• Day741

    Valle de Luna

    May 27, 2018 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    After Cafayate we headed to a small sleepy village to the northwest. There wasn't much going on but we visited a micro brewery and had a nice night in a huge but completely deserted municipal camp ground.
    Next up was a looong drive south to Mendoza, down the iconic Ruta 40 that runs the length of the country tracking the Andes. After a good day's drive we stayed in a lovely community camp ground at Pozo Azul (Green Wells), with a gorgeous red rock canyon.
    After another longish stint we ended up in Chilecito an old mining town which had an incredibly ambitious cable car system built in the early 1900s to link the mines in the Andes to the railway line. Very impressive but now a rusted old relic. The memorable thing about the campsite here was that we had to ask the owner 30mins before we wanted a shower so he could start a wood fire to heat up the water!
    We had a short hop to La Rioja, which was a larger town as we wanted to make sure we had somewhere to watch the Champions League final. Just as we called a cab into town the fancy hostel found the big match on the TV there, as Jo was feeling a little under the weather so we stayed local to watch it.
    Another 4 hour drive and we arrived at the Valle Del Luna regional park. The national park next door costs 4 times as much and offers less, so it wasn't a hard decision which to visit. Its a strange set up as you can only drive through the park, and only in convoy with a guide, but as we got here late in the day there was only 3 cars and we got to see it in the gorgeous late afternoon orange sun. The unusual geogology make up means there's a huge area rich in fossils from across all the epocs and the landscape is pretty epic. One of the most amazing stops was the marbles you can see in the photos - they are not made by erosion but by layers upon layers of sand deposits around an organic embryo, like a dead fly - truly bizarre. We finished the tour just in time for an amazing sunset, and spent the night at a great spot with free WiFi and brand new toilets - better than most camp sites!

    We then took a bit of a detour off the main road and down a small windy side road that wound through more gorgeous scenery, and spent a lazy day cooking stew on a camp fire at a dusty little free camp ground.
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