I was last-week-years old when I learned about the Irish diaspora in Argentina. I won’t go into it, but the point is: this is why we travel. Or at least why I do: to learn and expand my knowledge of the world. In this case, I didn’t even get on a plane!
I hopped on Zoom to speak with 37-year-old Argentine Lucas Kambic, a Buenos Aires–based travel expert for Elsewhere by Lonely Planet, our travel-planning service. We had planned to talk through the extraordinary trips he puts together for travelers visiting Argentina. But as all charmingly unexpected conversations go, this was not a linear chat.
We veered all over, from talking about wine, to walking, to digging deep into the impact of climate change and the very real toll it’s taking on Argentina’s glaciers. We talked about our travel habits, and we also talked football. (Congrats to Argentina – and to Lucas – for winning the World Cup!!)
Rest assured, dear readers, that we did dig into all the delicious details of what it’s like to visit Argentina: the food, the culture, the awe-inspiring natural beauty. Stay tuned for some highlights from a recent trip he planned for a honeymooning couple and read a snippet from our chat. Vamos vamos Argentina!
Lucas’ trips emphasize Argentina’s most extraordinary sites. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll do during one of his trips.
1. Dine at a private home
Your first meal in Buenos Aires is at Casa Coupage, where a husband-wife sommelier-chef team serves a modern-Argentinian seven-course menu with wine pairings.
2. Walk on ice in Patagonia
You’ll be fitted for crampons and head to the Perito Moreno Glacier for a 90-minute or three-hour ice trek. It is only open to visitors over 10 and under 65 – but pretty much anyone in between can do it.
3. Kayak Lake Nahuel Huapi
This is Bariloche’s focal point. With crystal blue waters, this glacial lake is an idyllic place to paddle, visit secluded beaches and and take a dip. Afterward, enjoy the charms of the town, particularly its population of Saint Bernards.
4. Taste the wines of Mendoza
Better yet, stay at a hotel in a vineyard so you can enjoy the region at your own pace. This is a place to relax and wander from vineyard to vineyard to learn about local winemaking – or recover from your excursions at the spa.
5. See the Everest of the Andes
Aconcagua is the second-largest peak on earth, and you can either see it from a hot air balloon or hike into the park to get up close to the south wall of the 22,800ft mountain.
6. Tango. Or not.
A great way to end the trip is to see a tango performance in Buenos Aires. If you’d prefer a more local experience, visit a milonga (tango club) to take to the floor yourself.
Book a trip: Two weeks of outdoor adventures in Argentina
Argentina is the second-largest country in South America after Brazil, and you can experience the best of it by requesting a personalized trip designed by Lucas from Elsewhere by Lonely Planet.
Arrive at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, 50 minutes from town. Stay at an array of boutique hotels, like Club Tapiz Hotel & Restó in Mendoza. See Perito Moreno Glacier, Aconcagua National Park, Bariloche and Mendoza.
Dreaming of an Argentine adventure of your own? Let Lucas from Elsewhere by Lonely Planet plan your trip.
Ask an insider
Elsewhere’s BA-based expert Lucas shares how he got his start and lets us in on some local secrets.
How’d you get your start planning travel professionally?
I have been working in the travel industry for 16 years, and I founded my company with my business partner 11 years ago. We were so young, both 25 – and in the beginning, it was like a game. We didn’t realize what we were doing. I got into this because I love to travel, and now I travel all around South America and the world.
What do you love about living in Buenos Aires?
First of all, I love visiting and meeting with my friends and family. I love sports, especially fútbol (or soccer), tennis. I like walking with my sister or my girlfriend – I get up early in the morning on weekends and go on a walk.
I was born in Hurlingham, which was founded by Irish people (even though I am not related to those roots). We have amazing English-style clubs, polo grounds and parks. There are a lot of beautiful places I love – so anytime I can, I go outside.
What kinds of things do you like to eat and drink?
I love meat, like most Argentinians. I eat meat three or four times a week. I also love wine. And when we go for dinner, we go for hours; you don’t eat and leave. When we cook a barbecue, we start at 11am and go until 7pm. It’s all a ceremony of meeting your people, staying with them and having fun.
If you come to Argentina, you have to have a steak. It’s the first thing I recommend. In fact, if you look at a map, Argentina is shaped like a steak!
What about visitors who eat vegan or vegetarian?
We just had some guests who were vegan, who were very passionate about their diet. One of our guides is a vegan, and she knows all the places that offer those options. There are more in the city, but in a place like Patagonia, you need a local to help you get ingredients in advance.
Local tip: Argentines eat breakfast in a hurry. They have a coffee, a croissant or a pastry, maybe a juice – and leave.
What is the most special part of Argentina?
The most iconic place? The glaciers in Patagonia. You don’t see [fresh water] ice fields like this anywhere else in the world, apart from the North Pole and Antarctica. And they are melting and breaking. I don’t know that we’ll have them in 50 years. For me, the glaciers are the most beautiful thing – and the most sad. We are losing it. Every year, the glaciers melt.
There’s a lot of intense terrain in Argentina. Do people need to train?
If you go to El Chaltén or Torres del Paine in Chile, the hikes are demanding. Going without any preparation is a bad idea. Maybe you could walk for eight hours, but you will suffer. I tried to do one of the hikes without preparing, and it killed me. Everything is a challenge. You have to carry a pack, with clothing, water and food. It’s challenging.