Northern provinces feature traces of pre-Columbian cultures, mingled with ruins of natives’ villages, as well as forts and constructions dating back to the time of the Conquest and Colonization. Time seems to stand still in the high plateau of the Puna, a land full of mountain ranges, steep mountain paths, and gorges. Villages have been built in the small valleys. Multi-coloured and monochromatic hills covered with huge cactuses on the slopes surround the village. This region offers landscapes full of contrast for tourists to enjoy, from the high peaks to the plains, the salt pans, and the subtropical rain forests, where Latin American culture took root. Salta city is the first step to visit the Argentine northwest. The colonial houses and historical churches are some of the attractiveness of this city that is surrounded by hills that become panoramic viewpoints. Weather is good all the year along. In the south of this region there is a wine area (Cafayate) that it is growing yearly and has the particular Torrontes white wine. In 2003 UNESCO declared World Cultural Heritage the “Quebrada de Humahuaca”. Villages as Purmamarca with it’s Seven Colours Mountain are part of the images that you will never forget of the Argentine Northwest.
Starting from the Plaza 9 de Julio, with its colourful flower-beds and sweet-smelling fruit trees, we will tour the streets of this flourishing city, reliving its colonial past, with the captivating architecture of the historic Cabildo, the Cathedral, the churches of San Francisco and La Viña, the Carmelite Convent of San Bernardo, and the old houses which today are historical monuments, preserved by the city to be admired by its visitors.
As we go up the San Bernardo Hill by the modern cable car, we will enjoy a panoramic view of the city, whilst at the foot of the hill General Martín Miguel de Güemes keeps watch over the people of Salta and their city.
A few kilometres away, set amidst green mountains and clear crystal streams, we will come across San Lorenzo, a summer resort with old trees, flowering gardens, and magnificent mansions, surrounded by gentle hills which are ideal for walks, picnics and horse-riding.
At the end of the tour, a visit to the Craft Market (ancient flour mill) enables us to appreciate some of the fine articles of silver and pottery, embroidery, pictures, a variety of colourful rustic weaves, leather articles used for horse-riding, and saddles typical of those used by the gauchos.
We leave Salta along Route 68 and travel through the fertile Lerma Valley, today an important tobacco growing area, which was used in the 17th and 18th Centuries as winter pasture land for the mules and cattle which were to be taken to the mines of Alto Peru.
Legends from that period speak of the existence of treasure which came from the high mining lands which have still not been found and which must be buried somewhere in these hills.
All along this route you come across different settlements, such as Cerillos, La Merced, and El Carril, which form the nuclei for farming and ranching in the area.
Near Coronel Moldes, the Cabra Corral Reservoir, an imposing hydroelectric complex wedged between hills of singular beauty, is an invitation to practise water sports.
Before going up the gorge which leads to the valleys, it is worth stopping at the lonely village of Alemanía, whose long disused railway line seems to have plunged her into a never-ending slumber.
As we carry on up the winding road along the banks of the Las Conchas river, we come across strange mountainous shapes made of brightly coloured sandstone deposited in the Tertiary Period, some 60 million years ago. We will be amazed as we go into the Garganta del Diablo and the Anfiteatro, huge open cracks in the earth, where we can hear the perfect echo of any sound.
Gradually the arid countryside is replaced by extensive vineyards, the sure sign that we are approaching Cafayate. The name of this city, which used to be an Indian settlement, means “Burial of griefs” (Drowning of sorrows) in Cacán.
Cafayate awaits you, a land of sunshine and wine, with modern shops, a historic Cathedral with five naves, an archeological museum, and artists (craftsmen) in clay, wood and weaving. Visit the ancient wine cellars, which will make your soul drunk with the perfume of oak and torrontés (a unique variety of wine grape).
