Recreación

Famatina

Recreación

Famatina is a mountain range between the valleys of Bermejo and Antinaco Rivers, including some of the highest peaks of South America, like Cerro General Belgrano and Famatina, 6,250 and 6,100 metres high respectively. These fierce and respected mountains are not a part of the Andes, in spite of their great height. The geological phenomenon has been called “El corazón de La Rioja” (the heart of La Rioja) by the local inhabitants, passionate enthusiasts of this mountain.

Visiting the cerro requires special mountain equipment and a fit body, but a cable car journey may bring visitors to a panoramic point close to the summit. This system is the greatest work of air transport engineering in the American continent and was built in 1903, to move the resulting material from La Mexicana, a mine located at 4,603 metres above sea level, near the city of Chilecito. The cable car, which covers 35 kilometres and has nine stations linked by one of the first telephone companies of Argentina, has been declared a National Historic Monument. Though currently out of service, it is occasionally operational for tourist purposes.

Also an alternative attraction is the town of Famatina, an old mountain village with steep streets decorated by the hilly background and the shade of its poplars. The locals, who make a living mostly from vineyard and walnut growing, thanks to the fertile soils washed by Famatina river, are a welcoming people, happy to have adventurers and climbers among their guests. If you only enter their superstitious culture with curious ears, they will tell you legends about the origin of La Rioja witches, apparently located in the Famatina peak.