Tricao Malal

Toponymy: From Mapundungun ”tricao”: parrots, and ”malal”: valley. Valley of the parrots.

Access: By Provincial Route 43

Temperatures in summer: Maximum average 30ºC/86ºF - Minimum average 13ºC/55ºF

Temperatures in winter: Maximum average 14ºC/57ºF - Minimum average 2ºC/35ºF

Distance from Neuquén (capital city): 456 km.

Distance from Buenos Aires City: 1374 km / 854 mi

Department of Tourism and Environment: 194 Nahueve St. | - Tel: +54 2948 494060

Gas/Service station: No

Tricao Malal and Cordillera del Viento - Photo: Luis Alberto Reyes

Tricao Malal is a beautiful natural valley surrounded by an impressive landscape dominated by Cordillera del Viento and the highest mountains in Patagonia, such as Domuyo peak (4709 m/15449 ft.), Palao (3583 m//11755 ft) and Tromen volcano (4114 m/13497).

In this semi-arid area of loose soil and scarce vegetation, rural communities practise transhumance, which is the seasonal migration of livestock, especially caprine. Their economy is supplemented by subsistence agriculture.

The municipality in Tricao Malal acts as a service provider to the surrounding rural towns and spots, especially with respect to rural activities.

Tricao Malal History

Although National School Nº24 was established in 1901 and the Police Station in 1905, Tricao Malal is officially founded in 1910, when the Justice of the Peace and the Registry Office are established, and the first shops and markets are able to open their doors.

In 1932 Tricao Malal is recognized as an establishment and in 1936 it is officially recognized as a town by The Executive.

Entrance Arch to Tricao Malal - Photo:

What to visit in Tricao Malal

Huaraco Lagoon

About 20 km northwards of Tricao Malal, we find this lagoon at 2000 m.a.s.l./6561 ft Its waters are home to abundant perch and criolla trout of considerable size, what makes them excellent for catch-and-release fishing. The area is visited by different birds, such as coots, wild ducks, bustards, ibises, black-necked swans and flamingoes.

Due to the poor road conditions, the last 6 km should be covered by 4WD vehicles, on horseback or on foot.

Palau Lagoon

Located at the foot of Palau Hill, this lagoon and its surroundings of stunted vegetation are good spots for birdwatching lovers. Wild ducks and gulls inhabit the lagoon, where aquatic plants give water a reddish colour. As to fishing, perch and rainbow trout can be caught in this body of water.

Curi Leuvu River and Palao (3583 m.s.n.m) - Photo:

Laguna Huaraco:

Em direção ao norte de Tricao Malal, a uns 20 km e a 2000 metros acima do nível do mar, encontramos esta Lagoa com abundantes percas e trutas da região, de grande porte, convertendo-a em um excelente lugar para a pesca esportiva (com devolução obrigatória). A região é também visitada pela sua grande variedade de aves como galinha-d´água, patos silvestres, abertadas, cisnes do pescoço preto e flamingos.

Os últimos 6 km do caminho devem ser feitos com veículos 4X4, a cavalo ou caminhando, já que o caminho é praticamente intransitável.

Cerro Palao

Palao Hill lies very close to Tricao Malal, and is a challenging invitation to attempt to reach it top (3583 m.a.s.l./11755 ft) Cerro Palao is one of the highest mountains in Cordillera del Viento.

Aquihuecó Archaeological Site

Located 500 m from the left bank of Curi Leuvú River, at the foothill of Cerro Negro, this archaeological site is the oldest burial place known in the Northwestern Patagonia. Different studies reveal that the cemetery is about 3600 years old and the fire site is close to 8000 years old.

Several skeletons were found, together with archaeological remains associated with them: necklace beads made of mollusk shells and some lithic ornaments. The latter are part of a group of 150 pieces, from which the following stand out: four mill bases, an arrowhead, two arrowhead preforms and twenty-seven edged tools (brushes, scrapers, knives, compound tools and stone flakes with traces of use).

Transhumance is still practice in this region. In the background Palao Hill - Photo:

Popular Festivals

Loro Barranquero Provincial Festival

Its name makes reference to loro barranquero, a species of parrot. This event has been held every February since 1995, and aims at keeping northern Neuquén people’s cultural customs alive. It is also a way of spreading and reaffirming the local artistic expressions, music, dance and lifestyle.

Tricao Malal. Al fondo a la derecha el Volcán Domuyo - Photo:

What to see in Northern Neuquén