Argentina: Ischigualasto PP – Valley of the Moon
Ischigualasto Provincial Park is another absolute gem of the western Argentina and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This park is very reminiscent of another US counterpart – Badlands National Park. The area is also known as the Valley of the Moon for its moon-like landscapes – grey and yellow badlands, toadstools, crusted desert soil, lack of vegetation. There is also a fairly large area with cannonball-like stone thrown all around the place. In the background lies a large sandstone red-rock escarpment. Everything here is the result of erosion by water and wind – clay monolith and towers like the Sphynx or Mushroom, multihued badlands, slot canyons, and giant sleek boulders and rocks. The climate here is harsh – little to no rain, super hot temps in the summer, and near constant 20-40 kph winds. Lucky as we are, we actually got caught into a total torrential rain downpour during our guided tour (probably once a year type of occurrence) and had to literally evacuate out of the park not to get stuck in the clay-like grey and red mud. And we even spotted wildlife coming out into the cooler air after the rain – guanacos, maras, coyotes, grey foxes, and one giant tarantula!