Parque Nacional Talampaya

Top choice in Catamarca & La Rioja

The spectacular rock formations and canyons of this dusty desert national park are evidence of the erosive creativity of water. The sandstone cliffs are amazing, as are the distant surrounding mountainscapes. You must enter by guided visit, arranged at the visitors center. The standard 2½-hour trip is included with your entrance fee. You'll be ferried in comfortable minibuses and there’s little walking involved; nevertheless, take water and protection from the fierce sun.

For a little extra, you can extend the visit to another nearby canyon or do the route on the roof of a truck. Guided walks (AR$300 to AR$500) and trips on bicycles (AR$400) are also available; more appealing ways of exploring if the heat’s not too intense, though you'll still likely have to pay for transport into the park if you arrive on foot. There are often night excursions (AR$350) when there's a full moon. Be aware that the various excursions are operated by different companies, so it can be difficult to get complete information on what's available.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Catamarca & La Rioja attractions

1. Sendero Triásico

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This 'Triassic' path takes you past life-size replicas of dinosaurs whose fossilized remains have been found in the Talampaya area.

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The focus of a visit to Parque Nacional Talampaya is this spectacular, (usually) dry watercourse bounded by sheer sandstone cliffs. Condors soar on…

3. Parque Provincial Ischigualasto

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A spectacular, if desolate, landscape of otherworldly rock formations, dinosaur remains and sedimentary mountain ranges. Drivers join convoys on slow…

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In Parque Nacional Talampaya, accessed from the road 14km before reaching the main park entrance, these impressive formations are visited via guided 4WD…