Leaving Salta and going down to Route 34, crossing the Siancas valley through the town of Gral. Güemes, former centre of operations for the Gral. Belgrano railway, and passing fields planted with sugar-cane, tabacco, beans and cotton, we will reach the neighbouring province of Jujuy, and its capital city, San Salvador, in the Río Grande valley.
At Yala, a summer resort set amist densely forested mountains, rivers and lakes, the road begins to rise into the Quebrada de Humahuaca, dotted with small settlements whose origins go back to prehispanic times. Gradually the vegetation on the hills disappears, giving way to the colours of minerals, which, like giant brush-strokes, paint a many-coloured backdrop to this stage.
After visiting the picturesque village of Purmamarca, situated at the foot of the magnificent Cerro de los Siete Colores (the Seven-Coloured Hill), we will reach the ancient Tilcara and the ruins of Pucará. The Tropic of Capricorn crosses the province at the level of Huacalera and Uquía, whose small church is one of the oldest in the area.
The colonial town of Humahuaca, greets us at the end of the trip, resting beneath a beautiful blue sky, and we can sample the delicious regional dishes, and admire all sorts of Indian crafts, musical instruments and rustic weaves of llama and vucuña wool.
On the way back to Salta we will go through the city of S.S. de Jujuy and take the mountain-side road, formerly Route 9, which winds through the subtropical forest of the Western slopes of the Andes, festooned with wild creepers, aromatic herbs, and grand old trees.
For lovers of fine cuisine, a day to enjoy the regional cuisine of the Northwest. During the morning, a visit to San Miguel Market, where local products and spices, and various oddities will capture the attention of many. Based on a list according to the dish to cook, we´ll seek out the best ingredients as well as being in contact with local culture.
We develop a kitchen activity, where customs and stories will be shared at a regional cuisine while the dish is prepared advised by a local chef, to conclude finally tasting the same.
Join nature lovers on this 320 km journey for the chance to travel through captivating scenery. We will leave behind the tobacco plantations of the Lerma valley, and the road begins to climb through the Quebrada de Escoipe, also called the “three-coloured” gorge, because of its red earth and green hills in contrast with the blue sky.
A little further on, and in a setting of wild beauty, is the start of the imposing Cuesta del Obispo, a former Indian trail. In the space of 21 km we will go up 2400 metres until we reach the heights of Piedra del Molino.
In the lonely Valle Encantado (Enchanted valley) we will feel that time has stood still, trapped between the red-coloured mountains, with their variety of wild flowers in Spring, and patrolled by that sovereign bird of the heights, the condor.
We will cross the Los Cardones National Park along the Recta de Tin Tin, an old Inca highway, to get to Payogasta, from the Cacán “White Town”, where the road weaves between colourful pepper plantations, and gently makes its way down to the sleepy village of Cachi, framed by the imposing snow capped mountain of 6384 m.a.s.l. which marks the border between the Puna desert and the fertile Calchaquí valleys.
Set between the Cachi and Calchaquí rivers, this pleasant village, founded in 1673 as a Spanish outpost, retains in its narrow cobbled streets the ancient church, with mud brick walls and roof made of cactus. It is unique in preserving the “espadaña” which reflects the purest Spanish colonial style in northern Argentina.
Numerous pre-hispanic sites have enriched the village of Cachi with archeological pieces and burial urns in which the Indian culture lives on.
The 2016 Circuit of Tren a las Nubes includes departure by car from the city of Salta, going through the RN 51 the localities of Campo Quijano and Gobernador Solá until arriving at the place El Alfarcito where a breakfast is planned with local products made by the communities of the area. There is an operating center of the Alfarcito Foundation, whose work reaches 25 communities in the area and the Mountain Lodge College attended by 154 boys and has guidance in tourism.
Then the trip will continue through the Quebrada de las Cuevas and then the plain of Muñano to reach San Antonio de los Cobres.
