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CIRCUIT OF THE CENTRE

SAN LUIS

ARGENTINA

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SAN LUIS

CIRCUIT OF THE CENTRE

The central zone of the Province of San Luis offers the charm of a region of the sierra crisscrossed by rivers, streams, valleys and ravines. A perfect scenery to practice the most diverse recreational and sport activities, or merely a place where the traveller can find relaxation from the most unusual natural landscapes of all the Province.

A modern road network links each of the towns that make up this circuit, the most traditional and frequented by the inhabitants of the zone and by foreign visitors as well. It is a route that will take you past summerhouses against the backdrop of the sierras that offer an unending landscape filled with natural wonders, historical sites and cultural attractions in each one of the localities that make up the route.

It is also called Circuito Serrano Grande, or the Big Sierra Circuit.

SPANISH VERSION
SAN LUIS - ARGENTINA
San Luis Argentina
San Luis Pictures
Attractions in San Luis
Adventure Travel in San Luis
Nature in San Luis
Weather & Climate in San Luis
How To Get to San Luis
Transport in San Luis
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Useful Information of San Luis
Starting from the Provincial Capital of San Luis at the kilometre 0, at the intersection of the streets of San Martín and Junín, one of the corners of the Square that keeps the memory of Coronel Juan Pascual Pringles. The route first goes eastward across the City, and after leaving it; the street becomes the Ruta Provincial No 20. But before leaving the City, the traveller must not neglect to take a tour to the Vivero Forestal or Forestry Nursery, today known as the Parque de las Naciones Park of Nations.

THE JUANA KOSLAY VILLAGE
At a distance of eight kilometres from the Capital, Juana Koslay is a dynamic locality that counts with the basic services for the tourist. It bears the name of the first native that, along with the Spaniard Gómez Isleño, gave birth to the lineage of the "Sanluisians", or "Puntanos" as they prefer to be called. In the main Square there is a monument to her memory.

This Municipality includes the ancient Village El Chorrillo, initially populated by artisans that manufactured the bricks that were used in the construction of almost the totality of the walls for the buildings in the zone.

Then comes the turn to San Roque, a village at the foot of the highlands. Here the traveller will find restaurants, barbecues, stores of regional goods, service stations, a supermarket and candy shops equipped with dancing halls. Furthermore, a picturesque forestry park and appropriate places for recreation and rest in the outdoors.

One of the main attractions is the Complejo Polideportivo "Ave Fénix", whose grounds are dedicated not only to the practice of sports, but to conventions, congresses and music recitals as well.

When leaving the village, and already on the kilometre 12 of the Ruta Provincial No 20, an option arises from the fountain's roundabout, turning to the left, entering the Ruta Provincial No 18.

THE POTRERO DE LOS FUNES VILLAGE
This is a typical village of the Highlands that took its name from the grounds where it stands, which were property of Don Juan Funes, during the late days of the Colonial times. To reach this idyllic place the traveller must go through the Los Cóndores Ravine, an overwhelming formation of granite surrounded by dense vegetation. There is the possibility to step off from the transfer vehicle and climb up to the Mirador del Condor Viewpoint and thus obtain an unforgettable sight of the place. At 18 kilometres from San Luis.

The locality is equipped with an infrastructure and services of international level. In its surroundings you will find some small hostelries and many places among the woods that are ideal for picnics and excursions.

The best of all the establishments, preceding the dike with the same name, is the Hotel Internacional Potrero de los Funes, were the traveller can engage in activities such as motorbike cross, mountain bike, four wheel drive circuits, canoeing or travelling on speedboats, not to mention the possibility of diving in search of carps and atherines.

From here, horse-riding excursions to the charming ravine of León Colgado can be arranged.

EL VOLCÁN
One Kilometre before closing the circle around the lake the traveller will take a turn to the left to arrive to another spot of insurmountable beauty: El Volcán or The Volcano.

