Cave of the Hands - Argentina
The Cueva de los Manos is a spectacular array of cave art dating from as old as 10,000 years ago. Archeologists have found multiple 1-2 thousand year gaps between paintings. It was like they were just passing through every thousand years and there are no signs of them actually living here. Located in a deep desert gorge in an extremely rural section of Argentina. The paintings were created using natural mineral pigments & the significance of the hands is still a mystery. The drawings depict early humans hunting guanaco, pumas, the Andes mountains to the west, and of course the mystery of the hands. Recently protections became underway to stop theft and graffiti. The sheer size of these paintings is quite incredible. Theres about a quarter mile of paintings and even some random individual hands all throughout the gorge. A few times during my time in Patagonia I found similar cave paintings hundreds of miles south; but nothing like this. Most notably near Puerto Natales I stumbled upon a puma's den with 4 or 5 hands and a few drawings of guanaco. Although I didn't stay there long.
There is a house on the cliffside with 2-3 people living in it to deter vandals. There was a cheap entrance fee which included one of them to guide you through (you can not go on your own). The girl who showed me was very nice and knowledgeable and we spent almost two hours seeing it all.
Your going to have to get on Argentina's popular Ruta 40. Most people I'd met who came down to see Fitz Roy from Bariloche didn't even know about the caves. The gorge is about 2 hours south of Perito Moreno (No not the glacier, the tiny town about 6 hours north from El Chalten). Getting to the town is possible by bus and hitchhiking Although I wouldn't do either here again. Do yourself a favor and rent a car for 2-3 days from El Calafate and camp out of it to avoid transportation issues. The bus only goes 1-2 times a week to Perito Moreno, hitchhiking is very slow to the caves, food is extremely limited, and accommodation was very bad. I'd just skip Perito Moreno all together.