Old bones in Neuquen

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Punto Patagonica

Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Friday, October 30, 2009

The nicest part of Neuquen is the big, shiny new characterless bus terminal, so why are we here? 3 nearby towns, 1 reason - Neuquen is one of the richest areas for dinosaur fossils in the world.
Our first destination is 1.5 hours away by car for which we have to hire a driver as no buses run the route. Projecto Dino is the only paleontological site still being excavated that allows tourists in to visit. Already it has provided fossils from an immense range of dinosaurs from a  Gigantosaur (Argentina's biggest carnivore haha) to a Pterosaur with a 4m wingspan.

Our second destination is the small town of Plaza Huincul, 2 hours away by bus. the museum here contains a replica skeleton of an Argentinosaurus, the largest dinosaur discovered. (What is surprising is discovering that Argentina was once home to herbivores!)

Our third destination is Villa El Chocon, 2 hours in the opposite direction. Home to dinosaur footprints (sadly underwater due to lake level on the day we were there) and a replica skeleton of Gigantosaur, the largest carnivorous dinosaur discovered - yes it is bigger than T Rex (but its arms are even more spindly and useless looking). There is also an Amargasaurus - like a funky Diplodocus with extra neck spikes.
Whats more there is also a hydroelectric plant nearby - it takes us 2 hours accompanied by 3 local dogs, to walk to the dam wall only to get whistled at by the security guard and chased away. Bevan is happy though, he took some photos of the substation.

Inconveniently, our trip to Neuquen included a Sunday when none of the buses were running. We can confirm that the town has absolutely zero tourist attractions, although admittedly it was quite pleasant to be somewhere not quite so tourist central.
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