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A desert with huge red walls that get lost at the horizon. Rocks being molded by nature for million years. The land inhabited by the oldest dinosaurs.

Talampaya National Park, declared Mankind Heritage together with its neighbor – Ischigualasto Provincial Park- is located at the center-west of the province of La Rioja, at 144 miles from its capital city and at 45 miles from Villa Unión. This beautiful and mysterious red desert emerged from the earth’s deepness along with the Andean Mountain Range. It has a surface of 530 thousand acres and hosts one of Argentina’s most attractive natural formation: the Talampaya Canyon. It was the kingdom of dinosaurs 250 million years ago –in this area the fossil remains of the Lagosuchus Talampayensis were found, one of the first dinosaurs that inhabited the world. This prehistoric animals left their space to human beings. Dinos left their footprints on the rocks. And so did men –from the Diaguita and Ciénaga cultures- who left their petroglyphs between the 3rd and 9th centuries of our era.

 

Talampaya Park should be visited exclusively with an authorized guide. This incredible adventure can be done by foot, bike and/or 4x4 vehicles. Guided walks are made in circuits of 3 and 4 hours of duration. In bike, the omnipresent guide of the huge red walls make the route a shocking adventure. In 4x4 vehicles, the experience reaches the most strange sites.

The main attraction is the Talampaya Canyon –sculpted over the land of Sierra de los Tartajos. It is about one mile long and its walls achieve a height of 490 ft. There, you can observe very curious shapes formed by the erosion of water and wind throughout the centuries. The most remarkable ones are: the Chimney, the Monk (173 ft high, very close to the Chess Board), the Elevator, the Boxes and the Cathedral (a rocky wall of about 400 ft high) that closes the bike tour through the Canyon. Equally interesting are the alternative circuits: the Lost City and the Rainbow; these programs take 5 to 6 hours crossing dry riverbeds, red dunes and sand plains inhabited by guanacos.

At full moon nights, the Talampaya guides invite to a definitely amazing tour.

 

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