Enjoy Argentina Travel
INTRODUCTION to ARGENTINA
Iguazu National Park
Foz De Iguazu
Road of Big Lakes
Road of the History
The Road of The
Road of Mar Chiquita
Road To Traslasierra
Zone of the Centre
The Wine Trail
Circuit of the
TRAVEL & TOURS
Lake Perito Moreno
Villa La Angostura
Tierra del Fuego
SAN MARTIN DE LOS
ANDES and the CROSS
of the LAKES
Junin de los Andes
Lanin National Park
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It has a modern layout, with wide streets full of trees, fed by irrigation canals, which, together with its parks, give a bucolic touch to a city bordering 100000 inhabitants.
Avenida Hipolito Irigoyen Avenue crosses the urban area, north to south. which divides the city in two sectors: the east, around the Plaza San Martin Square, the most traditional; and the west, newer and more residential, with the Hipolito Irigoyen Park as its centre.
It is also possible to visit traditional bodegas with excellent wine, fruit establishments and drying-rooms, vineyards and estates of great value for rural tourism activities.
WHAT TO VISIT
The Plaza General San Martin Square
Its current layout dates back to the year 1925. In the centre we naturally find the equestrian monument in honour of the Libertador, cast in bronze and resting on a pedestal made of local stones. And we find sumptuous trees and gardens in the surroundings.
The Municipal Palace
It is located between the Comandante Salas and Belgrano Streets. Its main front was inaugurated in the year 1938 and consists of a tower with the respective carillon. The modern building displayed today was completed in successive stages.
The San Rafael Archangel Cathedral
It was inaugurated in the year 1952. Its design belongs to the neo-romantic style. In 1961 it was declared the Cathedral for the San Rafael Diocese. It is located between the Pellegrini and Belgrano Streets.
The La Plazoleta del Inmigrante Square
It was built in honour of pioneer immigrants. And the local authorities could not find a better place for its location than in front of the old railway station. The first locomotive that arrived in town in the year 1903 stands out in the square.
The Hipolito Irigoyen Park
It is only ten blocks away from kilometre zero. It is a true green lung offering inside a children's playground sector, an outdoors multisport facility with a swimming pool, and a small residence for sport lovers. We also find here the Greek Theatre "Chacho Santa Cruz", an outdoors scenario with capacity for 10000-seated spectators, and where several artistic and cultural shows are presented. The maximum apotheosis takes place during the Departmental Vintage Celebration.
The Isla Diamante Island
Leaving Irigoyen Park, going along Avenida Sarmiento for about seven kilometres, we reach this islet, which is inside the Mariano Moreno Park. It is a picturesque and forested spot. Here we find the Municipal Museum of Natural History, which includes Zoology, Palaeontology, Anthropology, Geology, History and Regional Folklore exhibits. It has a modern library and an astronomical observatory.
The Mariano Moreno Park
It is on Rio Diamante Island. It provides the most relaxing recreation to local inhabitants and travellers that visit it. There is full contact with nature. Here we find a small artificial lake with the Immaculate Conception grotto, a Zoological Garden, and camping grounds with all services.
The Mariano Moreno Library
It was founded in the year 1919, and has enlightened generations of San Rafael citizens with its thousands of volumes referring to the arts and sciences. Each year, in October, the Library organises the Provincial Book Fair "BIBLOS". It is on Bernardo de Irigoyen Street N° 148.
San Rafael's Rotonda, the Heart of Mendoza
It is a graphic representation of the logo that identifies San Rafael. It consists of a map of Mendoza Province, with 17 grapes that represent the districts and the rays of the rising sun.
The Our Lady of Lourdes Church
It was the first church of the Italian community. At first it was dedicated to San Ambrosio's cult. It is on Avenida Mitre, facing the Plazoleta Sarmiento Square.
It is a modern construction built on the corner of the Barcala and Emilio Civit Streets. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 22:00 to 04:00 hours.
Bodega Wine Cellars
In this excursion we find important bodegas of national and international fame. There are also olive oil producers and fruit drying-rooms. All of these places can be visited and, in that manner, we get to feel the vigorous rhythm of economic development in this southern oasis.
