Northwestern Argentina Self-drive tour
This program in the North of Argentina is for those who want to discover its culture and its beautiful landscapes. From the yungas to the high mountains. From red to the purest white of the Salinas Grandes. A journey full of authentic contact with nature and native communities.
Price per person on a double basis, in US dollars
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeCultural, Nature
Arrival to Tucumán
Welcome to Northwestern Argentina! You will arrive in Tucuman, the capital city of the Province which has the same name. You pick up your rental car.
This modern city is decisive in the national history: it is here that on July 9th 1816 was signed the Independence Act. Lively and enthusiastic, do not miss a visit to Plaza Independencia, where the Cathedral and its many palm trees are located, or even La Casa histórica de la Independencia.
Then you will drive to Tafi del Valle, a beautiful and peaceful town in the middle of the hills. On the way you can stop and explore the Quebrada de los Sosa.
You will spend the night at Tafí del Valle.
San Miguel de Tucumán – Tafí del Valle: 110 km
On the road to Cafayate
In the morning, you get back on the road, and drive to Amaicha del Valle. A local guide will receive you and you will start an easy trek in Castillos del Dentro, a beautiful canyon. Then, you continue towards the Quilmes ruins, one of the most famous archaeological sites in Argentina.
In the afternoon, you will arrive in Cafayate, where you will spend the night. We suggest you visit a Bodega and surrounding vineyards. Torrontés white wine is a speciality of this region!
Quebrada de las Conchas & homestay in Cafayate
In the morning, we recommend you to visit la Quebrada de las Conchas, on route 68. You can appreciate the beauty of these spectacular red rock formations carved by erosion and winds such as the Garganta del Diablo (the devil’s throat), El Anfiteatro (the amphitheater), El Sapo (the toad), El Fraile (the monk), El Obelisco (the obelisk) Los Castillos (the castles).
Then, get ready for an immersion in the traditional culture of Northwest Argentina. You will meet a small rural community! You will meet its inhabitants and with them you will participate in the daily agricultural activities such as harvest, you can learn about traditional Andean cuisine, take walks in the surroundings and ceramic ateliers.
You will spend the night in the family house (private room)
All homemade meals are included
Route 40 and Calchaquíes Valley
In the morning, you will enjoy a typical breakfast with your hosts, and continue to discover their traditions.
Then, you will take the route 40 for 160 kilometers of sumptuous landscapes between Cafayate and Cachi. You will cross the Quebrada de las Flechas, a formation of intense mountain dams and sharp rocks springing from the earth.
The dusty track continues and serves a few villages like Seclantás or Molinos, one of the nicest villages in the region. The surroundings seem deserted and forgotten for years, but they have nevertheless constituted an important trade route with the Inca empire.
You will arrive in Cachi at the end of the day. You can discover this splendid small town of colonial inheritance. There is a peaceful atmosphere perfect for walking. In the central square, do not miss the church whose roof is built of candelabra cactus wood.
From Cachi to Salta and Cardones National Park
Early departure to Salta along Highway 33. You will enjoy many points of view of the spectacular Lerma Valley, the Quebrada de Escoipe, and the Enchanted Valley. You will cross Los Cardones National Park, passing by the so-called ”Inca Trail”, the Recta Tin Tin, a name given to a perfectly straight section of road 33, which runs for 18 km through the cactus of the Los Cardones National Park. The construction of this route dates from the apogee of the Inca Empire between 1480 and 1535 and was part of the Inca Trail that ran along the Andes from Ecuador to Argentina. You will probably see lamas next to the route.
Salinas grandes and colorful landscapes
Today you will take the legendary route 9, in the direction of the province of Jujuy. The opportunity for you to discover the start of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, until you reach the small village of Purmamarca, “village of the Holy Land” in the Aymara language. This very traditional village is located at the foot of the famous mountain of 7 colors, a sort of mineral rainbow.
In the afternoon, you can depart in the direction of the Salinas Grandes, a salt desert located at an altitude of over 4096 meters.
In the evening, you set off on foot to reach Teresa’s house, located 300 meters from the main square of Purmamarca. You will be warmly greeted by your host upon arrival. Teresa will teach you to cook typical dishes of the region, with local products: quinoa, llama meat, corn, Andean potatoes, etc. You will then share dinner while tasting your preparations! Duration: 2h to 3h
You will spend the night in Purmamarca.
Discover the Quebrada de Humahuaca & local community of Ocumazo
Set off along the Quebrada de Humahuaca and its small villages, this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will discover the curiosities and colorful markets of each small village, including those of Tilcara, where you will also visit the Pucará (archaeological site). At lunch time, arrive at the village of Humahuaca. Free time to explore the city on your own and have lunch (not included).
In the afternoon, you will meet the rural community of Ocumazo, which inhabits the Quebrada de Humahuaca preserving the customs and traditions for several generations. A local family will welcome you to later enjoy a homemade dinner.
Living the authentic andean culture
Today you will do a 3-hour horse riding in the surroundings. Ocumazo is located on a hidden valley between enormous mountains and the families take advantage of the land and its productions. You will enjoy the magnificent landscapes and you will have the first glance of Mount Hornocal, known as the ”mount of 14 colors”.
A local guide will explain to you their traditions in the rural area, the agricultural activity and then you will reach the old wooden mill, still in operation.
Return to the house after a full immersion in the rural life.
Level of difficulty: intermediate.
At noon, you will do an Andean cooking workshop, while you learn more about the agricultural activity of the region and its typical ingredients such as corn, potato, ollucos, habas, or the breeding of goats. You will taste your creations for lunch.
In the afternoon, you will visit a pre-Columbian archaeological site (Antigal), accompanied by a local guide. You will learn about the history of the indigenous communities of the area and the connections with the Incas.
Level of difficulty: low (2 to 3 hours duration)
Homemade dinner with the host family and accommodation.
End of the trip
After breakfast, you say goodbye to your host family. You will drive along a gravel road for a visit to Mount Hornocal. This amazing landscape is situated in the indegineous community of The Omaguacas, who manage the site nowadays. Entrance fee to the Hornocal is not included.
After the visit, you will drive to the airport of San Salvador de Jujuy where you will return the car. End of our services.
Travel dates: All year long (December to July rain season)
Blackout dates: none
Departures every day (subject to availability)
Minimum 2 passengers (Extra cost applies for solo travelers)
- 5 nights accommodation in a double room.
- 3 nights in family houses in the local communities (full board)
- Activities and Spanish speaking local guides during your stay in the communities
- Rental car 9 days (Pick up Tucuman airport – Drop off Jujuy Airport)
- Breakfasts included in all hotels and homestay
- Meals when mentioned
- Meals (except when mentioned) and additional personal expenses
- Air transport (national and international), optional.
- Excursions indicated as optional.