San Rafael

San Rafael is another important spot in Mendoza as it's close to many places worth seeing, like El Nihuil, the Whole of Souls, Valle Grande and Las Leñas.


It's a small peaceful place wich unfortunatelly lacks food facilities such as restaurants and take aways. But there's some at the bus station and with good prices.

El Nihuil

The dunes of El Nihuil are very close to the city of San Rafael wich is south of Mendoza.

El Nihuil is a breath taking African-like dessert only some miles away from the snowy peaks of the Andes. It's sand dunes are perfect for sand-boarding.

It's access is not easy, but not impossible.

There are no local nor long distance buses there for

obvious reasons, but some tourist agencies offer 4 people groups to these dunes in 4x4's, that include sandboarding.

 

This spot is so extreme and adventurous that it's one of the most important stages of the Rally Dakar.

The Cheapest in the World

San Rafael is proud to offer tourists the most economic rafting in the world, although its rivers aren't the fastest or most dangerous.

This is generally practised in Valle Grande.

Valle Grande

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Valle Grande is a peaceful place where people go to on weekends to enjoy fresh air and beautiful views.

 

It's very close to San Rafael, only about 30 minutes

on the bus, which drops you on the highest part of Valle Grande, so you can enjoy the different views as you go down a spiral road. 

 

There's a magnificent lake, which is artificial but does not seem so at all, where boat rides are offered.

There's odd random changes in the terrain, as you might suddenly encounter a small beach in the middle of some rocky mountains as well as small white cliffs or even high sand dunes.

 

There are also some huge beautiful pink rock formations.

 

The middle point of the path down is a dam from which you have a great view of teh endless collection of mountains and the river in the place.

 

On the lowest part of Valle Grande there's a river where low cost rafting is offered.

There are two short tunnels which go through two massive lonely rocks.

Beware

One thing to bear in mind is that this path you use to walk around is also a road used by cars, so you have to be alert. But that's all.

Las Leñas

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Las Leñas is a ski center close to San Rafael.

 

Throughout the whole journey there's nothing else, and although the distance might not seem too long, the bus trip takes shortly over 3 hours.


This is due to the winding and high roads approching the Andes.

Scared of heights?

If you're scared of heights, it is not at all adviceable to go to Las Leñas, as the roads are right on the edge of very high cliffs.  

The Hole of Souls

The Hole of Souls is an amazing spot which unfortunatelly can't be reached via anything else but car or a hired tourist guide.

 

But, unlike many other spots in Mendoza, this place can be visited during any time of the year.

 

It's a natural formation constitued by two holes in the ground, one before the other one.

The Sorrows from the Hole