Tuesday 22 August 2023

Valle Fertil and Ischigualasto National Park


On the way to Villa San Agostin, just as we had turned one of the sharp bends in the road, my dad unexpectedly pulled aside. At first, I didn’t know what was going on and thought the car had had a breakdown until Dan, almost hopping with excitement, explained to me and my befuddled sister that we had just done 1,000 km since leaving Santiago in Chile! Only 39,000 kms to go! Go Chiquita!

The day after, we left the dusty town and entered Valley Fertil to go climbing. As we were searching for the routes, and heading completely the wrong direction, we stumbled across a mountain stream. We stopped for my dad to figure out where the climbs are, where me and my sister had a cooling splash about in the pools. The hills were covered in giant cactuses and we stopped to take pictures.

The climb was easy but had a couple of reachy moves. I was ecstatic to reach the top especially given this was my first granite climb. The rock was sharp but gave good hand holds and was almost edging you upwards onto the top of the climb.

On our second day, we visited the Ischigualasto Park, a park famous for the oldest dinosaur finds in the world as well as the otherworldly landscape including the Valley of the Moon. We went on a 3-hour tour with loads of other cars. The tour had five stops, most of them to look at the amazing and diverse landscapes, such as the almost perfectly round balls of rock and a submarine-shaped rock formation, and a rock named El Hongo (which means the mushroom in Spanish). My favourite part of the tour was when we went to a museum which showed what a paleontologist’s camp would look like and explained how the dinosaur bones were found and recovered.

After the tour, we went to another museum which had the bones of dinosaurs found in the park and explained lots of things about the prehistory of the park and the present day’s wildlife, some of which we saw on the tour.

There were loads of models of dinosaurs that weren’t in display cabinets and showed their real-life size. The park museum had more than just prehistoric dinosaurs to display though – we saw the ancestors of modern day mammals and reptiles and an interesting graph that showed that the first ancestors of mammals had been alive before dinosaurs but their population was in decline until after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

At the end of a long, hot and dusty day, we had a refreshing ice cream and a swim in our hotel pool!



  1. Sounds like you really earned your ice creams, well done!

  2. great climbing! and a vivid report, thank you, Sal