There, the contingent will be transferred to the Train Station where the passengers will embark on the Train to the Clouds that will take them to the Polvorilla Viaduct. The route will be one hour to the Viaduct, at 4,200 meters above sea level, where the most impressive engineering work of the last century is crossed. After 30 minutes begins the return to San Antonio de los Cobres where passengers will return to board the buses to return to the city of Salta.
During the return, there will be a final stop in Santa Rosa de Tastil, area of influence of Qhapaq ñan in the Province of Salta and administrative center of Quebrada del Toro. There you can visit the Museum of Site and buy different handicrafts and local products in the Artisans Center of the community. After the visit will continue the return to the city of Salta.
We start the trip in Salta towards the Tastil Ruins to arrive in San Antonio de los Cobres. There we stop two hours for lunch and visit the town. We continue our trip along Route 40 crossing one of the most desertic areas of our country, to arrive at Salinas Grandes (The Great Salt Flat), where the inmensity of the area, the white shiny salt invites you to relax and take good shots. Later, we continue down the Lipán Cliff to finally arrive at Purmamarca, one of the typical towns of Humahuaca and we visit the Seven Colors Hill. We return to Salta by highway.
Day 1: The journey starts from Salta city to the south, through route 68 going past different towns of Lerma Valley. Arrival to Cachi at lunch time. The trip continues down route 40 to admire mountainous landscapes with towns of great enchantment. Bordering the Calchaquí river, you can observe historical towns such as Seclantas, Molinos, Angastaco, San Carlos and Animana. By the end of the afternoon we arrive to Cafayate, where we spend the night.
Day 2: On the following day we visit some wineries, and after having lunch, we return to Salta through The Shells´ Gorge, visiting the peculiar rock formations caused by the rain and wind, such as The Amphitheatre, or The Devil´s Throat. We arrive to Salta after crossing The Lerma Valley.
Does not include accommodation.
The trip begins in the Lerma Valley until El Carril, continuing to Chicoana. We enter to the Quebrada de los Laureles (The Laurel´s Gorge) and soon to the Quebrada de Escoipe (Escoipe Gorge). We arrive to the Maray entering Cuesta del Obispo (The Bishop´s Cliff), road with abundant curves from where it is possible to enjoy a panoramic view of the Enchanted Valley and small houses with maize and fruit trees. At Piedra del Molino (The Mill`s Stone) we reach 3.384 meters above sea level, the highest spot in our trip. Soon Los Cardones National Park is crossed by the straight line of Tin-Tin (ancient Inca´s road). Arriving to Cachi, a panoramic view of the Nevado de Cachi and Payogasta is observed. We go the town of Cachi where the Archaeological Museum and the Church are visited. Overnight in Cachi.
The second day we continued the trip down route 40 to admire mountainous landscapes with towns of great enchantment. Bordering the Calchaquí river, you can observe historical towns such as Seclantas, Molinos, Angastaco, San Carlos and Animana. By the end of the afternoon we arrive to Cafayate, where we spend the night.
The following day we visit some wineries, and after having lunch, we return to Salta through The Shells´ Gorge, visiting the peculiar rock formations caused by the rain and wind, such as The Amphitheatre, or The Devil´s Throat. We arrive to Salta after crossing The Lerma Valley.
Does not include accommodation.
DAY 1: The trip begins in Salta towards the Tastil Ruins arriving to San Antonio de los Cobres, after a two hours stop for lunch and a short visit the town. We continue our trip along Route 40 crossing one of the most desertic areas of our country. Soon, and already in the province of Jujuy, we arrive to Salinas Grandes (The Great Salt Flat), where the inmensity of the area, the white shiny salt invites you to relax and take good shots. We continue down the Lipán Cliff arriving to Purmamarca, one of the typical towns of Humahuaca Gorge with its Seven Colors Hill and the enchantment of the small houses. Accommodation (not included).
