Photo Gallery from Argentina: Barreal, El Alcázar, Uspallata

A small photo gallery from my last visa run to Argentina in mid November 2014. This time I stayed a little over a week and went north of Uspallata into San Juán province, as far as the El Alcázar nature reserve, which is a little north of the small neat town of Barreal. Coming from Uspallata you pass a large dried out lake bed south of Barreal, called Pampa del Leoncito. I stayed there one night; during the daylight hours it was incredibly hot, almost reminding me of Death Valley in the US. Yet almost every night night storms moved through from the West and deposited fresh snow on the near-by Andean ranges.

El Alcázar (The Fortress) on the north side of town is a small area of incredible beauty: coloured rocks in red, green, aubergine, charcoal, and shades of ochre and beige. Some is sandstone, other brittle stuff, reminiscent of slate with a pearl-like glowing surface that reflects sunlight in a silvery sheen. Hardly anybody visited during my stay, so I spent an undisturbed night in the middle of this beautiful place.

Barreal itself is a neat and quiet town, relying on a mix of agriculture and tourism to survive. There are supposed to be some ancient rock paintings nearby, but when I finally learned about them on this internet page the tourist information was all locked up with nobody to ask. Our guide books don’t tell us much about this region at all, which is a shame considering its beauty.

You can find more photos from around Uspallata in the gallery from my previous visit .


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14 Responses

  1. Great photos, some of these would look great blown up in black and white.

    • Juergen says:

      You’re right, some would make great black & white images… I took the vast majority with our new camera, hence the resolution is also better than on my almost antique Nikon S10.

  2. Magnificent landscapes and the El Alcazar is spectacular. This is a place well-worth a second visit (and a third, fourth and fifth) to share with Yasha and explore those amazing rock formation. Your post has me thinking we need to do some more travels in South America…

    • Juergen says:

      Your post has me thinking we need to do some more travels in South America…

      That’s exactly the reason why we came back. Though: places like El Alcazar are easiest to reach in your own transport (rather than an organized tour). We simply enjoy the freedom to stop anywhere for a brief photo opportunity or a short walk.

  3. The area around Barreal in Argentina is beautiful, as your images depict.

    • Juergen says:

      Barreal in Argentina seems to be another region bypassed by many international travellers. Though: it is certainly easier to explore if you have you own transport…

  4. Donna Janke says:

    Stunning. Beautiful rock formations. I love the colours.

    • Yasha says:

      I so enjoyed being in Uspallata last week. It’s so stunningly beautiful and I don’t think that many people bother to stop on their way between Mendoza and Santiago in either direction. I’m glad to have finally shared some of the beautiful places Juergen saw last year while I was teaching in Santiago…

  5. Beautiful shapes and colors of the rock formations~
    I imagine they change, too, with the time of day.

    • Yasha says:

      When we were in the 7 colour mountains of Uspallata last week, we arrived on a sunny day and the colors were amazing. The light was just right. We spent the night there and in the morning it was raining and overcast, but the wet rocks showed a completely different shade of colour. It was really great.

  6. That is one barren landscape but quite unique in its various formations.

  7. The rock formations look like surreal city skylines. It would be easy to get lost in one’s imagination with vistas like these. Yes, very reminiscent of the desert areas in southwest U.S.A. Beautiful photos.

    • Juergen says:

      For me its name El Alcázar (The Fortress) is more apt. I also never encountered this many colours in such a small area in the USA .

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