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Mutquín, a paradise in the Serranías del Ambato

I recommend this wonderful place in the heart of Catamarca.


I visited Mutquín, in the heart of the province of  Catamarca , more precisely in the department of Pomán. The village, with just over a thousand inhabitants, rests on the west slope of El Manchao Hill, the largest summit (4561 MSL) of the Ambato cord. It is called Manchao (and not Spotted), because it means  manch  = fear,  ao  = place, that is: Place of Fear. Some unsuspecting may believe it's because of the stains on the hill, but no. It is a “windy and bad place because it scares with its noises” tells me José Barrionuevo, director of tourism of the place.

Mutquín is perfect to visit all year round as the activities offered to tourists are heterogeneous. By virtue of its altitude, Mutquín has a rather cool microclimate, even on summer days, where in the evenings the temperature usually drops from 15º C. If you visit it at that station you can enjoy not only the Festival de la Nuez but also a real northern carnival  .

How to get there?

The town is 172km from  San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca . From the bus terminal there is a public transport that takes you regularly. I, on the other hand, took the car tour. I took national route 38, like going to  La Rioja . When I reached the RN 60 I turned right to cross the Ambato through the creek of La Cébila. Twenty kilometers of mountain road that winds with the Salado River, something as beautiful as it is indescribable.

Once crossed broken, turn right along provincial route 46. After a nondescript road I returned to the adventure of the zigzagging roads. It was 12 km of ascent to reach Mutquín, by a beautiful questecilla, as they say here, which is provincial route 133.

What is Mutquín like?

The village is in a place of peace and quiet. A town that will make you feel like you came to earthly paradise. The green of its walnut trees is amalgamated with the aroma of herbs that descend from the hills. Precisely from there it comes in the name of the region.  Mutki  in the language of the native peoples means to smell. All that combined with the quiet walking and friendliness and simplicity of its people, make your stay comfortable.

In Mutquín you can develop different activities, from full rest watching, lying on the grass, setting the sun on the hills. Up to the dynamic mountain activity. For the most seasoned there are excursions to do summit in Manchao, with an average degree of difficulty. If you are, like me, among those who like hiking on trails this is the perfect place.

In search of Los Chorros

El Mutquín is a river that comes from a hidden ravine in Manchao. He glides towards the west and crosses the village. They use their  water  for irrigation and consumption. This torrent leaves on its way waterfalls and waterfalls, which locals call Los Chorros.

I suggest, for the hike, that you wear special footwear for  trekking . I did it with  Solomon's Fury 3M  that are water resistant. Our guide wore  Kaïpo CS WP 2 M  of the same brand. They are necessary because to get to Los Chorros you have to cross the Mutquin several times. You will choose, according to your shoes, to walk through its waters or jump on the rocks of your bed.

There is a beautiful climbing trail. I use for this type of hikes the  Strava  cell phone app that together with my  Garmin Tactix Charlie  watch allow me to measure heights, times, and marks me the return point for the times I go without a guide. In this case it is impossible to get lost because the path is perfectly signposted.

The App marked me a walk of 1750 meters to the third Chorro. The largest, has a drop of 15 meters high. The altimeter marked 2037 MSN. I've traveled our country a lot, but I have to tell you that I never saw a place like this and a waterfall that leaves you so astonished.

The story of Carolina

When I talked to the director of tourism, I asked him to suggest a place to eat. He said, “Go to Caro's, I'll tell him what you're going to happen.” Carolina Villafañe is a Catamarque (born and raised) NYC. When he finished high school, he felt that cooking was his passion. She received Chef at the School of Gastronomic Training in  Catamarca . Not in accordance with that he made specializations in solar cooking, author, among others.

Life wanted her to meet her best friend there and through her Mutquin. He first traveled here for a gastronomic training in a children's dining room and, like me, fell in love with the place. So much that after traveling the world, for 15 years, he felt that here he had to stop to take root.

His specialty is fusion cuisine, “I wish whoever tastes my dishes feel Mutquin” he tells me. And experience it by trying a walnut  risotto  . Or the mote, a typical food of the region, which is made with meat, beans and white corn. “The secret is to cook it slow and cold,” Carolina tells me and adds “I made this one with walnut firewood.” There is no adjective in the language dictionary to describe the flavors that came together in your mouth when you try it. Indescribable sensations like the ones I lived when I watched Los Chorros.

After eating and tasting exquisite quince juice, I said goodbye to Carolina and her husband promising to return to Mutquín by the time I finished the gastronomic hotel complex Renacer, made entirely with geodetic domes.

Publication Date: 01/10/2019

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By: Julian Di Cione 05 October, 2019

Excelente dato y muy linda nota!

By: Maria 21 February, 2020

Hola en el 2000 mí hijo realizó la pasantía de medicina en ese lugar me hablaba tan lindas cosas de ese lugar que tengo ganas de ir cual es la mejor época gracias

By: Mary saenz 15 May, 2020

En respuesta a

Hola en febrero consigo hotel o es difícil por las fiestas

By: Maria 21 February, 2020

Hola cual es la mejor época para visitarlo gracias

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