Malargue and Parque National Payunia
Trip Start Mar 01, 2007
28Trip End Jun 01, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We ended up leaving Mendoza fairly quickly as tours of Parque National Payunia were only leaving on Friday. So we were back on the bus, but had to endure Nanny Mc Phee on the way. 7hrs later we arrived in Malargue, a small town that acts as a staging post for tours to the surrounding mountains and national parks.
This place is a desert in the northern most part of Patagonia, its hot and apart from a little scrub nothing grows here, it only gets 100m or so of rain a year. Unfortunately for us, it was raining when we arrived and for a few days previously. We welcomed the cool rain but not the millions of mosquito's that promptly followed it.
Anyway, we arranged with ´Santiago´ our Tom Sellek look alike guide, dressed in combat boots and fatigues, to go on a 4x4 tour of Payunia.
Brilliant place, they call it the black Sahara, cos its black (volcanic ash) and well, a dessert (duh!!). It just looks fantastic, out of this world, a black alien landscape of whole and blown out volcanic cones, black ash dunes, fresh looking debris and lava flows, with bright contrasts from occasional yellow scrub and red, wind blown peaks.
All in all it was great day, we traveled with a couple of Argentines from Patagonia and an Americans couple from Bellingham, cheers guys for making a great trip. We had a good laugh and got to try mate, an Argentine tea like drink surrounded by ritual and taboo.