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Stretching across the center of the province of La Rioja, the Valle de Famatina is an important part of the province, with a rich cultural history and unmatched beauty. The valley is comprised of several different communities, such as Chilecito, San Nicolás, Los Sarmientos, Tilimuquim Malligasta, Anguinan and Nonogasta, among others. The valley is also often referred to as Valle de Antinaco – Los Colorados. By any name, it is still one of the most attractive places in this part of Argentina, which is saying a lot, considering the inherent beauty that Argentina is known for.
Famatina, La Rioja
Just like a postcard, the landscapes of the Valle de Famatina are picture perfect, with towering mountains, vibrant colors, and deep, winding valleys. It pure air will feel refreshing to anyone, and add to that the exquisite wines and homemade sweets, along with colorful local handicrafts, and you have a recipe for heaven, or at least something like it. The valley has an almost palpable, vibrant connection with the spiritual, something that comes from hundreds of years of rich culture inhabiting the region.
While adventure tourism in general is a good reason to come to this area, there are many different ways to enjoy the valley, and many different specific sights that should be visited. If adventure is what you are looking for, try paragliding for unparalleled views, or go on a horseback trek, explore the land on mountain bikes, or simply go out hiking.
Chilecito, which you can read more about in this Argentina Travel Guide, provides opportunities to learn about the local mining industry through its cable car tours, where you can visit “La Mexicana” mine. Nonogasta is full of culture, and shouldn’t be missed, and the Cuesta de Miranda’s snaking roads lead you up to El Bordo Atravesado, from where you will enjoy 360º views of the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges. On your way down, you will have a birds eye view of Villa Unión, a small, picturesque city.
For the pious traveler, religious tourism is a thriving part of this region. There are several chapels and churches in the valley, some built as early as the mid-1700s, and each with a unique, colonial beauty that will undoubtedly be appreciated by any visitor, and religious centers tend to be the communities of San Nicolás and Los Sarmientos.
As this area has such a rich history, various archaeological museums have been established to teach about the cultural past of Valle de Famatina. The old city of Anguinan is a great place to start learning about the area, although there are plenty of other archaeological sites and museums to see, as well.
The region’s temperate weather makes it a great destination year round. Depending on the exact location in the valley you’re going to, you can come in on RN 75, 60, 40 or 11, or some combination of the above. It is about 230 kilometers from the capital city of La Rioja.