The Town of Villa 25 de Mayo
It is about 25 kilometres from the city of San Rafael. Peace and quiet is its best characteristics. It is crossed by shaded earthen streets and peaceful irrigation canals. It was founded after the foundation of the San Rafael Fort, in the year 1805, as a consequence of the need to build a populated centre. The fort has been declared a National Historical Monument. In the old part of town, where XIXth century mansions impassively stand, we find the Our Lady of Carmen Church, which still keeps the first images and clothes of those days.
The Galileo Vitale Derivation Dam
One kilometre away from Villa 25 de Mayo we find the first construction built on the Diamante river: the Galileo Vitale Dam. It is used for artificial irrigation, through a complex system of floodgates and concrete canals. It offers a magnificent landscape full of trees, and you can practise recreational activities and camping by its waters.
The El Tigre - Los Reyunos Dam
About 27 kilometres from San Rafael we find this hydro complex that consists of two continuous ponds that act in a complementary manner. The most important is Los Reyunos. However, the first to visit is El Tigre that functions as a compensation reservoir, allowing the main dam to be fed by night pumping.
In Los Reyunos water mirror, which extends for 734 hectares, fry have been sown, allowing for good fishing of Salmon family fish and atherine. On the west margin we find the Fishing and Nautical Club, an apart-hotel, a restaurant and a storehouse for provisions. It also has weekend apartments, three camping grounds with all services, and we can rent boats, fishing gear, windsurfing boards, and go horse riding, walking, mountain biking, and engage in other activities. It is 134 metres high, and there is a lookout point at the top.
In El Tigre, downstream from Los Reyunos, we can fish extraordinary specimens of atherine and Salmon family fish, as well as practise nautical sports and enjoy its natural resorts. We can rent cabins or go camping with all services included.
The Agua del Toro Dam
About 84 kilometres from San Rafael and at 1,300 m.a.s.l. Agua del Toro dam is a spectacular semicircular wall made of reinforced concrete. It is 128 metres high. It was inaugurated in the year 1982 and its powerhouse is fed by a 100-metre-high water jump. This area has a dry climate and extreme historical temperatures are 40 °C in summer and -15 °C in winter.
The pond is in an area known as Pampa Amarilla. The only access to the 1050 hectares wide lake, from San Rafael, is at the Hunting and Fishing Club, three kilometres to the right along a consolidated road. Here the traveller can practise sailing, rowing, water scooter, diving and windsurfing. We can also fish interesting rainbow trout and Salmon family fish.
The Atuel Canyon
The canyon's tourist area starts about 20 kilometres from San Rafael along Provincial Route N° 173, as well as the imposing panorama of the Atuel River and the enclosing mountains, the true protagonists.
The main section can be found between the Valle Grande and El Nihuil ponds. The end of the river is in the canyon itself, and along its gorge they have built dikes that store the river water to regulate the volume with the purpose of irrigating farming land and generating electric power.
Two artificial lakes, Aisol and Tierras Blancas, contribute to enhance the beauty inside the canyon. In this area we can practise nautical sports, and even the Pentathlon, which consists of a windsurfing, mini motor biking, kayaking, cycling and walking competition.
The Valle Grande Pond
It is located at about 18 kilometres from the beginning of the Atuel Canyon, or 38 kilometres from San Rafael, always along Provincial Route N° 173. It is an intensely blue water mirror surrounded by steep mountains and luxuriant vegetation.
It is an ideal place to practise diving, swimming, water skiing, rowing, kayaking, rafting, water scooter and windsurfing. Along the riverbanks there is a wide range of cabins, hostels and hotels, and even some camping grounds with basic services.
And naturally we can go sport fishing, trekking, horse riding, four track, and mountaineering.
The El Nihuil Dam
About 92 kilometres from San Rafael, we find this peaceful 9600 hectares wide water mirror, the largest of the Cuyan ponds and considered the best to practise windsurfing.
Its waters contain a rich and diverse ichthyologic fauna that provides great pleasure to sport fishing lovers. We can also practise swimming, canoeing, water scooters and water skiing.
On the right margin we find Villa El Nihuil town, which has a municipal office, a chapel, a small hospital, telephone service, a police station, a post office and camping grounds.
The first polychrome ridges of the Sierra Pintada appear at about 33 kilometres from San Rafael. And to the south, along National Route N° 144, we start the ascent of Cuesta de los Terneros, which reaches a maximum height of 1000 metres and then descends on the way to El Sosneado.
