The tourist circuit around the Northwestern Region of Argentina includes 5 provinces: La Rioja, Catamarca, Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy. Each province has its own attractions: The Cañón del Talampaya (Tampalaya Canyon) in La Rioja, Catamarca and its the rich valleys, the Ruinas de los Indios Quilmes in Tucumán, the Valles Calchaquíes in Salta and the Quebrada de Humahuaca in Jujuy.
Trips to the Northwestern Region present spectacular contrasts where nature exhibits its most diverse aspects: dry desserts and lush rainforests. You will discover deep-rooted traditions. The identity of these people was shaped by the ancient indigenous legacy. Colorful celebrations with religious expressions and the cult to the Pachamama are part of the daily life of people.
La Rioja and Catamarca offer highlands and plains, with large hydrological resources, extensive olive fields, vineyards and walnut trees plantations that tinge the farming haven scattered around immense valleys. Both provinces display magnificent natural sceneries, little villages full of history and towns where graceful temples and museums treasure valuable cultural legacy. As a starting point, La Rioja is the gateway to the “Pueblos de la Costa” (Shoreline Towns), to the impressive mountains of the west and the wild lands of the south.
Catamarca is the Capital of the Valleys. You will see the imposing presence of the high mountain ranges and a series of remote farming havens on a dry soil. The remains of the indigenous legacy with rivers descending from the mountains will be at your side on your route along Catamarcan lands where the aboriginal past has left its mark.
Tucumán combines history and nature in a fascinating way. Ancient indigenous ruins, 16th Century towns, evidences of the Jesuit presence and the Declaration of Independence of Argentina. All of this is framed by the views of the Puna, the lush subtropical rainforest, immense sugarcane crop fields and the mountain ranges of Aconquija. The legacy of the Pre-Hispanic indigenous cultures merges with the well- rooted Creole tradition.
Salta and Jujuy are the heart of Argentina’s Northwestern Region and present a great diversity of natural environments. A mixture of plains, deserts, tropical forests and rich valleys. The dry appearance of the Valles Calchaquíes, the Quebrada de Humahuaca and the Puna are the highlights of this region which appears to be distant but is actually at your feet, where the Tren de las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) allows you to dream and uncover the region. Vicunas, llamas and teasels are part of a worth-observing wildlife, and wineries are a special interest due to the international quality of its wines.
Tours around the Northwest Region
Jujuy and Salta make up a fascinating trip to Argentina’s Northwestern Region. The Valles Calchaquíes in Salta and Tucumán and the Quebrada de Humahuaca and the Puna in Jujuy are the most magnificent sceneries of this region. You will experience Salta La Linda (the beautiful one) from the impressive San Francisco church, Convento San Bernardo (San Bernardo Convent), Cabildo and Museo Histórico Norte, Casa de Güemes, and the calmness inspired by the Quebrada del Toro. You will visit the summer village of San Lorenzo and go horse riding along its gorge. The techniques used for travelling high, the power of the train engine and the presence of craftsmen are part of the charm of the Tren de las Nubes. The train travels through the scenery of Valle de Lerma and reaches dusty towns suspended in time in Salta’s Puna, in San Antonio de los Cobres. Trains heavily loaded with minerals use the same railways since 1941.
A different trip to Salta will take you to the land of vineyards in Cafayate, where you will find the largest production of Torrontés wine in Argentina. On your way to the Valles Calchaquíes to Cafayate you will visit the small village of Alemania, the impressive Quebrada del Río de las Conchas, the towns of Viña, Tolombón, etc. Another option is travelling to the Valles Calchaquíes through Cachi and Payogasta. The number and the quality of the churches and chapels along the Valles Calchaquíes are examples of its historical and cultural past.
The Northwestern Region offers a number of sceneries such as the roads around the Puna. In Jujuy you will depart from the Quebrada de Humahuaca and Purmamarca to finish your itinerary experiencing the Omaguaca legacy in Uquía, Tilcara, Huacalera and Maimará.
You will visit San Salvador de Jujuy, known as “Tacita de Plata” (silver little cup) and its historical center. Then you will walk around the towns or Reyes, Yala, Volcan, Tumbaya and Purmamarca, and end your trip in Susques, after crossing Salinas Grandes. You need to value the strength of the Tilcara, Omaguaca indigenous people, who inhabited this land over 900 years ago. They built a 19-acre “pucará” (a fortress in the Quechua language) which is known today as the Pucará de Tilcara. Another ride will take you to the Quiaca and Casabindo, from the Quebrada de Humahuaca to Laguna de los Pozuelos, where you will be captivated by the llamas. This itinerary takes place on the Puna Jujeña.
Tucumán, capital city of San Miguel del Tucumán, is famous for being the place where Independence was born. A number of parks, museums and palaces can be found in this city and the towns on its hills are covered with thick Tucumanean forest. There are two available circuits: Circuito Chico (Small Circuit), visiting Sierra San Javier, Cristo Redentor, Villa Nougués, or Circuito Grande (Large Circuit) which includes Embalse El Cadillac, Monasterio El Siambón or the San José de Lules Church. Among hills and teasels, the Valles Calchaquíes (Tucumán and Salta) were home of large Pre-Hispanic settlements, which are still present in the ruins of Quilmes, Parque de los Menhires and Centro Cultural Pachamama. On your way, you will visit the towns of Tafí del Valle and the Estancia Jesuítica de La Banda.
The rich valleys of Catamarca’s Eastern region encourage you to travel its roads, along rivers descending the mountains. A string of towns with historic churches decorating the splendor of the province’s capital are found along this circuit. The impressiveness of the high mountain range and the series of farming havens on the dry soil are part of Catamarca’s history. Both the Ruta del Adobe and the Ruta de los Artesanos are possible itineraries in this beautiful Northern province.
The tours in this area are: