CALCHAQUI VALLEYS, HUMAHUACA GORGE
On your eight-days, guided road trip you will be enjoy the Calchaqui valley, the Humahuaca gorge and the possibility to extend your trip to the rugged plateau between Argentina and Chile: the Puna and the Atacama desert.
These intensely varied scenery with High Mountain passes, salt-carpeted depressions and a crescent of volcanoes are a must-see of Argentina and Chile.
The whole region has been inhabited in the past: Inca ruins stab the volcanic peaks are fascinating to explore.
On the way, surrounded by incredible scenery speckled with giant cacti and framed by multi-colored mineral-infused mountains, you will experience a great portion of pre-Colombian history, the Spanish Conquest and independent South America.
Operates: Whole the year.
Places and attractions to visit: The Calchaqui Valley, Salta City, Humahuaca Gorge, 7colors mountain. Optionally Atacama Desert, Tatio Gesisers.
Region: North West of Argentina. North of Chile.
Reception at Tucuman Airport, drive to Tafi del Valle, which is the entry door to the ancient Valles Calchaquies.
Distance covered: 120 km
2 nights / 3 Days
CUSTOMIZE THIS TOUR FOR ME:
Our itineraries are suggestions based in our knowledge and experience and were prepared in order to get the maximum enjoyment and use of the time. However it can be customized, as much or as little as you want to suit your own specific requirements.
Reception at Tucuman Airport, we will set direction towards North Western Argentina, in our way, we will go across the sub Andean jungle though a breathtaking mountain path until we reach a beautiful valley and the charming town of Tafi del Valle, which is the entry door to the ancient Valles Calchaquies. We will sleep over at an historic lodge that is cute and managed by its owners.
Distance covered: 120 km
We shall continue the trip all the way to Cafayate, which is located approximately 120 km away, taking an amazing mountain circuit. Cafayate holds some magnificent pieces of art; tapestry, ceramics, woodwork. The place is very famous for its local wines. A few km before arrival, in a desertic zone full of cacti, we find the ruins of the native South-American “Quilmes” people. There used to be 5000 people living here between 1000 and 1667 BC. They fought against the Spaniards for over 150 years until they were finally defeated and then transferred to Buenos Aires.
Overnight in a winery. That day we can visit a few wine cellars of "Torrontes" wine, which is considered as very special because of the altitude at which it is cultivated. Distance covered: 120 km
In the morning, departure towards the Valle Rio Las Conchas through the “Valles Calchaquies”. The Calchaqui valley is a must-see of Argentina, an ever-surprising panorama of changing landscapes develops in front of us, with exuberant greens and reds and wonderful Stone formations. After passing through the village of Molinos will continue few kilometers and have accommodation in a local house in the middle of nowhere (of course with the comfort conditions for tourists), eat a barbeque under that sky plenty of stars enjoying a local wine.
Distance covered: approximately 150/170km.
After breakfast, very early in the morning, you will have the opportunity to take an outdoor activity during all day long to reach Acsibi caves, an amazing place in the middle of the mountains inside the property of family house. This implies a journey through the dry riverbed in a 4x4 and then a 6-kilometer hike to the caves. Easy to medium level of demand. The owner of the house will be your local guide, you will have someone who lives and breathes the Andes (just because he always lived there) and has a passion for it which you will share by the end of the visit.
The whole experience will be definitely a highlight of all highlights on our entire trip through the Andes. Simply getting to the starting point of the canyon is amazing in itself, and then to start walking and exploring is a true privilege to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of nature. After that, you will have a pic nick in the cave and return in the evening.
Overnight at country house.
The itinerary will continue up to the impressive “Cuesta del Obispo”. We will pass by the famous “Tin-Tine Line”, perfectly straight that crosses the “Los Cardones” National Park, which according to scholars, was built by the natives and used to cross through the Cacti Desert for centuries. On the way, we get to a place located 3300 m above sea level, from where we can enjoy a unique panoramic view. In the afternoon, we will reach Salta. Overnight in a boutique hotel.
Distance covered 180km.
Salta boasts a touch of elegance that is unmistakable symbol of a sumptuous past that is still alive in its large old manors and flowery patios. Among the big Argentine cities, this is the city where the Spanish influence is best preserved.
We continue through a small path of mountains and jungle until we reach Quebrada de Humahuaca, a deep and tight valley that has constituted a natural means of communication since the primeval humans reached the South of American 10000 years ago, and until nowadays. Due to its cultural and geographic characteristics, it was declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO. We shall be lodging at Pumamarca, a tiny village just 7 blocks away, that is one of the most charming ones amongst those that can be found in the Quebrada. Leisure time to visit the local market.
The distance to be covered is of approximately 200 km.
Transfer to Salta airport to take a plane to Buenos Aires for a combination with your international flight.
The trip continues to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, the road will climb a winding road into the high Andes, the increasingly arid and empty landscape becoming ever more bleakly beautiful. The most spectacular part is the Cuesta del Lipan, as we get to reach an altitude of over 4000 m above sea level in a few km. This makes the experience an unforgettable one. You reach the rim of Salinas Grandes, a vast, flat and gleaming-white pan of natural sal.
After that through barren hills and past remote villas we will cross the border into Chile. In that place, in the high Andes plateau, America touches the sky we reach the highest point on today's journey at 4,800 m over sea level. Finally we will descending and reaching the amazing town of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and its incredible landscape.
Distance covered: 400km.
San Pedro de Atacama is an oasis in the most arid desert in the world and that as with all the villages in the region, is full of history and colors. On this day, we suggest our visitors go to the Tatio Geisers, a surrealistic place of outstanding beauty.
Transfer to Calama city Airport in order to take a plane to Santiago de Chile for a combination with your international flight.
Distance covered: 100km.
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