Cuevas de Las Manos is a very interesting place to visit driving on Ruta 40. The site is fantastic with paintings (mostly left hands, but also guanacos, lesser rheas, cougars and hunters) dating back to 9000 years B.C. (and probably even 13.000 B.C., questioning the dating of the first transit of Bering till now accepted as 17000 BC). The visit of the painting and the view of the valley of the Pinturas River are really fantastic. During summer this cave is open from 8 AM to 7 PM and can be visited only with a guide (the cost of the guide is included in the entrance ticket). One side of the cave collapsed, so the cave is open and there is no claustrophobic problems at all. There are 2 roads to reach the cave, both unpaved. The easiest way is to refuel in Bajo Caracoles, proceed 3 km north on Ruta 40 and turn right on Ruta 97 driving 43 km till the cave. The parking space is next to the entrance. The alternative solution is to stay in Hosteria Cuevas de Las Manos, an excellent option (we selected this option), but some physical effort is required to reach the cave because the road from the Hosteria to the cave ends on the other side of the canyon and to reach the entrance of the Cueva it is necessary to walk under the sun for 40 minutes down from the edge of the canyon to the Pinturas River and then up to the cave. The trail is steep but not dangerous. On the other hand the short driving (less than 18 km) from the Hosteria to the Canyon is a African like safari with hundreds of guanacos and lesser rheas together with birds. At sunset the guanacos move to the top of the hills to spend the night in such a defensive position to reduce the effectiveness of cougar ambushes while small animals come out from their burrows. Coming from Caretera Austral we refueled in Perito Moreno (the town) and after driving 68 km South on Ruta 40 we saw on the left a very small sign indicating the access to the Hosteria which is not visible from the main road. The accommodation is very good in rooms with private bathroom and breakfast included. The dinner is available (you have to ask at the arrival) with good local food in a tasty menu without choice. A dinner in family where the few customers exchange information and travel tips. The generator is switched off at midnight and the sky becomes incredibly full of the Southern Hemisphere stars.
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