentina is an extensive country with a climate and topography that changes drastically according to the region you visit. This is why the animals and plants that can be found across the length and breadth of its expanse are extremely varied and highly appealing to any nature lover. Below is a short guide to start you off discovering the native species.

Flora

Ceibo

The Ceibo is a tree characteristic of the local culture and since 1942 its typical red flower has also become a symbol of the nation. Its average height comes in at around 10 meters and it’s principally grown for decorative purposes. Although in Argentina this tree is mostly found in the Delta region, many of Buenos Aires’ most emblematic plazas aren’t missing their own versions. From October to April – the period in which the tree flowers -, it’ll be even clearer why this species has won the hearts of Argentinians everywhere.

Jacarandá

Another of the local’s favorite trees and also considered a true icon of Buenos Aires greenery. Although the jacarandá is originally from outside of the north east of Argentina, the French architect Carlos Thays chose it to populate Buenos Aires’ green spaces over a century ago. Its naturalization was a real success and today Argentinians excitedly await the arrival of spring to enjoy its violet flowers.

Irupé

Its name meaning “water bowl” in Guaraní, this aquatic plant, which can be seen in the Paraguay river and in Argentinian Mesopotamia, represents one of the most visually attractive species of the region. Its stunning green leaves – that can reach a diameter of up to two meters – change color throughout the day, providing a true visual delight.

Arrayán

Belonging to the Myrtaceae family, this tree native to Patagonia can exceed over 10 meters in height and is characterized by its brown bark with white and grey spots. In order to see it up close, there’s nothing better than visiting the Arrayán Forest on the peninsula of Quetrihué, in Neuquén.

Cardón

The cardón de la puna catcus – also known as trichocereus pasacana – is characterized by its notable longevity and spiny stem. In the National Park and Reserve Los Cardones, a few kilometers from the city of Salta, this native cactus can be appreciated amidst a stunning natural setting.

Fauna

Magellanic Penguin

This endangered species is one of the main stars of the Argentinian and Chilean Patagonian coasts. In order to see one of the largest continental colonies which these animals live in, it’s a good idea to make a strategic stop in Punta Tombo (approximately 200 kilometers from the Valdés Peninsula, in the Chubut province) between September and March.

Southern Right Whale

Being the largest mammal in the Atlantic Ocean and one of the country’s Natural Monuments, it’s not surprising that this specie’s annual visit to the coasts of the Valdés Peninsula and Puerto Madryn continues to be one of the region’s most important tourist attractions. Anyone who wants to observe this animal up close, should travel to the region from June to December.

Toco Toucan

With a white and black body and a big orange beak, this tropical bird typical of the Misionera jungle can easily be spotted in Iguazú Falls, on the Argentinian as well as Brazilian side.

Rhea

One of South America’s biggest birds which is known for running at speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour. In Argentina, two of its species – the American rhea and Darwin’s rhea – can be found in the province of Río Negro up to Corrientes, Formosa and Salta.

Cougar

Also known as the mountain lion, this feline is distinguished by its stocky body and long tail. Although it lives in the northeastern and central regions of Argentina, it’s no easy task to see one due to their solitary, nocturnal behavior.

Andean Condor

This flying bird is one of the biggest in the world and can be found across the whole of Argentina’s mountainous regions. However, the Pailemán Sierra, in the province of Río Negro, is believed to be one of the most symbolic places to see these phenomenal specimens.

Guanaco

Belonging to the South American camelid family, same as the llama and alpaca, the guanaco is an undisputed symbol of the local fauna. And not without reason, Argentina is home to more than 80% of this species. Although they inhabit different regions, it’s easiest to come across one in Patagonia and the surrounding foothills.