The Kingdom of the Wind

We explore the mysterious twists slowly carved by the wind, and then jump into an adventure on a rubber raft challenging the rage of the Jachal River.

La Cuesta del Viento (the wind slope) is the long way surrounding almost the entire dam bearing the same name. The ideal way of exploring this place is on our own car. This way, we can stop at the most attractive spots, jump the rail bordering the road and throw ourselves into the exploration of the sedimentary crannies carved by the wind. We can discover the nooks of the lake that give shape to little crystal-clear bays where hundreds of black ducks frolic and fly away in fear at the water level before our presence.

The lake shore is a nice spot to visit on foot going up the low sedimentary pink hills all around us. On the other side of these hills, we can discover a small peninsula spreading like a small rocky arm that might not exist tomorrow.

The road bordering the dam crosses the gate section and becomes a rubble way in good condition, with countless quite steep ascents and descents that go across a landscape resembling the Valle de la Luna (valley of the moon), but with higher mountains. If we are driving a truck, we can get off the road and move along the sandy dry bed of a stream and reach the coast (this place can also be reached on foot). There we discover solitary beaches with thousands of smooth colorful stone fragments very similar to ceramics.

  • The mysterious twists

    The mysterious twists

  • Crystal-clear bays

    Crystal-clear bays

  • The rage of the Jachal River

    The rage of the Jachal River

  • The low sedimentary pink hills

    The low sedimentary pink hills

During the hike –and at random- we come across some cliffs that seem to have pulled down the night before. Amidst this arid land, we also find some dry shrubs, hardened and bent in the direction in which the wind blows, and soils endlessly cracking into web patterns.

Near the sign post reading Templos del Viento by the side of the road, a wild ravine leading to some natural two-kilometer-deep caves begins. It is recommended to get into the Cueva del Indio (the Indian cave) in company with a local guide, as the walls get narrower and the cave gets smaller to the extent that we have to go through certain stretches dragging our bodies on the ground, only to get out into broader galleries which in turn narrow down once again.

Amidst pools and whirlpools

The village called Rodeo lies five kilometers from the dam. This town is the tourist hub of the area. There is a wide range of hostelries, cabins and camping sites, which provide various adventure tourism alternatives, such as mountain biking, horse-riding, 4x4 rides, fishing outings, hiking excursions and rafting along the Jachal River.

The rafting starts near the dam gates. The narrow 6-meter-wide canyon running between 25-meter-high walls gives shape to one of the most beautiful contexts in the country to practice this activity. Before starting, the guide and leader of the raft gives a paddle to each adventurer and explains the commands: “stop”, “right”, “left”, “forward” and “backwards”. Preparations take time: adventurers must don a neoprene suit, rubber boots, a helmet and a life-jacket.

Everything starts quietly, with a soft jolting cushioned by the rubber. But when we have all lost our fear and everything looks like a game, the plot unfolds. The “treacherous” guide leads the raft towards a submerged rock at full speed and, as we pass over it, we jump from our seats as if we were on a bus bumping into a pothole. Ten minutes afterwards, we get soaked to the skin and water reaches our ankles inside the boat (there are outlets for drainage).

The Jachal is a cyclothymic river whose rage explodes into concentric twirls at times, and immediately pacifies into happy pools. What happens if we capsize? It is always possible, but it actually depends on the trippers. The guide usually asks if everyone agrees. Then, the raft will turn upside down and there will be nothing to be afraid of. The river is not deep and its volume is not out of control. The shore lies a few meters away and the life-jacket will protect us from the rocks.

The speedy tour goes along twelve kilometers and the speed reached ranges between 30 and 40 kilometers per hour.

Autor Julián Varsavsky Fotografo Marcelo Sola

Contact of the excursion or tour

San Juan Rafting

, San Juan, San Juan, Agentina

Phone Phone: +54 264-4276143 Cell phone Cell phone: +54 264-6618407

DifficultyDifficulty: 3 and 3 + (suitable for beginners). There is no age limit and it is not necessary that trippers can swim.
DurationDuration: Over 1 hour
How to get hereHow to get here: From the city of San Juan, this site is reached along Route 40 until Jachal, and then along Route 150 up to Rodeo (164 kilometers until Jachal and then 44 kilometers more to Rodeo). At that point, Cuesta del Viento begins. If it is a one-day visit from San Juan, we recommend that visitors go back through Talacasto (Route 436) in order to see other sceneries.


Things to do in San Juan

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