From San Rafael, there are 142 kilometres to reach an area of wild nature that allows, in a pleasant and particular climate, to practise walking, horse riding, and mountain biking, mountaineering and camping. On the route we find a hostel that is used as headquarters to organize the activities.
Along a consolidated road that borders the Atuel River we reach El Sosneado pond, an ideal place for sport fishing and diving; we also reach the Cueva del Indio Cave, a witness of pre-Hispanic cultures, and the ruins of the formerly famous Hotel Termas El Sosneado, with outdoor hot spring baths that still preserve their healing properties.
The Overo Volcano
Majestic, with its summit crowned by perpetual glaciers, this inactive volcano in the Cordillera de los Andes Mountain range is surrounded by landscapes of subtle beauty. It is 4629 metres high. High mountain mountaineering is practised there.
The Atuel Pond
It gives birth to the homonymous river, and feeds from thaws. In its surroundings we find the installations of a sulphur mine that was abandoned in the year 1976. Las Vegas
It is a beautiful place, on the mountain range itself, where we can carry out and enjoy walks through unexplored places. It is a summer town par excellence. There are hundreds of weekend houses, cabin style, which are rented out during the season.
Natural pastures, transparent water from its rivers and streams, and the Cordon del Plata as a background landscape, make it a very attractive area for summer vacationing or at any season, since the place is covered with snow in winter.
There are ample spaces for picnics and camping, some of them with services. Tours combining path walking, mountaineering and horse riding are organized.
In a privileged and strategic intersection of National Routes N° 188 and N° 143, which facilitate the access to different points in the country, in the south east of Mendoza Province, we find the town of General Alvear, an oasis formed by rivers Diamante and Atuel, full of colourful fincas or ranches and extensive farming fields.
With a temperate climate, semi-arid but with a refreshing tendency, and a population of 45000 inhabitants, General Alvear is 82 kilometres away from San Rafael. Its attractions are based on rural tourism, and it is an obligatory stop for those arriving to the province from the south of the country.
General Alvear is known for the beauty of its fincas-jardines, which are always decorated with perfumed red rosebushes. And inside them, we find town dwellers of diverse origin: French, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Japanese and Danish, many of them who came in the migratory waves caused by the First World War.
Colonisation work, however, began at the end of the XIXth century. The lands were conquered in the Second Desert Campaign in year 1879, and they were given to a group of landowners who sold them, five years later, to doctor Diego de Alvear, a son of general Carlos Maria de Alvear, whose name was given to the town.
In 1912, Obe Bock, a Dane, traced irrigation canals and the same year a branch of the D.F. Sarmiento Railroad was inaugurated. Nowadays, there are 30000 hectares irrigated by the Atuel River waters, fulfilling a decisive role in agricultural and cattle raising development in southern Mendoza.
Canalejas, La Mora and Los Huarpes locations were born with the railroad coming from the east. When National Route N° 143 was built, Cochi-Có became inhabited, and with National Route N° 188 Canalejas Town moved north.
West Alvear or Pueblo Luna was integrated to the urban radius of the City of General Alvear in 1953. In that manner, it was commercially linked to other markets of the rest of the country. Years later, the construction of new routes boosted the commercial development of the Department and the region.
The department of General Alvear is divided into three districts: Ciudad, Bowen and San Pedro del Atuel. Among its celebrations, the traditional Fiesta Nacional de la Ganadería de Zonas Aridas stands out.
WHAT TO VISIT
To reach the town's commercial centre, we go along the Avenida Libertador Norte until intersecting the Avenida Alvear. The Main Square and public buildings are on the right.
In Roca Street we find the Museum of Natural Science.
Ten kilometres away from the city centre, along Provincial Route N° 188, we find the old bodega Winery El Faraon, which still keeps its original architecture and a very old fermentation tower.
From General Alvear there are organized tours to the Cerro Penon Tregua Mountain, 1200 m.a.s.l. 70 kilometres away from the city centre along the cloddy Provincial Route N° 184; to Punta de Agua, 100 kilometres away along National Route N° 143 and Provincial Route N° 190; and to the Cerro Nevado Mountain, at 3810 m.a.s.l.
These sites are located in wild areas of southern Mendoza plains, and they possess an interesting fauna that can be photographed and observed.
