In the heart of Cerro Famatina one of the historical sites considered one of the most important in the world is located. In the height of mining in Argentina between 1900 and 1930, an air transport system called Cable Carril was built, a project executed by a German company. This system allowed to transport minerals from the mine “La Mejicana”, at 4,500 meters, to the city of Chilecito, in a section that exceeds 35 km in length. It was in operation until 1926 when the English, who operated this mine, left this mega engineering work, and over the years it was definitely abandoned. In the 80s the municipality of Chilecito takes over the Cable Rail, which was declared a National Historic Landmark on October 25, 1982.
Then with the advance of new technologies, roads were opened to access a double-traction vehicle.
In this way an important tourist movement originates to visit not only the La Mejicana Mine but the entire Antinaco Valley – Los Colorados, a valley that stands out for its production of vines, olive trees, and walnuts, the mythical National Route 40, Cuesta from Miranda, Chilecito, Museums, Religious Tourism, the free flight of paragliders and hang gliding across the clear and clear skies….
From, La Rioja, Córdoba and San Luis by RN 38 to Patquía, then RN 74, RN 40 to Chilecito, continue RN 40 and take RP 11 to the town of Famatina, up to this point it has asphalt.
From San Juan, on RN 40, to Villa Unión, continue on RN towards Chilecito, continue north and take RP 11 to the town of Famatina.
From the locality of Famatina and for safety it is recommended not to continue in vehicles with simple traction, and without the accompaniment of a guide in case you go in 4×4 vehicles.
Travel Agencies: La Rioja, Chilecito, or Famatina can hire the services that will take you to this spectacular landscape that the imposing Famatina has.
Service stations: Chilecito and Famatina (last points for refueling). Keep in mind that several service stations only have super gasoline, diesel (not euro), nor do they provide gas. In the city of La Rioja, Cordoba, San Juan, San Luis can load gas.
All routes are paved except for the road that will take you to the La Mejicana mine. Drive with caution on unpaved roads, and much more on the rise that exceed 2,000 meters above sea level, the amplitude ends usually freezes the rivers and streams in the area. Extreme care, do not travel at sunset or at night in areas where there are no communications.
You can get to Famatina or Chilecito by bus or minibus and from any of these points hire the authorized travel agencies.
Unmissable highlights along the way:
If you leave from the town of Famatina, the towns of Carrizal and Alto carrizal, El Pesebre, Cañón del Ocre etc. The road will captivate you with truly unique and unrepeatable landscapes.
Do not travel on gravel roads during the night, or places where there is no telephone signal.
Keep in mind that in all cases you should bring water, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, comfortable shoes, some food, cookies, candies etc. In winter add shelter, and make sure that there may be days that the ascent is not allowed for safety reasons, broken roads or with snow, in the summer in times of floods, the ascents are also usually suspended, consult previously in some information booth, Police, municipality etc.
What to do in La Mejicana:
It is totally forbidden to enter the sinkholes, because there are dangers of landslides, it can also slide on the ice and fall down meters. Contemplate the silence and peace that the place offers. Take photos and be part of the landscape and cultural heritage, it is part of everyone, feel it as yours.
Portezuelo viewpoint of the Illanes
Before continuing to the Mexican mine, a detour will take you to the Mirador which is 4,100 meters above sea level, from this point you can observe stations 7 and 8 of the cable lane, the City of Chilecito at almost 35 kms. From this point paragliders and aladelta usually take off to make a direct planning until Chilecito of 45 minutes.
Contacts / Information
In Famatina you can stay and leave the next day on a walk that will require almost a whole day. In high mountains it is not allowed to camp without the corresponding permits, or give notice to the Police in case you want to do it. Andinistas it is recommended to hire tour guide services prepared to carry out this type of Active / Adventure tourism activities.
More information in:
Secretaria de turismo de La Rioja
Av. Ortiz de Ocampo y Av. Félix de la Colina – Ciudad capital
Horario de atención: 08.00 a 21 hs – todos los días.
Teléfono de informe: 0054 0380 4426345.
CASA DE LA RIOJA: Av. Callao N° 745 – Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires -Teléfono: +54 11 48167068