Parque Nacional El Leoncito

Mendoza & the Central Andes

The 76-sq-km Parque Nacional El Leoncito occupies a former estancia (ranch) 22km south of Barreal. The landscape is typical of the Andean precordillera. The high, dry and wide-open valley rarely sees a cloud, making for superb stargazing. Hence, the park is home to the Complejo Astronómico El Leoncito, which contains two important observatories, the Observatorio El Leoncito (C.AS.LEO) and Observatorio Cesco. Night visits are also possible, but must be scheduled ahead of time by contacting the Complejo's San Juan office.

Camping is free at the small site just before the park office, where there are also bathrooms and barbecue grills.

There is no public transportation to the park, and with 17km of entrance road added to the 22km to get here from Barreal, it’s certainly too far to walk and probably too far to ride. If you don’t have your own transportation, contact Ramon Ossa at Posada Don Ramon in Barreal – his informative tours of the park are heartily recommended.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mendoza & the Central Andes attractions

1. Complejo Astronómico El Leoncito

2.45 MILES

This desert observatory in the Parque Nacional El Leoncito is open for daytime visitors. It's best, of course, to visit for nighttime stargazing; contact…