The 4WD vehicle driving us to our destination is a part of the prologue of the adventure we are about to experience. We head southwards along Route 40, towards a hidden reserve amidst the Andes Mountain Range called Manqui Malal –“the condor's cliff” in the Pehuenche tongue–, where we are expected in order to go on an authentic adventure travel circuit.
After 30 kilometers, we reached the spot located to one side of the Chihuido Slope. The 25-hectare venue is surrounded by over 500 meters of cliffs, ideal for the practice of climbing and rappelling. In the distance, we feel the sound of a cascade that falls abruptly towards the ground.
After all due introductions, we set out following a trail that invites us to hike. Facundo Cara was the name of our guide who soon pointed the land features that reveal the age of the land. He explained that the area used to stand under the sea waters millions of years ago. The incredible amount of fossils appearing before us is a faithful evidence of this fact. Some of them include caracoles, oysters, ammonites y and the remains of multishaped creatures from the Jurassic Mesozoic period. A real paleontological hike at every step!
The warm and curious conversation made us lose track of time as we walked down the interpretation path. We are soon astonished as we come across a roaring 30-meter-high cascade. Its freshness invades us and we do not hesitate to take a shower.
Hiking became more intense as we went up one of the cliffs. Then we put on our harness and helmet and began climbing. The natural stage, ideal for beginners, is about 50 meters high and features various access routes.
Once the safety elements have been fixed, we began to ask for rope, as we started to gain height with the assistance provided by the guide below us.
When practicing this discipline, it is important to try the biggest strength with the hinder extremities and to use the hands and the arms only as points of support. Our aim was the top and there we were bound. The directions provided by the guide were right and accurate and we respected every detail. Only a little more effort and before we noticed, we were reaching the border of the cliff. We sat down to observe the impressive panoramic view from that point.
Some vultures were flying around us. We took a rest and regained our strength without thinking about anything in particular. We just mingled with nature.
After a short rest, we started to go down. Our guide repeated the rappelling technique for us. A few jumps and the most stressed rigor made us enjoy the descent. By then, adrenaline was coming out of our pores.
Once on solid ground, we had to cross the meltdown stream using the Tyrolean rope. Our host gave us a break and before we could notice, we were already in the air beholding everything around.
After the Tyrolean crossing, we went on hiking up to the rest area, where a smoky goat was expecting us as a reward for having dared to feel this experience in our own flesh. "No wonder Malargüe
is known as the national capital of adventure travel”, was our reflection.
After lunch, we said our goodbyes to our hosts and the magic of this Andean scenery, whose perfection may be discovered by those who accept the challenge to tour around it and to experience is as a territory to be conquered
Duration: half a day or all day, according to the program chosen.
Opening hours: Open all day
Tour type: alpinism, hiking, climbing, rappelling, adventure travel
How to get here: Manqui Malal lies only 30 km. to the South of the City of Malargüe following Route 40. Visitors may reach it on their own or by hiring a tourist operator.
Bear in mind: Manqui Malal offers the following services:
Dining-room to enjoy the typical dishes of Malargüe, such as goat, asado and tortas fritas, to name a few. Camping sites and shelters for 4-5 people. Showers and lavatories.
In the summer, wear sun lotion and sunglasses.
In the winter, wear warm clothes and proper footwear for hiking in the snow.