Cuestra de Miranda and Talampaya

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Click here for pictures from Chilecito, Cuestra de Miranda, and Talampaya.
To save you the trouble, I´ll just come out and admit to you that the National Park was a bit of a letdown. However, the journey to and from was worth the money, so it all evened out in the end. A small group of four of us decided to be brave and sign up for a mountain biking excursion in the National Park. The details were very sketchy from the get-go, so we really weren´t sure how much it would cost, how far it would be, or how long and hot it would be. As such, we bought tonnes of food and water just in case. Didn´t need it at all! More on that later. As far as the journey goes, we took Ruta 40, a section known as La Cuestra de Miranda. This is one of the most breath-taking rides in South America I think. Seems I say that a lot, doesn´t it? Well it was. I´m not making it up. I believe it has something like 800 turns, and winds its way quite a distance. I believe the park was something like 154km away, which was to take 2.5 hours. read on…

We were split into 3 groups of four, so that each group would have their own vehicle to get to the park. That and the fact that you really wouldn´t want to take a mini-bus on this road. It´s that hairy. Some spots are very narrow, you´ve got essentially no guardrail, and are hundreds of feet above the rocky floor of a canyon. Not a pleasant thought if a driver were to get too careless driving here. Luckily, all of our drivers (with the exception of cab drivers) have been quite cautious for us. Thank goodness. Anyway, this drive was excellent, with red rock canyons, steep cliffs, and even segments of the Inca trail to be seen. Road maintenance must be a pain here!

Once at the National Park, we had to wait to get all things organized. Rather than draw it out here is the end result. We had heard we´d get a 5 hour bike tour. On arrival, the park guides said it would be 3 hours. When we finally got on our bikes, our last guide said two hours, ok? No, not okay. I was pretty diappointed by the sleight of hand games going on. I guess they just want to draw you to the sights to make sure you don´t skip the side trips, but it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Also the biking was rather simplistic. Flat ride on a canyon floor. 4 kms each way. Oooooo. It was part river bed, part sand, meaning it wasn´t dead easy, but the 10lbs of water and food I had were completely unneccessary 🙂

In spite of the easy ride, the sites were still quite beautiful. We observed many petroglyphs from 2500 years ago, and saw some mighty impressive rock formations, including an echo chamber. Quite cool, but hardly worth the time and effort we spent getting it all set up. Still doesn´t change the fact that I´m on vacation though, and anything beats sitting in my office willing the day to be over 🙂 The rough part of this was that at the conclusion of the day´s activities, we were slated to pile onto another overnight bus for the ride to Mendoza. That brought our total of overnight buses to 3 from 2. On the plus side, it means more time in the next city, so I´m not really complaining, just noting that I have a hard time sleeping when I´m not fully horizantal..

We got back to the hotel in Chilecito with a few hours to spare, so they were kind enough to sell us showers. How nice. Ha ha. It still beats riding 12 hours in a bus all sandy and smelly. I made use of the facilities and had some pizza and grabbed some bus beers. Figured they´d help me sleep. In the end , I had 2 seats, so I was able to crawl into the fetal position for a fitful few hours of sleep before landing in Mendoza. Overnight weather was crazy, but then cleared up for the next city.. next post please…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Email -- Pin It Share 0 0 Flares ×

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.