For lovers of nature’s colors and the exotic, this circuit offers an exceptional palette of landscapes of great beauty.
DAY 1: BUENOS AIRES
Description: you will be greeted at Ezeiza airport by your guide and settle in at the hotel. You’ll have the afternoon off, or if you prefer, an initial tour through Buenos Aires. At the end of the day, a briefing around a map with one of our Operations Representatives will take place. Lunch and dinner: not included. Accommodation: Nuss Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 2: BUENOS AIRES / SALTA - "The city of Salta and its outskirts"
Description: after a 2h15 flight, your guide will greet you at Salta airport. After checking in at the hotel and having lunch, you will enjoy a tour through the city’s most interesting spots and its outskirts: 9 de Julio Square, the Cathedral, the city council, the basilica of San Francisco , the San Bernardo convent, San Bernardo hill, General Güemes’ monument and the artisans fair. The circuit ends with tea at San Lorenzo Castle. Distances: 80 km circuit (50 mi), 2 and a half hours. Note: the afternoon program may vary according to arrival time. Lunch: at Doña Salta restaurant – regional dishes and beautiful decoration.
Accommodation: Solar de la Plaza Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 3: SALTA / LOS COLORADOS & LOS CARDONES / CACHI - "Zigzagging in between the cactuses"
Description: on your way to the Calchaqui Valleys you will travel through the tobacco plantations of Lerma Valley, then the towns of Cerrillos, La Merced, El Carril and Chicoana. When taking the magnificent Valley of Escoipe route, you will discover subtropical vegetation. Under the deep blue Andean sky, vegetation fades away as you ascend the impressive Obispo Hill which will take you to the highest point of your excursion: the Windmill Stone, 3348 meters (11048 ft) above sea level. You will then take a detour to the Los Colorados, mountains of red sand and rivers of salt. You then cross Los Cardones National Park and continue on to the picturesque town of Cachi. After having lunch and visiting the town, you will continue your trip towards Cachi Valley and arrive at the hotel. Distances: 160 km (100 mi), 4 hours from Salta to Cachi, Argentina. Lunch: at Automóvil Club Inn. Regional dishes. Accommodation: La Merced del Alto Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 4: CACHI / LA POMA / CACHI - "The valley of the sun"
Description: you travel through route 40 towards La Poma, the highest town in the Calchaqui Valleys (3015 meters, 9892 ft). The road runs through the Indian villages of Payogasta and Palermo, offering magnificent views of herds of sheep and llamas. Then, a brief walk up to Devil’s Bridge, a natural structure which frames the Calchaqui River, where you will enjoy a spellbinding view of the Twin Volcanoes, millenary guardians of La Poma town, semi-destroyed by an earthquake on Christmas Eve of 1930. In addition to the town’s ruins, you can visit ancient pre-Columbian remains. Frozen in time, this site is an explosion of colors and aromas. Distances: from Cachi to La Poma round trip, 90 km (56 mi) / 6 hours. Lunch: picnic provided by the Automóvil Club Inn. Accommodation: La Merced del Alto Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 5: CACHI / CAFAYATE - "A taste adventure"
Description: you will depart for Cafayate, stopping on the way at a vicuña breeding farm in the town of Molinos. Before reaching Molinos, you can stop at a poncho weaving workshop in Seclantás. You then take route 40, which is surrounded by the surprising landscapes of Las Flechas formations. The Calchaqui Valleys takes you to Cafayate. After lunch you will begin a wine tasting circuit at 2 local wineries: Mounier (las Nubes) and Etchart. You will discover an amazing vine-stock: the Torrontés, Cafayate’s specialty. Distances: 156 km (97 mi), approximately 4 and a half hours. Note: the wineries to be visited may be modified according to your preference. Lunch: at San Pedro de Yacochuya Winery. Accommodation: La Casa de la Bodega Hotel Boutique or equivalent.
DAY 6: CAFAYATE / QUILMES / CAFAYATE - "Quechua shadow, colonial atmosphere and pre-Columbian ruins"
Description: the morning will be devoted to visiting the Quilmes ruins, the most famous archeological site in the country. Quilmes is an ancient pre-Incan city which was inhabited between the 17th and 19th centuries. The site, built on a natural amphitheater, offers an exceptional view of the valley. You will have the afternoon to enjoy the hotel facilities, stroll through Cafayate or visit other wineries. Distances: 100 km (62 mi), 8 km (5 mi) are dirt roads, between 2 and a half and 3 hours. Lunch and accommodation: La Casa de la Bodega Hotel Boutique or equivalent.
