San Juan province

The province of San Juan extends north and west from the capital, San Juan city, which lies in the broad valley of the Río San Juan, and is the centre of a wine-producing area as big as Mendoza's but not of the same quality. The city itself is sleepy and not wildly interesting for visitors, but there are two areas in the province which might lure you here. San Juan's jewel is the little-visited west of the province, where the foothills of the Andes rise in ranges separated by beautiful, lush valleys such as the lovely Calingasta. There is great climbing and trekking here, with several Andean peaks to explore, including the mighty Mercedario (6770 m) and incredibly peaceful ancient hamlets provide charming places to completely unwind. The northeast of the province near the border with La Rioja offers two more famous attractions: Ischigualasto Provincial Park, often known as the Valle de la Luna (valley of the moon), where millions of years of the planet's history, and dinosaur fossils are on display in dried out lagoons; and Talampaya National Park, just over the border in La Rioja, with fabulous dramatic canyons and eroded rocks. This
northern region is inhospitably hot and dry almost all year round, but the landscapes are impressive: empty and starkly beautiful. For more information, see

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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