DAY 2: We continue towards the town of Tilcara where we visit the Pucará (ancient ruins), the Archaeological Museum, and Huacalera, and then we cross the Capricorn Tropic, from where the colors of La Pollera de la Coya Hill can be seen and really good pictures taken because of the daylight. We visit Uquía and its church, where the
paintings of the Arcabuceros Angels (important vestige in the zone of the Cuzqueña School) are kept. Arrival to Humahuaca will be at noon; this town has an important Church and the Independence Monument (the Indian) of the sculptor Soto Avendaño. After lunch we´ll observe, from the route, La Paleta del Pintor (Painter‟s Palette)
framing the town of Maimara. We continue to San Salvador de Jujuy where the Flag Hall and the Cathedral, characterized by its pulpit carved in wood and gold and the statues of Lola Mora are visited. Finally, we return to Salta through National Route N° 9 of abundant subtropical vegetation. The last stretch is: El Abra of Santa Laura, observing La Cienaga (The Swamp) dam, Las Maderas and Campo Alegre and returning to Salta through Vaqueros.
Tolar Grande is located at Dpt Los Andes, at 3520 mts, at 387 Km from Salta you arrive reaching a max point At Abra de Alto Chorrillos at 4560 mts.
Day 1: 07.00 am. Salta – San Antonio de los Cobres – Lunch – Tolar Grande.
Passing by Abra de Alto Chorrillos 4560 m.s.n.m., Salar de Pocitos, 7 Curvas, Desierto del Diablo y Salar del Diablo. Arrival to Tolar Grande at 6.00 pm. Accomodation at Refugio
Departure from Salta towards San Antonio de los Cobres at 3.350 msnm, along Quebrada del Toro, on the parallel route of the famous Train to the Clouth. After crossing “Abra Blanca” (4.080 msnm) you will observe the first panoramic view of tha “puna”. Arrival at San Antonio de los Cobres. Continuing towards Tolar Grande (3.700 msnm) we will go through Salar de Pocitos, Siete Curvas and Desierto del Diablo Arrival to Tolar Grande.
Overnight at Refugio Municipal in Tolar Grande.
Day 2: 08.00 am. Salar de Arizaro – Base del Cono de Arita – El Arenal – Ojos de Mar.
Visit to Salar de Arizaro, it is one of the most extense salt flats with a surface of 2.000 km², at 3.460 msnm. Inside the salt flat is Cono de Arita a curious mountain structure with a perfect conic form. During the afternoon visit Ojo de Mar, deep water pools formed at the salt flat because of the water that descends from serranía del Macon.
Overnight at Refugio Municipal in Tolar Grande.
Day 3: 8.00 am. Transfer Tolar Grande – San Antonio de los Cobres, Abra de Alto Chorrillos 4560 m.s.n.m. San Antonio de los Cobres – Salta
Return after breakfast. Lunch at San Antonio de los Cobres located 164 km NE of Salta City at 4.000 msnm.
After lunch down route 51 arrival to Salta at 8 pm.
Recommendations: Consult your doctor in case of heart or lung disease in heights over 4500 m.s.n.m.
Comfortable shoes, Warm clothes, Sun glasses, Sun block.
Leaving the city of Salta we take the national road 34 to the east and then to the north to reach the province of Jujuy. We will start to drive along the famous Humahuaca´s ravine declared world herytage site by the UNESCO, crossing beautiful tiny mudy towns suchs us Volcan and Tumbaya up to une of the highlights of this day: the town of Purmamarca with the uncredible view to the Seven Colours hill, for the drive up to 4000 meters above the sea level on an umpressive mountain road called Lipan giving us the welcome to the desert area called ´´PUNA”, home of “Salinas Grandes”. Once there, we will prepare our bikes for biking in this territory to reach one of the limits. After that pik nik, photos and a fantastic hiking in the hill of seven colours complete this amazing proposal.
Kilometers of biking: 25 KM
Biking time: 2 HOURS
DAY 01. Salta
Arrive at Salta city.
Transfer Airport / hotel.
In the evening City Tour in Salta.
