Nobody at Anillaco, at an elevation of 1,800 meters in the mountains north of La Rioja , apologizes for the widely despised former president Carlos Menem—it’s his home town, and his late father’s winery (no longer open for visits) is one of its main employers (it overoptimistically produced wines to be uncorked on Menem’s anticipated third inauguration after the 2003 presidential elections, but he withdrew from a runoff in the face of a certain crushing defeat by Néstor Kirchner).
Thanks to Menem, this village of fewer than 1,000 residents, 93 kilometers from the provincial capital via RP 75, also has an airport built to international standards (it acquired the sarcastic nickname la pista de las aceitunas after the former president suggested it was built to export olives). On top of that, it has an 18-hole golf course that raised more than a few eyebrows during and since his tenure. He has been investigated for illegal enrichment, though no charges have yet been brought, and campaigned again for the presidency in 2007 despite being widely loathed by the electorate.
Visitors can stay at the ACA’s Hostería Anillaco (Coronel Barros s/n, tel. 03827/49-4064, US$14–19 s, US$22–31 d).