DAY 7: CAFAYATE / LAS CONCHAS / QUIJANO - "Whimsical shapes"
Description: after breakfast, you will travel to Las Conchas Valley, which offers numerous opportunities to stop and have a brief stroll. Multicolored rocky formations and semi deserted mountains: a show nature has been preparing for centuries. If you wish, you can do a mini trek in the Yesera area. After a late lunch, the afternoon will be devoted to relaxing at the finca. Distances: 189 km (117 mi), approximately 4 hours. Optional: one hour trek in Yesera. Lunch and accommodation: Finca Valentina Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 8: SALTA / SAN ANTONIO / SALINAS GRANDES / PURMAMARCA - "Puna Circuit"
Description: at 7.30 a.m. you will travel to San Antonio de los Cobres, following the well known tracks of the “Train to the Clouds“. You will cross the Quebrada del Toro which will take you 3800 meters (2361 ft) above sea level, facing the spellbinding view of the snowed peaks of the Andes, before reaching Salinas Grandes, a 120-square-kilometer salt desert. There you will stop for lunch before witnessing the salt extraction process. Then you will ascend the impressive Lipan Slope, which descends to Purmamarca. This town is exceptional for its ochre colored adobe houses, built at the foot of the Hill of the Seven Colors. Distances: 330 km (205 mi), full day excursion. Note: Since it is a long day, it is advisable to set off early. Lunch: gourmet picnic at Salinas Grandes. Accommodation: La Comarca Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 9: PURMAMARCA / QUEBRADA DE HUMAHUACA / TILCARA - "The route of colors"
Description: today, you will tour the entire Quebrada of Humahuaca, stopping at its small towns, each of which has its own distinctive features, beginning with Tilcara and its interesting Pucara, a pre-Columbian fortress built sometime between 1000 and 1480 AD, the archeological museum and Devil’s Throat. Immediately after crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, Uquia appears with its charming chapel. By the end of your tour you will reach Humahuaca, an old post of the Incan empire and later of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, located 2940 meters (9645 ft) above sea level. You then begin the descent of the Quebrada to enjoy the light’s effect over the famous Painter’s Palette in Maimara. The wide variety of color tones and hues is due to the successive appearance of different geological layers. Distances: 140 km (87 mi), approximately 6 hours. Note: You will visit Tilcara in the morning to take advantage of the light over the exceptional view that Pucara displays. Optional 1: before leaving Purmamarca you can take a brief stroll through the Hill of the Seven Colors (20 min), or ascend to a small viewpoint (15 min) to see the morning light over the town. Optional 2: during the day, a 40 minute mini trek through the Quebrada de las Señoritas, in the Uquia area and/or in the Pollera de la Coya area. Lunch: in Humahuaca at La Casa Vieja, regional restaurant. Accommodation: Las Marias Boutique Hotel.
DAY 10: TILCARA / IRUYA / TILCARA - "The village hidden at the end of the world"
Description: from Tilcara you retrace the Quebrada once more, this time up to Abra del Condor, located 4000 meters (13123 ft) above sea level. The aim is to reach the town of Iruya, nestled in the mountain with its small stone houses and its narrow steep streets. You will witness an incredibly varied landscape of colors. Distances: 224 km (139 mi) roundtrip, approximately 7 hours. Optional: after the Condor’s Pass it is possible to descend to Iruya on mountain bikes. The vehicle will accompany the cyclists. This option should be requested of your guide upon arrival in Salta. Lunch: at the Iruya Lodge restaurant. Accommodation: Las Marias Boutique Hotel.
DAY 11: TILCARA / CORNISA / SALTA / BUENOS AIRES - "Forests and overhangs"
Description: when leaving Tilcara, you will descend to the city of Jujuy, a route still very rich in colors. You will then travel to Cornisa, where you will discover a completely different landscape: the yunga forests. The flight time will determine whether you can make it for tea at Don Zanca’s in San Lorenzo or not. After settling in in Buenos Aires, a dinner show will fill you with the passion and grace of tango. Argentine further reveals its soul! Distances: 150 km (93 mi), approximately 3 hours. Note: if there is substantial fog, the return to Salta will be via General Guemes. Lunch: at La Cienaga Dam Lodge restaurant. Dinner show: at the Cabaret Complejo Tango or equivalent, VIP location. Accommodation: Patios De San Telmo Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 12: BUENOS AIRES / INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
Description: until leaving for the airport, you will continue to discover Buenos Aires and/or, according to your preferences, go shopping. The leather-goods and gaucho articles shops offer typical and original products. The city tour goes through 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world with its 65 meter (213 ft) obelisk, and Avenida de Mayo, which is well known for its buildings of Galician architecture influence. At Plaza de Mayo you will discover the Casa Rosada, HQ of the president. You will then visit La Boca neighborhood with its colorful houses made of materials recovered from ships, works of art which inspire many poets and painters. Later you will discover San Telmo, the best place for antique shops and traditional Tango bars. La Recoleta is a traditional residential neighborhood, where walking is a real pleasure due to its numerous parks and squares. To end the tour, you’ll visit Puerto Madero, the old city port which has recently been completely refurbished. Option:flight over Buenos Aires in a private helicopter. Enjoy an unforgettable panoramic view of Buenos Aires from 200 m in the air. A 30 to 45 min tour covering around 100km. Lunch: at the Gardiner restaurant or equivalent. Dinner and night: on the plane.