- 1 National Park Information
- 2 Geography and Climate of El Impenetrable
- 3 Biodiversity: Flora and Fauna
- 4 Main Activities and Attractions
- 5 Excursions and Nearby Points of Interest
- 6 How to Get to El Impenetrable National Park?
- 7 Recommendations for Your Visit
- 8 Accommodation and Services in and around El Impenetrable
- 9 Photo Gallery
The El Impenetrable National Park offers a mighty immersion into pristine natural beauty. This park, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is a kaleidoscope of biodiversity, cultural richness, and challenges for adventurers.
National Park Information
Located in the northwest of the Chaco Province, Argentina, El Impenetrable National Park stretches over more than 128,903 hectares of land, including the Bermejo River, in the Western Chaco ecoregion. It is a national nature reserve whose primary objective is to protect and preserve the Chaco ecosystem in the Chaco Province, specifically in the area known as El Impenetrable, which was formerly part of the extensive La Fidelidad estate. The park is situated in the General Güemes Department and is accessible through Provincial Route 9, with the villages of Las Hacheras and La Armonía being the nearest settlements. Its geolocation is determined by coordinates: 25°00′34″S 60°59′45″W.
History and Cultural Heritage
The history of El Impenetrable National Park holds significant meaning for the local indigenous peoples, who have coexisted with nature in this region for centuries. The park is steeped in a rich history and traditions that offer a fascinating lesson in cultural anthropology.
Its history involves the transformation of a former estate named "La Fidelidad" into a national park. Initially, the property belonged to Jorge Born and was dedicated to extensive cattle ranching. In the 1970s, it was acquired by the Roseo brothers, Luis and Manuel, who came from the textile industry but faced difficulties in managing the property.
Unfortunately, Manuel Roseo fell into debt, and after the death of his brother Luis in 1984, he refused to sell part of the land. He lived modestly, working in a carpentry shop using wood extracted from the property, mainly from carob trees. In January 2011, Manuel Roseo and his sister-in-law Nelly Bartolomé were tortured and murdered by a mafia group with the intention of taking over the lands valued in millions of dollars.
After these tragic events, a process was initiated to convert the area into a national park. In April 2014, a law was introduced in the Argentine National Senate to create El Impenetrable National Park. The Conservation Land Trust (CLT) foundation, led by American philanthropist Douglas Tompkins, provided crucial financial support for the process.
The law creating the national park was unanimously approved in both chambers of the Argentine National Congress on October 22, 2014 (Law No. 26996), giving it the Spanish name "Parque Nacional El Impenetrable". However, the park’s inauguration was delayed due to legal actions by the former landowners. Finally, on November 18, 2018, possession of the lands was granted to the Chaco Province.
On June 27, 2016, an agreement was signed between the Chaco Province and the National Parks Administration to establish the terms of land transfer and reception. Finally, the park was officially inaugurated on August 25, 2017, with a ceremony in the village of La Armonía and a superintendent in charge of its management.
The history of El Impenetrable Park stands as a testament to the challenges and efforts undertaken to transform private property into a protected area that conserves the natural and cultural wealth of the region.
Ecological Importance and Biodiversity
El Impenetrable is a stronghold of biodiversity, home to numerous species of flora and fauna, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Its biodiversity and global conservation significance make it an essential destination for nature enthusiasts.
Geography and Climate of El Impenetrable
El Impenetrable National Park covers an area of approximately 128,903 hectares and encompasses most of the Chacoan portion of the former La Fidelidad estate. The remaining part of the estate to the northeast belongs to the Formosa Province and is separated by the Bermejo River, which traverses the park’s floodplain.
From a geomorphological perspective, the park lies in the interfluvial area between the Bermejo and Bermejito (or Teuco-Teuquito) rivers, giving it varied terrain compared to other areas in the Chaco. Near the rivers, there are ridges and forested galleries with higher and moister soils. The abandoned old river meanders, known as "caños," present extensive strips of tall grass savannah. In lower-lying areas, different bodies of water form, such as El Breal lagoon and the Yacaré pit.
The park’s soils are mostly of alluvial origin, with varying texture, limited development, and hydromorphic properties. In areas near the Bermejo River, there are quarcipsament soils to the north and hapludol and possibly udifluvent soils to the south. Toward the eastern edge of the park, udifluvent soils predominate. Toward the southwest, there are strips of ustifluvent and haplacuol soils.
