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kwongmei Perito Moreno - A travel report by Sharon
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Perito Moreno,  Argentina - flag Argentina -  Santa Cruz
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kwongmei's travel reports

Cueva De Las Manos

  5 votes
At 5am, we arrived at the bus terminal in Comodoro Rivadavia. We quickly lined up for getting the tickets to Perito Moreno. The bus leaves at 5:30am. Everything went as planned. We were really thankful to our spanish friend we met in Puerto Madryn!

The way to the rock arts
The way to the rock arts
Traveling on your own with 'public' transportation during off season has its downsides. Long distrance buses are not going very often, especially the famous Route 40 where many parts are still unpaved and no buses except those organised 4WDs are running during winter. Unless there is no time and money pressure, you can stay and wait for the next bus a few days to a week later. The spanish guy and his friend we met in Puerto Madryn originally planned to go from El Calafate up to Bariloche via Route 40. However, the bus was full and they changed their full itinerary to the other side of country (Route 3).

We were there on November 16, 2008. The guy in the travel agent, Zoyen Turismo, told us that the high season just started a day ago that they now offer an additional half day tour to the cave on odd number days without returning to Puerto Moreno (P.S. On even number days, there are full day excursions including some trekking in that area). After the visit, bus of Chalten Travel will pick you up and continue to El Chalten. Sound perfect!

Another option to El Chalten via Route 40 is that you can take buses of Taqsa Patagonia, whose office located directly at the bus station, But buses schedule less frequently. Twice per week, you may also fly with Lago to El Chalten. Finally, there are always buses going to El Calafate first via Route 3, but it is a full day ride. It took us 3-4 hours to figure out all these things and find a place to stay after arrival.

During high season, more people from big cities like Buenos Aires will come to this place for jobs. And they speak English.

Favourite spots:
Negative hands in different colors
Negative hands in different colors
Cueva De Las Manos (Caves of the hands), one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is located in Rio Pinturas canyon between Perito Moreno and Bajo Caracoles. It is so named as the kind of artworks were predominantly made by the shape of hands in some 9000 years ago. Stencil was the earliest technique they used by putting their hands on the wall and blowing the paint over the hand, very likely from their mouths, to produce a negative impression. Later on, paintings on positive hand impressions, humans and animals (supposed to be hunting scenes) as well as more abstract art can be seen.

What's really great:
hand on animal
hand on animal
The rock arts are well preserved by the surrounding canyon and therefore the colors are vivid. I saw paintings in black, white, red, yellow and three negative hands in light blue/green which is from copper. Apparently, they didnt know that it is highly toxic to put it on the hands. Some paintings leave a lot of rooms for interpretation. The interpretation told by the guide is the indigenous inhabitants believed in a way of curing themselves by putting their hands on the animals in order to pass their sickness to them. Another picture might show that if a man looks at that creature for too long, he will suffer from impotence...well, it is a matter of believing.

We stayed in Hotel El Austral which was clean and spacious, but I would still recommend you to check out other more reasonable options. There is only one main street in town with a handful of hotels. So, it shouldnt take too long to go through them. By the time we arrived, most of the places were filled.

Sign of Restaurant El Buen Sabor
Sign of Restaurant El Buen Sabor
El Buen Sabor, we passed by a couple of times but still overlooked it, has no name shown on the entrance rather a big plate standing aside. When we got in, the owner explained us in Spanish what on the today menu was without showing us the menu. Since we didnt understand, she finally showed us the menu, but the dishes are without prices. Anyway, we ordered what were recommended and the steak was well done! The bill was a number written down on the napkin. And it was fun watching the loyal customers gathering and eating there. Good local atmosphere and highly recommended.

Address: Av. San Martin 1494, Perito Moreno, Santa Cruz, Argentina

Published on Wednesday January 14th, 2009

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