- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Archaeological Site
- Unesco World Heritage
- Off the beaten track
Talampaya National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists visiting Argentina are often put off coming here due to its remote location. Though I had some difficulties organising the trip from La Rioja, I did really enjoy visiting the park. I didn't regret having to spend so many hours travelling to get here in the end, which just goes to show how worth seeing the park is.
Temperatures of over 45°C are nothing unusual in this desert. However, on the day I arrived Ischigualasto was covered in snow, which is an exceptionally rare occurrence. Even the guides were taking photos of what had now been transformed into a fairytale landscape. A ranger took us on a five-hour walking tour through the 12-kilometre long Tampaya gorge. Huge red mountains rise vertically up into the sky here. After the lunar landscapes of Ischigualasto, this felt like being on Mars. The ancient man-made images you can see carved in the rocks are wonderfully well preserved. All in all, it's a simply unforgettable experience.
I advise you to properly organise your trip to the park, and I'm absolutely convinced you'll really adore this veritable hymn to nature. A former president apparently once said, "It's beautiful, but it's a long way away!" " Talampaya is somewhere really not to be missed!
Having walked on the Moon in the Ischigualasto Park, I found myself on Mars or the Talampaya Park! Whilst the former has a grey landscape, Talampaya is a blend of red and ochre; you'll think you're in the Wild West.
Talampaya Park is famous for its stunning orange-coloured canyons, dinosaur fossils and cave art. Indeed, you'll have a hard time taking it all in! To get there, I suggest you rent a car in the neighbouring town of Villa Union, which is 60km away. Or you can go there directly from San Juan, at 200km from the site.
One of its most impressive features is its depth - Talampaya Canyon's cliffs are almost 160m high. I admit the descent was a bit hair-raising and I felt like I was in Danny Boyle's 127 hours... A special mention to Cuidad Perdida, where you can get a superb view across the valley.
As with Ichigualasto Park, Talampaya is a classified UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its incredible dinosaur fossils.