Las Yungas is a wonderful landscape that breaks through Salta, a touristic province in the north of Argentina. In general, Salta is known for its arid landscapes with dry weather, but Las Yungas issues imposing with its majestic green and damp scenery and great biodiversity. In this article, you can read more about this amazing place and find some advice about living an adventure there.
About the place
Las Yungas is a region of the mountain´s jungle that is born in Perú and end up in Argentina as an extension of The Amazonas. In Argentina, this is located in the north, crossing the provinces of Jujuy, Salta, and Tucumán, where two types of ecosystems, dry and wet, mix up creating amazing biodiversity of flora and fauna. The mountains can reach 4.800 meters high, and you can see the difference of nature when you are on the top because the ground, vegetation, and climate have the characteristics of a forest instead of the jungle that you can see in the plain.
In 2002, the Yungas Biosphere Reserve was incorporated into the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO (United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Las Yungas’s ecosystem represents 1% of the surface of Argentina, but it has 50% of the country’s biodiversity. You can find here a mixture of different flora and fauna, even unknown to most people.
Las Yungas in Salta
Salta is a touristic city of Argentina, well known for its wonderful landscapes. But, in general, the most common destinies are located in the hottest and driest area of the province. Las Yungas appears defiant in the middle of these, with the climate and ecosystem of a jungle. I will tell you the truth, there are few tourism agencies that provide this kind of service, but anyway you can find one not only in the capital of Salta but also in the near localities: Metán and Rosario de la Frontera. In my case, I had to travel by bus from Salta Capital to Metán where I met with the guide that I had previously contacted by phone. You can buy a ticket at Central Bus where you find different travel companies. The trip lasts about two hours.
Venture into nature
As I referred in the title, it is an adventure trip, so the first thing that you have to know is that you will need a guide to move into the jungle because it is not the most common place for tourist, so it preserves its natural characteristics, and that is a wonderful thing for people who enjoy nature, but it means that you can get into dangerous places too if you do not know the area. I wanted to be absolutely in contact with nature, so in those days, I decided to stay in a place named “El Crestón” that have cabins near the mountains. But you have to know that you will not have the most comfortable accommodations, I mean, sleeping on an airbed, bathing in a precarious shower and without phone signal. On the other hand, you can enjoy the purest air and landscapes along the day, getting away from distractions and connecting with nature and yourself. Obviously, you can always choose a place to stay downtown and get into nature every day, but I do not recommend it, because you never know exactly how the weather would be, so you would want to take advantage of each minute.
Let´s talk about the weather
As well as the combination of ecosystems, It is a mix between warm and wet in summer and cold in winter. But based on my experience, it could change suddenly against all odds. Even it is different depending on the altitude, so you can feel cold in the valley and hot on the top of the mountain. One thing is true: it usually rain, and when this happened, the ground does not get dry quickly due to the amount of vegetation, and in that situation, you cannot climb any mountain because it is dangerous. On the other hand, when the ground dries up, the atmosphere becomes perfect to go trekking. If it is a sunny day, it is desirable hiking and climbing mountains really early in the morning, because it is really hot on the top, along with the exercise you are doing.
Activities that you can do
You can enjoy sightseeing at any temperature, even you can see different landscapes, and discover a lot of plant species (there are 3.000 approximately). On my trip, I could try the fruits of some shrub and trees, but make sure that you can eat them (the guide told me a trick: if birds eat it, so you can eat it too). You will not see many animals, except by birds or lizards, because in general, they keep away from humans, but it is supposed that there live yaguaretés, tigers, monkeys, tapirs, and deers.
You can do it on foot or by bike. I especially recommend a popular mountain named “La Media-Luna” in the locality of San José de Metán, because the way is delimited, so it is easier to arrive at the top, where you can find a criss-cross and see the limit between it and the nearest locality, Rosario de la Frontera.
Each year, Las Yungas receives a lot of bird lovers that travel there trying to find a new species. Actually, there is a registration of 311 species of feathered creatures, in this zone. In my case, I saw: buzzards, toucans, wild pigeons, turkeys, falcons, and others with their particular names.
You can go downtown and go to the well known “peñas” that are a mixture of restaurants and bars, where you can eat delicious food like empanadas, humitas, tamales, drink good wine and listen to traditional music, for a low cost.
It is a quiet place to connect with nature and yourself. You will learn a lot about nature. About its silent, strength, cycle and power. It is not commonplace to travel, so it preserves its ecosystem so pure. It is majestic and there you will feel tiny in such immensity. There you can keep yourself far away from external noises and listen to your inner voice. I am sure that if you go there you will come back feeling totally different.
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