CALILEGUA NATIONAL PARK
It is subtropical mountain-type, with a dry winter season. Mean temperatures average from 28 ºC in the summer, to 17 ºC in the winter. The total maximum registers of 40 ºC indicate hot summers. Rainfalls are of 1800 mm/year, concentrated between November and April. During the winter season snows are frequent at the top of the mountains. It is advised to visit the park during the months of April and November.
Inside the Park:
In Aguas Negras, there is a rural camping which counts on a parking lot, toilets (with non-drinkable water), fireplaces, tables and grills (it does not count on any grocery stores, electric light or drinkable water).
At Mesada de las Colmenas there is a place aimed at leisure (you must bring your own boiler)
Outside the Park:
If you are looking for grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and filling stations, you must go to Libertador General San Martín or Calilegua.
Activities and sites to visit
“Aguas Negras”, 450 meters over the sea level. There is a rural camp and pedestrian paths.
“Mesada de las Colmenas”, 1200 meters over the sea level. There is a viewpoint, a recreation area and pedestrian paths.
“Monolito”, 1800 meters over the sea level. It points out the maximum level of Provincial Route No. 83 and the limit of the Park.
To hire registered tour guides, please phone the National Park Office.
Calilegua National Park Administration: San Lorenzo s/n, (4514) Calilegua, Jujuy
Phone/fax: (03886) 422046
The ticket to the Park is free of charge.
During high season (April-November) and low season (December-March), the entry time to the National Park is from 8 am to 2 pm
National Route No. 34: you should take Libertador General San Martín, a locality, as a reference -it is 20 km from San Salvador de Jujuy-. A few meters before the end of the bridge over San Lorenzo river, you should take Provincial Route No. 83, which goes across the Park and leads to the department of Valle Grande.
Other Means of Transportation
Every day, there are buses which arrive in Libertador General San Martín Bus Station from different parts of the country. It is located 10 km from the Park, and there is a bus which departs from there every day at 8.30 am, heading for San Francisco/Valle Grande, and going through the Park (you must instruct the driver to drop you at Aguas Negras). The bus returns in the afternoon, and it goes by Mesada de las Colmenas, about 6 pm, and by Aguas Negras around 6.30 pm.
It is also possible to take a cab or remise in Libertador General San Martín and in Calilegua.
Calilegua National Park is located by the southeast of the province of Jujuy, in the department of Ledesma, over the lower part of Calilegua Mountain Range. It has a surface of 76,329 hectares and it stands out for its mountain relief. An inextricable deep green rainforest containing mountains, together with faults, gullies and abrupt ranges, protect a representative sector of “Yungas” (hot tropical valleys), and preserve an important basin which supplies the whole population of the area.
The park was created in 1979 by Decree No. 1733, by means of which the province of Jujuy donates two lots totaling 76,306 hectares -through law 3586- to the National State. The law was enacted in November 1978, but in 1983, with the return of democracy, Jujuy’s legislature froze the processing and validation of such. The two lots that make up the donation were donated to the provincial government through an agreement signed by “Calilegua S.A.A.I. y C”. with the Ministry of Labor’s Office on April 4, 1974 (approved by Law 3111) and by Ledesma S.A.A. e I, through the commitment taken in paragraph 3 of Chapter VII of the agreement signed by such company and the province of Jujuy, also on April 4, 1974 .
For centuries, this area was occupied by indigenous people who built settlements for cultivation. As of the fifteenth century, it was occupied by the Incas, who built facilities representative of social, political and economic organization, as a ritual and as a symbol. The sites and archaeological materials found in the park, represented by ceramic tiles and polished stone axes, relate to the societies that lived across the Yungas region in northern Argentina. Also, today, the entire region is inhabited by Kolla communities, heirs of societies of the past, which are fundamental partners to maintain the corridor of the Yungas throughout northwestern Argentina.
The Calilegua National Park is characterized by its mountainous relief type, where rugged mountains, folds, faults, gorges and valleys dominate the landscape. Some of the hills are the Agua Negra, Cuesta Alta, Abra Colorada and El Mirador with between 1200 and 1500 meters high, respectively.
