Cave of the Hands (Cueva de las Manos)

#7 in Best Things To Do in Argentine Patagonia
Cave of the Hands (Cueva de las Manos)  picture
longhorndave/Flickr

Key Info

Francisco P. Moreno National Park

Details

Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.3

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

This bizarre Patagonian cave remains shrouded in mystery. Its walls exhibit three distinctive styles of cave art linked to a hunter-gatherer society that flourished in Argentine Patagonia around 10,000 BCE. Archeologists speculate that the small handprints etched on the cave walls belonged to the predecessors of the Teheulche tribe. Detailed murals predate hunting scenes with native guanacos and ostriches predate the handprints, complicating the cave's history. Today, the Cave of the Hands, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site stands as one of the most significant cultural sites in South America.

"I felt the presence of very ancient people, by the painting of their own hands [...] It's worth the hundreds of km of dirty roads to get there," remarks one TripAdvisor user.

The Cave of the Hands is located in Francisco P. Moreno National Park in Southern Patagonia. From Perito Moreno, the Cave of the Hands is located approximately 100 miles south on Provincial Route 97. We recommend booking an excursion with Estancia Cueva de Las Manos, which leads visitors roughly 13 miles up the Pinturas River's Canyon and into the cave by horseback or 4x4 jeep. These day-long expeditions are available Monday through Friday. Excursion prices start at approximately $130 ARS (about $30 USD). For more information, consult Estancia Cueva de Las Manos' website.

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#1 Argentine Lake District

Stretching across northwestern tip of Argentine Patagonia sits the picturesque Lake District. Sandwiched between the Andes mountains with Chilean Patagonia to the west and Atlantic Patagonia to the east, the Lake District contains breathtaking vistas from nearly every angle. San Carlos de Bariloche, known simply as Bariloche, serves as the region's major hub. Towering over the immense Nahuel Huapi Lake and the surrounding national park, Bariloche provides a tranquil setting for lounging outdoors, savoring local cuisine, and admiring the picturesque scenery. But Bariloche boasts more than natural beauty. Venture into Bustillo, the heart of the city, and you'll discover European architecture infused with local hardwood accents, which create a lofty urban setting. During July and August, you'll find idyllic skiing conditions, and, in January, you'll relish prime hiking and river rafting weather. We suggest visiting during November or March, when you can soak up the fresh air, marvel at postcard-perfect views of the Andes, and relax at a tucked away mountain retreat without heavy crowds.

From Bariloche, it's easy to travel to Cerro Catedral's luxurious ski retreat. It's also worth checking out Villa La Angostura (a lakeside village 50 miles north of Bariloche) and San Martín de los Andes (a scenic town 112 miles north of Bariloche). Both feature local craft markets and panoramic views.

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