Located at the crossroads between Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, the region of Salta offers landscapes completely different from the rest of Argentina. The most indigenous part of the country also made part of the Andean road system. In a region where the mix between nature and culture is deeply embedded, the curiosities to discover abound.
the Northwest part of Argentina won’t let you indifferent for sure. From the frontier Bolivia to the land of Cafayate, let’s have a look to the treasure hidden in Argentinian Northwest:
Going back to the colonial period crossing Salta’s streets
Nicknamed La Linda, Salta is one of the most important colonial cities in Argentina. Created during the 16th century by the Spanish settlers, the town was an obligated stop on the road to Bolivia and Peru. Even if some buildings are still here to attest this colonial past, the city has evolved until now into a perfect mix of traditions and modernity. Despite all its traditions, Salta now accounts for one of the youngest and most dynamic cities of Argentina.
1200m above sea level, Salta is a gateway to all the excursions into the Noroeste (Argentinian Northwest). With the biggest airport of the region (far bigger than the one of Jujuy) and a plethora of church and museum (the cathedral, Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montaña, …) Salta will surely provide you with typical Andean minds.
Venturing to the frontier with Bolivia until Purmamarca and Humahuaca
Purmamarca village is located in the Quebrada de Humahuaca, UNESCO declared world’s heritage site. Undoubtedly, the main reason for passing through this small Andean village is the Cerro de Los Siete Colores (the hill of the Seven Colors). Indeed, the past presence of sea, lakes and other numerous geological factors resulted in the creation of this unique site, where human decided to settle down and establishing the Purmamarca village.
On your road across the Quebrada de Humahuaca, do not forget to plan a stop in Purmamarca and try to find out what are the 7 colors present on the hill!
You may believe that 7 colors on a single mountain aren’t enough, what about 14 so!?
At North of Purmamarca, you reach the village of Humahuaca, famous for its geological singularity: Hornocal’s mountain or “Serranias del Hornocal”. 25km far from the village, you reach a colorful mountain that attests the presence of various metals in the ground: copper, iron and Sulphur to name just three. The result of the ground rich in minerals and erosion have resulted in these majestic peaks at the boundaries of the Argentinean territory.
Contemplating the Salinas Grandes
4170 meters high and near to the Chilean and Bolivian Frontier, Salinas Grandes is the third biggest salt field of South America. Included in the Quebrada de Humahuaca trail, Salinas Grandes can be a good alternative for those who won’t be able to go to the Salar of Uyuni in Bolivia.
How did this incredible place was created? Scientists claim that all the conditions had been reunited for the formation of a salt field: the past presence of a volcano and of an ocean to name just two.
In this part of the Andes, the sun is a recurrent guest, what will satisfy aspiring photographers. What’s more, the contrast between the sky’s blue, the mountains’ purple and the salt’s white, you will surely find the perfect angle for your holidays’ pictures.
Crossing the Valle de Calchaquies until Cachi village
As you keep adventuring at the South of Salta, you reach the small city of Cachi with its typical white colonial buildings. At the foot of the Nevado de Cachi mount (6320 m), the city looks like a typical Andalusian village because of its architecture and its arid climate (except during the Winter).
Even if the charm of the village is undeniable, the main interest of the city remains the landscapes you come across on the mythic road 40 toward Cachi, whether from Salta or Cafayate. Indeed, Cachi is a gateway to Los Cardones national park, with its canyons and giant cactuses.
More generally, the park and Cachi are incorporated into a network of red rock mountains and valley called Valle de Calchaquíes. Initially the land of the Diaguitas people, the region is famous for hosting archeological excavation sites. The arrival of the European settlers triggered the culture of wine in the area, for the pleasure of wine amateurs.
Among the numerous gullies that you can encounter in Valle de Calchaquies, many adventurers will tell you that Quebrada de las Flechas was the most impressive. This valley obtained its name from the sharp rocks that stand on it, that can reach tens of meters. Crossed by the mythical Ruta 40, the canyons are 60 km far from the city of Cafayate and 5 km far from Angatasco, then you can easily visit it in one day with any type of vehicle.
Finishing your loop in the region with Cafayate and the Quebrada de las Conchas
The city of Cafayate itself is renowned for its wine production and its numerous bodegas that animate the village’s life. However, no one should miss the Quebrada de Cafayate visit!
Also known as the Quebrada de las Conchas, this national park hosts many natural rock sculptures such as Los Castillos, El Sapo, El Anfiteatro, etc. Dozens of walks enable you to deeply visit the Quebrada and take a full measure of the landscapes. These colorful canyons will surely provide you with unforgettable souvenirs from Argentina.
Much more than a simple prolongation of the Bolivian and Peruvian landscapes, the Salta’s area offers you a unique and memorable experience of Argentina. If you are eager to plan a stay in the Argentinian Northwest and organizing your excursions, let’s visit our other new website Gl-tours in alliance with Aerolineas Argentina.
And you, which one of these places would you like to visit? Leave a comment and share your experience with us!
Have a safe trip!