Q: The simple thought of Northern Argentina conjures images of astounding landscapes. Yet, you have addressed other issues that focus on wellbeing. How do you combine all this? What is the main goal?
A:/ When we started Instagram and our blog back in 2016, we realized that most of the content on the social media was about the major cities in our country – mainly Buenos Aires- and that there was a lack of knowledge about the North, its climate, sceneries, history and people…So we decided to start showing something about the North and our lifestyle. One of the main topics on our blog is the tips we offer so that travelers may make the most of this region when they come and visit.
Salinas Grandes – @estilodv
Q: The local cuisine is probably one of the most outstanding topics in the region. What are your recommendations for someone visiting the North for the first time?
A: Indeed. The region enjoys a great culinary legacy, a mix of Spanish and Creole cuisines. One of the most famous dishes is the empanada, an ever-present option in all restaurants. Each family and eatery boasts their own recipe or secret. The most traditional fillings include: diced beef, charqui (sun dried beef) and cheese.
Another popular food option is the humita (sweet or savory), which is an aboriginal dish- creamy corn preparation wrapped in a fresh corn husk-, and the tamal, of aboriginal/Spanish origin, a fresh corn husk filled with dry maize and shredded meat.Locro (a kind of stew), the charquisillo and the chayote jam are some of the other typical dishes visitors must taste when traveling in the region. Always pairing them with locally-produced high-altitude wines, which have gained great international recognition in the last few years.
Q: Somehow linked to the previous question, which are the must see places in the North?
A: If you are visiting the region for the first time, then you must see the Humahuaca Gorge and the Calchaquíes Valleys. The highlights within the Gorge are El Hornocal, the Seven-Color Mountain near Humahuaca and Salinas Grandes (the salt flats). In the Calchaquíes Valleys the two major towns are Cachi and Cafayate, which can be linked if you drive along Route 40. There is so much to be seen!
Q: What kind of activities showcase Northern culture?
A: Northern culture can be perceived in each village or town. In this part of the country traditions and history are very much alive and in some places they remain unchanged. There are even remote villages that have only recently come in contact with the rest of the world. That enables the outsider to appreciate their customs and traditions in a more “pure” way.
Camino de los Artesanos – @estilodv
Q: What are the top 10 “secret places” or “treasure troves” in the North?
A: What a tough question! There are currently several journeys to off-the-beaten-track villages. Caspalá in Jujuy is one of them. To first-time visitors we would like to leave a list of the top ten spots they must definitely see. The treasure troves are not on this list; those are saved for a second trip in the region.
Our top ten things to do and places to visit while traveling in northern Argentina:
1. City of Salta: Spend at least one day walking along Caseros Street and admiring its churches: San Francisco’s Basilica and Convent and San Bernardo’s Convent.
2. Visit the picturesque San Miguel market to see the local fruits, vegetables and legumes, as well as the different types of cheese and spices.
3. Visit the High Mountain Museum (MAMM), where you will learn about the Incas’ view of the world and their relation with the rest of the local cultures.
4. Visit Cachi, its cobblestone streets, and the church. Have some mouthwatering empanadas for lunch in one of the eateries that surround the square, or in a winery in Cachi Adentro.
5. Visit Colomé Winery and the James Turrell Museum inside, both in the middle of nowhere. Over 2,000 meters above sea level lies the oldest Argentine winery still in operation, which opened in 1831. It has now become a thriving and state-of-the-art wine industry that boasts a very interesting museum of modern art within its premises.
6. Spend at least one night in Cafayate, the ideal place to learn more about high-altitude wines, sample some of the most delicious dishes in the region and enjoy the awe-inspiring landscapes and nature that this city is home to.
You may stay in Patios de Cafayate, have lunch in El Porvenir Winery and go on a horseback ride in Tolombón with Tolombón Aventuras y Experiencias, or on a trekking tour in De las Conchas Gorge.
7. Go for a drive along the stretch of Route 40 between Cachi and Cafayate. The scenery with the impressive gorges, the vast sown fields and the lost-in-time villages turns the journey into a one-of-a-kind adventure. It is a 158-km-long drive and it takes roughly 5 hours to complete. You will be driving along a cliffside gravel road most of the time, so we strongly recommend you drive slowly and carefully.
8. Spend one night in the village of Purmamarca, famous for its Seven Colors Mountain. Go trekking with the Paseo de los Colorados tour, walk down the village’s tiny roads, visit the square and the artisan fair in it and indulge in the exquisite food options served in the different local eateries.
9. Go for a tour of Salinas Grandes (Great Salt Flats). The glaring sun, the blue sky and the sea of salt guarded by the Nevado de Chañi, the highest peak in the Jujuy’s stretch of the Andes, are the main features that turn this site into one of Argentina’s seven natural wonders.
10. Visit The Hornocal. The mountain range is famous for its 14 colors. Mind you, it is located at a high-altitude (some 4,470 above sea level).
San Francisco Church – @estilodv
Q: Which is the most suitable way of dealing with the locals? Are there any codes of behavior that foreign tourists should know in advance?
A: The locals tend to be obliging, rather introverted persons, who are willing to share with visitors as long as they are treated with respect. The pace of life here in the North is slow and unhurried. As an outsider it is important to unwind and take pleasure in each place, addressing locals unhurriedly, while looking them in the eyes. That way, they will be glad to assist you.
Q: Which in your opinion are the top 3 wineries in Northern Argentina?
El Esteco Winery (in Cafayate): Paying a visit here is akin to traveling through time. Created back in 1890 and currently a thriving wine producer, El Esteco is a must visit in the region. We encourage you to book a guided tour of the premises and lunch at the Patios de Cafayate restaurant (located right by the winery), where customers may enjoy the exquisite Northern dishes crafted by Chef Virginia Marín.
Yacochuya Winery (in Cafayate): Owned by the renowned winemaker, Arnaldo Etchart, and one of the best ethnologists in the world, Michel Rolland, this winery is a jewel both for its wines and for the stunning views of the valley. Located 8 km away from Cafayate and 2,000 meters above sea level, Yacochuya is a fabulous space to visit and sample some of the finest wines in the North.
Del Borgo Winery (in Animaná): One of the latest wineries to open in Cafayate, Del Borgo boasts breathtaking views as well as excellent wines. We suggest enjoying lunch in its restaurant.
Cafayate Vineyards- @estilodv
Q: There is a Wine Tour in the region. But you have organized an Empanada Route. What is this all about? And what are your recommendations?
A: One of the most attractive activities when visiting the city of Salta is sampling empanadas in the many restaurants. With that in mind, we have created the Empanada Route, because we believe it is worth discovering the establishment offering the tastiest in the city. Some day soon we should extend the route to the rest of the province.
Q: Before we go, why should anyone come and visit the North?
A: For those who wish to learn about the Argentine essence, this region is THE destination to come to. This is the land of amazing landscapes, colors, textures, aromas and a grand historical and cultural legacy. This is the place where our independence came to be. Here visitors will get to see old colonial families and villages lost in time. Both the climate and the scenery change dramatically within a few kilometers of distance. If you wish to enjoy the life of the gaucho, our history and nature, then we strongly encourage you to come and visit us.
Argentina On The Go and Estilo DV
For further information about Estilo DV, you may follow them on their Instagram account (@estilodv) or on their official website (www.estilodv.com). If you were inspired by this interview and wish to include this destination on your itinerary, please do not hesitate to contact us for a customized trip.