Immensity, natural resources and diversity are some of the typical aspects of the Patagonian landscape that turn this place into a unique opportunity to meet nature and beauty. Surrounded by a changeable landscape and inhabited by different bird species –dwelling by the Negro river shoreline– and also by the typical fauna living in the plateau, this area of Southern Argentina is a very important place for local visitors as well as for those in search of recreation.
Visitors in quest of new attractions far from the noise and lights of the big cities are encouraged to check the alternatives ecological tourism offers. Undoubtedly, you will find the option that will help you fight against stress and escape from everyday problems.
These are some of the attractions you can visit:
“PASO CÓRDOBA” MUNICIPAL PROTECTED AREA In the year 1908, Antonio Córdoba proposed to cross the Negro River by means of a raft and
that is the origin of the name Paso Córdoba. It is located 12 km away from the City of General Roca.
The Paso Córdoba Protected Area was created in 1997 by a Municipal Ordinance enacted by the city’s Town Hall. The aim was to ensure the conservation of the natural and modified habitat south of the Negro River for scientific, educational and recreational purposes.
In the year 2001 a plan on Protected Areas Management was approved to minimize the impact of the different human activities that take place there. The community has taken responsibility for preserving this place for future generations.
How to get there: Take Route 22 westbound, turn left at the roundabout that is at the intersection with Provincial Route 6 and go 10 km further down the road until you reach the Paso Cordoba Bridge.
Regulations and Conservation Policies
*Do not light a fire in forbidden places
*Do not damage the local vegetation
*Do not disturb the birds that inhabit the area
*Do not litter! Set a good example by picking up any litter you see
*Respect the indications of the Rangers
*Report any acts against the environment: loud noise, damage to the flora and fauna, etc.
Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley)
In Cuyo they are referred to as Huayquerías, but the English term ´badlands´ which comes from Dakota Indians is preferred to name this extreme desert environment. They are characterized by soils almost deprived of vegetation, which are modeled by the wind and the scarce rain. The Moon Valley is one of these areas, though the appropriate name should be Valley of Mars due
to its colour.
This geological formation, which is visited by thousands of tourists all the year round is located 18 km from the City of General Roca. The Moon Valley was declared Protected Natural Area in 1997. It is a part of the barda (bluffs),
and centuries of wind and rain erosion have turned it into a site of fascinating features. The Moon Valley is one of Roca’s major attractions. It is the place where local inhabitants and visitors gather to enjoy the traditional mate, go for walks, practise sports, or enjoy artistic activities, like painting and taking photographs.
The Negro river provides a spectacular framework for this geographical formation, contrasting with the green of the nearby orchards.
The Moon Valley is made up of sedimentary rocks formed during different geological eras (the Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era –120 million years ago– and the Tertiary Period –55 million years ago– of the Cenozoic Era).
Paying special attention to the ground you can find sea snails, petrified wood, and many other amazing past life forms that are part of our rich heritage.
Among the characteristic birds of the area are the mora eagles and the turkey vultures.
The Flora is also very interesting; in spite of its arid appearance, it is very varied: jarilla, alpataco, coirón, jume, uña de gato, zampa, colapiche, molle, cactus, matacebo, and many others ornamenting the landscape.
How to get there: Cross Paso Córdoba Bridge, go on along Route 6 to the South for about 4 km up to two small shrines of Ceferino Namuncurá and Gauchito Gil. There, turn off the paved road to the right onto a gravel road leading to the river, and after 1 kilometre, turn left in the first turn-off.
Mirador Tres Cruces (Three Crosses Viewpoint)
From the viewpoint of the Tres Cruces Hill you can observe the strong contrast between the Valley, the Patagonian Steppe, the Negro river, the City of General Roca, and the northern bardas.
How to get there: From the Paso Córdoba Bridge continue south 9 kilometres along Route 6 up to the upper edge of the plateau, then turn right and follow a sinuous gravel road for 200 meters up to the viewpoint.
Activities Guided excursion and visit to a local puesto Guided by specialists, this excursion will allow you to visit the main attractions, which offer
exceptional sights to enjoy. This excursion includes a visit to a puesto (a type of small cattle ranch) located on the riverside where you can enjoy jineteadas (a type of rodeo), pialadas (a type of roping), cattle marking, and horse games; you can also take walks through the canyons while observing the erosion process. Finally, you can enjoy a mateada with tortas fritas.
Hiking, landscape interpretation, and birdwatching Walking from the Virgen Misionera Sanctuary along trails showing the sedimentary strata accumulated during different geological eras, you can not only interpret the landscape being
discovered, but also learn about the history, and the fauna and flora of the area. Natural water springs can be admired together with viewpoints featuring impressive sights of the area.
Low Impact Adventure Sports
The geography of the area allows the practice of different sports. Either you may go for walks along well sign-posted trails, mountain bike riding, paragliding, rappel, or you can choose fishing or water sports, like rafting and rowing.
