Some of the petroglyphs depict horses, cattle and European figures as well as native llamas, guanacos, condors, pumas and snakes, but few of the abstract figures have been satisfactorily or conclusively interpreted – though your guide will offer convincing theories. The deep depressions, or morteros, in the horizontal rock nearby were caused over the centuries by the grinding and mixing of paints. Of the different pigments used – chalk, ochre, charcoal, oils and vegetable extracts – the white and black stand out more than the rest, but climatic changes, especially increased humidity, are taking their toll, and many of the rock paintings are badly faded. The petroglyphs are best viewed very early in the morning or before dusk, when the rock takes on blazing red hues and the pigments’ contrasts are at their strongest.
There’s also a small, free archeological museum, next to the guard post, with photos of the petroglyphs and native flora.