Before entering the village, the traveller must first travel though five kilometres that give the impression of being watercolour pictures speckled by local vegetation, goatherds and numerous streams that run across the gorges. In the course of this itinerary, the traveller will find Estancia Grande, an seemingly place to camp, and four kilometres ahead, facing El Volcán, the most traditional corner for the Puntanos' holidays opens its arms to welcome the visitors.

The river of the same name crosses this small village. With its still waters and a course framed by willows, at its shores can be found barbecues, restaurants, hostelries, bars and houses for rent. The most concurred place is La Hoya, a public bath resort with natural pools situated in a rocky gorge.

Another river beach resort is the Salto Colorado, and one of the most compulsory mini-excursions available is the one that goes to the cave of the Virgen de la Guarda. In the proximities of El Volcán is located the dike of Cruz de Piedra, on the river Cuchi-Corral. It actually holds twelve million cubic metres of water, within a basin of 156 square kilometres.

THE TRAPICHE GOLD CRUSHER MILL
At 42 kilometres from the City of San Luis, over the Ruta provincial No 9 is to be found a traditional village that in the year of 1792 was the home to a small population that built a mill or "trapiche" to pulverize the golden ore that was extracted from the deposits of La Carolina. This Village, obviously enough, is called Trapiche.

Traditional and customary, in Trapiche the star is the River that runs encased between two steep margins filled with woods, and that is crossed by walk-through bridges on several spots. There are some species of trees worth to mention, as willows, pines and canes, and along the promenade are positioned rest houses, natural river beach resorts, hostelries and camping sites, from were horse riding excursions can be programmed.

From the northern part of Trapiche the traveller can reach Rio Grande and the Siete Cajones, which happen to be remarkable pools outlined by the rocks of the riverbed, The Valley of Pacanta, Carolina, and the Cerro Tomolasta Mountain, guardian of the village. Eight kilometres away you will find the Embalse La Florida Dam.

CAROLINA
Eighty kilometres away from the City of San Luis, and travelling over the Provincial Routes No 20 and 9, awaits the village of Carolina. An old mining town founded by the Marquis of Sobremonte, Supervisor of Tucumán, in the year of 1792. This village experienced a time of splendour around the mid 19th century, brought by British and Spanish enterprises that swarmed to this region to extract the gold that lies underneath.

This small village has only one street, which rises towards the Tomolasta Mountain, at 2018 m.a.s.l. and stained with peculiar golden tones. Over this sole earthen street, stand typical houses built in stone. In this village the traveller will find, still intact, the dark tunnels into which depths the miners used to dare in their search for the precious ores.

The excursion that is usually offered to the tourist includes an insight of the entrails of the lands of Carolina. The caves made by the miners go crisscrossing the underground of the whole town, and one cannot get inside them without the skills of a professional guide. This trip takes around an hour, and during that time the tourist will observe, at the sides of the galleries, the different mineral ores that are extracted from the ground, several stalactites and veils of stone.

The trip over the Ruta Provincial No 9 takes some hour and a half, this road goes across the village of Carolina and later it heads towards the Gruta de Inti Huasi Cave, were in old times, the prehistoric aborigines that lived on hunting and seeds recollection left marks of their passing.

There are no lodging facilities, although the local families use to rent rooms from their own homes. In the Valle de Pacanta Valley, at ten kilometres from Carolina. Ten kilometres before arriving to Carolina, in the Valley of Pacanta, you will find the Las Verbenas Hostelry. It is 44 kilometres to the North of Trapiche and eleven kilometres from La Verbena, at an altitude of 1610 m.a.s.l. Paragliding and Hang gliding can be practiced. Its main festivity is the Fiesta Provincial del Oro Provincial Fold Feast, and it takes place every fifteenth of February.

THE INTI HUASI HOUSE OF THE SUN
Again by the Ruta Provincial No 9, and two kilometres after Carolina, the traveller must take the Ruta Provincial No 10. Turning towards the East will lead through a wonderful highland road for about 16 kilometres, until reaching the crossroads with the Ruta Provincial No 39. From there, only two kilometres ahead, Inti Huasi, which in Quechua language means "House of the Sun", is to be found.