In case you decide to do any of these activities, it is important to always respect life around you, since the vegetation plays an important role in the protection of the soil, providing animals with food and shelter. The birds –mora eagles, aguiluchos (hawks), swallow, partridges, and turkey vultures among others– are the visible part of the rich diversity of fauna. As well as the native flora, birds have been able to adapt to the dry weather.
The geography of the area, both the Moon Valley and the rest of the bardas, allows you to take part in diverse recreational activities in contact with nature.
Canyons with heavy sandy roofs, steep inclines, stony slopes, and ridges are an attraction for those who enjoy walking trails, flora and fauna observation, photographic hunting and landscape contemplation. The steep sedimentary rock walls are a powerful attraction to practise adventure sports like
rappel, climbing, and zip-lining.
RIVER SHORE FACILITIES ALONG THE PATAGONIA’S MOST COPIOUS RIVER
Coastal Recreational Areas
On the coast of the river there are vegetal species like willows, tamarisks, olivillos, and poplars. This is also the habitat of water birds like the black swan, cormorant, heron, gallareta, and a variety of ducks, all of them safeguarded under protection laws.
The Náutico is located on the main branch of the Negro River, to the east of Paso Córdoba Bridge. Its wide pebble shore is the ideal landscape for practising rowing, aquatic and jet skiing, provided the safety rules for each sport are observed. Swimmers are warned to take precautions due to the river´s strong current.
How to get there: The entrance to the Náutico is on the first turning to the left, immediately after crossing the bridge.
Recreational Area of “Isla 32”
Isla 32 is located 7 km from downtown, out of the protected area. It is the most important recreational area of the city and it covers 445 acres.
Its facilities include a municipal shore resort and eleven private clubs such as General Roca Golf Club, El Huitru Polo Club and Asociación Española Club. The facilities available include three swimming pools, 2 big playrooms and many sport courts and playgrounds.
How to get there: drive along Primeros Pobladores Street (a prolongation of Mendoza Street) or Viterbori Avenue (a prolongation of Roca Avenue) to the south of Route 22 and on the left margin of Negro River.
Municipal River Shore Facilities
Area: 25 acres
Entrance fee: 2$ per person
Parking: 5$ per car
Public toilets with 24 hour assistance and security.
2 soccer fields for 11 players
2 beach volleyball courts
Holiday colonies offered by the Tourism Office Concession of 1 kiosk 24-hour cleaning services
A 2000m2 concrete swimming pool with lifeguard service
24-hour first aid service and police office
Grill sector (an area with trees, lighting and fresh water)
24-hour security service with mounted police permanently residing in a house located on the area.
How to get there: Cross route 22 to the South and drive on along Primeros Pobladores Street (prolongation of Mendoza street) or along Viterbori Avenue (prolongation of Roca Avenue) for about 5 km.
Riverside Recreation Area
A recreation area along the northern bank of the Negro river was built in the sector known as Isla 32. It has 510 metres long, with breakwater to prevent the river erosion. Swimmers can enjoy a shadowy coastal recreation area which was possible to build after a millionaire investment. Landscaping and lightening of the whole area by the City Government make this
recreation area a tourist attraction, and also a potential business pole for private enterprises offering lodging and catering facilities.
This recreation area is the first step to build a coastal resort from Isla 32 to Paso Córdoba.
How to get there: Cross route 22 to the South and drive on along Primeros Pobladores Street (prolongation of Mendoza street) or along Viterbori Avenue (prolongation of Roca Avenue) for about 6 km.
Golf lovers will be enchanted by the 12-hole golf course located 7 km from the city and surrounded by lush vegetation and with a view to Negro river and to the southern bardas. This strategic location enables golf players to enjoy the game in a natural environment.
The bunkers, greens and fairways planted with high quality grass adapted to the climate conditions of the area mixed with autochthonous plants such as willows, tamarisks and olivillos together with the water hazards flanked by Negro river make it an interesting and harmonic environment.
Players can take classes, participate in golf contests at weekends, rent golf clubs and enjoy the game in almost absolute silence.
Contact: (02941) 492253
“El Huitru” Polo Club
In its beginnings, 20 years ago the Huitru Polo was a club of Pampean residents. It is located on Isla 32 in a majestic setting on the banks of the Negro river and surrounded by the bardas and the autochthonous vegetation. In its 30 acres there are 60 polo horses, 2 polo fields, one stick and ball field, a Club House, a house for the keeper, a stable and a saddle keeper.
Contact: Marcelo Cabana
Phone: (02941) 15527913
Municipal Area for practising traditional gaucho skills
All throughout the year participants from the south of the country come to the Patriotic Festivals, Expos and Gaucho Skills Competitions.
The activities are programmed in advanced and include, among other typical dances, dishes and rodeo which are carried out in a 5-hectare landscaped field, the ideal scenery for families to get in touch with nature; not far from the city downtown.
For further information: Tourism Office How to get there: Cross Route 22 to the South and take Primeros Pobladores Street (prolongation of Mendoza Street) until the Municipal Coastal Area. On the diversion, turn right and drive on for about 500 metres. On the left you will find the Field. Another way to arrive is by taking Viterbori Avenue (prolongation of Roca Avenue) for about 5kms; the field is on the right.
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