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  • Writer's pictureMarion Marquardt

Along Ruta 40 to the north – the nature reserves Ischigualasto and Talampaya

Getting used to the daily routine of traveling as a trio is a challenge for us - nothing works without teamwork
We follow Ruta 40 into the north of Argentina
Breathtaking landscapes and bizarre rock formations in the Ischigualasto nature reserve
The Talampaya National Park with its red canyon reminds us of Monument Valley


We are back in South America, more precisely in Uruguay, at the TerraVentura campsite. Where our trip ended about 11 months ago. Now there are three of us. Our son Diego is almost 7 months old when we arrive. We left our Toyota Landcruiser in Uruguay. Now we want to travel further north - or rather, try to. We have no idea whether traveling as three and everyday life in a camper will work. We know how exhausting long-term travel is, with all the daily tasks. With a baby on board, the days are a lot busier. And of course we also have to consider more circumstances when choosing a route, such as altitude, weather, malaria areas, etc.

The first few days in the camper are honestly really hard. Although we are "only" at TerraVentura, we first have to get used to the limited space ourselves. With Diego there are also new routines that we have to find and get used to. There will be a separate blog about how we organize ourselves. Suffice it to say - we have been on the road for over 4 weeks now and it feels good.


Reisen mit Baby mit Kind in Südamerika
Who will be the boss?

We are not changing anything about the general route that we had in mind as a couple. We are going north, to Argentina and Chile. We will follow Ruta Nacional 40, with a few detours of course. At 5,301 km, it is the longest national road in Argentina and one of the longest highways in the world. The route also means that we will have to cross high passes (up to 5,000 m) and sleep on plateaus. But that is still a long way off. First we have to drive west. That means about 1,500 km of road with nothing to see. With Diego on board we can't drive more than 4 hours a day - spread over two stages. The road is long...

We are both happy when the first highlight finally arrives - the Ischigualasto nature reserve. It is located in Argentina's semi-desert and is characterized by well-preserved fossils that are around 230 million years old. Among other things, some of the oldest known dinosaur finds come from this formation, most notably the Ischigualasto-Saurus. However, we are more interested in the interesting landscapes and bizarre rock formations. The tour through the park is guided. You drive in your own vehicle in a convoy - with selected stops for photography. Not really our thing, we like to travel on our own. But with Diego on board, it's not so bad. We still have to find out what we can expect from him and ourselves. The tour takes us right through the park in the evening hours, when the light is beautiful for photography. We are blown away by the amazing rock formations and the colors.


Reisen mit Kind auf der Panamericana Naturreservat Ischigualasto Highlights
We fly through Ischigualasto natural reserve

Our next stop takes us to the far more famous Talampaya National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the Triassic sediments that had accumulated in the depths of the earth over millions of years were exposed during the formation of the Andes. The canyon is the main attraction of Talampaya National Park. The power of nature is reflected in the reddish walls, which were formed by water and wind. Here, too, there are only guided tours, this time by bus. Unfortunately, we are pretty unlucky with the weather. Normally it is sunny and dry in winter. Unfortunately, we have heavy cloud cover at around 5°C. At least the light is great for photos. The red rock formations remind us of Monument Valley in the USA. Unfortunately, we only have a short time to take photos at each stop - for the standard tourist who quickly takes a selfie, that's enough :-)

Overall, however, we are somewhat disappointed, especially in view of the truly horrendous entrance fee by Argentinian standards (Editor's note: Of course, foreign tourists always pay several times the price of locals, which in our opinion is fine considering the country's economy. Nevertheless, the entrance fee is disproportionate to what is on offer). However, we managed to take a few good photos.

For us, the two nature reserves mark the real start of our trip and also confirmation that it continues to work. We are excited about the next highlights in northern Argentina.

Reisen mit Kind Nationalpark Talampaya Highlights Argentinien Panamericana

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