In terms of climate, the park experiences a continental subtropical climate, which is a warm variant of the continental tropical climate. It is characterized by pronounced continental conditions and high temperatures throughout the year, with possible maximums exceeding 40 °C in any month. In summer, temperatures can occasionally go above 45 °C. In winter, minimum temperatures can drop below 5 °C, limiting the presence of cold-sensitive plant species. The average annual temperature is around 22.5 °C.
Rainfall is concentrated mainly from late spring to early autumn, with almost no rainfall in winter. The average annual precipitation is around 700 mm, with slight variations between the eastern and western areas of the park. However, anomalies and differences between years, as well as cycles of wetter and drier years, are common. These demanding climatic conditions have given rise to an adapted biota, with an abundance of vegetation that has developed adaptations to prevent water loss and take advantage of the groundwater’s moisture.
Biodiversity: Flora and Fauna
El Impenetrable National Park harbors an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic species.
Iconic Plant Species
The park is a sanctuary for diverse plant species, including various types of quebracho trees, carob trees, palms, and a multitude of wildflowers.
The black carob tree (Prosopis nigra), considered the emblematic plant species of the park, is a tree that can reach up to 15 meters in height, with a trunk divided into thick branches and a wide canopy. It has dark brown bark and reduced leaves to prevent water loss. Its fruits are yellow pods with purple spots, and they are very sweet.
Iconic Animal Species
El Impenetrable is a haven for rich animal biodiversity. From the jaguar, a highly prized feline in the region, to a variety of birds, reptiles, and smaller mammals, visitors have the opportunity to witness wildlife in its wildest state.
The emblematic species of the park is the giant anteater or yurumí (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), a large mammal characterized by its long tail and pronounced tube-like snout. Also present in the habitat are the tapir, peccary, and armadillo. The area is also home to a variety of birds, such as the crowned eagle, matico, and chattering parrot, which are important for conservation. In terms of reptiles, notable species include the broad-snouted caiman, the ñacaniná snake, and the broad-snouted and red lizards. The presence of these species underscores the importance of conserving the park and its biodiversity.
Threats and Conservation Measures
Despite its natural richness, El Impenetrable faces conservation challenges. Poaching and deforestation are constant threats. Nevertheless, conservation efforts are underway to preserve and protect this unique ecosystem.
Main Activities and Attractions
From hiking trails to observing flora and fauna, there are many activities and attractions to enjoy in El Impenetrable National Park. One of the park’s main attractions is its extensive area, which still contains many areas in pristine and well-preserved condition. This has allowed for the survival of abundant wildlife, including species of significant size and ecological importance.
Hiking and Nature Observation
The park offers numerous trails of varying difficulty levels, providing a complete immersion in the natural beauty of the area. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the variety of ecosystems and landscapes.
- Conejo de los Palos Trail: This trail takes you through a beautiful landscape, allowing you to enjoy nature and observe local flora and fauna. It’s a moderately difficult hike and offers impressive panoramic views.
- El Casco Trail: Passes through a wooded area, where you can appreciate the diversity of trees and plants. It’s an easy-level hike and is ideal for those seeking a tranquil experience in the midst of nature.
- Nueva Población Trail: Allows you to explore an old settlement, where you can learn about the history and local culture. It’s an easy-level hike and offers the opportunity to delve into the region’s history.
- Jungle Trail: Immerses you in a jungle environment, where you can admire lush vegetation and listen to the sounds of wildlife. It’s a moderately difficult hike and provides a unique experience in the midst of pristine nature.
- Pozo Yacaré Trail: Leads to a natural pit, where you can cool off and enjoy a tranquil environment. It’s an easy-level hike and is perfect for those looking to relax near the water.
These trails in El Impenetrable provide the opportunity to explore different landscapes and enjoy the natural beauty of the region while walking and practicing hiking or trekking. Remember to follow the park’s guidelines and rules to ensure a safe and respectful experience in the environment.
Kayaking and Water Activities in the Bermejo River
Currently, the Community Civil Association "Vecinos de La Armonía" provides the opportunity to enjoy kayaking trips on the Bermejito River, in addition to offering rustic camping services, bike rides, and dining options.
Other activities on the Bermejo River are also possible, such as boat rides and fishing, allowing visitors to enjoy nature from a different perspective.
Photography and Bird Watching
With its diversity of birds and wildlife, El Impenetrable National Park is a dream destination for photographers and bird watchers.
Cultural and Educational Experience
Visiting El Impenetrable National Park also provides an opportunity to learn about local history and culture through activities and exhibitions organized by the park.
Excursions and Nearby Points of Interest
Beyond the park, the region offers a range of other attractions and excursions that are worth exploring.
