Aimogasta, Argentina – A Night in the Olive Grove


Route La Rioja, Argentina – Aimogasta, Argentina (RN75)
Distance 114Km
Travel Time 3 hours (detour in Sanagasta)
Road Conditions Good Tarmac
Weather Warm, Sunny
Terrain Dry, Flat with some climbs & mountian views
Food and Petrol
Accommodation Camping in Olive Grove, Aimogasta


Aimogasta is a small town about an hour North of La Rioja, so it’s not too far back to La Rioja if the bike gives us more trouble. Also it’s a small dot on the map, thus we expect to encounter no problems with accommodation.


The road is good and mostly flat with beautiful mountains in the distance, but you cross one mountain range and thereby ride through a most spectacular valley – gorgeous!


Approaching the town, we get a sense that the place is rather big. Big warehouses scattered between square miles of olive plantations.


As luck has it, there’s hardly any accommodation around here at all. The hospedaje at the plaza is full. There’s a posh-looking hotel up the street from that, which charges about 400Pesos a night. We head out on a sand track for a few kilometres, hoping to find something on the outskirts, but nothing. There’s a parilla (braai/BBQ) restaurant out there in the middle of the olive groves, but it’s not an accommodation. The guys there tell us about “El Turko” another place near the bus terminal in town, and judging by the name we think we’ve struck it lucky. We go to check it out. They charge 120 a night and it’s a flea pit! Shit! What is is with accommodation in this part of the country?!

Once again it’s late afternoon and we’re desperate. We have to choose between driving another 2 hours in the dark, which is dangerous, or finding a place to camp, but nights are cold out here in the mountains.

We take a chance, ride back to the parilla restaurant up the sand road (Parilla El Christo, Av. Castro Barros, S/N Aimogasta / 03827-15655321) and ask whether we can camp out on their lawn. Luck has it that the owner’s son-in-law, Eugene, is there and he agrees. He shows us a nice spot right in their olive grove to pitch our tent and even cuts up a few large nylon sacks to lay underneath it. Excellent! We know it gets cold here at night and we only have summer sleeping bags but we recon we’ll manage somehow, and it can’t be worse than getting eaten alive by the bugs in El Turco!


At night we have dinner at the Parilla El Christo restaurant. Eugene and the Patron, Fred, serve us up a feast for kings. A healthy mixed salad, potato chips fried in olive oil and a meat BBQ that leaves nothing to be desired: biffe chorizo (a kind of tender loin or filet steak), a tangy pork-beef chorizo sausage, grilled blood sausage, beef ribs, grilled stomach strips and a gland from the cow’s neck. And of course, fresh green and black olives from the local harvest. There’s so much meat on the table that we can’t finish it but we try hard, and it’s absolutely delightful! We wash is down with some dark Salta beer, some Argentinian wine and, to aid the digestion, some dark Dominican rum, as we soak up the warmth from the large open fireplace beside us.

Sated and buzzing with comfort, we retire to our tent and get our much needed rest. We couldn’t have wished for a better end to our day. I have to send my family out here for a meal! This place is fantastic. And it’s been running for eighteen years.


Our deepest gratitude goes out to the Cordoba family, who so kindly gave us a place to stay in their olive grove (awesome!) and showed us some of the best dining Argentina has to offer, without a doubt. May you live long and prosper! We hope we can return again some day!


And folks, seriously: if you are ever passing this town you’re doing yourself a great disservice if you do not stop by Parilla El Christo for a meal. Do it!