The northwest around Salta is arguably the most beautiful part of Argentina. The variation of scenery on this tour is simply amazing and unmatched anywhere is South America with its wine region, Andean puna (grassland), bright red gorges, jagged mountain valleys, salt flats, jungle, arid desert and of course really friendly people and great food.
On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.
Known as ''Salta la Linda'' (Salta the Pretty), Salta is a provincial capital in the mountainous north western part of Argentina. Founded in 1582, it is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets as well as its Andean heritage. The centre of the city is the Plaza 9 de Julio, an elegant square bordered by the cathedral and El Cabildo, an 18th century town hall that is now a historical museum.
This city deserves at least one full day to explore it. Our premium shared half day city tour will take you on a tour of the main highlights of the city, such as the excellent MAAM (entrance fee not included), a fascinating museum built to house the mummified remains of three sacrificed Inca children found on a nearby mountain top. The afternoon will be at your leisure.
After heading south from Salta until El Carril, you climb steadily up the Cuesta del Obispo – an amazing feat of road engineering - to the route’s highest point (3348 metres above sea level), known as the Piedra Del Molino. From here the road straightens out as you go through the Los Cardones National Park, which is particularly famous for its giant cacti (cardones) which dot the hillside. The total drive to Cachi is 157 km and it will take around 4-5 hours with plenty of photo stops. On arrival in Cachi, you will stop for lunch (not included).
Cachi is a tiny village that's developing into a popular base for exploring the north of Calchaqui Valley. The town has a charming church, a small archaeological museum, and couple of very nice restaurants, though nothing much in the way of nightlife. Watching over the town is the immense 6,340m Nevado de Cachi, a few kilometers away.
The second part of your 3 day excursion takes you to the hamlet of Molinos with its photogenic church and plaza and then you head down the legendary Ruta 40 through the Calchaquies Valley. Along this section you pass through Valley of the Arrows – where horizontal rock strata have been thrusted up vertically from the ground giving the appearance of arrow heads. Here, when the sun sets the mountains change colour, which makes for some incredible scenery. After an exhilarating drive you arrive in the sleepy town of Cafayate where you will spend the evening.
Thanks to its microclimate and fertile soil, the area around Cafayate is one of the finest wine-growing regions in Argentina. Cafayate town offer free tours of its boutique bodegas and there are plenty of good restaurants to choose from. There are also some authentic handicrafts to buy, a five-aisle cathedral, and the town’s famous wine-flavoured ice-cream.
Today you head back to Salta along the Route 68 through the “Quebrada de las Conchas” (Valley of the Shells). The valley is strewn with vast, bright red rocks and there are many photo stops to admire the incredible rock formations and viewpoints in the valley.
Your journey will end at Finca Valentina, a wonderful hacienda/farm house located just outside of Salta.
This morning we leave Salta, heading out towards the Tastil Ruins and up high into the Andes following the tracks of the world famous train to the clouds to arrive at San Antonio de los Cobres. After stopping for lunch and a short visit to the town, we continue our trip along Route 40 crossing one of the most starkly beautiful areas of Argentina. Having reached the province of Jujuy, we arrive at Salinas Grandes (The Great Salt Flat), where your mind will boggle at the sheer immensity of the area. From here we head down Lipán Cliff to reach the quintessential village of Purmamarca where we overnight.
Purmamarca is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Quebrada de Purmamarca, a narrow mountain valley bordered by the Altiplano to the west and north and by Andean hills to the east. The picturesque village, with its ochre adobe houses, carob-like algarrobo trees and 17th century church, sits under Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of the Seven Colours), a strikingly coloured jagged formation.
We travel to the town of Tilcara where we visit the ancient ruins and the Archaeological Museum. From here we cross the Tropic of Capricorn, taking in the spectacular colours of La Pollera del Coya Hill.
We stop briefly at Uquia before arriving in Humahuaca. Here we visit the famous church and various monuments. Our journey continues through 'La Paleta del Pintor' (The Painter’s Palette), a multi coloured mountain which frames the town of Maimará, before carrying on to San Salvador de Jujuy where we visit the Cathedral and the bustling town square. Finally, we return to Salta along the National Route N° 9.
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Upmarket properties with above average facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST
Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.
Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:
1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.
2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.
3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.
4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.
5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.