Native forest and free species: walk through a nature reserve in the mountains

The province of Córdoba offers wonderful natural environments when it comes to finding activities to do during an alternative weekend outing. In Casa Grande, the town located between Molinari and Valle Hermoso in the north center of the Punilla Valley, is the Tatú Carreta, a nature reserve where you can come into contact with different species of native fauna, in the middle of a wonderful mountain landscape. .

It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., except on rainy days when it closes its doors, since on those days the animals that are free seek refuge and do not let themselves be seen.

It is an ecological reserve of 60 hectares that is located in that mountain town, on the edge of National Route 38, with the characteristics of a semi-open zoo, which also functions as a rehabilitation center for native animals, which after being recovered are reinserted in their natural habitat.

This specimen of Andean condor is in rehabilitation.  Photo: Fabian Aranda.
This specimen of Andean condor is in rehabilitation. Photo: Fabian Aranda.

Although it is a private undertaking, so to take the tour you have to pay an entrance fee of $700 per person, it is a recommended experience to do as a family. The walk consists of two parts: one that can be done by vehicle through a marked path and the second part, where the animals are in their respective habitats.

During the car tour you can come into direct contact with different types of animals that are free: maras, roe deer, llamas, guanacos, some species of deer, partridges, which roam along the route, which can be feed with the food delivered at the entrance. In the middle of that route, there is the cage of the cougars, which can be seen at certain hours of the day.

Along the way, the llamas come to receive food.  Photo: Fabian Aranda.
Along the way, the llamas come to receive food. Photo: Fabian Aranda.
The roe deer are friendly and come to pass.  Photo: Fabian Aranda.
The roe deer are friendly and come to pass. Photo: Fabian Aranda.

The second part of the route is pedestrian, between the different cages and habitats where different species of animals are protected, which after being rescued by the Environmental Police in different operations and other organizations that protect animals in danger of extinction, are recovered in captivity and, to the extent possible, they are returned to their natural habitats. There you can see a couple of Andean condors in recovery, peccaries, wild cats, honey bears, talking parrots, macaws, toucans and other species of native birds.

The yellow-breasted macaw forms a lifelong pair and is distributed in South America.  Photo: Fabian Aranda
The yellow-breasted macaw forms a lifelong pair and is distributed in South America. Photo: Fabian Aranda
The Toucan with its splendid orange beak.  Photo: Fabian Aranda.
The Toucan with its splendid orange beak. Photo: Fabian Aranda.
A beautiful specimen of wild cat waits to be returned to its natural habitat, after recovering.  Photo: Fabian Aranda.
A beautiful specimen of wild cat waits to be returned to its natural habitat, after recovering. Photo: Fabian Aranda.

The reserve has parking, bathrooms, a grocery store and a barbecue area with outdoor tables, although it is recommended that visitors who want to spend the day bring a grill. In the summer season, you can also use the pool that the property has.

Guided tours for student groups

After the normalization of all activities after restrictions during the worst part of the pandemic, the owners of the place resumed educational visits for students, at a cost of $500 per person. They are guided by property staff with special activities and in a group owned by the owners of the reserve.

How to get

From Córdoba, the journey takes just over an hour and can be reached through the Camino del Cuadrado and when entering National Route 38, turn left towards the south, towards Cosquín. After passing Valle Hermoso, you enter the town of Casa Grande. After about six kilometers, on the right hand side you can see the entrance sign to the Tatú Carreta nature reserve. Meanwhile, those who come from the north along the same route 38, must make the same journey

For those who come from Carlos Paz or from San Roque, also along route 38 but heading north, after passing Cosquín and Molinari, you will arrive at Casa Grande. Those who choose this path will find the reserve on the left hand side.

The entrance, on the side of National Route 38 in the town of Casa Grande.  Photo: Fabian Aranda.
The entrance, on the side of National Route 38 in the town of Casa Grande. Photo: Fabian Aranda.

For reservations:

Telephones: 03548-470381 or 3541-585547

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