CALILEGUA NATIONAL PARK
The Calilegua National Park was created to preserve a representative part of the Yungas ecosystems with the greatest biodiversity of Argentina.
General information of the area
The Calilegua National Park is located at the southeast of Jujuy province, in Ledesma department, on the eastern slopes of the Calilegua hills. It was created in 1979 to preserve a representative part of the Yungas ecosystem- one of the places with greatest biodiversity of Argentina- and to protect the mouths of the rivers of the Calilegua hills. It has an area of 76.320 hectares; represent the largest National Park of the northeastern of Argentina.
It belongs to the eco-regions jungle of the Yungas or mountain jungle of the Argentinean northeast and the Puna region. The climate is warm, sub-humid, with summer rains from 900 to 1300 mm. the eco-region form part of the sub Andean hills, the heights vary from 400 and 300 meters above the sea level.
The Calilegua National Park has a rugged relief with deep gullies engraved by streams and rivers, mountain ranges with peaks of more than 3.000 meters of weight. For mountain lovers, this National Park offers the possibility to get up walking to the hills Amarillo and Hermoso, the route can be covered in several days from this region to the Quebrada de Humahuaca (ravine).
A long time ago, the zone was inhabited by indigenous groups. Their settlements were located on the lower hillocks close to the cultivation fields. The sites and their archaeological pieces founded in the park like ceramics and polished stone axes keeps relationship with the groups that inhabited in the Yungas region of the Argentina. From XV century on, this territory was settled by the Incas who built facilities where several aspects of the social, politic and economic organization of the empire were melted. The symbol, ritual, astronomic and politic meaning was present and made close part of all the Inca view of the world.
Nowadays, this region is inhabited by koya and guarani communities, inheritors of those societies from the past, essential partners to keep the yungas corridor through the north west of Argentina.
Landscapes, flora and fauna
This Park has broken surface with deep larger mountain valleys carved by streams and rivers with big slopes, and mountain chains with peaks up to 3.000 meters high. The highest hills are Hermoso, Amarillo and Morro Alto and Socavón.
Several streams and rivers descent from the hills that flows into San Lorenzo and Ledezma rivers in the south zone, or Las Piedras river in the north. All these water courses finally flows into San Francisco river and then to northeast and to Bermejo river.
Most of the National Park is covered by the typical vegetation of Las Yungas. It has difficult access, is not very altered by the human action. The forest of transition is scarce and has some elements from the Chaco, while in mountain forest reaches until 1.800 meters. Over this one, there is a mountain forest with alder and pines of the hill and finally high pasturelands.
In the mountain forest yaraguaretés, tapirs and otters subsist. It is possible to find bats (like the dark small fruiterer one) that live among the tree leaves. In this zone, the big snout bat live feeding from nectar and pollinating to the flowers, so that it has an important function for the preservation of some jungle plants. The acutí rojo and the tuco-tuco yungueño are the most representative rodents.
In the high pasturelands, the taruca or northern deer inhabits, it is a gray deer (smaller than its Andean-patagonic relative). It can be found on the limit of eternal snow, but it prefers the valleys because they are richer in vegetation, in safer zones. The avifauna consists of 400 species approximately. The big toucan, the turkey of monte alisera, the jote real, the baratá gigante, the burgo are the most representative ones, also there are kinds of hummingbird and carpenter birds. In the Calilegua hills, the marsupial jujeña frog inhabits and is also registered in other similar places.
It is possible to get to the park by the National Road Nº 34 that passes at the bottom of the Calilegua hills. Taking this route, it is possible to continue to San Salvador de Jujuy which is 100km away from the National Park. To the north, the National Road Nº 34 goes to San Ramón de la Nueva Orán, is 150Km away from. Between Libertador San Martin and Calilegua localities, the Provincial Road Nº 83 crosses the park. This cornice road traverses the park, and allows the visitor to go to the 1.800 meters high, getting into a splendid scenic view.
