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El Leoncito National Park

El Leoncito National Park

El Leoncito National Park is located in San Juan Province in Argentina. El Leoncito National Park covers and area of 760 km2 or 76000 hectares.



Location: San Juan Province  Map

Area: 760 kmĀ²





Description of El Leoncito National Park


El Leoncito National Park is a natural preserve located in a very secluded area of Argentina known as mountains of Sierra del Tontal. The closest human settlements include town of Barreal 30 km North of the area and Calingasta situated 70 km North of the park entrance. El Leoncito National Park protected area was created on September 18, 2002 to preserve deserts, dry savannah and Andes mountains, home of guanaco, llama and other dromedaries. Until that time since 1994 the park area along with many other Argentinian partks was closed to the public so that the country's protected bioreserves would recover from the devastating human activity.


El Leoncito National Park is famous for being a home to peregrine falcon, the fastest bird on Earth. In addition to flora and fauna, El Leoncito National Park protects ancient archeological (parts of the Incan Road) and paleontological digs. One of the most popular historical site here is Leoncito ranch house. El Leoncito National Park has very low precipitations with annual average rainfall of just 200 mm. Thus lack of precipitation and lack of clouds made El Leoncito National Park a logic site for construction of an Observatory in the 90's of the 20th century. In total it allows over 300 days a year of clear skies. This area contains Felix Aguilar Observatory (formerly known as Astronomical Observatory Dr. Carlos U. Cesco) and Astronomic the Leoncito (CASLEO). It is one of the largest scientific sites in Argentina designated to explore space.


El Leoncito National Park contains a network of several hiking trails leading to the most picturesque places in the area including waterfalls, observation decks and several streams. Most of trais are easy to hike, but you should keep in mind that temperatures in the desert can be quiet severe. Dress accordingly and wear plenty of fresh water. Additionally El Leoncito National Park has several designated low quality camping sites reserved for the tourists. 






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