- Park and garden
- Archaeological Site
- Off the beaten track
I arrived at La Rioja early one morning to organise excursions to Ischigualasto and Talampaya parks. The first thing I noticed is that the bus station is really far away from the centre of town. Then I spent nearly two hours looking for a room. There are few hotels in La Rioja and they fill up quickly. It's strange because few tourists come here during their trip to Argentina. Then I spent the whole afternoon looking for other people who wanted to do the trip the next day so we could reduce the cost. A bit of a nightmare.
As there is nothing to do in La Rioja I suggest that you don't make the same mistake that I did, instead, make your reservations in advance. Just to cap it all, La Rioja is quite a distance from the two parks but it is even more complicated to organise everything from San Augustín or Villa Unión.
The city of La Rioja serves as a place to stop off at on your trip to Argentina but is not particularly interesting in itself. The liveliest part of the city is the area between the "9 de Julio" and "25 de Mayo" squares, both of which are surrounded by tourist restaurants, shopping streets and various churches. The shops close and the streets empty of people in the afternoon however, during the hours of siesta.
I stopped at La Rioja for a break on my way from Salta to Mendoza. The tourist office here, by the bus station, has lots of information about all the accommodation options available in the city and the organised tours available to sites in the local area. Not really wanting to go on a tour myself, I decided instead to visit Sanagasta, a little village a half-hour bus ride from La Rioja. From there I was taken to the dinosaur park, a tourist attraction located at a site where intact dinosaur eggs covered in a layer of ash have been discovered. This is an interesting place to visit for geology and palaeontology enthusiasts, and for children and young people too.