Hands Cave Paintings
An excursion through the wild Patagonia to know the amazing Pinturas River Canyon and the famous Cave of the Hands.
From Perito Moreno, taking National Route 40 and after 118 km. towards the south, turn left and drive for 46 km. on Prov. Route 97.
The area’s natural vegetation consists of calafate, duraznillo neneo, coirón, molle, cola de piche, among others. The fauna is represented by the red fox, gray fox, hare, skunk, armadillo, guanaco, puma and among the birds, ñandú, great bustard, martineta, gallareta, duck, black neck swan.
In the middle of this marvelous natural scenery you will arrive at the Interpretation Center where the ranger will provide information.
The first thing you will see is the imposing Pinturas River Canyon. It runs at an altitude of 240 m. above sea level and the cave is about 50 m. over the river level. The scenery is one of high walls with ochre and green tones and a stream down below. Probably, for this reason, the aborigines chose this site to paint their cosmovision on the bare rock.
This art expression can be seen on ledges, caves and walls. Not too far from these caves, similar paintings can be observed as theCharcamata Ledge and the Grande Cave.
The Hands Cave has, as its name implies, a great number of painted hands in negative and positive, contoured in red, ochre, yellow, green white and black colors, many of them are overlapped. There are also guanaco silhouettes, human figures in motion, dots and concentric circles.
The studies show plaster and clay, with different iron content giving different red tonalities.
Although its meaning of these paintings is unknown, they must have played a magic-religious function with the hunters, given the concentration and superimposition of the motives.
In 1999, this site was declared “World Heritage Site” by Unesco.
Knowing this incredible place is like knowing the soul of Patagonia.