Arrive in Salta & Drive to Cafayate
Salta is located in north-western Argentina with roots closer to Peru and the cities of Arequipa and Lima than the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires. There is a private transfer from the airport to Cafayate. This is a three-hour drive through stunning landscape through the Quebrada de las Conchas (also known as the “Gorge of the Shells” due to the number of marine fossils it contains). We hike into the colored mountains at La Yesera and explore on foot to get up close with amazing formations.
We explore the mountains west of the valley, where the water that comes from the high mountain peaks is managed with a system that is working since pre-Hispanic times.
Hike from the hotel (or start with a short 20-minute transfer). Follow a path that slowly climbs into the mountains west of Cafayate and walk with goats along high paths. Loop back to lunch in the vineyards. Lunch will be at a small family winery under the trees, and we have a wine tour and tasting there as well. You have a free evening tonight.
Cafayate to Cachi
We drive north on route 40, the longest in Argentina and the backbone of the Calchaquí Valley, and built on an old indigenous road. We will pass by old mud chapels and farmhouses that date back to the mid-1700s. There will be plenty of opportunities for photos and learning about a culture that blends Andean native traditions with old Spanish colonial ways.
From Seclantas, go off the road to the beginning of the hike through the red formations at Acsibi. The walk explores caves eroded in sandstone. Picnic lunch in one of the caves. There is also the option to go to Colomé winery for lunch and a tasting, along with a visit to the James Turrell Museum.
After breakfast we drive for 30 minutes through local plantations of beans, tomatoes, peas and peppers. We arrive to Las Pailas and hike through abandoned archaeological pre-Inca terraces. The slow but easy climb leads up to 3,800 m.a.s.l. (or more).
We climb into the hills towards the higher mountains; we will start walking amidst the giant cacti called cardones, and continue higher into the Andes. Our reward will be the most spectacular view over the valley below which we will enjoy while we have a picnic lunch. If we get lucky we will see some guanacos, the wild cousins of the better known domestic llama.
Cachi to Salta
Drive out of Cachi in the morning and across Los Cardones NP. At the mountain pass Piedra del Molino, we leave the Calchaqui Valley and start driving down into the greener Lerma Valley. Here we find the trail that will take us down a rocky ridge with the most stunning vistas of the valleys below through the Valle Encantado and El Torreón. We drive into Salta in the late afternoon.
Explore the mountains in a way only seen by the local communities. We say farewell to the high valleys enjoying the most stunning views during lunch.
Salta Green Mountains and City
This morning, we drive 20 minutes from the hotel and hike in the Las Costas area at the foot of the Andes, through dense Yungas vegetation. We have lunch at the city main square and visit the MAAM archaeological museum. Salta is located in north-western Argentina with roots closer to Peru and the cities of Arequipa and Lima than the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires.
The air here is different, both because of the Andes geography and because the blend of people and culture is different: Andean, Spanish, Lebanese, Italian all blended in one. The afternoon will be at your leisure in the hotel—relax at the spa and unwind.
Quebrada del Toro
This is a day to explore the Altiplano and high puna. We have an early morning drive up the Quebrada del Toro, where we explore the Tastil ruins and visit a responsible community project at El Alfarcito. We continue up to the Puna region driving by the small town of San Antonio de los Cobres and also Cobres. In the afternoon, we walk across salt flats, then drive down to Purmamarca, which is tucked at the foot of the Seven Color Mountain.
In the evening, we check in and have a lovely, authentic Argentinian dinner at the hotel.
Tilcara and Maimara
In the morning we watch the sunrise on the Seven Color mountain. We then drive to Tilcara from where we hike with llamas as pack animals carrying our lunch. We walk to Alfarcito and then to Maimará following ancient paths and enjoying stunning landscapes.
We return to Purmamarca in the afternoon and will have free time to shop in the small Andean town. In the evening, we have our last dinner in the beautiful Northwest Argentina region.
After breakfast, we part ways. We transfer you to Jujuy Airport (approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes).