How would you describe Catamarca?
A/: Catamarca is a province in Northern Argentina. Geographically speaking, it is a tectonic depression that gave rise to a great diversity of spectacular biomes, which today turn it into a landscape jewel boasting the most varied natural diversity.
Catamarca, which translates as “the fortress of the hillside” from the Quechua language, gladly welcomes visitors who come to see its salt flats, the Andes mountains, the yungas, valleys and gorges, rivers, deserts and volcanoes.
The regional cuisine offers a wide selection of options that range from altitude wines to whet the appetite, olives, nuts and cheese to start with, frangollo, mote and jigote among the main course dishes, to an assortment of typical sweets like limes, quince preserves, figs and nectarines in syrup in a perfect blend with cheese and honey, and of course, the exquisite sugar-preserved nuts. The regional pastries are found in the company of infusions: rosquetes, capias, gaznates and tortas de turrón. The value added is provided by the warmth and friendliness of the locals, who welcome travelers with great enthusiasm.
What would be the top five of places to visit in Catamarca, in your opinion?
Campo de Piedra Pómez: A fascinating route in Catamarca’s Puna with special physical features and stunning sculptures in a sea of white, pink and gray stones.
Las Dunas de Tatón: As if guarding the mountains, this impressive setting is home to one of the highest dunes in the world, offering the chance to experience the magic of the desert through photographic safaris, sandboarding and offroad expeditions.
Hot Springs in the Ruta del Adobe: Both the Fiambalá Hot Springs Resort and the La Aguadita Hot Springs on RN60 offer the opportunity for visitors to dive into their mining medicinal waters, delight in an enchanting landscape and renew their energy to make the most of Catamarca.
El Shinkal de Quimivil Archeological Site: By the iconic RN40, this fortress is the most important city in the south of the Inca Empire. El Shinkal is home to 600 years of history in a renovated space specially prepared to welcome visitors.
Virgen del Valle: San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca is the land of Virgen del Valle, the national Tourism patron saint and a central figure within the province ‘s Catholic community. The worshippers’ devotion to Virgen del Valle can be surprisingly touching for the onlookers.
Campo Piedra Pomez – Catamarca
Which is Catamarca’s greatest potential that should be tapped into?
R:/ Cultural tourism is obviously among the most frequent motivating factors to travel, and it is also an aspect that needs to be further developed in our province. Our idiosyncrasy, that laid back way of walking that sets us apart from the big metropolis, our accent and intonation as we speak that clearly pinpoint the locality of origin , the blend between the native communities and the integration of foreign cultures that inhabited our territory nurturing our cultural and archeological heritage, the mixture of faiths between the worship to Virgen del Valle, the Misachicos, and the Andean gods: the Tata Inti and the Mama Quilla. The exquisite diversity of our cuisine throughout the territory, the love for the land and all the natural treasure that has been bestowed on us by our Pachamama.
Tejido Artesanal – Catamarca
A treasure trove in Catamarca?
Laguna Blanca is a small town -470 km from the capital city- that welcomes travelers who wish to explore Catamarca’s Puna. Nestled within UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve, the setting is framed by its lagoons, mountains, vicunas and flamingoes.
Beyond its biological aspect, Laguna Blanca owns a large archeological and historical value. Many sites of rock art have been discovered, especially engravings and petroglyphs in rocks and caverns belonging to the pre-Incan culture.
The traditional lifestyle is preserved in this town, as well as the techniques of artisan weaving with vicuña fibers as a key element in the identity of this area – with the community involved in the development of the tourism value chain, giving room to both women and the youth.
Laguna Blanca was selected within the “Best Tourism Villages” category in the 2023 call to represent Argentina before the World Tourism Organization.
It is truly a treasure to visit and safeguard.
Laguna Blanca – Catamarca
Which is the best time to visit Catamarca?
A/: The province may be visited throughout the year. The myth that warns against the summer – commonplace in the North of the country- is not entirely true. Catamarca is home to water courses to freshen up a few minutes away from the historic center, summer villages close to the city and services that contribute to a more pleasant experience.
It is in springtime and summertime that the province “dresses up” with its myriad of shades of green, the festivals and celebrations that give Catamarca a special and memorable touch. Autumn and winter – which, by the way, go almost unnoticed- offer amazing pictures that include unusual snow falls across the territory.
Naturally, there are exceptions. For example, when visiting the Puna, we suggest doing so between September and April, given the harsh climate conditions in winter.
Cañon Real Grande – Catamarca
Finally, what would you say to those travelers who may be considering visiting Catamarca?
A/: Catamarca invites visitors to come all year round and experience authentic moments: whether it is the excitement of surfing the Saujil dunes, walking round the crater of the Galán volcano or the serenity of contemplating a willow tree combing through the river course in the traditional summer villages.
Antofagasta de la Sierra – Catamarca
What else would you like to know?
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