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Calchaqui Valley

 

Departures: From March to December

Places Visited: Salta, the Calchaqui Valley: Cachi & Cafayate & Humahuaca Gorge (Jujuy)

 

Highlights

Salta is the starting point for a magnificent tour through the fascinating landscape of the Calchaqui valley. Visit lovely colonial towns, such as Salta, Cafayate and Cachi, where colonial architecture and baroque structures peacefully coexist with indigenous traditions and original adobe constructions. The striking landscape ranges from high mountain plateaus to cactus-clad hillsides, meandering rivers and lush vineyards. Natural highlights of the Calchaqui valley include the Cafayate and Humahuaca river gorges, spectacular rock formations carved out by the power of water and wind, with impressive stones in a dazzling array of colors.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 5 nights of accommodation
  • Daily breakfast and local taxes
  • Half day Salta City Tour
  • Full day Cachi tour
  • Full day Calchaqui valley tour
  • Half day Cafayate & Las Conchas river gorge tour
  • Full day Humahuaca Gorge tour

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:

  • International & Domestic Flights
  • Meals and drinks other than those mentioned
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional tours
  • Any items not mentioned

Day 01: SALTA. Upon arrival private transfer to Design Suite Hotel.

Half day City tour

Pick-up at the hotel for a panoramic sightseeing tour of picturesque Salta. Known as 'Salta, the beautiful', the city boasts a scenic location in the lovely Lerma Valley. Salta features the best preserved colonial heritage in all of Argentina, with lovely one-story houses with traditional balconies, adorned with ornate colonial-style bars. The heart of the city is 9 de Julio Square, framed by some of the most important buildings in the city, as well as the main hotels and many bars and restaurants. The tour includes a visit to the city’s most precious colonial gems, such as the Church and Monastery of San Francisco, rebuilt in the 18th century; the 'Cabildo and Historic Museum of the Northwest' (old seat of the vice-royalty government and later the seat of the provincial government); the San Bernardo Monastery, dating back to the late 16th century; the main gate carved in carob wood is considered a jewel of local colonial art; and the Italian-style Main Church, built in the 20th century and the final resting place of the mortal remains of the hero of the Independence Wars, General Martín Miguel de Güemes. The tour then continues to the city’s outskirts, up to San Bernardo Hill where the Monument to General Martín Miguel de Güemes stands. The viewpoint offers great view of the city and the Lerma Valley. The visit ends at the colorful Craft Market. Admire the great variety of wares produced by local artisans; browse the lovely pottery, baskets, knitted 'barracan' fabrics, tapestries, ponchos and musical instruments.

Day 02: SALTA/CACHI.

Full day Cachi

Early departure from the hotel to travel to the enchanting village of Cachi. Drive southward through Cerrillos, El Carril, Chicoana and up the Escoipe River Gorge to enjoy the imposing scenery of Cuesta del Obispo (Bishop´s Slope) up to 'Piedra del Molino', the highest point on the road, at about 3,600 meters/11.800 ft above sea level. From there, continue along the so-called Recta de Tin Tin. Built by the indigenous population, this perfectly straight road creates the strange sensation of going up when in fact it is going down. It goes westbound along the bleak high plateau towards the arid landscape of the giant 'cardón' (candelabra cactus), protected by Los Cardones National Park. After passing by Payogasta, an old indigenous settlement, the road reaches Cachi, nestled at the Nevado de Cachi foothills. Cachi is a lovely pre-Columbian village with old houses, radiant sunshine, good wines and lovely hills. It said that the air is so clean that locals live to a very old age. Visit the 18th century Parish Church: its altar, confessionals, pews and even the floor and roof are mainly furbished in 'cardón' cactus wood. The final attraction on this tour is a visit to the Archaeological Museum. Accommodation at La Merced del Alto Hotel.

Day 03 – CACHI/CAFAYATE.

Full day Calchaqui Valle

From Cachi, continue the beautiful journey to Cafayate and travel along one of the most beautiful and legendary roads in Argentina: the famous Route 40. Considered the backbone of the country, this road connects the town of Quiaca, in the North, to Ushuaia, in the southernmost tip of Argentina.