Walks and Services
The National Park’s Maintenance is located in Calilegua locality. There are two Foresters Maintenances”Aguas Negras” and “Mesada de las Colmenas”. Both are placed on Provincial Road Nº 83 that cross the park. From General de San Martin visitors can cross the bridge San Lorenzo River and then turn left, going along 8 Km by a gravel road towards the park entrance, where the local forester maintenance is placed on the right side.
There is a bus that departs from the General de San Martin Terminal at 8:30hrs arrives at Valle Grande crossing the park. At 14:00hrs, it returns by the same way. From Valle Grande, it is possible to arrive walking by a cornice road at Valle Colorado (the long walk lasts four hours approximately), then continue to Santa Ana and from there taking a bus or car to Humahuaca.
Few meters from the National Park entrance, the Aguas Negras Camping Zone is located and has plots with fireplaces, bathrooms and supplies service in high season.
“Nuestra Selva” Intercultural Guarani Path
Adjacent to Aguas Negras Capmping Zone, the Pedemontana Jungle covers a stretch of 600 meters. Guaranies guides tell to visitors about its history and the most important aspects of their culture. At the end of the way, it can be found the Tenta or Guarani House.
La Herradura Path
It begins 100 meters from Aguas Negras, on the right route. It travels across a Pedemontana jungle; has low difficulty and is recommended for students groups or for any age people.
Viewpoint of San Lorenzo River
It is located 180 meters away from Aguas Negras, on the right side of Provincial Road Nº 83. It is possible to appreciate a wonderful view of the Valley of San Lorenzo River.
Path to the Lagunita
It begins 2 Km. away from Aguas Negras, on the right side of the route. It is wonderful stretch of transition between pedemontana and mountain jungle to a small lagoon. It is possible to return by the Aguas Negras stream. It has medium difficulty.
It begins 2,5Km away from Aguas Negras, on the right direction. It crosses the Pedemontana jungle and then the visitor can return by the bed of Arroyo Negrito. It has high difficulty. It is recommended to hire with a guide recommended by the park maintenance. (Ask for information in the Park Maintenance).
De la Junta Path
It begins 3 Km. away from Aguas Negras, on the right side of the route. It is possible to appreciate the connection of Aguas Negras and Toldos brooks. The returning is g by the Aguas Negras brook to the Foresters Maintenance. It has high difficulty.
El Negrito Path
It begins 100 meters away from La Mesada de las Colmenas. Going up by the route, on the right side, it covers the Selva Montana arriving to Arroyo Negrito. The returning is by the same way. It has high difficulty and it is recommended to cover the route with specialized guides. (Ask for information in the Forester Maintenance).
El Tapir Bicycle path
It begins in the same place of La Junta Path, 200 meters away, by a path especially for tourists’ enjoyment of the adventure cycling. The returning is by the Aguas Negras bed.
IT IS OBLIGATORY TO FILL A REGISTRATION FORM IN THE FORESTERS MAINTENANCE BEFORE ENTERING TO THE BICYCLE PATH.
There is a guided excursion’s service by bike; there are different paths. For hiring the service, ask to the Park Maintenance.
Inside the park, there is not drinking water. It is recommended to carry the necessary water for your stay. Carry repellent. If you want to hire a guide, do it before entering to the park.
At 3.000 meters of weight, out of the park, there is a small country house named Alto Calilegua, it is possible to get there only my foot or by mule. In this area there are remains of Inca fortifications, archaeological valuable zone.
The mountain lovers have the option to access to the high zones if the Park, Amarillo and Hermoso hills. It is possible to have a long-distance walk during several days that begins in the national Park and arriving to the “Quebrada de Humahuaca”. Out of the park, they could go by Provincial Road Nº 83 to Valle Grande; from there you can get by foot or by horse to Tilcara o Humahuaca. It is important to contact a travel agency specialized in this kind of routes.
Calilegua National Park
San Lorenzo s/nº
(4514) Calilegua, Jujuy, República Argentina
Phone: (038) 86-422046
Administración de Parques Nacionales
Santa Fe Avenue 690 C1059ABN
Buenos Aires, República Argentina
Phone: (011) 4311-6633/0303