14 Best Places to Visit in Cuyo, Argentina

by Joaquín Lucas
Horse riders on a road in Barreal town, San Juan Province, Argentina

Cuyo, in western Argentina, is filled with stunning scenery, each more gorgeous than the previous. Just as many visitors go to Mendoza and San Rafael for the region’s world-class wines and vineyards as come to trek or climb Aconcagua, the Americas’ tallest mountain.

Whether you’re in the Valley of the Moon or Talampaya National Park, you’ll be blown away by the incredible rock formations. But that’s not all; you can also enjoy a wide variety of exciting outdoor activities around the area. Here is a rundown of some of Cuyo’s top attractions.

14. Laguna del Diamante

Located in the province of Cuyo, Laguna del Diamante is a must-see because of the spectacular Maipo stratovolcano’s stunning reflection in the lake’s glistening waters. The 3,300-meter-high Laguna del Diamante, so-called because of the diamond shape formed by the volcano in its reflection, lies hidden inside one of the world’s biggest volcanic calderas.

A plucky colony of flamingos has been discovered thriving in the lagoon’s super alkaline waters; they make for some wonderful images with the beautiful Maipo in the background, despite the merciless climate that limits access to the area only between December and March.

13. Canon del Atuel

Canon del Atuel, a well-regarded tourist spot, is a paradise for hikers and campers. The tight canyon is ideal for a wide variety of outdoor activities, from walking and mountain biking to riding horses and scaling rocks. Due to the Atuel River’s position at the canyon’s base, whitewater rafting and canoeing excursions are other popular activities.

It’s an amazing feeling to paddle along its rushing rivers while the canyon walls tower above you. The parched, desert-like conditions of the canyon provide a remarkable contrast to the dazzling blue of the river and the vast Valle Grande reservoir that sits nearby.

12. El Leoncito National Park

El Leoncito National Park will make you feel at one with nature with its brilliant blue sky and the spectacular Sierra del Tontal mountain range looming dramatically ahead.

Camping in the mountains under a starry sky is an amazing experience, and the national park is perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat since it has no infrastructure. The arid climate of El Leoncito National Park makes it an ideal location for stargazing throughout the year.

All around you, the mountains and valleys are beautiful, and there are several trails and roads that lead to secluded waterfalls and streams.

The Inca road system previously traversed the region, so you may also see some fascinating historical and paleontological sites there.

11. Cristo Redentor de los Andes

Located at an elevation of 3,800 metres in the Principal Cordillera portion of the Andes, the monument known in English as Christ the Redeemer of the Andes is a symbol of perpetual peace in the mountains.

It was erected in 1904 to commemorate the end of a long-running boundary dispute between Chile and Argentina.

The Cristo Redentor de los Andes is well worth a visit not only because of the statue of Christ, which is nice to look at for a few minutes, but also because of the breathtaking views, the winding drive up the mountain, and the stunning scenery.

10. Puente del Inca

The Inca constructed hundreds of kilometres of roadways to enable them to travel across their mountainous kingdom, but glacier melt, not the Inca, produced the Puente del Inca, contrary to popular belief.

The ruins of an ancient bath house hidden under the multicoloured rock bridge that spans the Rio de las Cuevas only add to the scenic quality of this unique structure.

The journey to Puente del Inca is just as remarkable as the natural bridge itself. Beautiful glacial valleys, steep mountain slopes, quaint communities, and the scattered remains of Inca messenger houses dot the landscape.

9. Mercedario

The snow-covered Mercedario is the eighth-highest mountain in the Andes, rising to a height of 6,720 metres above sea level; needless to say, the views from its top are truly magnificent, as the world spreads out before you.

Since hardly many people try to climb Mercedario, it is a great area to go hiking or mountaineering if you want to be alone in the wilderness. You may take a leisurely walk along one of its mountainside pathways or challenge yourself by climbing up rock faces, either way taking in the stunning vistas.

