Trekking and rappelling at Salto del Tabaquillo

Immersed in a thick slope, we went on an exhaustive moutain trekking excursion to a refreshing cascade. We encountered the adventure in every step we made...

Obviously, we accepted the challenge and therefore, after some very thin and light pizza at the pub called “El Faro”–opposite the Marqués de Sobremonte Square–, we retired to our hotel thinking of the adventure awaiting the following day.

Fortunately, the day broke splendidly. A radiant sun foretold a fine day. The guides from the agency –Cristián and Federico– were waiting for us with the engine on.

The trekking excursion would be up to Salto del Tabaquillo, an 18-meter-high cascade located an hour and a half's trek up the El Molino stream ravine.

The estanciera –reinforced vehicle with double traction and Tornado engine with 6 cilinders– started to go up the Av. del Sol slope, then the Av. de los Césares and it continued along Route 5 for a few meters up to the signpost indicating the entrance to the Rincón del Paraíso Municipal Reserve, which we accessed to the park ranger house.

  • 18-meter-high cascade

    18-meter-high cascade

  • A successful climbing

    A successful climbing

  • An ambitious trekking

    An ambitious trekking

  • For lovers of great emotions

    For lovers of great emotions

  • An unforgettable photo

    An unforgettable photo

  • Important data

    Important data

Before starting to trek, we were lucky enough to enjoy the show that takes place in the park every day, when Isolina Saldaña –National Park Ranger– feeds a black-chested buzzard-eagle and a group of wild foxes.

Much attention should be paid to the moment in which the eagle resolves to come down for its prey –meat– which Isolina leaves on a fountain, as this kind of birds can develop as speed of 120 km/h. For such reason, it passes by too fast for the human eye to catch a glimpse of it.

While we were waiting for that moment, we stopped to watch the friendly foxes that would wander among the people as the Park Ranger gave us a chat to make us feel aware of the care of the environment.

Suddenly, with its outspread wings, the eagle said "here I am", and in a fleeting flight, it took away the piece of meat. The audience was speechless as they saw the shrewd look and the streamlined body of the bird which imposed its beauty from the heights.


Time for a Walk

After the show performed by mother nature and Isolina –of course–, we stopped at the reserve restaurant to buy a snack to have lunch when we reached the cascade. In addition to the classical ham and cheese sandwiches, you can buy vegetable pies, small pizzas or breaded steaks sandwiches. A half-a-liter bottle of mineral water or soda are enough for the whole day.

From there, we went along a small path to the El Molino stream, where we started the trekking.

This is a technical walk because, in addition to the lower limbs, the upper limbs are also used in some stretches of the circuit, and it has a three-degree difficulty, because it demands a greater effort than usual walks demand. However, there is not an age limit, provided that the person is fit.

From the 1,150 mosl, we ascended to the 1,480 in a total length of 6 km through the mountain range slope, by the stream.

The guides provided us with explanations about the flora and fauna that cross our way. We had to be careful with the foxtails, a kind of weed with cutting blades on their leaves that might hurt us.

Among the trees, specimens of molles de beber, a kind of tree which wood is very hard and which gives of a fruit resembling a lentil. It is used to make a high alcoholic content beverage called aloja.

The trekking became more and more complicated. As we ascend, we had to show our ability and balance not to fall into the waters of the stream as we jumped from one rock to another. Afterwards, we came across some considerably high rocks that we had to climb. The important thing in these cases is to concentrate in each movement and step where the guides indicate us in order to have a successful climbing.

“Come on! We are not far” said Cristián, as we started to hear the "murmur" of the waterfall.

A few more meters and the effort gives out its reward. The Salto del Tabaquillo falls noisily on a ten-meter-diameter pool. Spectacular! Some species of tabaquillos, cinnamon-colored bushes on which barks they have sheets similar to the tobacco leaves.

The photographic shots took hold of the scene. Later on, we made a picnic by the cascade. After having put our senses to rest in the marvelous natural environment, we resolved to go back. The misssion is accomplished.

”Do you dare to rappel”?

That was the question when we were on our way back. It was a long time since I had not practiced that technique of descending with ropes. The last time I had practiced it was in the Esquel Natural Wall. Taking advantage of the new invitation, we let ourselves be carried away.

This is an excellent alternative activity indicated for lovers of great emotions. It consists in descending along a vertical wall over 45 meter high. It is important to state that it is not necessary to have previous experience before doing this.

"Cordobés” arranged everything: ropes, harnesses, carabiners, “8” descenders, and his knowledge to explain the descent technique in the best way.

“The most important thing is to let yourself backwards, your legs open and straight as the rope is loosened”. We would descend using the “top rop” system, and we had the safety support provided by another guide –Cristián– who is in control of the rope.

As we descended, we caught a wonderful panoramic sight of the whole Conlara valley that surrounds Villa de Merlo.

A few short jumps letting the rope out are enough to gain confidence and rapidly reach the solid ground. The descent is fascinating. Adrenaline is manifested in its purest state, but unfortunately, there is always an end.

We continued trekking back and finally arrived where we had parked the vehicle. At the end of the excursion, I was exhausted, but at the same time very happy for the moments we had experienced.

Cristián and Federico are very friendly and they know very well how to deal with tourists, respecting everybody's time. Therefore, when we reached the hotel door, I said a grateful good-bye, promising that some day I would go back to Merlo to share more adventures.

Autor Marcelo Sola Fotografo Marcelo Sola

Contact of the excursion or tour


Cimarrón Turismo Aventura

Av. Del Sol 300 (5881) Villa de Merlo, San Luis

Tel: +54 2656-478934

DurationDuration: 5 hours

Location

Activities and tours in Villa de Merlo

Hotels and accommodations in Villa de Merlo

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