A great adventure among petrified forests and cave paintings

A great adventure among petrified forests and cave paintings

December 14, 2018 0 By admin

If one has for a moment the temptation to feel important, one should know the icy beauty that surrounds the provincial route 41 of Santa Cruz. The gravel road links Los Antiguos with Posadas Lake. They are little more than 160 kilometers between forests of ñires and lengas, canyons, lakes and streams, high snowy summits, condors, pure air and almost no human presence.

Every so often a countryman appears on horseback forming a beautiful picture with the Cordillera in the background. There is no cell phone signal or anything that manages to distract attention to this magnificent Patagonian landscape.

The Sarmiento Petrified Forest is about 30 km from this city, and 150 from Comodoro Rivadavia.

Just walking this scenic route is worth a trip through this region. But Tourist Corridor of Central Patagonia He has other “Treasures to discover”, as his Ente Patagonia Turismo program called his promotion program. Travel from a city like Comodoro Rivadavia to a town of 600 inhabitants like Posadas Lake, from Chubut to Santa Cruz, from the coast to the imposing mountain.

In any case, it will be waiting for an “always immense horizon”, as defined by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento la Patagonia, in his book “Facundo”. A region whose extension covers the sum of France and Italy and which will never be discovered.


The flight from Buenos Aires reaches Comodoro Rivadavia, in Chubut. After a 150-kilometer trip along Route 26 – which cuts through the somewhat discolored landscape of the steppe – we reach Sarmiento, located between Musters and Colhué Huapí lakes, in the center-south of Chubut. After a brief visit to the Valle de los Gigantes Paleontological Theme Park and the Desiderio Torres Regional Museum, you must hurry to enjoy the light in the Petrified Forest, located about 30 kilometers from Sarmiento.

The desert and colorful landscape that 65 million years ago was under the sea.

“65 million years ago, all this was sea,” says Damián Guerreiro Miguel, wildlife guard of the 1,880-hectare Provincial Reserve, while the gaze is lost in a grayish lunar valley and in the green and pink of a hill.

The guide explains in detail the entire geological process. Account how the trunks that we see in the tour were changing their organic matter for minerals and fossilized. “The rings mark the age of the tree when it was alive. They were mostly araucarias and palm trees. It is a forest of the Cenozoic era, “he instructs.

Paleontological Park of Sarmiento, in Chubut (photo by Daniel Feldman).

On the trek, Guerreiro Miguel expands the information about the forest and the ecoregion of the Patagonian steppe. Although the wind is brave and apichona the bravest, the gaze stays on those trunks transformed into rocks millions of years ago and the lunar landscape, which attracts photographers dazzled by one of the clearest skies in Argentina. In addition, Sarmiento offers excellent fishing and a good gastronomic offer.

The waterfront of Los Antiguos and the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera.

Course to Los Antiguos

after one stopover in Río Mayo we continue trip to Los Antiguos. They are little more than 180 kilometers along the mythical route 40 and route 43. The window returns the postcards of a rough Patagonia. The coirón, the black bush and the calafate are the only plants that survive the windy steppe. The lack of communication makes us all talkative. And some are silent for a while before those skies that are not in other parts of the country.

Herd of guanacos in the Patagonian steppe (photo by Pedro Chiesa).

After a few hours imposing Lake Buenos Aires. And beyond Los Antiguos, where eight thousand people live. A good way to start getting to know the town is to go up to the Mirador del Valle, the highest in the town. From this vantage point you can see Lake Buenos Aires, the snow-capped peak, illuminated by the sun of Cerro Castillo, a thick green curtain of poplar trees and, very close by, Chile Chico, on the other side of the international border.

General view of Los Antiguos, in Santa Cruz.

Lake Buenos Aires, in Los Antiguos, Santa Cruz.

To the south, the Portal La Ascensión, which has 20 thousand hectares and is part of the Patagonia National Park, offers 25 kilometers of trails and four free camping areas. Cerro La Calle is one of the great prizes for the walk. There stands a stone farallón imposing at the foot of the plateau.

