While traveling through San Juan, especially in autumn and winter, you may become acquainted – through hearsay if not through experience – with one of the region’s meteorological marvels: el zonda. Much like the chinook of the Rockies or the foehn of the European Alps, the zonda is a dry, warm wind that can raise a cold day’s temperature from freezing to nearly 20°C (68°F). The zonda originates with storms in the Pacific that blow eastward, hit the Andes, dump their moisture and come whipping down the eastern slopes, picking up heat as they go. The wind, which varies from mild to howling, can last several days; sanjuaninos (people from San Juan) can step outside and tell you when it will end – and that it will be cold when it does. It’s a regular occurrence, giving the region – and the sanjuaninos – severe seasonal schizophrenia, especially during winter.


Banco de San Juan Has an ATM. There are plenty of other banks along the eastern edge of Plaza 25 de Mayo.

Cambio Santiago Money exchange with good rates and quick service.

Tourist Information

ACA Argentina’s auto club; good source for provincial road maps.

Tourist Office Has good city, wine touring and regional maps, plus useful information on the rest of the province, particularly Parque Provincial Ischigualasto. Usually at least one English speaking staff member.