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Situated in the desert and at the foot of the Velasco Mountains, La Rioja is the capital city of the province of Cuyo and is surrounded by breathtaking mountains, valleys, rivers, and lakes, produces some of Argentines most flavourful wine, and is one of the best visits in the Cuyo region.
Being in one of the desert regions of Argentina, La Rioja is warm and sunny in summer, 20C-33C, and cool and wet in winter, 5C-20C. The many rugged mountains, low valleys, lakes, and rivers, offer a range of diverse temperatures, depending on the season, and accommodate the regions outdoors activities.
The city of La Rioja is an interesting mix of old and new architecture; low houses, dated buildings, narrow streets, historical monuments, plazas, and churches display the city’s long history and strong European influence. The commercial centre, shopping areas, restaurants and nightclubs, and modern apartment buildings show off the cities new popularity and rising tourism numbers. One of the city’s major attractions is the Convento de Santo Domingo, Argentina’s oldest convent, dating back to 1623, and is the city’s only colonial building still standing. There are myriad of other churches and some good museums, and a fantastic park located just outside the city at the bottom of the Sierra de Velasco, offering great panoramic views of the area. Everyday the Mercado Artesanal de la Roja is full of local vendors selling popular artworks, regional crafts, and other regional goods for great prices.
La Rioja is also very popular for its outdoors tours and activities. There are many opportunities to go mountain walking, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, fishing, hand gliding, and paragliding, and all tours can be booked from tourism offices located in the city. For something a little more adventurous, visitors can head to Cerro de la Cruz, a peak that offers panoramic views of the Yacampis Valley as well as a hang gliding and paragliding ramp where ‘jumps’ are offered daily. During the warm months, the Dam los Sauces offers crystal clear waters that is perfect to enjoy fishing, swimming, and other water sports. La Rioja is also a wine producer in the region and there are a few wineries that visitors are able to tour the vineyards, sample local wine, and purchase wine from the wine cellars in the area.
La Rioja also hosts a few festivals during the year; in January/February the city hosts the Flokloric La Chaya, (meaning to get someone wet) similar to carnival that attracts people from around Argentina to join in the festivities. The Festival del Vinador, starting during the Villa Union’s March grape Harvest, honours local vintners through a celebration of music, dancing, and tasting of regional wines.
La Rioja offers visitors a beautiful and quaint town in the midst of the desert, a wide range of fantastic hotels, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife, and countless activities to enjoy in the outdoors all year long.
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