In La Rioja province, nature is manifest in an indomitable way, allowing visitors to enjoy experiences in a natural setting that is nearly virgin, unexplored.
Its landscapes, ranging from the most arid desert to lively green valleys, from the plains to the highest mountains in the Americas, integrate a cultural heritage nurtured by tradition and customs, offering numerous sites of tourism relevance with diverse focuses.
La Rioja province sends out an attractive invitation with four major tourism products: Talampaya National Park, Laguna Brava Reserve, La Rioja Flavors and the Condor’s Ravine. It also features five tourism corridors: La Rioja’s Coast Corridor, Production Corridor, Bermejo’s Corridor, Plains Corridor and Route 40 Corridor.
The capital city -Todos los Santos de la Nueva Rioja- is simple as the people that inhabit it, combining colonial memories and modern urban features that invite visitors to explore its origins. Historically, the city preserves religious and popular celebrations that liven up the spirit, as well as museums displaying diverse collections and magnificent architectonic relics.
Among remarkable examples of the colonial architecture the Museo Histórico (Historical Museum), the Museo de La Ciudad (City Museum), the Museo Inca Huasi (Inca House Museum) and the Mercado Artesanal (Crafts Market) stand out. At the center of this tourist area, visitors can appreciate the sober and serene beauty of the Cathedral, a Sanctuary in honor of San Nicolás de Bari. This building presides the main walking circuit that is completed by 25 de Mayo square, the Government House and the Judicial House building, following a typical Spanish colonial scheme. In the surrounding area, there are additional attractions to be visited, including Yacampis Park, an ideal place for camping; Las Padercitas, a National Historic Monument and pilgrimage place; Los Sauces Dam; and Cerro de la Cruz, where visitors can enjoy a magnificent view and also practice hang-gliding and paragliding.
Information and photos, courtesy of the National Tourism Secretariat and La Rioja Tourism Agency
Surface: 89.680 km²
Population: 290.000 inhabitants (estimated)
Capital: La Rioja City
Business hours: 8:30 am to 1 pm and 4.30 pm to 9 pm
Area Code: 54 3822
International airport: Capitán Vicente Almandos Amonacid – Access to National Route 5 – La Rioja City – Phone: 54 3822 439211
Bus station: Avda. Gdor. Felix de la Colina y Av. Ortiz de Ocampo- La Rioja City – Phone: 54 3822 425 453 – 427991
Human settlements and economic activities rely on the practice of agriculture in small irrigated oases. The impact of economic activities over original ecosystems has been remarkable. Currently, grasslands provide fodder resources to extensive cattle raising in the Eastern area, where goats and bovines predominate. Leather production represents 80% of total sales in the province. Like agriculture, industrial activities and human consumption depend on water provision infrastructure. The province has several dams that supply water for agriculture and cattle raising. Underground drillings also supply water to the population as well to agricultural and industrial activities.
Among agricultural activities, perennial crops such as grapes, olive trees, stone and pip fruits predominate. Vegetables and aromatic plants are also produced. Cloth production represents 30% of the industrial income, while measuring instruments stand for another 27%.
Main Tourism Centers
Declared World Natural Heritage by Unesco in 2000, Talampaya National Park is highly valued for its archeological and paleontological significance. It has a canyon where time has halted, exhibiting a geography that takes visitors back to the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. The reddish color of its soil and walls remind of the fire era. Its carved stones are evidence of the first manifestations of the emergence of human beings.
Laguna Brava Reserve is located in La Rioja’s Range and constitutes the Provincial Vicuna and Ecosystem Protection Reserve. In 2003, it was designated a Ramsar Site. The region used to be an Inca enclave for controlling local settlements and as a site of passage towards Chile. Within the Reserve, there are important cultural assets, mainly archeological remains and ceremony platforms such as the summit of Veladero volcano (6,436 meters).
La Rioja Flavors is a theme circuit amalgamating the production of wine, olive oil, walnuts, dry fruit, craft jams, rabbit and lamb meats for gastronomic purposes.
The Condor’s Ravine is another reserve, located South of La Rioja city, in the Quinteros Hills. It has an interpretation center dedicated to the Andean Condor, where condor watching excursions are organized.
Summer: 20 to 35° C approximately
Winter: 5 to 20° C approximately
Tourism Information Centers
Tourism Department Office: Pelagio B. Luna 345 – La Rioja City – Phone: 3822- 426384 – 426345
Email: [email protected] – [email protected]
Opening Hours: 8 am to 9 pm (Open every day of the year)
La Rioja House: Av. Callao 745 – Phone: 54 11 48151929 – 48167068
Email: [email protected]
Chaya (carnival-related) Festival – Sanagasta
Folklore and Horse Taming – Pinchas, Aminga
Celebrations in honor of San Nicolás de Bari
La Rioja’s Gaucho Chiefs Festival – Rosario Vera Peñaloza
National Vineyard Labourer Festival – Villa Unión
Miners Festival – Amaná
Carnival at the Square – Los Molinos
Popular Folk Singers Gathering – Anjullón
National Chaya Festival (Carnival-related festival)
Foot-pressed Wine Festival – Aimogasta
Harvesters Festival- Aimogasta
Craft workers Festival – El Chiflón
Regional Talampaya Festival – Felipe Varela
Leather Festivity – Nonogasta
Holy Week: Traditional Pilgrimage to the altar of Señor de la Peña – El Barrial, Aimogasta
La Rioja City Foundation Anniversary
National Olive Production Festival – Aimogasta
Patron Saint’s Days (in several villages)
Cultural Festival- Catuna
National Crafts worker’s Festival – Capital
Wine and Folkloric Verse Festival – Capital
Crafts Exhbitions – Around the province
San Francisco Solano Pilgrimage – Las Padercitas- Capital
Patron saint celebrations in honor of Santa Rosa – Jague, Patquia, Anguinan
Student and Spring Fest
Patron Saint’s Day (in several villages)
Native Virgin Festival – Sanagasta
Folkloric Festival of the Plains – Chamical
Celebration in honor of Santa Teresita – Aicuña
Foot-Pressed Wine Festival – Los Palacios
Anniversary of local hero Chacho Peñaloza’s Death – Olta
Science, Art and Culture Festival – Felipe Varela
Tradition Fest – Chamical, Banda Florida, Independencia
Tinkunaco Ceremonies – Capital
Stone Festival – San Pedro
Talampaya National Park Celebrations
Live Christmas Celebrations in natural settings
Friendship Festival and Christmas Competitions
In La Rioja, the wine industry has a craft profile whose presence is evident from the Capital to Santa Vera Cruz, in Castro Barros department. A wide range of homemade wines from around the province are available in this circuit. On the other hand, the province’s wine production has an industrial profile in which technology is a key actor. It comprises the Famatina Valleys, whose wines stand out for its unique organoleptic features bestowed by optimum grape-growing conditions.
Torrontés Riojano is a unique white variety generated from a mutation occurred in La Rioja. The province has been growing it for hundreds of years now, with vineyards mainly located in Chilecito, Nonogasta, Felipe Varela, Villa Castelli, Vinchina, Castro Barros, Anillaco, San Blas de los Sauces, Sanagasta, and Famatina. These localities encompass most of La Rioja’s wineries and provide favorable conditions for grape growth and diversification.