8. Reserva Provincial La Payunia

There are several tiny volcanoes in Reserva Provincial La Payunia, the biggest of which are Payun Matru, Payun Liso, and Santa Maria. It is one of the most volcanic regions on Earth, with more than 800 volcanoes.

The scenery is particularly gloomy since the earth has been practically blackened by the ash and lava that regularly erupt. You could think you’ve landed on another planet as you explore the barren countryside, with its few scattered plants and animals.

7. San Rafael

It’s a small town, and there aren’t many attractions, but that’s part of its allure. The Diamante River flows right through the heart of San Rafael, and the city’s many trees offer welcome shade for both tourists and inhabitants.

To get away from the city’s teeming plazas, cafés, and restaurants, you may visit some fantastic vineyards on the outskirts. In addition, San Rafael is a popular starting point for trips to the nearby Canon del Atuel and Valle Grande.

6. Barreal

Approximately 231 miles from San Juan, Barreal is a wonderful vacation destination. The hamlet is nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by the towering Andes Mountains. Lovely poplar trees provide shade from the scorching heat, while water quietly trickling down the town’s numerous irrigation canals creates a soothing background noise.

Barreal, located on the banks of the Rio de los Patos, is an ideal vacation spot because of its relaxed atmosphere, easygoing locals, and breathtaking natural surroundings.

5. Las Lenas

Located in the mountains, this world-class ski area has South America’s biggest skiable terrain, making it ideal for skiers of all skill levels.

There is no shortage of places to eat, stay, buy trinkets, or have a cup of coffee in Las Lenas. Snowy mountains spread as far as the eye can reach, creating a breathtaking landscape.

In the winter, guests may hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding, but in the summer they can explore the beautiful wilderness that surrounds the resort by way of a variety of other outdoor activities.

4. Ischigualasto Provincial Park

Ischigualasto Provincial Park is also known as Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon,” which is a more descriptive moniker for this otherworldly and breathtaking destination. The landscapes in the park are really one-of-a-kind, with bizarre rock formations rising from the desert bottom and a crumbling, white, sandy ground that makes one feel as if they are walking on the moon.

Seeing the Painted Valley, the black rock spheres at Cancha de Bochas, and the unique rock formations of The Sphynx, The Submarine, and The Mushroom in Ischigualasto Provincial Park is sure to be a highlight of your trip. More than that, the park is rich in dinosaur fossils. In the little museum at the site, you can get an up-close examination of some of the finds.

3. Talampaya National Park

Talampaya National Park is a beautiful refuge that has been safeguarding a huge portion of the dry Argentine Monte ecoregion since 1975.

Along with archaeological and paleontological monuments, the area also has breathtaking canyons and sandstone sculptures.

The ancient petroglyphs at Puerta del Canon are just as captivating as the breathtaking landscape. Talampaya Gorge Tours are a fantastic opportunity to learn about and appreciate the incredible geological processes that sculpted the region over countless aeons.

2. Aconcagua

Aconcagua, with an astounding 6,960 metres, is the tallest peak on any continent other than Asia. Hikers and climbers go there to take in the stunning scenery and, perhaps, reach the top.

The mountain can be found wholly inside Argentina, close to the border with Chile, and has a number of glittering glaciers worth exploring, as well as several camping options.

Aconcagua is a must-see while in Cuyo, Argentina, because of its amazing vistas and the plethora of routes that wind their way up the slope.

1. Mendoza

Mendoza is known worldwide for its excellent wine and vineyards despite its location in a very dry part of Argentina. Visitors to the city often report being impressed with the quality of the area’s restaurants and grocery stores. The town is a pleasant area to spend time because of its beautiful central parks, gardens, and plazas, as well as its tree-lined streets and irrigation canals.

Mendoza serves as a jumping off point for mountain adventures since the Aconcagua range is not too far away, making it a popular starting point for mountaineering, trekking, and equestrian pursuits. There is also excellent countryside outside the city for activities like river rafting, paragliding, and skiing.

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