El Huecú

Toponymy: From mapundungun “evil genius” / “demon”

Access: By Provincial Route 21 and 4

Temperatures in summer: Maximum average 29ºC / Minimum average 12ºC

Temperatures in winter: Maximum average 14ºC / Minimum average 2ºC

Distance from Neuquén (capital city): 377 km.

Distance from Buenos Aires City: 1380 km.

Municipality: Jose Manke Cayucal St. - Tel: +54 2948 491123

Gas/Service station: No

In complete harmony with the scenic beauty of the North of Neuquen Province, El Huecú lies at 1200 m.a.s.l., in a wide valley framed with mountains and the flow of the homonymous river. El Huecú is the capital town of Ñorquín district.

The charming scenery, with its great views of the Andes de Transición and Cordillera del Viento, creates a sense of peace, magic and adventure for those who visit this place.

It is common to see crianceros (a shepherd who rears and herds the livestock) taking their animals along the roads and trails in the North, what becomes a magical image for most tourists. In recent years a growth in the agricultural area has been recorded, especially in the nearby fields and ranches.

La belleza del río Trocoman en el Valle de las Damas- Photo: Eric Schroeder

El Huecú History

Early historical records make reference to a spot known as Corral de Piedra (stone corral), located in the valley of Ñorquín, where Colonel Rufino Ortega established a fortified place called Cerro de la Artillería in 1882. That place functioned as headquarter of the 1st Expeditionary Forces Brigade.

Ñorquín used to be the capital of the district and the second capital of the National Territory of Neuquen, under Manuel J. Olascoaga’s government. But because Ñorquín was settled on private lands, its inhabitants gradually moved to what is known today as El Huecú.

El paisaje llegando a El Huecú - Photo: Eric Schroeder

What to visit in El Huecu

Valle de las Damas

Valle de las Damas - Photo: Eric Schroeder

Mañke Community

This mapuche community has a campsite area 7 km from the town, which is administered by the community and authorized by the Subsecretary of Tourism of Neuquén Province. There is a swimming pool, restrooms, tables, benches, fire sites, lights and dustbins. Typical meals are offered, such as roast lamb with salad, mote, chavi (soaked wheat) and pavo (prepared with ñaco and chicharrón).

Apicultura de la Comunidad Mañke - Photo: Eric Schroeder

Quezada Lagoon

Bird Watching of different species can be practised here. Among such species we find: black-necked swans, tawas, flamingoes, wild ducks and bustards. It is located 15 km westward El Huecú, along PR 21, turning left at its access. The last section of the way cannot be covered by car; tourists usually prefer to do it on horseback or on foot.

Laguna Quesada nocturna - Photo: Eric Schroeder

Callín Pallao Hill

It lies northwest of El Huecú, and you can get to Callín Pallao either on horseback or on foot. From the hill’s top an interesting view of the town and its surroundings can be appreciated.

Cerro Callín Payao - Photo: Eric Schroeder

Fishing Trocomán River

In this river -which flows only 13 km from El Cholar- sport fishing can be practised, mainly of rainbow trout. There can be fair-sized catches, mainly in the confluence of Reñi Leuvú, Vilú Mallín and Chochoi Mallín rivers.

Río Trocomán en el Valle de las Damas - Photo: Argentour.com

Popular Festivals in El Huecu

Criancero Festival

This annual festival is meant to honour those settlers who practise transhumance.

The celebrations include artistic shows; parades along the town’s streets and rodeo skills shows, all livened up by local folk artists.

What to see in Northern Neuquén