Route 40 at the height of the plateau of Lake Buenos Aires, in Santa Cruz (photo by Florian von der Fecht).

On the way, the look is lost in the details that only come with silence and observation without haste: the shapes of the basaltic rock, the sand-ash that recalls the eruption of the Hudson volcano and the “bakers” painting in white the green fields

Back in the village, the Urban Natural Reserve Laguna de los Juncos, the visit to some chacras and the viewpoint of the Jeinimeni river complete the walk.

A farmhouse of Los Antiguos, in Santa Cruz.

Lago Posadas

The road through Route 41, from Los Antiguos to Posadas Lake, It is worth every kilometer of gravel and stone. It makes you want to make a thousand stops along the way. For example, before the reddish color of the rock walls of Las Toscas Bayas, when observing the fast flight of a condor, black-necked swans or the wooded area that arises between the Ceballos River and the Lincoln stream.

The small and very picturesque town of Lago Posadas.

In a moment, the truck stops for travelers to organize a campfire in a camping area. The mission is to heat water for mate. Some get lost in a walk along the edge of a stream, surrounded by hills. There are no vestiges of man: only footprints of animals and the pleasant sound of water as background music.

A small isthmus divides the waters of the Posadas lakes (on the left) and Pueyrredón (right), in Santa Cruz.

After five hours of travel, the vehicles arrive at Lago Posadas, a town of 600 inhabitants without telephone signals or banks. Everyone greets each other with the name and it is not necessary to lock the house door with a key. At 7 kilometers from the town, the Arco de Piedra is a rock formation that rises in the middle of the waters of the Posadas Lake, which shares its green waters with the turquoise hue of Lake Pueyrredón.

The Stone Arch, a rock formation that rises in the middle of the waters of the Posadas lake.

The plan is as simple as it is pleasant: sitting on a rock to observe the strange natural formation that emerges from the lake, feel the wind in your face and silence. In this area also attracts the archaeological site Cerro de los Indios, with cave paintings and engravings.

“That eaves is 87 meters high and the paintings are around 3,800 years old,” says Jessica Casas, director of Tourism at Lago Posadas. In a tour with the naked eye you can see hunting scenes of guanacos, felines, ostrich legs and hands. “We have the idea of ​​making a museum in the old shearing shed, to preserve the heritage,” adds Casas.

The landscapes of the area near Lago Posadas invite you to make a thousand stops to enjoy them.

Art on the river Paintings

Once we leave Lago Posadas, the trip for the rock art continues its way in the Cañadón del Río Pinturas, sustained by rocks formed 150 million years ago. Before arriving at the entrance of the Cave of the hands, a valuable archaeological site declared World Heritage by Unesco, the look is lost in the green and distant mattress of a willow tree. “These rocks emerged before the separation of Africa and America.

The Pinturas river canyon, heading to the Cueva de las Manos.

It is estimated that the people who lived here settled about 12 thousand years ago and their livelihood was the guanaco, “explains guide Daniela Cerdas. After walking 600 meters along the footbridges, the first paintings and engravings illustrate footprints, a dancing man, a leather drying in the sun, someone carnaging a guanaco and a concentric circle that, like many of these paintings, are still an enigma.

It is exciting to stop at some of those fine lines and imagine, even for a moment, what life was like here thousands of years ago.

Cueva de las Manos, in Santa Cruz.

The path of art continues in Charca Mata, complement of Cave of the Hands, with a walk of 2 kilometers to an eaves of almost 50 meters high. In addition to exhibiting ancient paintings and engravings, the path of the canyon and streams is already a reward for effort.

Back to Comodoro

Comodoro Rivadavia marks the end point of this attractive circuit and very entertaining wherever you look at it. But there are also places of interest in this city famous for its oil activity. Precisely, the Oil Museum It was created in the General Mosconi neighborhood, popularly known as Kilometer 3.

Caleta Córdova, in Chubut (photo by Daniel Feldman).

The tour continues in the Astra neighborhood – an old oil workers’ camp – and in the coastal area of ​​Caleta Córdova, located at the northern end of the city.

