Zonda Department

Zonda Department is an administrative subdivision of San Juan Province in Argentina. It is located in the south of the province, with a landscape of hills and sparse vegetation. It is characterized by its important wine and fruit production, and tourism. It borders the Ullum Department to the north, Sarmiento Department to the south, Calingasta Department to the west, and Pocito Department and Rivadavia Department to the west.

Departamento Zonda
location of Departamento Zonda in San Juan Province
location of Departamento Zonda in San Juan Province
Coordinates: 31°33′S 68°46′W / 31.550°S 68.767°W / -31.550; -68.767
Founded by?
SeatBasilio Nievas
 • Total2,905 km2 (1,122 sq mi)
 (2001 census [INDEC])
 • Total4,050
 • Density1.4/km2 (3.6/sq mi)
Postal Code
Area Code0264
Patron saintVirgen del Carmen


The name of the department comes from indigenous roots. It means "high sky", and relates to the warm wind characteristic of the province: the "Zonda wind".


Settlement in this area goes back to the first centuries of the first millennium, with the founding of the community Ullum-Zonda (descendants of the Huarpes), characterized by agriculture and ceramics. When the Spaniards arrived and after the founding of San Juan de la Frontera, these lands were not immediately settled by the Spanish conquistadors. When they were, the Huarpes began to disappear.

The former owners were Cornelius Albarracín (maternal grandfather Domingo Faustino Sarmiento) and Matias Sanchez de Loria (ascendant by maternal line Narciso de Francisco Laprida), who dedicated themselves to planting grapevines and olive trees.

The valley also Zonda contituyó step forced on the path towards Chile and Calingasta. For a long time, Zonda and had no life of its own because of its population scattered, formed part of the same department along with Marquisate and Ullum. After the founding of the town of Marquisate by the brothers Echezarreta, in the late nineteenth century, the Quebrada de Zonda became the traditional place of sanjuaninos summer.

The independent life of the department began in the twentieth century, when legislation for 1935 is separated from the municipality of Rivadavia. It had to wait until 1942, when the Organic Act municipal September 4 set definite limits. His header Basil Nievas villa in a small downtown that reminds one of the first settlers

  • Source: San Juan Our Land Prints Argentina


View of the dam reservoir Punta Negra, under construction on the San Juan River
View of precordillerana area and the San Juan River
View of regadio channel, which is used for agriculture

The department Zonda is located in south central San Juan Province in the west, 20 kilometers (12 mi) from the City of San Juan, it has an area of 2,905 square miles (7,520 km2) Its boundaries are:

The department Zonda has a distinctly mountainous relief because its entire surface is occupied by the foothills, highlighting girl Zonda Mountains to the east, creating a natural boundary between the departments Rivadavia and Pocito, the highest peak is the White caves, 4,190 meters (13,750 ft) high. The Sierra del Tontal to the west is the natural boundary with the department Calingasta, whose summit reaches a maximum altitude of 4,366 meters (14,324 ft) high. In these mountains are located courses of rivers Chacay and Las Cuevas which later became the Rio Saso that beside the River Uruguay are tributaries of the San Juan River

The climatic features hover between 10 °C (50 °F) with annual temperatures up to 40 °C (104 °F) in summer and in winter below 0 °C (32 °F), with the presence of two southern winds, cold and zonda flowing from west to east, is hot and dry.

In the case of animals are cougars, guanacos in the high peaks, reptiles, insects and arachnids. Among the birds highlights the condors, eagles, owls and eaglets of the Sierra Chica de Zonda. The Flora is represented by acerillo, carob, jarilla, challenge, cattails and reeds.


The department Zonda has a population of 4,050 inhabitants and a density of 1.7 people per square kilometer (4.4/sq mi) as INDEC, which achieves one of the department's most unpopulated parts of the province. Its largest concentration is located in the northwestern department, in their village head (Villa Basil Nievas).


Agriculture is the main economic activity of the department. There are 1944 ha cultivated, mainly with grapes and fruit trees such as melons, plums, almonds, strawberries and blueberries. Olive trees, vegetables, cereals, fodder and forestry are also grown. Industry is represented by wineries.

Coordinates: 31°33′S 68°46′W / 31.550°S 68.767°W / -31.550; -68.767