Argentina DESTINATIONS South America

A Quick Guide to Barreal: A Hidden Gem in the Andes (Argentina)

Barreal is one unassuming town in San Juan province (Argentina) with astonishing views of the snowcapped Andes mountains. It is often overlooked by foreign tourists given its remote location but it is a true hidden gem worth visiting. If you’re into divine mountain views, stargazing, good wine in a laid-back and secluded atmosphere, you’ll fall in love with Barreal the same way as we did.

In this guide, I share some of the best sights & activities Barreal has to offer.

Watch the Stars at Parque Nacional El Leoncito

Only 22km south of town is Parque Nacional El Leoncito. It is one of the key highlights of Barreal for its stunning desert landscapes. The high, dry and wide-open valley makes it a perfect spot for night-time stargazing, which you can experience at the space observatory located inside the park.

Indulge in Local Wine at Entre Tapias Winery

We enjoyed a lovely tour and glass of wine at the family-run winery Entre Tapias. The surroundings are beautiful and in true Barreal style, the setting is casual and low-key. If you want to visit, give them a call in advance to check they’re open.

Ride a Wind Cart at the Clay Flats of Pampa del Leoncito

Barreal is famous for land sailing – a sport practiced on a small cart with a sail attached. I was surprised at how fast the cart went! The clay flats against the mountain backdrop complete this unique and fun experience.

Admire the Andes Mountains on Leisurely Walks

Time goes slowly in Barreal, and that is one of the charms of this town. We loved going on walks in the afternoon to admire the mountain backdrop from different “miradores” (observation decks) such as Mirador a los Andes and Mirador de Cordón Andino.

Where to Stay in Barreal

Posada Paso de los Patos | Featuring panoramic views of the Andes mountains, this hotel offers an outdoor pool and on-site restaurant. Rooms are stylish and cozy.
Check rates & book here.

Eco Posada El Mercedario | Cozy, colonial-era vibe with a nice patio area, swimming pool, and small farm.
Check rates & book here.

El Aleman | Self-catering apartments with fully-equipped kitchen, complete with an oven and a refrigerator, and a dining table. All of the apartments have a fan, a patio, and a full private bathroom.
Check rates & book here.

How to Get to Barreal

There are two buses departing per day from San Juan (Plaza San Martin) to Barreal (Servicompras stop). The journey is approximately 4h30m.

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