End of January 2016
The eastern slope of the Argentinian Andes is drier than we had expected. However, sophisticated watering systems, some dating back to the indigenous people, allow for irrigating and agriculture.
Slowly we worked our way south. We wanted to visit Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America at 6,961 metres (22,838 ft), and the highest point in the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
In Cafayate we stocked up one more time, coffee had been hard to come by and we love our two cups every morning. Time and again we bought beans or ground coffee that did not make us happy. It tasted weird, we couldn’t figure out why, maybe they were just cheap beans (robusta) usually roasted with sugar. The cup of coffee in the coffee shops tasted great though. Still, mate is what many people drink and coffee is not that important.
Finally, some decent coffee beans.
Molinos, south of Cachi.
The countryside on the way to Cafayate is amazing.
Red pepper tree near Molinos
Torrontés is a white Argentine wine grape variety, producing fresh, aromatic wines.
After a long drive from Cafayate we headed up into the mountains and settled down at Los Nascimentos Hot Springs.
The road ends at the hot springs. We were alone there for three days.
Bye bye Nascimentos, it was great.
Not a bad view from this camp site at La Cienaga.
Here comes the sun na na na
Heave rain fall in the mountains made for some crazy “baden” crossings.
Uspallata Pass, 4000 m (13 000 ft)
“Christ the Redeemer” The 7m-high bronze statue was commissioned from sculptor Mateo Alonso of Buenos Aires and erected here in 1904. There are two plaques at its base. One reads “He is our peace who hath made us one.” The other, placed there in 1937, declares: “Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust than Argentines and Chileans break the peace sworn at the feet of Christ the Redeemer.”
Wildflowers at the base of the mountains near Aconcagua
Uspallata Pass, border to Chile.
Hot sulphur springs at the Inca Bridge. There was a hotel-spa here years ago, now all you see are the remnants.
Leoncito National Park has several observatories.
The only living thing we saw in the pampa were horses.
Tocota pampa, not a good place to cross after rain storms in the mountains.
CHRISTO DE TOCOTA: This Jesus statue stood there all by itself in the middle of nowhere, we camped at the base and felt protected.