DISCOVER THE "LAND OF THE SUN"

 

DISCOVER SAN JUAN

Where is it?.  How can you get there?

You have mainly 3 ways

1) By plane:

  • From Buenos Aires fly to San Juan via Aerolines Argentinas​. (Direct way)

  • From Buenos Aires fly to Mendoza city with LATAM and then bus to San Juan (2hs bus) with "Del Sur y Media Agua" bus company ( www.delsurymediaagua.com  ) .  The best option for me.  Cheap, fast and cool.

How you get to San Juan
How to get to San Juan

2) By Bus:

  • From Buenos Aires there are daily buses every day, you can buy the ticket personally in Retiro Bus Station downtown city or online at www.plataforma10.com.ar or www.centraldepasajes.com.ar.  It is a 16 hs travel and spect to pay between U$ 40 and U$ 50.  Buses are in good shape and service is ok.

 

3) By Car or Motorcycle:

  • Turn on your GPS after you rent your car or get your motorcycle, is an easy and good road between 1100 km (600  miles) and 1400 km (700 miles) depending on the road combination you take, can be 7, 8 or number 9 national road.  It is better if you do the journey in two days and relaxes somewhere in the middle, you will enjoy it better.  So if you plan a car or motorcycle trip you will need at least 10 to 15 days (4 days for going and coming, and a week at least to move in the area).

Technical Information

 

LOCATION:

San Juan Province is a province of Argentina, located in the western part of the country. Neighbouring provinces are, moving clockwise from the north, La RiojaSan Luis and Mendoza. It borders with Chile to the west.  The province has an area of 89,651 km2, covering a mountainous region with scarce vegetation, fertile oases and turbulent rivers. Throughout the entire province there are an important number of paleontological sites.

Similar to other regions in Argentina, agriculture is one of the most important economic activities, highlighting wine production and olive oil. Additionally, a variety of fruits and vegetables are produced in the fertile valleys irrigated by artificial channels in the western part, close to the Andes mountain range. This is the second province in volume of wine production at the national level and in South America, and possesses outstanding varietal wines. It is also an important center of mining and oil production.

WEATHER:

The province is part of the continental semi-desert Cuyo region. The arid plains start on the east, with a few low hills in the middle and swiftly turn into 6,000-meter-high mountain peaks towards the west. Both areas are subject to the dry hot Zonda (a very hot and strong wind). Most of the precipitations take place during the summer, often as electrical storms.

The hot wind has modeled the clay-rich red soil into Pampa del Leoncito (Reserva Natural Estricta El Leoncito) and Valle de la Luna (Parque Provincial Ischigualasto) 200-million-year-old geological formations.

The Jáchal and San Juan rivers, both part of Desaguadero River system, are the source of fertile valleys and centre of the province's economy. The San Juan River finishes in the Huanacache lagoons (sometimes called Guanacache), on the southeast.  The Andes of San Juan Province belong to the Dry Andes climatic province.  Permafrost is widespread above 3000 masl in the Andes and rock glaciers are common.

POPULATION:
San Juan concentrates most of its population in the oases or central valleys, Tulum ValleyZondaUllum and Jáchal, containing nearly 80% of this population. The remaining is located in the oasis located at the foot of the Andes in Iglesias and Calingasta. Another population concentration is in Fertile Valley.

About my experience

 

So, what now? join me on my trip to “The Land of the Sun”, I will let you know thru my own experience how San Juan looks and feel likes.  Let´s go.

San Juan was a big surprise for me, in a good way.  Even I´m Argentinean we knew a few things about the province, they do not have very good communication about themselves for overseas people even not for not locals like argies from other parts of the country even though, we bet will be a good spot to show and develop and it was.

 

The first value I can tell about San Juan is its people, they are really lovely, kind, there are no tricky manners at all on their behavior and the word "brother" became the way they will talk about you.  I was invited to every place, even to a private birthday, even a marriage ceremony, that was amazing.  People are one of the wonders of San Juan.

Second I may tell that they are building a province in a desert, like in Las Vegas they built a city out of a desert, well here they are building a huge province, with many cities out of a mountain desert in the pre cordillera area of the Andes. 

 

It is a huge project that takes time, money and a lot of energy, but they are doing it well, steady and with patience, like in Dubai but with no so many resources.

So, what can you do here?

Well, if you like extreme life conditions, I mean, extreme sports, motorcycle, adventure but also high-quality cuisine, San Juan has everything you may need to have a wonderful experience.

MOTORCYCLE: 

Off-road tracks for "enduro" are everywhere and I was lucky enough to ride during many days exploring them alongside the famous local Dakar rider, Alberto "Puchi" Ontiveros, 6 times Dakar driver, with the best experience in the area. 

 

He took almost everywhere, with the combination of on and off-road tracks, according to my skills and the motorcycle I had for rent.  You may go from on-road easy riding to heavy off-road Dakar tracks where you may be a challenge to give the best of yourself. 

 

No worries about it, "Puchi" is not only a great rider, but he is also a great human being who will guide you with patience and tender all the way to maximize your riding.  So, you may contact him through mail at puchi201@hotmail.com,   his WhatsApp number +54 9 264 410-1666 to hire his services or his Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/puchi.ontiveros ).

 

And for renting bikes call Juan (John) a local company who will hire you Yamaha Tenere 250 or similar for very low price, call him at +54 9 264 510-9760 or mail:  info@pangeasrl.com.ar  

WATER SPORTS

Scuba Diving:  Like in all deserts there is an oasis and these oases are the artificial lakes and dump done by the government during many years of work.  These dumps are huge, and when I said huge, I mean it.  They are right between the mountains of the pre cordillera de Los Andes and some of them can be deep as much as 160 meters, (more than 400 feet) good enough even to practice scuba diving. 

