Parque Provincial Ernesto Tornquist p-.

The sierras are accessed from the Parque Provincial Ernesto Tornquist. There are two main access points, one at the foot of Cerro Ventana and the other one, further east, at the foot of Cerro Bahía Blanca. Other than the Campamento Base , the nearest places for accommodation are the two towns of Sierra de la Ventana and Villa Ventana.

Cerro Ventana

To enter this section of the park, turn left after the massive ornate gates from the Tornquist family home. There are showers and a food kiosk.

There is an information point and guardaparques who you can ask for advice and register with for the longer walks. Nearby is the hospitable Campamento Base www.haciafuera.com.ar/campamentobase.htm, with hot showers, dormitory accommodation and an attractive campsite. From this entrance, it's a three-hour walk, clearly marked, but with no shade, up Cerro de la Ventana (1136m), which has fantastic views from the 'window' in the summit ridge. Register with guardaparques and set off no later than midday. Alternative hikes are a gentle stroll to Garganta Olvidada (one hour each way), where you can set off up to 1700, to the Piletones, small pools (two hours each way), and Garganta del Diablo (six hours return) a wonderful narrow gorge with waterfalls. Guides are available for the walk to Garganta Olvidada, for a minimum of 10 people.

Cerro Bahía Blanca

There's a car park and interpretation centre with guardaparques who can advise on walks. From here you can go on a guided visit to Cueva del Toro (only with your own vehicle, four to five hours), natural caves, and the Cueva de las Pinturas Rupestres which contains petroglyphs. There are also good walks, including up Cerro Bahía Blanca (two hours return), a gentle climb, rewarded with panoramic views, highly recommended. There's lots of wildlife to spot, but you're most likely to see grey foxes, guanacos, wild horses and red deer.

Villa Ventana

Some 10 km further from the park's second entrance (Cerro Bahía Blanca section) is an attractive laid-back wooded settlement with weekend homes, cabañas for rent and a municipal campsite by the river with all facilities. There's an excellent teashop, Casa de Heidi, and good food served in rustic surroundings at Las Golondrinas. The pretty village is the base for climbing Cerro Tres Picos (1239 m), to the south of the park, which is the highest peak the province. The ruins of the Hotel Club Casino (1911) can be still seen; once the most luxurious hotel in Argentina, it burned down in 1983. There's a helpful tourist office at the entrance to the village.

Sierra de la Ventana

Continuing east, the town of Sierra de la Ventana is a good base for exploring the hills, with a greater choice of hotels than Villa Ventana, and wonderful open landscapes all around. There is a 18-hole golf course and good trout fishing in the Río Sauce Grande. There's also a wonderful tea shop, La Angelita, in the leafy lanes of Villa Arcadia (across the river), and several places on the river to bathe. The helpful 
tourist information www.sierradelaventana.org.ar, has a complete list of all hotels, cabañas and campsites with availability and prices.
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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