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Province of Tucumán

This park was created in 1995 to protect an area of montane habitat. It occupies some 10,000 ha of slope from 800 to 5200 meters above sea level at the southern end of the Sierra del Aconquija, the easternmost range of mountains west of the great chaco-pampean flats.

The borders of the park are the rivers Las Pavas and Jaya which meet at the eastern corner. The western limit is the ridge which is also the interprovincial border (Tucumán/Catamarca). The highest point within the park is the peak of Cerro de la Bolsa at 5,200 metres above sea level.
The montane forests, here near their southern extremity, are impoverished versions of those further north but marvellous for all that. Above are the alder and podocarp woods starting at 1500 m, the austral wallnut, and the floor of the woods is cloaked in red lilies in due season. Yet higher one encounters the upland grasslands with occasional clumps of Polylepis at the 2000 m elevation. Up at the 3000 m level clumps of bromeliads cover the vertical rock faces, lupins and cushion plants (Yareta) are even higher up.
This is the zone where the puna tinamou is to be found, and the tucuman mountain finch, of very limited distribution, until recently thought to be an endemic of the Aconquija range. Pumas, guanacos and several strange rodents including an underground tuco-tuco are found in the park.

Near the crest of the range there is an archaeological site of major importance where Inca ruins are found, the basis for studies into that period in northern Argentina. These are the Ciudadcita or Pueblo Viejo (4,300 m) dated at about 1480 of our era, which consists of two built up areas joined by a paving-stone path. They containg circular, rectangular or square edifications built of dry-stone, with patios, plazas and look-out sites dominating the valley and pedemont flats. These are the remains of the southern inca empire, in their province of Collasuyu and are believed to have been the site of different aspects of their social, political and economic organisation, where the symbolic, ritual, astronomical and political is ever present. There are theories that it may have had some sort of military function connected with the defense of territory, resources and settlements of the highlands and lands to the west against incursions by warring neighbours from the eastern plains, not then under Inca rule.

South from the city of Tucuman take route 38 as far as Concepción (80 km). There westwards for 14 km to Alpachiri. Further west along a dreadful dirt road for 10 km to a place called La Jaya which is on the border of the national park.

Due to its recent creation there are absolutely no services in the park. A badly marked trail leads up through the park to the topmost reaches.


Thanks to APN - Administración de Parques Nacionales



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