Our journey begins in the morning when, at 8.00am, we are collected at our hotel at the town of Villa Union. Our professional driver-guide takes us along the routes of the province. After 70 km. we reach the village of Vinchina. We drive through the only street in the village, and across the bridge over the Red River, then we arrive at the maze of curves Quebrada de La Troya. The road is unpaved and it can be cross with our cars traveling through a hill of 7 kilometers long with huge mountains of claystone on its sides.
The road leads to Alto Jagüel, the last town before entering the immensity of the mountains. There the main street - which in summer becomes a real river as a result of the snowbreak - is a deep track between two ravines each of a meter and a half tall, where a large farmhouse sits. The houses are made of adobe with small doors and windows made of wood.
We stop the truck in front of the municipal office of Alto Jagüel in search of the warden of the reserve, who will accompany us on this journey. It is one of four baqueanos that, by their knowledge of the area, work as a tourist guide and record the tourists arrivals to the reserve.
From here the road continues along the Quebrada Santo Domingo, through hills that seem coated with a velvet blue, green, purple, brown and orange, due to soil minerals.
Every so often, on the desert slopes, the graceful race of guanacos and vicunas interrupts the stillness of the ground.
Upon arriving at the Quebrada del Peon we will find enormous irregularly shaped stone formations that the sun paints with a golden light.
We continue our trip along the edge of the path until a curious circular construction made of walls of stone and mortar (a mixture of lime and soil). Its architecture - similar to an igloo - ends in a dome with a small opening at the top. This is one of thirteen shelters built at the area between 1864 and 1873 in order to give refuge to mule drivers who used to take the cattle to Chile during the war in that country against Peru and Bolivia.
We continue the climb until we pass the 4000 meters, between hills of sand of different colors.
At the end of the gorge we leave the main road and we penetrate at low speed on a dirt track, directly over the sand hills. In the middle of a wide valley it will appear an image of an oval lagoon with majestic peaks around it like El Veladero Chico Bonete and Pissis, the second highest in America, with six thousand eight hundred eighty-two meters above the sea level. This is the first image we have of the Laguna Brava.
As we walk along the beach to the shore of the lake, on a floor of salt, a gentle cool breeze lacerate our face and hands. But the serenity of the atmosphere is interrupted suddenly when a
hundred pink flamingos takes flight in unison. More than four thousand meters above the sea level, the reserve of vicunas and flamingos Laguna Brava is a paradise hidden at the top of La Rioja mountain range.
On the heights of this mountain range, a blue sapphire laggomn surrounded by salt doubles the inverted silhouettes of a hundred pink flamingos. This Birds remain indifferent to the advancement of our vehicle through the trail along the lagoon. In a context of snowy peaks and hills, an icy wind shakes the sparse vegetation, consisting of some pepper trees and dry coirones.
After touring some areas of the lagoon and while our guide tells us the characteristics of this unique place, we will return to Villa Union by the same route, arriving at 5 pm approximately.