The Gran Viaje

Parque Provincial Ischigualasto

by Jordan


Parque Provincial Ischigualasto was recommended to us by a few people and we've been looking forward to it for awhile.

We spent the night before in San Agustin del Valle Fertil, and camped for the first time in months. The campsite recommended in our guidebook was closed, so we found another one on the banks of the dried up river. It was nice and shady and we were the only campers there. We spent the afternoon and evening relaxing and exploring the town and had one of our nicest meals yet at La Gran Picada. The atmosphere was great and the host was super friendly. He recommended a delicious wine that would be my new mainstay, if it was more commonly found. This is it, if you run across it:

That night we decided to go to sleep early so we could get to the park before noon, but that was not to be. At about 10 PM two competing groups of partiers across the river decided to blast techno till 2AM and we could hear kids laughing and playing too. Argentinians, though good at thwarting our sleep, definitely know how to have fun. Almost everywhere we've been, even in the cities, is really relaxed, with people socializing and enjoying the public spaces. It seems like work comes second to enjoying life, and they have a healthy attitude that doesn't seem to allow much for stressing out. It is a little weird for me, because I am very talented at getting stressed. I could definitely benefit from absorbing some of the tranquilidad argentino.

Anyway... this morning we drove a little over an hour to the park and waited around an hour for the next tour, so we checked out the museum full of dinosaur bones and related info, and met the other travelers that were in our tour caravan. They were mostly retired European couples doing similar driving tours around South America.

When it was time, we all lined up and ventured out into the park, led by a guide. We stopped at several spots throughout the park, and saw some amazing scenery over a 45 km drive. The park is special because it is a location where the surface is all from the different times in the Triassic period, which is the earliest time that fossils of dinosaurs have been found. The oldest two dinosaurs ever found were found in Ischigualasto. In different areas of the park there are features from the Lower, Middle, and Upper Triassic period, which all have different compositions and features, and so everything that was yellow was from the Lower, everything that was like this crazy moonscape was from Middle, and the crazy ochre red cliffs were from Upper Triassic period. It was all pretty impressive.

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