A short trip over the border into Catamarca

by Thomas Buechler - 4 years, 5 months ago

For many years I categorize my travel plans according to three criterias:

AAA. the place has a Unesco world heritage siteAA.   the place has a tentative Unesco site or         another interesting spot to visitA.     the place has no Unesco sites and no special places to visit.


Catamarca is a typical A place compared to other provinces in Northern Argentina or neigbour countries.But to reach Catamarca  by public transport was not an easy task.From Santiago del Estero there were only buses at night, means waiting at the terminal for torturing 8 hours.Change of travel plan.We visited the Unesco sites of Cordoba first, and the Che Guevarra museum in Alta Gracia.Next destination was La Rioja.The bus going there took the NR 60 which passed at San Martin for a few kilometers the territory of Catamarca province, and I managed to make photos along the road.But according to the TBT rules and regulations, this kind of transit visits would not count.So I had to go back.Alone.My wife decided not to join me on this rather special mission and wanted a day of relax after the rather challenging excursion to the Talampaya NP yesterday!Buses between La Rio and Catamarca are very sparse, and I decided to leave at 8.10h for the 1 hour 10 minutes trip to the first village, Chumbicha, within the provincial boundery of Catamarca.Beautiful day here driving along the green Cordilleras while in Buenos Aires is a storm and heavy rain going on.It was in the morning news.Chumbicha must be a small community, it has not even a  bus station.They stop along the highway.No timetable, no indications for my return bus to La Rioja.Hundreds of straying dogs.A small grocery shop with an empty freezer and no mineral water .El Trebol bar for the gauchos.I made some photo proof, a selfie as well.The only place where I see province of Catamarca written was the garbage bin.But this counts!!Job well done.Except that there was no  collectivo coming for my return trip.Temperatures soaring to 38 degrees celsius, I went for a Quilmes beer in el Trebol bar. No attractive waitress, the friendly owner doing the job.In case I would have to stay overnight, they also have a menu, Milanesa, bife, pollo, empanadas, I would survive for a couple of days for sure.Was thinking of hichiking, but then suddendly,out of nowhere, like a Fata Morgana on the horizon, I see the welcoming silhouette of a double decker bus.When he activated the blinker to stop I was really relieved.I was now on my way back to La Rioja and back to Vanessa!Next will be San Juan and enchanting Mendoza with a trip to the wineries and the Chilean border.

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