When you think about Argentina, tango, football, and meat come to mind. Then, of course, the Iguazú Falls, the Glaciers and Buenos Aires. However, the 7th largest country on earth is extremely varied and has several natural beauties, including Talampaya and Ischigualasto. We couldn’t believe that a place as spectacular as the Sierra de Las Quijadas National Park in San Luis province, Western Argentina remains unknown to the mass of tourists. Thank god!
Around San Luis
We took a night bus from Buenos Aires to San Luis and slept almost all the way. Yes, Argentinean buses are that comfortable! On the first day, we went directly to the Potrero de los Funes Reservoir, where we recharged our batteries. On the second day, we explored San Luis city itself. There is a nice green square with a church: the Plaza Pringles and the Cathedral. We spent the whole day people watching in pedestrian Rivadavia Street. Then we visited the tourist office on the main plaza and with a little help from the charming ladies at the front desk, we were able to arrange a private tour to Sierra de las Quijadas National Park.
Private tour to Sierra de las Quijadas
We woke up early in the morning and boarded our private car to the Sierra de Las Quijadas National Park. The journey from San Luis city to the park takes one and a half hours. On our way there, we noticed that the landscape is mostly flat. Thus, we were surprised when we arrived and were greeted by a deep canyon with sharp rocks. We are talking about a massive desert against sharp mountains and long valleys. There we were admiring our planet when we noticed condors dancing above.
Sierra de las Quijadas National Park
Colors here are intense, from the deep blue of the sky to the white of the clouds and the different shades of reds and greens of the Sierras. You can spend the whole day enjoying the silence with almost no tourists around. That is of course if you take a private tour like us. Otherwise, there are organized tours every morning so you can enjoy this marvelous place with a group. Sorry, nothing wrong with organized tours, but the Sierra de las Quijadas National Park deserves to be visited alone.
Where to stay
San Luis city is the perfect base to discover the surrounding area, including the Sierra de las Quijadas National Park. It’s better to stay downtown so you get to feel the city vibe. Most of the nice hotels are along the Illia Avenue, next to the main square (Pringles). We stayed at the Quintana Hotel located along the avenue. Our room was comfortable and we were able to walk everywhere. However, nearby Vista Suites, Spa & Golf is probably the best hotel in town. Other nice hotels in the same street are the Hotel Aiello and the Gran Hotel San Luis.
Potrero de los Funes
If you rather stay in nature go to Potrero de Los Funes, a green valley with a big lake in its center. It’s only half an hour by car from San Luis City. Mountains surround it, and you can see streams and waterfalls. The place is ideal for fishing, horseback riding through the mountain range, trekking, mountain biking, climbing and abseiling. So many options! Nevertheless, we chose to chill and walk around the lake. We stayed at the Hotel Potrero de los Funes and loved it. The large spa and fabulous views make it an unforgettable experience. The hotel manages the cultural center next doors, where the FIDE World Chess Championship took place in 2005.