What to see
Protecting the sky
One of the objectives of this park is to maintain the atmospheric conditions of the area, one of the clearest in the world. To observe the sky, there are 2 international-level observatories: The Carlos U. Cesco Observatory (CESCO) and the El Leoncito Astronomical Complex (CASLEO).
Visit the observatories
Both observatories are open to visitors, offering day and night guided tours that you can book in advance directly with them.
At the CASLEO, the tours last between 30 and 40 minutes. With an explanatory talk, you will get to know part of the facilities and the Jorge Sahade Telescope (the telescope with the biggest aperture in Argentina). Night guided tours may last over 1 hour, including astronomical observations outdoors. This observatory provides dinner and even accommodation for one night.
The CESCO also has day guided tours lasting between 30 and 40 minutes, and night guided tours including telescope observations.
For night tours, it is important to bring a warm coat (even in summer) as temperatures can be very low.
Walking through the desert
Apart from the astronomical observations, you will enjoy its desert-like high-elevation landscapes where you can spot vicunas, guanacos, foxes and other animals.
The park also has low and medium difficulty hiking trails, viewpoints with information about the main characteristics of this protected area.
Pampa del Leoncito
On National Route 149, in front of the park entrance, you will find Pampa del Leoncito, a huge 12-kilometre long and 5-kilometre wide plain (it used to be a lake that dried out thousands of years ago).
Thanks to its hard ground and the strong winds in the area, this place is used for land sailing.
Barreal is the most important town near El Leoncito National Park. This is the starting point of many adventure tours, such as ascending the mountain range, rafting, kayaking in the Los Patos River, and the famous Crossing of the Andes following the Sanmartinian Route through the Los Patos border crossing. Moreover, there are wineries offering guided tours and wine tasting.