We start crossing the most important attractions of the city: Catedral Basílica, Centro Cultural América, Museo Histórico del Norte (Cabildo), Basílica Menor de San Francisco, Convento San Bernardo, Monumento a Güemes, ascent to Cerro San Bernardo hill and its panoramic sight of the city, San Lorenzo’s Village with its subtropical microclimate, then we will visit the Handcrafted Market where crafts are exposed by certification of origin of the whole province.
Dinner at “Peña Folklórica”. Transfer to “Peña Folklórica not included)
Night in Salta
Distance: 120 km
Time – travelled: 4hs
Maximum height: 1145 msnm
DAY 02. Salta / Tolar Grande
After breakfast, we will start our trip to Tolar Grande. Making our tour for Del Toro Gorge, we will travel across RN 51 who also travel along part of the routes of the recognized Train on the Clouds. In our tour we will realize a stop in the place Alfarcito to admire the landscapes and the work of the Chifri Priest. Our next stop will be in Tastil’s Ruins then to continue trip towards San Antonio de los Cobres to 3775 msnm.
Lunch in San Antonio de los Cobres.
After lunch we start our trip to Tolar Grande, where we cross the first part of The Viaducto la Polvorilla of 60 meters of height and 223.5 meters of length. We continue to get to the highest point of the tour of the day, Chorrilos’s Bay with 4600 msnm. Then we initiate the decrease to cross the Salar de Pocitos, Los Colorados, the desert Of The Devil and Siete Cruces, typical places for its colorful landscapes and formations. In the late afternoon we will arrive to the village of Tolar Grande. We have dinner at local restaurant.
Night in Tolar Grande.
Tolar Grande /Mina la Casualidad / Mina Julia / Tolar Grande/ Arenal / Ojos de mar.
We start our day with a beautiful sky that invites to be photographed. We depart to Mina La Casualidad and Mina Julia crossing the immense Salar de Arizaro; we will also visit the railway station Caipe. We will have a box lunch. After lunch, we return to Tolar Grande. For sooner or later in the morning, we will visit the biological reservation Ojos de Mar to admire its beauty and to know the stromatolites, cellular structures of 3500 million years. We have dinner at local restaurant. Night in Tolar Grande.
Distance: 320 km
Maximum height: 5200 msnm
DAY 04. Tolar Grande / Cono de Arita / Antofallita / Antofalla / Vega Colorada / Quebrada de Calalaste / Real Grande / Antofagasta de la Sierra.
We leave the magical village of Tolar Grande to get to Antofagasta de la Sierra. In this part of the trip we will cross through 240 km from The Salar de Arizaro and then visit an icon of the beauty of the Puna: El Cono de Arita. We continue travelling to Catamarca where the landscape will surprise us in every kilometer driven. We will cross Campo Amarillo, Oasis de Antofallita and then we will have lunch at Antofalla.
After lunch we continue travelling for Salar de Antofalla, Vega Colorada y Quebrada de Calalaste where we will discover a rich wild life. Before arrive to Antofagasta we will visit Real Grande where we can find petroglyphs in the Inca Trail.
Dinner at local restaurant.
Night in Antofagasta.
Distance: 240 km
Time- Travelled: 7 hs
Maximum height: 4650 msnm
DIA 05. Campo de Piedra Pómez / Laguna Grande.
After breakfast we start travelling to the stunning Piedra Pómez desert. There, we will be able to enjoy a trek that will surprise us in every corner, inviting us to experience a bit more of this landscape. After enjoying the morning we will taste an appetizer in a natural environment with products of the zone. In the evening we will visit Laguna Grande, located 45km from El Peñón to appreciate the wildlife and landscape of the high altitude lagoons. Dinner at local restaurant.
Night in Antofagasta.
