During my trip to Argentina, I wanted to visit the Ischigualasto and Talampaya National Parks, situated to the northeast of the San Juan Province. They're both worth their weight in gold, but are not the easiest to reach. Being out of the way, the best way to get there is from San Agustin de Valle Fertil, a little village three hours from San Juan.
Most tourists stay in San Juan and opt for expensive guided tours of the parks. It's more cost-effective to stay at San Agustin de Valle Fertil's only hotel. The only hiccup was, after having seen the park, I found myself stuck on the Rioja road, where I had to wait for my bus.
San Juan has its own, less commercial, wine route well worth touring if you're in the area. In this respect, the town lives in Mendoza's shadow...