Six kilometres south of town, along National Route N° 143, we find the Aero Club company, which offers flights over town and nearby spots.
It is an active oil town with excellent natural landscapes around it. At the end of the XIXth century, Malargue was the western door of the Conquest of the Desert. Today, about 193 kilometres from San Rafael town along National Route N° 40, it is the National Capital of Adventure Tourism.
Several valleys and rivers, and its mountain range circuit cross its extensive territory, which occupies one fourth of Mendoza Province. Besides the oil found in Llancanelo river basin, it has great quantities of uranium in Huemul mine, and extensive cattle raising, agricultural and tourist areas.
Governor Rufino Ortega created the town in year 1886, by donating the land surrounding his estancia ranch, in the spot known as Cañada Colorada. Forty years earlier, Fort Malargue had been built in the area (today it is in ruins and converted into a National Historical Monument) with the purpose of protecting the land, which was beginning to be colonized.
Its name comes from the Indian word Malal-Hue, "stone wall", and it is attributed to the natural formations across the river.
The process of Malargue's urbanization began and grew along the Atuel River. With the purpose of lodging its more than 15,000 inhabitants, in recent decades, the demographic explosion has led to the building of new neighbourhoods towards the east.
One of the activities that distinguish this area is leather handcraft. The traveller can visit the artisans' homes and admire bolas, lassos, raw leather saddle padding, lashes, and other wonderful pieces made by proud so called guasqueros.
WHAT TO VISIT
The Municipal Tourist Office
As soon as travellers arrive at Malargue, it is indispensable that they visit this office. Here they can get necessary information to start real adventure excursions. Besides, here they must request permission to visit the Llancanelo pond.
Casco de la Estancia La Orteguita
It is at the entrance of this town. It belonged to general Rufino Ortega. It shows the traveller a flourmill, the first industrial establishment of the XIXth century and today the site of a cultural entity, a Regional Museum, which contains pieces of great archaeological and paleontological value, the Chapel of Our Lady of Rosario, and Rufino Ortega's Corrals, where they organize shows of Criollo dexterity.
It is located 12 kilometres south of town. They are the remains of what used to be a fort built by captain Juan Troncoso against the cacique Fraipan, an Indian rebel that was indulted in the year 1847. The sandstone walls are almost two metres thick.
It is located in the access route to the city. It is a wonderful ten-hectare-wide garden that lodges old pine trees, cedars and cypress-trees.
To reach Los Molles valley, and mainly Los Molles Valley Thermal Tourist Centre, the traveller must enter National Route N° 40 in Malargue, go 30 kilometres north until the intersection with Provincial Route N° 222, go upstream the Salado River, and penetrate the fields covered with pepper, arum and so called alpataco trees.
At the valley, where thorny pepper trees decorate the landscape, we find the tourist centre consisting of hotel Laguen-Co II, thermal hostel Laguen-Co, and hotel Hualum. In a building next to the hostel, we find the hot spring baths, with individual pools at different temperatures, some containing sulphur and some iron. They are only open during the tourist season.
During summer they organize walks, horse rides, rappelling, rafting, climbing, excursions to Valle Hermoso, Niña Encantada, and other alternatives.
The Niña Encantada Pond
It is about eight kilometres from Los Molles, on the left bank of the Salado River. It is a wonderful mirror of transparent water that reflects the mountain range peaks. Surrounding it, as if time had not passed, there are still goat posts, submerged in willow-plots and covered with green pastures. It is an ideal place to go camping with all the family.
The Pozo de las Animas Pits
About six kilometres from Los Molles, these are two enormous depressions (pits), which hold spectacular mirrors of clear water at the bottom. Their geological name is dolinas, and they are produced by subterranean water erosion. The cavity open up slowly because of the sinking of earth layers that covered it.
The Las Leñas Valley
About 70 kilometres from Malargue we find this beautiful transversal valley where the Deshecho and Las Leñas Streams converge. The valley lodges a Sports Centre that is, by itself, a spectacular fully equipped mountain citadel that satisfies the traveller's expectations.
It is the most modern large ski centre in the Argentinean Republic. It has 65 kilometres of ski tracks, between 2250 and 3430 m.a.s.l. and with varying degrees of difficulty. But it also has a great surface to practice extreme skiing, off the track.
