The north of our country covers the provinces of Jujuy, Catamarca, La Rioja, Santiago del Estero, Tucuman and Salta: a vast territory that is home to some of the most significant natural and cultural treasures in Argentina. Its traditional cuisine, bound to cast a spell on you, is certainly one significant “ingredient” in the adventure we are presenting here. On this occasion we will focus on specific places in this Argentine region to reveal a unique itinerary.

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Argentina on the go

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July 19th, 2021

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When it comes to the choice of the car type, you should bear in mind the season of your trip: from mid-March thru December any kind of vehicle will do. Yet, between December and February there is heavy rain in the region and at times roads may be closed or become harder to drive along. For this season the most suitable and comfortable vehicle in this area is definitely a 4×4 truck.

As always, this kind of trip calls for good planning and safety guarantees: traveling with local support will make your trip far more pleasant and relaxed. Do not hesitate to contact AOTG to find out all the details about this and other services.

Cafayate

South Route: The Calchaquies Valleys. Where to stay

Salta is the ideal starting point: here you can experience a connection with the city and its local culture while regaining energy for the trip ahead. One gorgeous place that will fascinate you for its colors, architecture and cultural wealth. With renewed energy after your visit in beautiful Salta you will be ready for the next stop: The Calchaquies Valleys, one of the most captivating treasures in the region.

Before moving on to Los Molinos, you may visit Cachi and the Camino de los Artesanos (artisans´ trail). On the way you may feel tempted to drop by Chicoana, Cuesta Del Obispo- also known as “Casa Del Cóndor” (house of the condor)-, the Recta del Tin and Los Cardones National Park.

Quebrada de las Flechas (Gorge of the Arrows), a landform you will simply love to take in, becomes a grand finale for an adventure rich in stunning sceneries that will stay in your memory for the rest of your life. These rocky walls border the road, an undreamed-of landscape on your way to a charming colonial settlement known as Cafayate.

Quebrada de las Flechas

From Cafayate to Salta

A. Kkala Hotel (Salta):

If you are looking to stay in a magical setting, surrounded by Spanish colonial architecture with an Andean heritage, well then this is the place. A picturesque and quiet lodge at the foot of some hills surrounding the city.

Kkala Hotel

B. Hacienda de Molinos Hotel

An old manor that was home to the Governor of Salta by commandment of the King of Spain, Hacienda de los Molinos is part of the Incas´ Trail and a witness to an infinite number of stories. It has been furbished and today it is one of the most prestigious estates in the area. Iron window bars, a patio shaded by a pepper tree, and adobe walls are some of the features that make this lodge a charming spot where to relax and have a good time.

Hacienda de Molinos Hotel

C. Grace Cafayate Hotel

After quite a few kilometers on the road, there is nothing better than a first-class break. Grace Cafayate is a deluxe resort featuring a spa and residential villas in the Calchaquies Valleys. The elegance, comfort and simplicity in this lodge will make of your stay an utterly delightful experience.

Grace Cafayate Hotel

North Route: A Ride in the Heights. Where to stay

Along the famous Tren de las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) trail, on the way to Quebrada Del Toro (Gorge of the Bull), you will come face to face with Santa Rosa de Tastil, the ruins of an ancient Inca settlement that existed between the XIV and XV centuries and that, according to experts, was inhabited by nearly 2,000 people. After contemplating this National Historical Monument you will be taken to the mystical San Antonio de los Cobres town.

Celebrated for their woven articles like the woolen hats, gloves, ponchos, sweaters, quilts, socks or blankets, San Antonio de los Cobres conveys the essence of Northern Argentina in the heart of a breathtaking landscape. This site is a mandatory stop on the road, not only to refuel, but also to grab a nice bite to eat, take in the scenery and connect with the local culture.

San Antonio de los Cobres

The journey will continue through the unconquered Puna to reach the iconic Salinas Grandes. When it comes to surreal landscapes, this one is likely to leave you flabbergasted. Salinas Grandes are the third largest salt flats in the world. This magical 525-square kilometer site is located between the borders of the northern provinces of Salta and Jujuy. Between February and April the mild showers create a fascinating visual phenomenon: a turquoise reflection further enhances the unique beauty of these vast salt flats.

