North Argentina, in the middle of the rainbow mountains
We are halfway through South America and starting our exploring of Argentina. We spent a week in the region Salta in North Argentina. If we didn’t visit the rainbow mountain in Peru, is because we knew that we will have plenty of time to enjoy colorful mountain here.
We first arrived in Salta. We didn’t visit that much we needed a day off. It is a really big city but there are big parks that are really pleasant.
We started by going north in Jujuy region. Tilcara is a nice place to stay and visit the area. We started by a short hike in the Gargantua del Diablo (there are plenty of them in Argentina!). The hike is nice and you finish by going down in the canyon with a nice little waterfall.
The next day, we visited the ruins of the village, hopefully, it was free because it was Monday. I didn’t like the visit that much, they rebuild everything and it is pretty obvious, it clearly lacks authenticity. The only interesting thing was the rock that sounds like a bell, it is really impressive and inexplicable for me…
From Tilcara, we went for half a day in Purmamarca. This village has on his back a beautiful rainbow mountain. You can visit a mirador really easy inside the village (for 10 pesos), walk for half an hour around the village. Finally, if you go just outside the village and cross the main road, you have a beautiful mirador in the village and the mountain. Other than that Purmamarca is really tourist with no attraction.
A bit more north, we spent one night in Humahuaca. The main attraction is the mountain fo 14 colors. To go there, If you don’t have a car, you need to book a taxi because the mountains are 45 minutes outside the city. Unfortunately, we had clouds that spoiled a little the experience.
The next day, just before going back at Salta, we visited the small village of Iruya. To go there, it is 4 hours of bus and because we needed to be back at Salta the same day, we had less than 2 hours to visit. On one side, it is enough to visit the village that is pretty but really small, on the other side, it is a long journey just to see a small village. We should have looked for a hike in the area (that seems gorgeous) and spend the night there, but everything was already booked to go back at Salta.
After a short night in Salta, we go south to Cafayate. We are leaving the Andes and entering the wine region. The landscape completely changes there, it is almost like in France. The main attraction of the area is « el quedraba del conchas », this canyon is one the most remarkable of Argentina. You have several ways to visit it, either you have a car (with we didn’t), or you rent a bike put it in a bus on the way in and bike on the way back stopping at each attraction or book a tour with an agency. We hesitate between the last two options. It is almost the same price, so we took the lazy one! Clearly, no regret because there is a lot of wind on the road that can complicate things while biking (and I really don’t like that…) and the guide was really good I don’t think we would have seen so many things alone.
Otherwise, we did a hike from the village to reach a mirador. You cross the winery and get to a small to a small community. There, you are blocked by locals that won’t let you in without a guide… We negotiate to go simply at the mirador and not to the waterfall (that are not so impressive apparently). We just gave a contribution at the end.
The only regret in Cafayate, we didn’t have time to visit a winery but we will do that later!
I will let the pictures talk by themselves to show you the beauty of the area. See you next time in the east! Have all a lovely Christmas break!
How to get to a point to another? You can either rent a car or take buses. We paid: Humahuaca-Salta 400P, Humahuaca-Iruya 240P (return tickets); Salta-Cafayate 330P
Where to sleep? Salta: Las rejas (270P breakfast included); Ticara: Hostel Waira (250P breakfast included); Backpacker Hostel (350P breakfast included)
Where to eat? In Salta there is street food in the park next to the bus station
Tilcara, to listen live music while eating or drinking La Pena de Chuspita
In Cafayate, to eat with a glass of wine pretty cheap : El Hornito
How to visit? Ticalcara : gargantua del diablo 30P; the ruins 150P, free on Monday
Humahuaca: taxi to the 14 colors mountain 350P person + 50P entrance for the car
Cafayate: tour in the Quebrada 500P