The first village along this journey is Payogasta, a small settlement of indigenous origins, surrounded by hills and mountains covered in green cactus. The road continues to Seclantás, famous for its handmade ponchos and their looms. The next town is Molinos, perhaps the best known of these small towns. Founded in the mid-seventeenth century, Molinos boasts traditional adobe houses and a beautiful church and plaza.

Another town along Route 40 is San Carlos, nestled on the shores of the Arrow River.  Founded by Indigenous people, the town offers a fascinating mix of ancient tradition and Spanish influences.

Set amidst lovely vineyards and beautiful scenery, Animaná, San Antonio and Yacochuya are located a few kilometers outside of Cafayate, today´s final destination. Accommodation at Los Patios de Cafayate.

Day 04 – CAFAYATE/SALTA.

Half Day Cafayate and Las Conchas river Gorge

Cafayate is a beautiful colonial village nestled in the heart of the Calchaqui Valley. Surrounded by rivers and vineyards, Cafayate boasts some of the most beautiful and imposing views in the province. The town’s architecture features elegant old houses that gracefully combine colonial and Baroque styles. Visit the parish church, the Town Hall and the Regional and Archaeological Museum. The region is well known for its wine production, in particular the 'torrontés' varietal. Visit a famous winery to learn about the traditional production techniques and taste some of the finest Argentine wines.

Return to Salta City via Route 68. Stop for a tour of Las Conchas River Gorge, also known as the Cafayate River Gorge. The gorge’s reddish sandstone walls have been carved into curious rock formations by the eroding actions of wind and weather. Inspired by their unique shapes, locals have baptized these formations with evocative names such as: Amphitheater, Devil's Throat, Obelisk and the Castles. The road will also lead through a number of small towns and villages such as Alemania, Talapampa, Ampascachi, El Carril and Cerrillos. Accommodation at Design Suite Hotel.

Day 05 – SALTA.

Full day Humahuaca Gorge 

Pick-up from the hotel. Travel along National Route 9 to San Salvador de Jujuy, the capital of Jujuy province. From here the route enters the gorge, a deep fissure in the Altiplano (High Plateau), created by the eroding power of the Grande River. The route passes through the small village of Tumbaya, to finally reach Purmamarca, a picturesque town seemingly frozen in time and known for its striking Cerro de los Siete Colores ('Seven Colored Mount), which frames the adobe church constructed in 1648 and has been declared a National Historic Monument. A stroll around the main square is a 'must'; local vendors show off their wares, such as wood carvings, hand-woven carpets and a wide assortment of medicinal and aromatic herbs for every possible ailment. The tour continues to Pucará de Tilcara, a partially rebuilt pre-Colombian stronghold. Also visit the Historic Museum of the Province, which displays some Inca art pieces from different archeological sites in Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. The climb continues to Huacalera as the road crosses the Tropic of Capricorn. In Uquía, visit the local church to admire the oldest altarpiece in the region and a collection of paintings ofangels. Finally arrive at Humahuaca, located at 2,939 m/9,600 ft above sea level. Founded by local indigenous settlers in 1594, the town is known for its friendly residents and features traditional adobe houses, narrow cobblestone streets and colonial style street lamps. Visit the main square with the church, the old Town Hall and the Monument to the Wars of the Argentine Independence (currently known as Monument to the Indigenous Population) and the city market. Return to Jujuy along the same route. On the way back, stop at Maimará to take advantage of the afternoon sunlight that brings out the exquisite colors of the rock formations known as 'Painter's Palette’ and the 'People's Cemetery'. Before returning to Salta, also San Salvador de Jujuy and tour the main buildings that frame the central square, including the Cathedral, the Town Hall, the Government House, and San Francisco Church. Return to Salta

Day 06 – SALTA. At appropriate time, transfer to the Airport.


Tour descriptions and approximate times are for informational purposes only.

Some places described may be substituted and/or approximate times may be subject to change, due to unexpected circumstances or weather conditions.