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Barreal, San Juan
The beautiful town of Barreal, in the province of San Juan, is seeing more and more visitors daily, and for good reason. This small community, with less than 3,000 inhabitants, sits among important, flowing rivers and gorgeous mountain chains, part of which make it such a desirable place to visit. Throw in some very agreeable weather and a notoriously friendly population, and you’ve got a prime place to visit and relax.
Accommodation is plentiful, from cabin complexes to lodges to campgrounds, and plenty of more luxurious establishments, such as La Querencia, Posada San Eduardo (a horse ranch) and El Rancho de Carmen. Whatever your budget and tastes, there is something for you here.
This quaint town is a bit of an oasis in a province that has some quite barren areas. Dirt roads and rivers flow through the orchards, vineyards and lavender in the area, and roads are lined with proud poplar trees. It is picturesque, to say the least.
Only 30 kilometers away is one of the most famous surrounding barren areas — Pampa Leoncito — where the extensive white clay plain is not only a sight to behold in and of itself, but it is also a popular place to practice carrovelismo. In this sport, windcars are raced around the plain, much like windsurfing on a pleasant bay.
Back in the village of Barreal itself, you can find a mulitude of activities, most of which are based in the breathtaking outdoor surroundings of the town. Go hiking, rafting, climb a small (or large) mountain, or go angling in one of the plentiful rivers. For those who love photography, you can even go on a photographic safari, giving you many opportunities to snap that shutter.
You can also explore the charming Paseo de los Enamorados (Lovers’ Walk), whose endpoint is a carved heart, or head over to the Archaeological Museum to see two mummies that were found in the area. For more information about other areas in San Juan, visit this Argentina Travel Guide.
This town is probably best, however, for lazy walks through its back roads, taking breaks along the dirt roads under the shade of a weeping willow, soaking in the majestic foothills and mountains that loom in the background. Few streets in this town have names, but locals will be happy to give directions to anywhere you need to go.
The beauty of it all is that it isn’t quite discovered, yet, and it would be advisable to come see this sleepy town before the rest of the world does. For now, it remains largely untouched and dreamily perfect.