And when it comes to colors…This route ends where the Cerro de los Siete Colores (The Hill of Seven Colors) lies, just outside Purmamarca. The range of colors are the result of a slow geological formation throughout millions of years, with diverse minerals in various layers. Pink, white, brown or purple, red, green, earthy brown and yellow…each shade with a special feature and diverse compositions.

Before you drive back to Salta, we suggest you travel around the many villages that lie on the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca Gorge), like Tilcara, where you will find Pucara (an ancient pre-Colombian fortress), or Humahuaca and Uquía, whose church is home to Cusco paintings depicting harquebusier angels. Back in the year 2003, and due to its undeniable wealth, this area was included in the list of World Cultural Heritage sites.

Salinas Grandes

Cerro de los Siete Colores

A. House of Jasmines Hotel (Salta):

The proximity to the Andes Mountains turns this site into an enchanting place to have a rest. A centenarian ranch that has been labeled as one of the greatest in this region, this hotel offers guests a second-to-none experience.

House of Jasmines Hotel

B. Pristine Salinas Grandes:

If you wish to enjoy a unique and magical experience amidst Salinas Grandes, then you should choose Pristine Salinas, one of the most original lodges in the north of Argentina featuring deluxe glamping accommodation. Pristine Salinas offers all kinds of services, but what guests here appreciate the most is the exclusive chance to enjoy the grandeur of the landscape during hours when travelers are not allowed to remain in the area (for the sake of safety). You will be a witness to sunrises and sunsets that you will never forget.

Pristine Salinas Grandes

La Comarca Hotel:

Set at the foot of the Cerro de los Siete Colores in the mythical Quebrada de Humahuaca (World Heritage Site).Its setting speaks of the beauty of this lodge. An architectural style that will simply fascinate visitors.

La Comarca Hotel

Local Knowledge for Independent Travelers

Here are some general tips for your trip around the wonderful north of Argentina.

• Sunglasses and sunblock lotion: they will be your partners throughout the trip.
• Bear in mind the road conditions before you choose a vehicle.
• Depending on the number of passengers in the car, allow for some baggage room. Don´t forget!
• Just in case… Drink lots of water while traveling, especially when temperatures are really high in the area.
• Make sure you take active breaks and don´t drive non-stop for more than three hours.
• It is a good idea to carry some snacks for the road.
• Wear comfortable clothing at all times.
• Carry some cash with you. Many sites do not take credit or debit cards.
• The map on you cellphone works without Internet connection, but you will need to open it when you have access to your data or to Wi-Fi.
• Carry at least four music playlists: you will need them.
• Fuel! Given the long distances, it is best to refuel each time you find a gas station. A preventive measure that will keep you away from trouble.

Where to eat

Purmamarca:Each little village on the itinerary will feature a first-rate offer. Well located and offering flexible hours, El Mesón, In Purmamarca is a must. The wide range of flavors, dishes and its local recognition make this eatery one of the ideal sites to savor the delicacies of the local cuisine. El Mesón offers a signature cuisine on a three-course menu with three different appetizers, three different main courses and three different desserts to choose from.

Salta:Doña Salta features such a wide selection of products that you will be forced to go back again and again. It is the ideal eatery to taste empanadas (cheese, charqui, chicken and beef). The local cuisine dishes served here are the main reason for Doña Salta´s fame and popularity. Its tamales, humitas and casseroles are among the most popular delicacies.

Cafayate: Pacha, a signature cuisine restaurant, was created in 2015 by a married couple, who – after visiting many places around the world- decided to settle down in this region to serve dishes that would give an account of their cosmopolitan culinary experience, while giving prominence to local food. Choclo quemado (“burnt” sweetcorn), lacquered pork, stuffed pasta, veggie dishes and so much more…

empanadas y Tamales – Salta

Road pearls

Cuevas de Acsibi:In the indigenous language cacán Acsibi is translated as “a place where there is light and fire”. Its name gives us an idea of how unique this place can be. Even when the wealth of landscapes in this region offers a great versatility of destinations to visit, the Cuevas de Acsibi brings together all the magic and beauty of this part of our country. A unique combination of mysticism and natural wonder.

Cuevas de Acsibi

El Hornocal:This mountain range lies in Humahuaca, which crosses several provinces in the north and features its most colorful version in this area. The different minerals present here change color with the contact with air and erosion. Also known as the Mountain of the 14 Colors, its tones don´t go unnoticed and will surely make your journey past this site a lovely coincidence.

El Hornocal