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Malargüe, Mendoza Province, Argentina

Malargüe is a quiet town 186km south of San Rafael, known particularly for the ongoing astrophysics project which measures the cosmic rays that hit earth.  We used it merely as a base for some day trips we planned, as it was closer than staying in San Rafael and we had made contact with Karen’s Travel, who run a number of excursions from the town and who we found to be extremely helpful and informative.

We arrived in the town at siesta time…. and it seemed like the place was shut down! Come out at 5.30pm and you will be shocked to see just how many shops and place to eat there are, it’s like a different town.  Although pleasant enough particularly around Parque del Ayer, I really can’t see why you would spend time in Malargüe other than as a base for some of the amazing excursions that leave from this town, or if you are a member of the Rotary club, who seemed to take over the town for the weekend for a conference that weekend!

We hoped to visit Laguna Diamante, but with it being the end of the season the tour wasn’t running, so we booked to visit Caverna de las Brujas (Witches Cavern) on the Friday and the pièce de résistance of La Payunia, the Pampa Negra, on Saturday.


We struggled to find anywhere of note to eat in the town, but I would avoid La Posta, Av Roca 374.  The Kiwi ordered Bife de Lomo and was served a piece of meat more resembling a milanesa and extremely tough – not at all what he expected or had been served before.  I had a salad, which was fine.  Staff were brusque, almost embarrased to have tourists in their restaurant, and I felt uncomfortable as I was the only woman in the diningroom and I felt like I’d gate-crashed a boy’s night! I think their speciality is goat, and certainly that looked more appetising.

El Quincho del Maria, tucked off Av San Martin, was a large room with a thatched roof.  The food “does exactly what it says on the tin”, the Parilla being particularly good.  I was disappointed with the trout, tho, which is the speciality as it was over cooked.  Salads are good tho!

Map of Malargue click here

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