Our set itinerary is meant to give you a deep cultural immersion in a linear itinerary so you don’t drive twice thru the same town, road or even airport. Of course, picking up and dropping off a vehicle in different places has its value but at ASD we are true believers that overall the quality of the experience is the most important.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Salta Airport / Salta Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.|
|PRICING||Prices shown for a double room per person. If you are a group or need something different please consult.|
As we arrive in Salta we collect our vehicle at the airport and head to our accommodation. Salta offers very interesting and unique museums like MAAM or Guüemes, big parks with huge monuments, colonial buildings that share the history of this area and many nice squares to sit and have a coffee, a glass of wine or the beverage of your choice.
It’s not a bad idea to get geared up to whatever we might need during our next week driving, since this will be the only city we will be at, infrastructure and availability of batteries, special chargers, but also prices of command goods linke sunscreen or other items might be pricier at small towns.
Walking around Salta downtown, visiting its museums is already a step into the culture of northern Argentina, but also stepping out of town, going to San Lorenzo or heading up to San Bernardo mount on its cable car to get a good view of the city are recommended. San Lorenzo’s municipal Reserve of Yungas, is a great place to go for hikes, picnics or just strolling by where people from the”big Metropoli” Salta go on weekends.
Today we hit the road and head towards Cafayate, a 20000 inhabitant medium size town, at 1600 meters above sea level, surrounded by multicolored mountains that change with every hour of the day as the sun shifts from east to west. The wines produced in the region benefit from the low-humidity mild weather of the valleys that receive 250 mm of rainfall per year. The most characteristic type of wine harvested in the area is Torrontés. Most wine-cellars around the town host free guided tours.
As lonely planet recommends, “It’s good-looking territory, with the green of the vines backed by soaring mountains beyond, and is one of northwest Argentina’s most seductive destinations”.
We will take road 68 to connect both cities and the road trip itself is among the best of South America. Along the scenic road 68, driving through the Cafayate Valley or Conchas Valley where many signed stops are along the way with the most fantastic geoforms and colorful photo opportunities and since the tones go from yellow to red. Some hiking trails are also on the way.
Today we have the opportunity to visit wineries, museums or go on trails to get higher to the Andes. Also, if it suits your interest, south of Cafayate are the ruins of the Quilmes, what once upon a time were among the largest citadels of the new world.
We have been driving on comfortable paved roads, but we have met the world famous National Road 40 that crosses all of Argentina from South to North, alongside the Andes. We will meet gravel today, which we can take slow since it is only 70 km that apart us from our final destination, one of the prettiest towns of the Calchaqui Valley, we will pass a few towns on the way and finally arrive at Cachi, a town as stated on Trip Advisor, “where time has stopped in the 1800’s”. Colonial Spanish style architecture with adobe homes painted white and built over bases of rock, sporting antique window grills forged of iron. Lonely Planet refers to it as “one of the most beautiful villages in the continent”.
In the surrounding area many farmers are to be discovered with ancient techniques and pretty fields that harvest traditional high altitude products.
From the quiet peaceful town we will take one of the Northwest best road trips, the “Bishop Slope”, Road Number 33, but before that, 60km away from Cachi we have a mandatory stop at Los Cardones National Park where thousands of native Cactus await your creativity to try your best to capture the solitude, dryness and colors of the landscape flora. Who knows? Maybe even some fauna… Vicuñas, lamas, flying Condors and foxes are not rare in this region.
The Bishop slope will take us back to Salta but we will not stop at Salta today, we will stop a bit before at La Merced Chica, a traditional ranch in the outskirts of the big Salta. Tonight we will have a cooking lesson at the Ranch so we can learn to make our own empanadas.
Back on the road! On the way to the Quebrada de Humahuaca you have the option of taking two main ways. If you are a patient driver, and would like to see more of the Green Jungle of the Andes, we would recommend you drive thru the Yungas, which means road number 9, it would be a peaceful drive, but as it is a cornice road, you will need to pay careful attention to the road. If you prefer the highway, taking road 66 will get you to the Humahuaca region in half the time (1.50 hours), you will find more traffic, less picturesque route, but at the end, the arrival will be spectacular on any of the options you would choose.
Welcome, you have reached the Puna, again… Colorful mountains, high altitude culture and cuisine, colorful blankets, llamas and vicuñas along the way and of course a way of life, vibe and rhythm that takes no rush on doing anything. As some have said, the Village of Purmamarca is “Postcard-Pretty”, smaller than its neighbors we have chosen this town to be your host since the ambience seems taking out of a movie set and its only 30 minutes away from its larger, still small town, neighbor Tilcara, where more options on restaurants and shops may be found.
There are many things to be done in this area, from hiking Los Colorados hike, among other short and medium hikes, or driving up to Hornocal Mountains, visiting local museums and the Tilcara Pucará, a fortress from where the Omaguacas etnia overlooked the arrival of Incas.
If you wish to take a longer drive back and forth to Salinas Grandes, (120km away from Purmamarca on a paved road) one of the largest salt lakes in the region, you will reach 4000 meters high on Lipan pass, after many switchbacks and with a stunning view from the top.
Finally the time has come, we can have a late breakfast and after looking at the high altitude colorful Puna for the last time, we drive back to Salta from where our plane to Buenos Aires will take off in the afternoon. We hand in our car and we keep our memories so we can share with the world.
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