Best time to visit Argentina

Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands) in Argentina

These prehistoric settlements, thanks to unique cultural elements, have turned Cueva de las Manos into an amazing spot!

Best time: September–February

Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands)

It was found by accident in 1941, a unique cave which was named Cueva de las Manos or "Cave of the Hands." It was found by a monk in one of the gorges of the local Pinturas River. He even couldn't imagine that this spot will become the main ancient site of Argentina!

These ancient wall paintings belong to the period from 7000 to 1000 BC. Among the numerous drawings, you can find images of animals, human figures, hunting scenes, and the most amazing feature more than 800 handprints in full size.

Researchers believe that each new tribe brought here something of its own and that most prints belong to female hands. All these paintings and murals are considered the most ancient traces of human presence in South America. It is necessary to mention colour. Ancient artists used natural mineral pigments to obtain shades of black, white, yellow, purple, and red. The cave is hidden from the eyes of the man in the deep canyon of the Pinturas River.

Due to the temperate climate, the cave may be visited year-round. All the same, some treks around the area may be inaccessible. Therefore, September to February is recommended as the most attractive season. Summer (December–February) is the peak time, so prepare to see crowds. Spring (September–November) is cooler and less crowded, so you'll have to take a private guide. Even though the tourists are fewer, because of seasonal operation of local hotels, it might be difficult to find accommodations.

Practical info

When was the discovery of Cueva de las Manos made?

In 1941, a monk found Cueva de las Manos, or 'Cave of the Hands', within the deep canyon of Santa Cruz Province, Argentina's Pinturas River. This cave is well known for its historical prehistoric wall paintings, which feature hunting scenes, human figures, images of animals, and over 800 full-size handprints, and date back to 7,000 to 1,000 BC. Show more

In which province of Argentina is Cueva de Las Manos located?

Cueva de Las Manos is situated in the southwest region of Argentina, in the province of Santa Cruz. This cave is located close to the Chilean frontier, carved deep into the landscape's arid and rocky Patagonian wilderness within Pinturas River's steep gorges. Show more

What kind of wall paintings are housed within the cave walls?

Cueva de las Manos features prehistoric paintings that have been around for thousands of years, from 7,000 to 1,000 BC, created with natural mineral pigments. These elaborate cave paintings showcase animals, hunting scenes, human beings, and more than 800 handprints in full size. They're created using different tones of mineral pigments, including black, white, purple, yellow, and red. Show more

When is the ideal time for exploring the cave?

Cueva de las Manos can be visited year-round; however, September to February is the most popular season. During the summer months, December to February, expect crowds of tourists. September to November is the spring season with fewer tourists and fresher weather, but private guides should be arranged in advance. Visitors should consider carrying necessary items due to the distance and harsh environment. Show more

Can visitors arrive anytime and find accommodation easily in the area?

Accommodation in this area is challenging to discover year-round due to limited seasonal operation. September to February increase the supply of lodgings, even though visitors should reserve bookings beforehand. Because of the remote and harsh landscape, visitors should pack necessary items since there may be a lack of essential supplies. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin