- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Archaeological Site
- Unesco World Heritage
- Off the beaten track
Ischigualasto Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to its remote location, many tourists are put off coming here when visiting Argentina. Though I had trouble organising the excursion from La Rioja, I did really enjoy the visit. In other words, this is a national park that's well worth seeing, and I didn't resent the hours I had to spend travelling to get here.
Temperatures of over 45°C are nothing out of the ordinary in this desert. Very unusually, however, Ischigualasto was covered in snow on the day I arrived. Even the guides were taking photos of what had now become a fairytale landscape. Here's how the tour works: one of the park rangers organises a convoy, then off you go for a 40-kilometre circuit lasting three hours and including five stops along the way. I saw some surprisingly unusual, red-coloured rock formations beneath the day's dusting of snow. Having already visited the Martian landscape of Talampaya, this time I felt like I was on the moon. It's an unforgettable experience.
Ischigualasto National Park, also known as Valle de la Luna, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Why? Because of its dinosaur fossils that are more than 200 million years old.
To get there you need to rent a vehicle in San Juan, about 200 km from the park. Getting into Ischigualasto is a bit complicated because there aren't many signs on the road. If you don't have much of a sense of direction then opt for an organised trip.
In the middle of the grey desert and arid countryside of the province of San Juan, Ichigualasto Park is a treasure trove for palaeontologists. Its name means "the place where the moon lies" in the Quechua language and you definitely feel like you are on a different planet here! Only the cactus and vicuna remind you that you are really in Argentina. The valley is dominated by Cerro Colorado in the distance, which contrasts with the sombre colours of the landscape.
If you are continuing on the road then you should also go to see Talampaya Park where a completely different landscape awaits! Do you want to know more? Then read the article about it!