It consists in a large opening (cave) at the foot of one of the sides of the Mountain of the same name, at an altitude of 1715 m.a.s.l. looking East. Here you will find many rock paintings that remain almost completely in plain view.

This cavern, of some 60 metres width by 20 metres of depth and 10 metres of height, was already well known by the 19th century travellers. The archaeologist Alberto Rex González using the radiocarbon method of dating (carbon 14), to test the antiquity of the rests found inside the Cave, establish them to be from around 6000 years B.C.

Five kilometres away can be found the Caverns of "Casa Pintada" and "Las Galerías", positioned at the foot of the Sololasta Mountain. Remains of megatheres, glyptodonts and toxodonts were some of the findings located in this place.

This site was also a very important dwelling of the aborigines from the tribe of the "michilingues", thus being nowadays an interesting archaeological site.

THE PASO DEL REY KINGS PASS
This locality earns its name to the popular ingenuity. The locals sustain that it was the pass that the Vice-Roy of Sobremonte passed over during his flight from these territories, even though its real importance lies upon the mineral riches that can be found in the highlands that surround them.

It can be reached from Sololasta, after a trip of 14 kilometres by the Ruta Provincial No 39. There is an old Chapel from colonial times, declared National Historical Site. It still keeps its original bell, with a sound of excellent sonority.

THE PAMPA DEL TAMBONERO
Located nine kilometres to the South of Paso del Rey, by the Ruta Provincial No 39, and after going across very wild terrains, the bucolical village of Tambonero can be reached, at 1250 m.a.s.l. The name of the place reminds that of the bird that makes a sound that resembles the beating of a drum.

LA ANGOSTURA
In the surroundings of the Paso del Rey the La Angostura is situated. There are some good panoramic viewing points and enigmatic rock paintings on the walls.

THE DIQUE LA FLORIDA DAM
Two kilometres before arriving to Trapiche, across the Ruta Provincial No 9, the traveller arrives to the Dique la Florida Dam.

It is a dam over the Río Quinto River of extraordinary features. It holds 105 million cubic metres of water, irrigates a surface of 10 thousand hectares and generates a great hydraulic power to supply the Cities of San Luis and Mercedes, at the same time that it diminishes the effects of the big surges of the River.

Although the first feasibility studies were done back in 1891, the construction only began in the year 1945 and it was concluded in 1953. The maximum height of the Dam is 75 metres and its length is 311 metres. The resulting water mirror has an extension of 725 hectares. Nautical sports such as diving are practiced in it.

On one of the shores of this artificial lake you will find the tourist Village. La Florida is a Reserva Floro-Faunística Flora and Fauna Reserve totalling 340 hectares of extension, with good places to camp in its close vicinity.

LOS TAPIALES
Again by the Ruta Provincial No 9, and ten kilometres to the North, after over crossing the Rio Grande, the route now reaches Los Tapiales, a small village placed at an altitude of 1220 m.a.s.l. where, as the legend sustains the "Puntano" hero, Coronel Juan Pascual Pringles was born.

THE GREAT RIVER AND ITS SEVEN BOXES POOLS
The natural pools carved out from the living rock by the river water had turned this place into a well-known river beach resort. It can be found in the proximity of the artificial lake created by the La Florida Dam over the Río Grande River, some four kilometres to the North of Trapiche, driving along the Ruta Provincial No 9.

TURISMO MINERO - TOURS TO THE MINES
San Luis is proud of its rich mining tradition. This is the result of the extraction of its mineral deposits that remain as one of the outstanding features of this vast territory. A tour covering the principal mines and quarries will turn out to be a unique opportunity to come near to the secular force of the Earth's entrails, transfixed into mineral ores of great richness concerning its forms and properties.

Principales Yacimientos - Principal Mining Deposits.
Mina de los Cóndores, at 160 kilometres from the Ciudad de San Luis.
La Carolina, at 83 kilometres.
La Florida, at 45 kilometres.
La Toma, at 84 kilometres.
Potrerillos, at 134 kilometres.
Salinas del Bebedero, at 45 kilometres from the City of San Luis.

 


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