Reaching out for the south and the mountain range, entrapped between bare landscapes and very little fauna, the town of Malargüe finds its place. It isn’t a popular place during the warm months, but it displays a vast amount of interesting proposals during the months in which the snow covers the mountains.
You will find out about this city through information that goes from mouth to mouth, maybe recommended by a friend. This way, Malargüe constitutes a unique experience that will arrive at the right moment, neither before nor later. If you take enough time to discover it, this area unfolds before your eyes in a series of unique natural spectacles.
The Cavern of the Witches and the Provincial Reserve of Llancanelo are two of the main attractions of this place. During wintertime the southern winds, starting to blow, reach out for the desert and the valleys turning them into an ideal place for the winter sports. Valle de Las Leñas is a famous place for doing these activities and has consolidated as a classic for skiing during this season. It offers twenty-six snowboard and ski tracks, and a structure dedicated to offer the traveller all the services necessary to perform diverse sports. The valley extends following the stream named Las Leñas, which is hidden behind a great number of majestic mountains.
The valley is an orchid found in the marsh, a true discovery of this area that will induce you to a relaxing state through its landscapes transporting you away from the modern world. When appearing in front of your eyes, hidden amongst mountains, it unfolds presenting an enormous extension and an unforgettable view immersed in the absolute silence of the mountain range.
Nevertheless, Las Leñas is not meant to be a place only for the winter: ‘Las Leñas a todo Verano’ (during the summer) offers the possibility of doing rafting, kayak, windsurf, canoeing, horse rides and excursions in 4×4 vehicles, among many other activities.
Those who prefer to bond with nature will have the possibility to visit the Cave of the Tunduques, White Lagoon, Hidden Lagoon or deep crystal clear rivers and water streams formed by defrosted water from the mountains.
The Cavern of the Witches, as the name indicates, is an extraordinary place where the world seems to display a thousand different figures and forms. Many travellers come straight from San Rafael exclusively to attend this spectacle. This formation contains an interesting history filled with magic: in distant times, two white women were held hostage by a local tribe. The women managed to escape and took refuge in the cavern, leaving during the nights searching for food. When the tribe entered the cavern in search of the women, two great owls flew right out the entrance. The legend tells that the women had become the birds.
Located 65 kms. from the city, at the top of a windy plain, the entrance to the cavern can be seen. Once the hole in the rock is crossed, the climate changes completely. Inside, there’s neither summer nor winter, nor day or night. The temperature stays constant around 9°C and the darkness is absolute. It has more than 3000 meters of galleries, through different rock layers and levels.
Entering towards the earth’s core, stalactites and stalagmites will show themselves in diverse forms, dimensions and colours, plaguing the numerous rooms. The Virgin’s room, which is the main one, reflects the work of a million years in peculiar and strange figures.
Malargüe has, as well, two important ecological reserves of great attractiveness, the Provincial Reserve Lagoon of Llancanelo being one of them. In delicate and ecological balance, this reserve is a perfect place to make photographic safaris, or to watch birds and enjoy the enchantment of nature. During the warmest months, the reserve calls out for nature and fills with a multiplicity of flora and native fauna, which comprises a true visual show. A vast amount of different birds species take shelter in this place for a rest during migrations, and the lagoon gets populated by an extremely important aquatic fauna that conforms a true genetic bank.
The Provincial Reserve Payunia presents extreme beauty, naturally fragile, having an ecosystem that can be easily disturbed. This place lodges varied fauna and it shelters species like the guanaco, and the grey fox among others. Both reserves are places dedicated to life, opening its doors for a memorable visit.
The south of Mendoza offers attractive possibilities, and is worthwhile to visit. Dare to explore this place.