Argentina will welcome the warmest temperatures of the year in January, hence why visitors flock this time of year from all over the world. That said, weather varies due to the country's large size. Except for a small tropical area in northern Argentina, including Iguazu Falls, the country lies in the temperate zone so you'll find cool, dry weather in Patagonia, and warmer, humid air in the middle of the country.
For instance, Buenos Aires can expect daily highs in the mid-80s Fahrenheit dropping to the 60s at night. Ushuaia in the south can see highs lingering in the mid-50s during the day, dropping to the 40s at night, making this an ideal time to head to popular Patagonian spots like Los Glaciares National Park and Tierra del Fuego.
Keep in mind that summer months are also when Patagonia's infamous winds pick up, sometimes without a warning. No matter where you travel in Argentina this month, it's best to bring some layers and light outdoor gear suitable for rain and wind.
Crowds & Costs
Since summer months in Argentina offer the best climate for a slew of adventures, you should expect to see peak crowds this time of year. That makes January an expensive time to travel and presents more challenges with hotel reservations, and presents the problem of potential overbooked hotels.
All this to say, you'll want to make travel arrangements several months in advance for this time of year when visitors arrive in droves to popular places like Southern Patagonia, while locals like to head to the beaches and lakes for some summer respite. Since many urban dwellers escape Buenos Aires this time of year, this is a great time to spend a few days in the capital when hotel rates lower, though check with restaurants and museums who might have limited hours during this time period (especially the first half of January). Call ahead to make sure places are open during your dates.
Where to Go
Travelers this month will benefit from longer daytime hours, especially in Patagonia's far south (about 15 hours a day). This is a great time of year to head to the attractions while the weather is in your favor. A major draw of the region is the mountain town of El Chalten, which is in full swing this time of year. This is the perfect starting point for hikes with a number of trailheads just outside of town, and many of these offer wonderful panoramic views of world-famous peaks like Fitz Roy, Poincenot, and Torre.
Closer to the town of El Calafate, you'll be able to day-trip to Perito Moreno in Los Glaciares National Park. Here you can see the a range of glaciers from a number of different vantage points via the network of wooden walkways strategically situated in front of Perito Moreno. Even better, you'll also get up close and personal with its massive ice wall on a short boat tour. You can even witness "calving," the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the facade and crashing into the tranquil waters below. Every time ice hits the water a thundering crash reverberates in the ears.
Meanwhile, the Argentine Lake District in Northern Patagonia offers excellent hiking opportunities and kayaking opportunities, and charming towns like Bariloche. Warmer weather seekers should consider heading north to visit a string of beaches along the coast in Mar del Plata including Punta Mogotes and Playa Grande.
What to Do
Argentina in January is an outdoor enthusiasts' dream and most will want to take advantage of Patagonia even despite bigger crowds. There's plenty of hiking, cycling, kayaking, and glacier-trekking to be had in the jagged Andes and Lake District, horseback riding in gaucho country, and cruising in the waterways and fjords near Ushuaia.
Argentina's Atlantic coast will hardly compete with tropical Brazil, but these down-to-earth beaches offer nice stretches of sand, forested parks, and elevated boardwalks for walking, jogging, and bike rides. This is also a great time to see how locals spend their vacations; make sure to check out the nightlife and seafood shacks selling fried fish and other local delicacies.
This is also a great month to experience culture in Buenos Aires, the "Paris of South America". Here, you'll find great museums, cool neighborhoods, and opera performances at Teatro Colon, one of South America's premier opera houses, as well as plenty of hip restaurants and cocktails bars.
Events in January
Festival Nacional del Folklore. Argentina's largest and best-known folk festival is held the last week of January in the town of Cosquín, near the city of Córdoba.
Carnival in Gualeguaychú. Each January and February, the town of Gualeguaychu becomes the site of the longest-awaited carnival in the country, famous for its dancers, costumes, and floats. Rivaling Rio's carnival, this celebration takes place over nine Saturdays between the two first months of the year, so you'll have plenty of chances to take part.
Dakar Rally. Previously called the Paris–Dakar Rally, this January car race—an off-road endurance event—has been held in South America for 10+ years. Both amateurs and professional racers complete in this endurance classic. Keep an eye out for the Argentine portion of the route.
Traveling to Argentina in January? Check out these great itineraries.
Classic Argentine Patagonia. This 13-day tour of Argentina's far south covers the classics. Starting in Buenos Aires, you'll fly to Patagonia for a range of outdoor activities and wildlife. On the itinerary are two national parks: Tierra del Fuego (rivers and ancient settlements) and Los Glaciares (glaciers and iconic mountains). There's also whale watching and a visit to South America´s largest Magellanic Penguin colony for the ultimate photo ops.
Trekking in Bariloche. An alpine hub in Argentina's Lake District, Bariloche is considered one of the most scenic spots in the country offering a plethora of year-round activities. Starting in Buenos Aires, you'll fly to the Andean foothills on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake for a series of treks, history tours, and kayaking excursions while enjoying the town's numerous restaurants and chocolate shops.