Best of Cuyo
Cerro Aconcagua: At 6,962 meters, the “Roof of the Americas” is literally the high point of anyone’s trip to the continent. Only a handful of people attempt the summit, but many more make it to base camp, and just about anyone can catch a glimpse of the summit. Other nearby points, like the Cristo Redentor statue on the Chilean border, offer the views without the exertion.
Las Leñas: West of Malargüe, one of Argentina’s top ski resorts is expanding its activities for summer vacationers.
Difunta Correa Shrine: In the desert 60 kilometers east of San Juan, this sprawling shrine to a popular “saint” will impress skeptics as much as it does the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who visit every year.
Parque Provincial Ischigualasto: In northern San Juan Province, the “Valley of the Moon” badlands are part of a triangle of parks fast becoming stops on the international dinosaur-fossil circuit.
Parque Nacional Talampaya: Reminiscent of Utah and Arizona, the thinly settled western desert of La Rioja Province is rich in scenery, fossils, and pre-Columbian rock paintings and petroglyphs.
Parque Nacional Sierra de las Quijadas: In northern San Luis Province, Las Quijadas’s sandstone canyons are a scenic maze that recall the canyon country of Utah or New Mexico, and its dinosaur fossils are the source of endless material for Argentina’s growing community of paleontologists.
Iglesia Catedral: In Argentina’s historic second city, this 17th-century church features a richly decorated interior and is the resting place of several notable locals.
Manzana Jesuítica: This site in Córdoba, featuring the Iglesia de La Compañía, is just one of many examples of Jesuit heritage in the province. The urban legacy and rural estancias of the Jesuit order became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.
Alta Gracia: This gracious colonial town features notable Jesuit monuments, well worth a day trip from the capital. It was also the boyhood home of Ernesto “Che” Guevara; one of his family’s former rental homes is now a museum dedicated to the Cuban revolution’s charismatic icon.
Parque Nacional Quebrada del Condorito: The trail through Córdoba’s high steppe is the best way to experience the area’s open skies and peek at the Andean condor’s nesting sites on rocky outcroppings over the Río Condorito Canyon.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition