Humedal Llancanelo

While in this area around Malargüe there is another site that sounds very interesting to us. According to our guide book the Laguna Llancanelo is a great place for bird watching. It is further written that it hosts a wide variety of birds including a large population of flamingos. As we finally arrive at the office of the Guardaparque we find it closed and empty. The signs are bleached by the sun but we can still identify where the areas are you can access without signing up for a tour. Another 20 minute drive and we should be there.


Somehow we are already finding it strange that there is nobody around and we are the only tourists. Once we get to the end of the road we seem to be right at the edge of the laguna. However, there is no water we can see. We decide to take a walk as it can’t be that far away and you can see a little path ahead.


After another 15 minute walk there is still no water. Karin believes to see water in the distance so we continue to walk towards the little volcano shown on the map. As we get closer and closer we realize that what we believe to be water is really a fata morgana caused by the heat. It is very hot that day but also very dry. Where we are standing there was once water but bottom line the water is gone and so are the birds. If you dig a bit into the sand it seems to be wet though. So maybe this happened recently we think.


As it is already in the middle of the afternoon and not much to see we decide to walk back to the car. We need to find a spot to camp for the night and fill up our stock before we drive up to Laguna Del Diamante for the next few days. So Malargüe is our planned next stop where we can also get our flat tyre repaired.


On our way back we stop again at the office of the Guardaparque as we see cars there that we did not see earlier. Indeed we found some officers having a late lunch. So there are still some people around after all and we are not the only ones.


We ask them what happened to the laguna and all the water. We learn that while the water level is going up and down all the time in this case most of the water is gone since three month already. Only at the very northern end of the laguna there is a small patch of water left. An area where you can’t go as tourist. They explain to us that this year is very dry in general in the Mendoza province as significantly less water is coming down from the mountains. This at least gives an explanation to what happened. So there is hope if you get there now that the laguna exists again.

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