Talampaya and Ischigualasto (Valle de la Luna) Parks


Next two natural parks I’m going to talk about are one big logistics project of our travel in Argentina. I found them mentioned in one of the Russian travel portals, and many people said that it was impossible to miss Talampaya park and Ischigualasto park (known also as Valle de la Luna). They border each other, but belong to the different provinces: Talampaya is in La Rioja province, and Ischigualasto in San Juan province. Don’t mix them up, the locals will emphasize that!

When I started looking for more information about them and how to reach that place it all was a little bit confused, because the official websites were down in that moment. I couldn’t find other detailed information or suggestions about the road, accommodation, prices, tickets etc. Even Google Maps was confused and calculated the distances a little bit messy, maybe because of the names (in the South America it is normal that in every region there are many towns with the same name), maybe because this part of Argentina is not so densely populated, maybe because those places don’t seem really touristy. 

At some point we were about leaving that idea, because due to our calculations we needed to embed like 3 or 4 days to manage the distances, the timetable of parks and of the accommodation.

By the way I insisted and  kept searching, and step by step we made it and I’m here to share it with you how to reach Talampaya and Ischigualasto parks from Salta.

From my research came up 2 options.

The first one was to take a flight from Salta to La Rioja airport and from there take a bus tour, I found it in some blog. But, first,  from Salta there were no direct flights, so really long voyage, and second, the prices were unacceptable because the airport was really small and there were few flights. And besides, I imagined this kind of bus trip, long and especially very hot (oh yes, I forgot to tell you that in this part of Argentina the temperature reaches 50 degrees and there are zonda winds) and personally I’d preferred to go by car, especially because in Ischigualasto park you can accede only with your car. And in the airport of La Rioja there were no available cars. So the destiny suggested to us the second option.

Thus we took a flight to Cordoba Airport, rented the car there and followed the Road 38 (Ruta 38) in the direction of parks. It was about 3-4 hours of driving considering stops at the gas station and lunch. I’d suggest you to fill up, bring a good navigator, take some water  and eat something near to Cordoba because once you get outside from the Cordoba province there are few places to stop.  But the road is wonderful, so many different scenes, the real driving into the wild. Have a look in our video below!

We found a hotel in a small town Patquìa, and in my opinion is the closest place to the park entrance (about 1 hour). And Hotel Raquelito (found on Booking.com) was simple but very clean and with working wi-fi and air conditioner (there were like 40 degrees outside) and the staff was very kind.

Another important step is to book the tickets in advance. 

I’ve checked and now the website of Talampaya park is working and there you can choose the options you are interested more. I leave the link here

Or you can write directly to the Departamento de Reservas  – TE: 0351 570 9909 o 0351152171350- informes@talampaya.com

The tickets for Ischigualasto are here. You create a kind of account where you book your visit, then they send you a payment details, pay by card and get you tickets with a bar code. Stamp them before the visit! 

Remember that the excursion is available only in your car, because this park is huge. There are also some options for walking or biking, but in this way you will see only a little part of it. 

We had only 1 day for 2 parks and we visited Talampaya in the morning and Ischigualasto in the afternoon, but if you have time spend a full day per each. See my next video and you will understand why…

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