 

Yeap, you hear good, there is a pro-school of scuba diving in San Juan, which works on the dump "Dique Punta Negra" and is being held by the professional diver Silvana "la Negra" Correa an is called "San Juan Bajo el Mar" (San Juan under the sea).  Silvana has everything you may need to do any scuba activities from snorkeling to professional courses and baptism of a day. 

 

She will guide you step by step of her experience of 14 years of diver and 7 years on this school, even she works as a diver instructor overseas in many places like Spain, Thailand, Mexico, Chile, Brasil, Egipto, Maldivas, and so on.  She also is well-experienced working with kids, handicap people, and new ones.  She will encourage you to have a wonderful experience in a safe environment and a great landscape. 

 

You may contact her by WhatsApp +54.9.264.548.3335, mail:  sanjuanbajoelmarbuceo@hotmail.com, website: www.sanjuanbajoelmar.com, Instagram: @sanjuanbajoelmar and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sanjuanbajoelmar/ 

Windsurf / Kite

 

There are two wonderful spots for windsurfing.  One is "Dique Ullum" and the other is "Cuesta del Viento".  Ullum is close by San Juan capital city and you may take classes with Sebastian "Payo" Fabregas, the best instructor in the area.  You can contact him by WhatsApp  +54.9.264.454.7019, Instagram. @todosalaguaullum or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/todosalaguaullum . 

 

Dique Ullum is a beautiful place, the artificial lake made by human work that provide water resources to the city and a great place for relaxing and practice water sport (windsurfing, sup, kayak, etc.).  Also is placed there at the shore of the lake the private club "Vela y Remo" a very exquisite and elegant nautic club where locals enjoy sailing and other activities.

About "Cuesta del Viento", the best spot for intermediate and pro riders of windsurfing and kiters, is best to contact Maggie Roca from "Fincas del Lago", Whatsapp +54 9 11 3054-5591, she will assist you with everything you may need for a wind session but you may notice that Cuesta is 200 km north, 3 hs driving and you need to stay overnight there, so, if you plan to go, take a couple of days at least.

EASY LIFE / CUISINE / FOOD / WINES AND OIL PRODUCTION

 

Culture and Olive Oil:

The Marún family had been an olive oil producer since 1949 for almost 3 generations and still going on.  They got a museum you should know called "Don Julio" about olive oil production and carry on by one of his daughter Marian Marún (@sanasraices ) now they are into health nutrition. 

 

The olive oil they produce is exquisite, they have different tastes, even one is spicy, my best choice, and quality is super.  The story, culture, and education you can find on this lovely family worth a visit to enjoy them and their products.  The "Don Julio Museum" is downtown and you may contact Juliette Marún at Whatsapp +5492645470281, @juliette@tupeli.com to arrange a visit.  The brand they market is called "Tupeli". 

Pocito Department

Olives

It is a department in San Juan Province, Argentina. It is located to the south of the city of San Juan, and is predominantly agricultural, the principal products being grapes and olives. It has a string of prestigious wineries that make up the so-called "Wine Route". The west part of the department is mountainous.

Called the "garden of the province or the orchard " is a district where almost all the food of San Juan is being produced for locals and export. 

 

Everything is green here but not because is natural, because water is being carried on by artificial rivers alongside the road to spread on the fields of wine and olives.  It is quite amazing to see is how it works.  

 

The irrigation network originates from channels that run from north to south and draw their water from the right bank of the San Juan River. This water is used by farmers in growing areas.

Irrigation network

TUTUNA Olive Oil producer:

TUTUNA is an olive oil local brand and natural cosmetics made by a family in Pocito.  Esteban Santipolio is an engineer who develops his own system to produce organic and ecological agriculture. 

 

With one of the finest oil olives of the region and the brand of natural cosmetics made by his wife Gisela, the family keeps in charge of the fields with the constant help of foreigners who arrives to learn about ecological agriculture. 

 

Their products are sold locally and to all Argentina.  You can contact them at tutunasanjuan@gmail.com or Whatsapp +54.9.264.407.0766 

LA 14 GOURMET TEA HOUSE:

Pocito has many tourist providers, as we told before, is the place where most the agricultural is being held in the Province of San Juan.  There are many places you can visit along the "Wine Route" and I will point you a couple.  The first and very tricky place to find, because it is not good pointed, is the "14 Gourmet", a Te House with local products where you can take a wonderful relaxing time sharing some tea, wines, cheeses, dry tomatoes, olives and many more.  Attention is very kind, the atmosphere is well done and you will feel somehow that you are visiting your grandma's house.  You can contact Daniela Sirera, the manager at Whatsapp +54.9.264.462.4777 for more Info or make a reservation.

VIÑAS DE SEGISA WINE FACTORY:

Segisa wines are a fine destination for testing locals wine production with a little museum, a wine factory, and a quite good cellar.  Even we were not able to taste them because was a quick visit on a very hot day they said are good enough for a try, so, if you like wines, give them a shoot.  Contact info:  Tel: (54 264) 492 2000 - segisa@saxsegisa.com.ar

San Juan tourist photo note of Photo Adventure Tours is a fresh report being published in January 2020 and will be updated monthly for the next 2 years, so check it from while to while to see new activities, where to sleep, to eat or services.   

If you are not still listed on the tourist service providers list and want to join the team, contact the editorial at info@photoadventure.com.ar or Whatsapp:  54.9.11.6374.6830.  CHECK PROMO KITS

© Photo Adventure Tours  2000 - 2020   www.photoadventure.com.ar  / www.photoadventure.info  - Text and Photos by Mark Royo Celano

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