Some 35km south of Mina Clavero, the RP-148 branches off the RN-20 and heads due south towards SAN JAVIER, another 12km away. The tree-lined road takes you through some of the province’s most attractive scenery and settlements. If you’re driving, though, watch out for the often treacherous badenes, very deep fords that suddenly flood after storms; even when dry their abrupt drop and rough surface can damage a car’s undercarriage or tyres.

San Javier is a pretty little place, set amid peach orchards, and serves as a base for climbing to the 2884m summit of Cerro Champaquí, directly to the east. It has developed as an exclusive tourist centre in recent years, offering a variety of services including massages, reiki and even “solar shamanism”.

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