The Provincial Natural Park Ischigualasto is located in the northeast of the province of San Juan, 330 km from the capital city, and 75 km from the town of San Agustin del Valle Fertil. This small town is the starting point of excursions to visit - through a strictly delimited circuit - the small portion of the Park accessible to tourists.
Popularly known as "Valley of the Moon", this fascinatingly strange place in the world occupies some 62.000 hectares and is, together with its neighboring Talampaya National Park in the province of La Rioja, a World Heritage Site. Its importance lies in the scientific value of the paleontological findings made at the site, where a practically complete sequence of the Triassic Period (upper, middle, and lower) of the Mesozoic Era is found. Visiting Ischigualasto means you will be setting foot on the same areas that dinosaurs steppped on 180 million years ago. The lunar-looking soil and the particular geoforms sculpted by water, sun and wind over the rocks over millions of years, make this a site from another world. Visiting it allows you to take a look at the evolution of the Earth.
In the entrance to Ischigualasto, Cerro Morado offers a view of truly huge walls. There are hikes to its summit to get the best views. At the top, you can see condors and observe the particular vegetation of the place: mountain species, cacti, broom, and jarillas. Among them you may find guanacos, foxes, and vizcachas. Towards the interior of the Park, the main circuit - which is done exclusively by vehicle and with an authorized guide - reaches 42 km and takes 3 hours. During the walk, stops are made to take photographs at the spots: El Gusano, Valle Pintado, Cancha de Bocha, El Submarino and El Hongo, where you may witness the slow, ongoing, and unfailing work of nature: the stones here show strange and mysterious forms.
On full moon nights, in San Juan's darkness, the light from the terrestrial satellite makes Ischigualasto even more strange and dazzling. Touring Valle Pintado watching the whimsical geoforms (El Submarino, La Esfinge, Las Bandejas, El Hongo), and walking this ancient land of dinosaurs in the silence of the night is a unique and unforgettable experience, for the eyes... and for the spirit.
t the entrance to the Park, the Interpretation Center, assembled by the Museum of Natural Sciences of San Juan, presents replicas of the most important fossils found here. It is their mission to spread the scientific importance of Ischigualasto.