Have a look at amazing Salta city in Argentina, that is one highlight of this amazing trip to exploring some of the best Argentinian scenery!
Discover the valleys and canyons of one of Argentina’s most stunning regions. The beauty of the ever-changing scenery in the area northwest of Salta is unparalleled elsewhere in South America, with vivid red gorges, rugged mountains, expansive salt flats, barren desert and Andean grasslands. Starting your adventure in the city of Salta itself, you’ll visit the MAAM, a museum housing the mummified remains of three Inca children, before heading south on Route 68. As you journey through Los Cardones National Park, admire the colourful giant cacti scattered across the hillside.
Take the famous Ruta 40 through the Calchaquíes Valley, passing the ‘Valley of the Arrows’ en route. Next, visit Cafayate, known for its fine wines, before passing through the Quebrada de las Conchas (Valley of the Shells) as you return to Salta. Following the tracks of the legendary Train to the Clouds, you’ll continue your tour at the mind-bogglingly massive Salinas Grandes (The Great Salt Flat) before crossing the Tropic of Capricorn. Wonder at beautifully colourful hills and mountains including La Pollera del Coya Hill and La Paleta del Pintor (‘The Painter’s Palette), framing the town of Maimará. Not only will you discover valleys and canyons on this tour, but you’ll explore ancient ruins, famous churches and bustling town squares full of friendly people along the way!
Chimu Adventures aims to minimise its impact on the environment and support local communities in any way possible. The company strives to source guides, meals and transport from the communities it operates in rather than importing. Chimu Adventures prides itself on the fact that all operations for this tour are carried out by locally-owned companies, and they select locally-owned hotels which share their values in terms of social and environmental responsibility. The company's guides are highly experienced and qualified, and are paid above the minimum wage; since they are local, travellers are able to gain a more authentic insight into the communities and environments they visit.
Travellers are encouraged to minimise their carbon footprint whilst touring with Chimu Adventures, and are provided with information and advice on responsible waste disposal and how to offset carbon emissions. This ensures that guests are equipped with the knowledge necessary to help them protect the diverse ecosystems they visit. The company also practices what it preaches, with sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company/staff vehicles, and processes to help create paperless offices and reduce waste. Chimu’s ‘Pass it On’ programme empowers local people, providing funding to help Latin American communities develop their own infrastructure. Finally, Chimu Adventures also offers travellers the chance to make a positive impact by visiting community projects.
Touch down at Salta airport and take a private transfer to your hotel.
Take a full day to properly explore the city. A half-day city tour will take you to some of Salta’s main highlights, including the fantastic MAAM – a museum built to accommodate the mummified remains of three children who were sacrificed as part of an Inca ritual. Spend the afternoon at your leisure.
Journey south on Route 68 to El Carril. Once you’ve reached this small town, you’ll climb steadily up the Cuesta del Obispo to the highest point of the route, the Piedra Del Molino (3,348 metres above sea-level). This is a truly amazing feat of road engineering! Continue through Los Cardones National Park, so-named for its famous giant cacti (cardones) scattered across the hillside. The drive to Cachi takes about 4-5 hours, and there’ll be plenty of photo opportunity stops along the way. Once you’ve arrived in Cachi, which sits under the gaze of the huge Nevado de Cachi (6,340m), you’ll have a free afternoon in which to explore the small town’s quaint church, restaurants and archaeological museum.
Visit Molinos, a hamlet with a picturesque church and plaza, before heading through the Calchaquies Valley via the famous Ruta 40. Along this section you’ll see horizontal rock strata bursting up vertically from the ground, like arrow heads, giving the ‘Valley of the Arrows’ its name. As the sun sets the changing colours of the mountains makes for some breath-taking scenery. Your final destination is the sleepy town of Cafayate which, due to its microclimate and fertile soil, is one of Argentina’s finest wine regions. The town offers free tours of its boutique bodegas, and there are numerous restaurants as well as a five-aisle cathedral, authentic handicrafts to purchase and unique wine-flavoured ice-cream.
Heading back to Salta, you’ll travel along Route 68 through the ‘Quebrada de las Conchas’ (Valley of the Shells). There’ll be plenty of photo stops to appreciate the incredible bright red rock formations as well as the valley’s viewpoints. Your journey comes to an end at Finca Valentina, a lovely hacienda situated just outside of Salta.
Enjoy a free day to relax in Salta.
Departing from Salta, you’ll head towards the Tastil Ruins, following the tracks of the world famous 'Train to the Clouds' high into the Andes to arrive at San Antonia de los Cobres. After a lunch stop and a short visit to the town, you’ll continue along Route 40, passing through one of the most starkly beautiful parts of the country. Arriving in the province of Jujuy, you’ll visit Salinas Grandes (The Great Salt Flat) where you’ll be blown away by the area’s enormity. From here, you’ll head down Lipán Cliff for an overnight stay at the village of Purmamarca.
Continue to Tilcara to see the town’s ancient ruins and Archaeological Museum. Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, you’ll then admire the amazing colours of La Pollera del Coya Hill. After a brief stop at Uquia, you’ll arrive in Humahuaca where you’ll visit various monuments and the famous church. Your tour continues through ‘La Paleta del Pintor’ (The Painter’s Palette), a colourful mountain framing the town of Maimará. Continuing to San Salvador de Jujuy, you’ll visit the Cathedral and lively town square. Finally, you’ll return to Salta along Route No. 9.
Take a private transfer to the airport for your onward flight from Salta.