Northwest Argentina

Northern provinces, mainly Salta and Jujuy 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.

The whole region combines natural attractions with suitable areas for diverse activities such as mountaineering, trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking, ecotourism, bird-watching, rural tourism, and archeological trips. Sailing, canoeing and windsurfing are other sports that may be practiced in this region.

An ample diversity of natural landscapes and dramatic contrasts such as the densely vegetated Yunga forests, or the serenity of mountains, hills and brooks of the Calchaquí Valleys (partly in the neighbouring provinces of Catamarca and Tucuman as well), provide exhilarating conditions for sport fishing. The rivers Juramento, Lipeo, Iruya and Bermejo are home to the mighty dorado, and the mountain river rapids support trout.

Regional cuisine is somewhat spicy but exquisite, with ingredients such as choclo or tender maize, ajíes (chilies), and charqui meat (beef, lamb, or pork), without fat and dried in the sun. When prepared with salt it is called tasajo. Some of the typical meals are locro, tamales, empanadas (meat pies), chanfaina, quinua soup, and mazamorra, cayote and quesillo for dessert. As far as drinks are concerned, the chicha (made of maize flour and water fermented in earthenware pots), the aloja (obtained from the fermentation of carob pods), and the excellent wines of Salta and the Torrontés white wine of Cafayate are worth mentioning.

On your visit to this region of Argentina it may be worth taking a trip on the “Tren de las Nubes” (Railway to the Clouds) in Salta. Running down the Cuesta del Obispo we reach Valley of Lerma dominated by Salta "la linda" (the pretty one), which is probably the town with the largest number of colonial remains in the whole country. Here is where the Train to the Clouds starts its journey up the mountains, which will end in San Antonio de los Cobres, 4,200 metres above sea level and 163 Km away from Salta.


Suggested itinerary for Northwest Argentina:

Day 1:

Private transfer Airport - Hotel
Half day city tour of Salta

Day 2:

2 Day tour along the Calchaqui Valleys, visiting the Lerma Valley, Cachi, Seclantas & historical Molinos village, Moon Valley of Las Flechas Gorge, Angastaco, San Carlos & Cafayate.
Overnight in Cafayate

Day 3:

Continuation of the 2 Day tour along the Calchaqu Valleys commencing in Cafayate and on to Quebrada de Las Conchas and the Lerma Valley.
Overnight in Salta

Day 4:

Full day tour to Purmamarca (7 colours hill)  via the Quebrada del Toro, Puna, Salinas Grandes (Jujuy).
Overnight in Purmamarca.

Day 5:

Tour to Tilcara, the Pucará ruins, Huacalera, Uquia and Humahuaca.
Transfer to Salta Airport.


Our comments:


The above itinerery is ideal if you want to see the best of the Northwest.  If you have any other preferences, please get in touch to discuss.  As ATOL bonded agents, don't forget that we can help you arrange you flights within Argenitna, as well as internationally.