Nearby Parks and Reserves
In close proximity to El Impenetrable National Park, there are other parks and nature reserves, each with their own unique beauty and biodiversity. Some of these nearby parks and reserves include:
- Chaco National Park: Located in the Chaco Province, this park protects a wide variety of ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, and marshes. It’s home to emblematic species like the black caiman and giant anteater.
- Ciervo de los Pantanos National Park: Formerly known as Reserva Natural Otamendi, situated in the Buenos Aires Province, this nature reserve hosts a diverse array of native birds and flora. It features hiking trails and bird-watching opportunities, along with environmental education activities.
- Calilegua National Park: Located in the Jujuy Province, this park is renowned for its lush subtropical jungle and stunning waterfalls. It provides a refuge for a wide range of species, including the jaguar and anteater.
- Formosa Nature Reserve: Situated in the Formosa Province, this nature reserve protects jungle and wetland areas. It’s home to a diverse range of birds, reptiles, and mammals, offering opportunities for nature observation activities.
These are just a few examples of the parks and nature reserves near the region where the national park is located. Each of them possesses its own unique characteristics and contributes to the conservation of biodiversity in the region.
Cultural and Historical Attractions
The region around the area protected by the Argentine government harbors several cultural and historical points of interest, including museums, archaeological sites, and indigenous communities.
Gastronomy and Wines of the Region
Don’t miss the opportunity to try the local cuisine and wines of the region. From traditional Argentine barbecues, with their flavorful grilled meats, to exquisite filled empanadas, the local cuisine will satisfy even the most discerning palates. Additionally, the region offers an interesting selection of high-quality wines, such as Malbec, renowned for its intense flavor and fruity notes. Enjoying a barbecue with a good Malbec wine is an authentic gastronomic experience that perfectly complements the visit.
How to Get to El Impenetrable National Park?
By Car or Private Vehicle
- Take National Route 16 from Resistencia towards the northwest.
- Continue on National Route 16 until you reach the town of Roque Sáenz Peña.
- From Roque Sáenz Peña, take National Route 95 heading north.
- Follow National Route 95 until it intersects with Provincial Route 9, which will take you to the town of Castelli.
- The main entrance to El Impenetrable National Park is the La Armonía Site, located 60 km (via dirt road) from the town of Miraflores. You can reach the park from La Armonía.
It’s recommended to use high-clearance vehicles, such as 4×2 or 4×4 trucks, as the road to the park is unpaved. During the visiting season, there might be rains affecting road conditions, as well as the presence of sandy sections and deep ruts caused by heavy vehicles.
By Public Transport
- From Resistencia, take a bus to the town of Castelli.
- Once in Castelli, you can take a taxi or remis to reach the La Armonía Site, which is the main entrance to El Impenetrable National Park.
Remember to check bus schedules and plan your trip in advance, as public transport may have limited schedules and may not directly reach the park.
To reach El Impenetrable National Park by air, you can fly to Resistencia International Airport, located in the capital of the Chaco Province, Argentina. This airport receives flights from different places in Argentina, making access to the park easier for visitors who prefer air travel.
Once you arrive at Resistencia International Airport, you can take a taxi or rent a car to continue your journey to the park entrance. The distance between the airport and the park is approximately 200 kilometers, with an estimated travel time of around 2.5 hours.
Recommendations for Your Visit
To fully enjoy your visit to El Impenetrable, there are some recommendations to keep in mind.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the park is during the drier months, between May and September, when the roads are more accessible and the wildlife is more visible.
Equipment and Preparation
It’s essential to bring appropriate clothing and equipment for hiking, bird watching, and other outdoor activities. Don’t forget your sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Park Rules and Regulations
Remember that El Impenetrable National Park is a protected area. Adhere to the park’s rules and regulations, including not feeding animals, not littering, and staying on designated trails.
Accommodation and Services in and around El Impenetrable
There are various accommodation options in El Impenetrable National Park and services available for visitors, ranging from campsites to more comfortable hotels. Numerous services and amenities can also be found in cities and towns near the park.
Hotels and Campgrounds
In the vicinity of the park, you can find a variety of accommodation options. From rural lodgings to hotels with all the comforts, the area offers choices for all budgets and travel styles.
There are numerous restaurants and food stalls in nearby towns, offering everything from local delicacies to more international options. It’s also possible to have a picnic in designated areas within the park.
Other Amenities and Services
Visitors can avail themselves of various services and amenities, such as tour guides, rental of hiking equipment, and detailed park maps.