Distance: 265 km
Time- travelled: 7 hs
Maximum height: 3340msnm
DAY 06. Antofagasta de la Sierra / Hualfin / Santa María / Cafayate
We say goodbye to The Puna to get into the valleys and gorge, travelling to the land of the Sun and Wine, Cafayate. We cross the villages of Barraca Larga, Vile Villa, Hualfin: We surprise Rondolfo’s slope with the highest yellow dunes. After the midday we arrive at Cafayate, where we will have lunch and a visit of a local warehouse. We have dinner in local restaurant Night in Cafayate
Maximum height: 4100msnm
DAY 07. Cafayate / Salta
In our last day of this trip, and according to the itinerary of the passengers, we will set a schedule to return to the city across the Quebradas de las Conchas Gorge. Along the gorge we will be able to see the formations created by the wind and the water across million years (Garganta del Diablo, Anfiteatro, Los Castillos, Casas de los Loros, El Fraile, Las Ventanas, El Sapo, El Obelisco, the Toad, and the Dunes). After crossing the villages of La Viña, Coronel Moldes, El Carril, Las Merced and Cerrillos we arrive at the Airport of Salta or corresponding Hotel.
Time- Travelled: 3.5hs
Maximum height: 1700 msnm
Transfer and excursions: 4×4, Tour according to the itinerary which will be subject to be changed because of climate changes.. Spanish/English speaking driver/guide.
Accommodation: 6 nights: 01 nt Salta. Htl 4*,. 02 nts Tolar Grande, Community Tourism accommodation, 02 nts Antofagasta Inn, 01 nt Cafayate. Htl 3*
Meals: 01 dinner at traditional pub. 05 dinners at local restaurant. 01 appetizer. 02 box lunch. 03 lunch at local restaurant. All the meals include drinks without alcohol .Breakfast, snacks, water bottles.
Entrance fees are not included.
Road of the wine Premium. The excursion is a tour by two wineries of Cafayate that are positioned as ones of the best of the Calchaqui Valley. These could be San Pedro de Yacochuya & Piattelli Vineyards on the west and El Esteco & El Porvenir de los Andes on the east. The tour could not be complete if we do not visit the Museum of the Vine and Wine. In each winery we do a tour by the facilities and a tasting of the best wine produced in the winery. The tour and the tasting are guided by a sommelier that explains the particularities of the wine, the vine and cellar as well. Duration: 4 hs approximately.
(Español) Uno de los destinos más visitados de la región de la Puna de Jujuy es sin dudas las Salinas Grandes. Esta es nuestra invitación a descubrir una forma de vida y una actividad económica milenaria como lo es la extracción y comercialización de la SAL. Un imperdible día visitando las salinas, sus comunidades, sus trabajadores y los procesos que llevaron a este mineral a ser un bien de explotación renovable de primera categoría. La Salina, los paisajes que lo rodean y su gente, hacen que se pueda disfrutar y aprender de los procesos de la sal para llegar a su consumo y a la subsistencia de muchos pueblos salitreros. Una audaz propuesta en la Puna.
Info: incluye guía local de la comunidad salitrera, visita a la mina de sal, recolección, visita al centro de acopio y fraccionamiento artesanal, almuerzo en las comunidades. 250 km total en vehículo, altura máxima 4170 msnm,
Salida 9 am, regreso 18 pm.
Difficulty: (light, for the family).
Highest altitude: 2500 meters a.s.l
Full trip duration: 90 minutes
Departure hour: 4 PM.
Departure and arrival location: Llamas Corral – Tilcara
Time of the year: it can be done any month of the year.
This tour is designed so all the people who visit Tilcara can enjoy an experience with the llamas. Adults and children of all ages can do it, in groups of two or more people. We scheduled departures every day (with previous booking). We start the circuit in the llama corral and walk with the llamas around 45 minutes through the town of Tilcara. At the end of the trip we return to the llama corral where we have a snack: tea, coffe or mate with biscuits.
We recommend bringing hat, jacket, trekking shoes and sun block.