The centre possesses ski lifts, with capacity to transport 10000 skiers per hour. And its commercial offer includes lodging of different levels, a casino, a gymnasium, restaurants and supermarkets.
There is a Ski School for beginners and experienced skiers. Ski varieties include alpine and cross-country skiing. Snowboarding is also practised.
Basically from November to May they organize walks to the imposing mountain range. There are walks, horse rides, mountain climbing, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking and camping. We suggest booking in advance.
The Hermoso Valley
It is a pleasant summer valley. It is about 26 kilometres from Malargue. The main season is summer, since at this time the road is properly paved and without snow. During the excursion, the landscapes seen by the traveller resemble a dream postcard. Tourist infrastructure is basic. It is an ideal place for natural life lovers.
The Pincheira Castles
It is about 21 kilometres west of Malargue. It is a splendid natural monument produced by glacier erosion. It looks like a group of medieval castles, and that explains its name. History and legend claim that it was used as a shelter by the Chilean outcast Jose Antonio Pincheira and his men, at the end of the XIXth century.
Pincheira stream runs on its base, with its transparent waters, and on the left bank there are excellent camping grounds with little beaches, tables and asadores. We can still find arrow tips and Indian ceramic remains in the area. They also organize walks, horse rides, fishing, mountain biking, and other activities.
The Blas Brisoli Dam
It is about 50 kilometres from Malargue. In its surroundings there is a small park of old trees, which is used for camping. Very close to this dam we find piscicultural station Cuyam Co, a fish-hatchery of rainbow trout that supplies this resource to all the area, Las Leñas Valley and other nearby towns. There also exists a small fishing-preserve, and an operator that rents fishing gear.
The Llancanelo Pond
It is about 68 kilometres from Malargue, along National Route N° 40 and Provincial Route N° 186. It is a piece of paradise that preserves the ecological balance of a volcanic environment formed by the Payunia and the Nevado highlands. It is necessary for the traveller to reach this site with a specialized guide, since park rangers control this area.
It is an ideal place to watch black neck swans, coot, so called macaes, herons, and an enormous variety of birds that use the pond as a stopping-place in their long migratory journeys. Besides, it is known as a centre for reproduction of species that are later distributed around different areas of the world.
The Las Brujas Witches' Cave
About 72 kilometres from Malargue, on the way to Bardas Blancas village, and in the area of the Cerro Moncol Mountain at 1930 m.a.s.l. we find a group of galleries that penetrate the living rock for at least 259 metres. Its galleries and passages are interconnected and they dazzle with their fantastic walls carved by water filtrations and stalactites and stalagmites of various forms.
Las Brujas Cave is a Natural Reserve. Stalactites and stalagmites inside the galleries suggest fantastic forms that give a name to some passages, such as Hall of the Virgin, Hall of the Columns, and Hall of the Flowers. Visits must be carried out with a specialized guide.
Very particular fauna exists in the area, adapted to live without sunlight.
The Llano Blanco Petrified Forest
It is a group of petrified araucarias, which are about 120 million years old. It can be seen at the Las Brujas Cave exit. It is very near the Bardas Blancas village.
The El Pehuenche Pass
About 82 kilometres from Malargue, along National Route N° 40 and Provincial Route N° 186, we find the hub that communicates southern Mendoza with the town of Talca, in the Republic of Chile.
Pehuenche Pass reaches 2500 m.a.s.l. and once they cross the borderline, travellers find Maule pond, where there is a police station.
Customs and immigration control is at Las Loicas, a small hamlet very near Bardas Blancas.
It is a group of hot spring baths about 135 kilometres from Malargue, on the road to the El Pehuenche International Border Pass. It offers excellent therapeutical properties.
About 160 kilometres from Malargue, along National Route N° 40 and Provincial Route N° 186, we find La Payunia Reservation, a space whose main attractions are the extensive lava plains with volcanic cones that extend along the Volcanes highlands, and behind them lies the Payun Matru Volcano, reaching 3680 m.a.s.l.
Visits with specialized guides are organized from Malargue. It is necessary to have guides authorized by the Malargue Office of Tourism. Among possible activities, there are walks, 4x4 car rides, horse-riding and fauna observation. The area is an exceptional guanaco shelter, together with pumas, herons, so called choiques, chiñes and foxes.
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