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Overview

Plenty of people associate Patagonia with relentless rain, wind, and snow, and ice that reaches the sea at South America’s southern extremes. The region’s northernmost sector, though, is a rolling steppe that, near the provincial capital city of Neuquén, enjoys warm summers, cool winters, and snowmelt from the nearby Andes to irrigate extensive vineyards and orchards in both Neuquén province and adjacent Río Negro. To complement the wineries of General Roca and San Patricio del Chañar, the region can boast some of South America’s most spectacular dinosaur discoveries, with a triangle of noteworthy paleontological sites and museums in the ...

Plenty of people associate Patagonia with relentless rain, wind, and snow, and ice that reaches the sea at South America’s southern extremes. The region’s northernmost sector, though, is a rolling steppe that, near the provincial capital city of Neuquén, enjoys warm summers, cool winters, and snowmelt from the nearby Andes to irrigate extensive vineyards and orchards in both Neuquén province and adjacent Río Negro. To complement the wineries of General Roca and San Patricio del Chañar, the region can boast some of South America’s most spectacular dinosaur discoveries, with a triangle of noteworthy paleontological sites and museums in the vicinity.

Reliant on the petroleum industry, Neuquén itself is a commercial city, dating only from 1901, but it offers significant culture resources, including a branch of the national fine arts museum in a new purpose-built facility. Neuquén province also has several large national parks in the Andes, near the Chilean border, but they’re a bit distant for day trips.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    September through April is best, but in winter (May to August), when water levels in the Lago Barreales reservoir drop, it may be possible to see paleontological digs in situ.