The mountain ranges of Calilegua are over 3000 meters high. Among them are Cerro Hermoso (about 2800 mosl), Cerro Amarillo (3646 mosl) and Morro Alto (2493 mosl), which are west of the park, bordering the protected area. Other ranges, as the Serranía del Socavón -with about 2600 mosl- are located entirely within the National Park or, as in the case of the Serranía de Cortadera, by the northern edge thereof. But not everything is about heights in this park; there are also plains by the foot of the mountains and low mountain ranges.
Bermejo River basin embraces the National Park within an area of ??approximately 10,000 square kilometers. This huge basin has an immense ecological value both for its size and for sheltering 50% of the formation of the Yungas in northwestern Argentina. Therefore, thanks to the lush vegetation, it contributes to the retention and gradual release of water from rainfall, depending on the season.
The hydrographic network is determined by streams and rivers, which carry some of its waters towards the port of Buenos Aires. The most important rivers are San Lorenzo and Piedras, since they set such limits of the network. From north to south, we find Yuto, Sauzalito, Zanjón Seco and Las Lajitas streams, which descend from Lomas del Anta. By the northwest, Santa Clara and San José streams enclose between them Serranías del Socavón. Towards the south, however, we find Volcán stream and Aguas Negras river and stream, which are all tributaries of San Lorenzo River. Aguas Amarillas and Monte Bayo streams are also other tributaries of Las Cañas River. Also, by the south of the park, we find Seco and Tigre Muerto streams, together with Agua Negra waterfall.
Calilegua exhibits a remarkable biodiversity characteristic of rainforest environments. In the Yungas, weather conditions such as rain, humidity and temperature, vary with the altitude, valleys and lowlands possess, and enjoy warm weather and less rain, though less frequent frosts.
At even higher areas, we move to a humid temperate weather with cold winters where snowfalls are frequent. The circumstances determine the existence of a series of belts or very diverse vegetation floors well diferenciated from each other. On the plains at the foot of the hills and low mountain ranges, there is the Basal Rainforest or Transition Rainforest, which is named like that because it is found between the typical rainforest and the dry forests of Chaco. The dominant trees of this rainforest are the Palo Blanco (Calycophyllum multiflorum), the Toothed lancewood, the white Tipa (Tipuana tipu), the Jacarandá (Jacaranda mimos folia), the Cebil Colorado (Anadenanthera), Horco Cebil (Piptadenia excels), the Lapacho (Tabebuia impetiginosa), among other species.
In the summer, humidity increases significantly. Plenty of lianas, vines and epiphytes grow and link among each other over the trunks and branches of the trees, and cover them almost completely. Evergreen trees predominate, and its size is much larger than in the Basal Rainforest, reaching up to 30 meters high. In this group we find: Laurel de la Falda (Celtis spinosa Sprengel), whose trunk reaches 2.50 meters of diameter, Horco Molle (Blepharocalyx salicifolius) or Palo Barroso (Blepharocalyx gigantea), the Argentine Walnut (with edible nuts) and numerous myrtaceae: such as the Mato, Guil, Horco- Mato, Alpa-Mato, among others, which define a formation named Myrtaceae Jungle. On the other side, on the slopes, there are three types of woods, Pine of the Mountain, the Aliso (Alnus glutinosa) and Queñoa (Polylepis pauta).
Among the most characteristic mammals, we find, for example, the jaguar -endangered as well as the taruca or north Andean deer (huemul del norte) and the poma eagle-. We also find pumas, ferrets, mountain foxes, caí monkeys and different species of squirrels. Some of them are valuable rarities, such as the marsupial frog and the blue-crowned troron (surucuá aurora). Other species are the red squirrels, capuchin monkeys, red brockets, mountain foxes and coendú, which is the local porcupine. There are plenty of birds of different types, like the guan, the vulture, toucans, woodpeckers and kingfishers, among others.