San Juan was founded on June 13, 1562 by Don Juan Jufré de Luoyza y Montese who called it San Juan de la Frontera and Huarpe province, in honor to Patron Saint Juan Bautista. When he was holding the position of Cuyo governor, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, born in San Juan and former president, hired French agronomist Miguel Aimé Pouget to found an agricultural school in Mendoza. Under Pouget’s direction, European varieties and winemaking techniques were introduced in Argentina.
Planned as a tourist circuit, the San Juan Wine Route has become one of the most traditional options for visitors. Fifteen wineries integrate the tour and offer very different programs, from organic wine production to sparkling wines elaborated at the very heart of the mountain.
Undoubtedly, Ischigualasto Provincial Park, located 330 kilometres Northeast away from the capital, is one of the most interesting places for tourists. It is considered one of the most important paleontological sites in the world, and it was declared World Natural Heritage Site by Unesco in 2000. The site -better known as “Moon Valley” because of the exotic figures that have been modeled by wind erosion- is regarded as an enormous scientific treasure.
In the North of the province, the districts of Jáchal and Iglesia comprise a circuit worth visiting, with plenty of natural beauties and opportunities to explore the regional culture and history. In Jáchal, visitors should not miss the five mills National Historical Monument. Dating back to the 19th Century, the mills are landmarks of the most flourishing period of the region’s economy and represent its architectonic style. The church of San José de Jáchal is another interesting attraction, exhibiting a life-size leather Christ brought from Potosí at the close of the 18th century.
In Iglesias, several sites invite visitors to enjoy natural and historic attractions. Termas de Pismanta is a hot springs complex encompassing a hotel and natural springs located at 2,010 meters asl. Its volcanic and light waters offer healing properties. The Chapel of Achango, built by the Jesuits in the 18th century, is a stunning colonial-style construction. On the way to Rodeo, Cuesta del Viento dam is an attractive destination where the blue waters of the lake are in sharp contrast with the sepia shades of the mountain. There, it is possible to enjoy a variety of nautical sports. Other activities can also be experienced in Iglesias, including trekking, horseback riding, 4 by 4 vehicle excursions, fishing excursions and visiting museums featuring First Nations cultural displays.
Information and photos, courtesy of the Tourism Department of San Juan province
Surface: 89.651 km²
Population: 620.023 inhabitants (estimated)
Capital: San Juan
Business hours: 9 am to 1 pm and 5 to 9 pm
Area Code: 54 264
Bus station: Estados Unidos 492 – San Juan – Tel / Phone:
54 264 4221604
International Airport: Las Chacritas – Ruta Nacional 20 – Km 12 9 de Julio – San Juan – Phone: 54 264 425 4133 – 425 4134
The main agricultural production of the province includes garlic, onion, asparagus, olive, plum, peach and apricot. Fresh grapes of excellent quality are the most important produce of this land, as a result of the high luminosity, low relative atmospheric humidity and high temperatures during the summer period. The favorite varieties are: Thompson Seedless, Emperor, Cereza, Cardinale, Almería, Datier of Beirut and Ribier.
Main tourism centers
In the city, the main attractions are the Cathedral and the Pedestrian Street circuit. The most visited site is the house where Domingo Faustino Sarmiento -former president and educator- was born. In this line of historical and cultural tourism, visitors may visit the historic cell where General San Martin lodged before undertaking his monumental crossing of the Andes. In addition, the Olive Production Museum, unique in South America, offers a wide array of gourmet products and a few miles away, Ullum dam invites visitors to enjoy a delightful summer afternoon practicing aquatic sports in one of the many sporting clubs.
Summer: 18 to 34° C approximately
Winter: 1 to 19° C approximately
Tourism Information Center
Sarmiento 24 Sur – San Juan
Phone: 264 421 7677 – 421 0004
Crafstmen Festival – Valle Fértil
Pie Festival – Iglesia
Garlic Festival – Calingasta
Nuestra Señora de Lourdes Religious Celebration – Trinidad
Provincial Seed and Apple Festival – Iglesia
Fiesta Provincial de Ullum y su espejo – Ullum
Carnaval – Calingasta, Chimbas
Festival de Doma y Folklore – Rawson
Fiesta Nacional del Sol – Capital
Horseback Riding Trips to Difunta Correa (popular devotion figure) – Vallecito
International Crafts Fair – Capital
Popular Catholic mass celebration – Rawson
Celebration in Honor of Patron Saint Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados – Albardón
Foundation of San Juan City – Capital
Patron Saint Juan Bautista Festivity – Capital
Celebration in honor of Nuestra Señora del Carmen – Angaco
Patriotric and Flokloric Festival – Iglesia
San Juan Coral International Choir Festival – Capital
Celebration in honor of San Cayetano – Chimbas
“José Dolores” Gaucho Festival – Rawson
Tradition Fest – Jáchal
Miraculous Medal Religious Celebration – Santa Lucía
Andacollo Virgin Celebration – 9 de Julio
National Santa Lucía Festival – Santa Lucía
Bethlehem Christmas Dramatization – San Martín
Celebration in honor of Santa Bárbara – Pocito
Carrerito Sanjuanino (Traditional horse-drawn wagon Driver) Fest – 25 de Mayo
San Juan is the second largest winegrowing province in Argentina by tradition and magnitude. In its valleys, the total extension covered by vineyards is approximately 48,000 hectares, which represents 22% of the country production. Of those hectares, 78% are destined to wine making and the rest are grapes for daily domestic consumption.
These soils have proved to have the ideal characteristics for the cultivation of Syrah, the region’s main grape variety. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Bonarda and Tannat also prosper here. Bonarda, also called Barbera Bonarda, is the second most planted wine-making variety in Argentina and its development in this region has been excellent. Tannat -Uruguay’s most important wine grape- has also benefited from the warm climate and sandy soils of San Juan.