To the south, the Punta del Marqués Nature Reserve, in the Rada Tilly spa town, protects a permanent settlement of sea lions. If luck accompanies the visit, it is also possible to spot whales of the southern austral, humpback and sei species, dolphins and dolphins.

However, Rada Tilly’s biggest surprise to visitors is the wide beach, spread between two walls of the plateau stretched to the sea. This wide strip of sand, 3 kilometers long, attracts bathers and car enthusiasts.

Rada Tilly, in Chubut (photo by Daniel Feldman).

Once we leave the binoculars aside and we are ready to return home, it is only before the eyes, full of surprising images, the panoramic of the infinite sea extended from the cliff.

The wind blows, that molds the trees and the character of the people from the dawn until the hour when the darkness of the night prevails. In his poem “El gozante”, Manuel J. Castilla seems to bring words from the bowels of the earth. After the trip, already overflowing with the memory of vivid images, the verses wisely created by the talented writer from Salta arrive in the head: “All this is in my eyes that see my own sad nothingness and my joy. Then, if I’m already dead, throw me sand and water. So I return. ”


How to get. From Buenos Aires to Comodoro Rivadacia there are 1,733 kilometers through Riccheri, Autopista a Cañuelas and route 3; five tolls, $ 135.

Airlines has between three and four direct daily flights from Aeroparque to Comodoro Rivadavia. Roundtrip taxes in mid-December, from $ 10,910.

In the walks you will discover archaeological sites with cave paintings and engravings.

Bus Semicama Cóndor Estrella or Andesmar from Retiro to Com. Rivadavia (25 hours), $ 2,800 one way; car bed, $ 3,275.

Where to stay In Posadas Lake, Posada del Posadas: double room with breakfast and wi-fi, US $ 95 (02963- 490-250 / 205/318 / susanalaposada@yahoo.com.ar).

In Río Mayo, stay Don José: double room with cable TV, wi-fi and activities, from $ 3,700 (www.turismogue nguel.com.ar).

How much. Entrance to the Valle de los Gigantes Paleontological Park, in Colonia Sarmiento, $ 50; from 7 to 12 years old, $ 40; retirees, $ 30; entrance to the Desiderio Torres Regional Museum, $ 50; from 7 to 12 years old, $ 40; retirees, $ 30; entrance to the Petrified Forest, $ 110; from 7 to 12 years old, $ 75; retirees, $ 45 (www.coloniasarmiento.gob.ar).

Kayak rental in Los Antiguos (1 h.), $ 400 (0297- 155014444).

Guided tour “Vuelta a la Comarca” from Los Antiguos, US $ 350 per person, double base; Perito Moreno National Park, US $ 800 (156-2842177 / www.chelencotours.tur.ar).

Lake Buenos Aires.

One and a half hour horseback ride at Don José ranch, in Río Mayo, $ 500 (0297- 156249155 / 02903- 420-015 / turismoguenguel@yahoo.com.ar).

Horseback riding through valleys, hills, steppe and coast of Lake Buenos Aires (2 hours), $ 750 (0297-155404155).

Pork sandwich with cheese and cream of herbs in the restaurant Lo de Ulises, in Los Antiguos, $ 180; Half pint of craft beer from the house, $ 80 (0297-155020079).

Plate of oxtail on the grill El Rastro del Choike, in Los Antiguos, $ 300 (02963-491-236).

Entrance to Cueva de las Manos, $ 100 (www.cuevadelasmanos.org).

A pleasant stop on the road.

Where to find out House of Chubut in Buenos Aires: Sarmiento 1172, telephone 4382-2009.

House of Santa Cruz in Buenos Aires: 25 de Mayo 279, telephone 4343-3605.

In Rawson, (0280) 448-5271.

In Río Gallegos, (02966) 437-412 / 447.

experienciachubut@gmail.com / infotur@santacruzpatagonia.gob.ar www.comodoroturismo.gob.ar / www.santacruzpatagonia.gob.ar


Diego Jemio / Special for Clarion

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