The Puna of Jujuy in Argentina

The province of Jujuy in northwestern Argentina has four distinct regions: Yungas (Jungles), Valles (Valleys), Puna, and Quebrada. The Puna is quite distinct from Valles, Quebrada and Yungas.  There is a big difference in temperature between day and night due to the dry climate and high altitude which is on average 3,000 meters above sea level. Although the Puna has more days of sunshine than any other region of Jujuy it is still quite cool even in broad daylight.

During the winter, water remains frozen until late in the morning and it is not uncommon to see frost in midsummer. The winter winds are very strong in the mostly sandy expanses of the Puna, making life quite uncomfortable for men and beasts alike.  The summer is characterized by brief but intense rain showers that can easily wash away mountain roads.

The vegetation of the Puna is sparse.  The hardy tola bush is particularly prized for its use as a fuel. Dry climate notwithstanding, grasses do grow abundantly in the areas where rainwater pools.  This is the primary source of nourishment for the wild camels, guanacos and vicunas, as well as for domesticated llamas. These animals are an integral part of the scenery throughout the Puna’s plateaus, mountain ranges, and salt flats.

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