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Parque Nacional Calilegua/Argentina

Introducing Parque Nacional Calilegua

This accessible park stretches up the Serranía de Calilegua range to peaks such as Cerro Hermoso, offering boundless views above the forest and across the Chaco to the east.

There are seven marked trails, from 20-minute strolls to tough four-hour hikes. The best places for bird and mammal watching are near the stream courses in the early morning or late afternoon.

From Valle Grande, beyond the park boundaries to the west, it’s possible to hike in a week to Humahuaca along the Sierra de Zenta, or to Tilcara.

The park’s headquarters is in Calilegua village, 5km north of Libertador General San Martín. The ranger at the park entrancein Aguas Negras has more information about trails and conditions. There’s another ranger station at Mesada de las Colmenas, 13km past Aguas Negras and 600m higher.

The developed campground is some 300m from the ranger station at the entrance. It is free and has bathrooms and shower, but no shop.

Libertador General San Martín is a sizable sugarcane town; places to stay include Hotel Los Lapachos, which tries hard with its scalloped handbasins and wine-red carpets, a block from the plaza. Little Calilegua is more appealing, with a tumbledown tropical feel and a deafening chorus of cicadas. Near the park office, Jardín Colonial is a lovely bungalow with rooms, a shady porch and a verdant, sculpture-filled garden.

Numerous buses between Jujuy/Salta and Salvador Mazza stop at Libertador General San Martín and Calilegua, and some will let you off at the junction for the park, 3km north of Libertador and 2km south of Calilegua. It’s 8km from here to the ranger station at Aguas Negras; there’s enough traffic to hitchhike. It’s also easy to taxi it from either town.