Salta

Salta, “the beautiful one” makes you fall in love at first sight with its eclectic Calchaquí Valleys and its immense Puna. The province proudly offers the most amazing train in the whole world: the Train to the Clouds, whose name is almost literal. The train reaches 13,800 feet high and passes through 19 tunnels, 29 bridges and 9 train sheds. The train displays an extraordinary railway work designed by engineer Ricardo Maury who managed to achieve the great feat of crossing the Andes Mountain Range. The so called “Land of Güemes” is also a place of great feats. This passionate “gaucho” took part of the independence battles, which traces remain in the City of Salta, capital of the province, and its surroundings. Here fine cuisine and wine - another treasure of Salta - are always present.

Travel to Salta

Excursions to Salta

Knowing Salta

We will start our tour along the city from the nice 9 de Julio Square, so eye-catching because of its decorated coloured quarries and its fruited trees which leave a nice fragrance in the salteño air. From the square we will be able to have a first vision of its history and colonial past, as we will be surrounded by old buildings such as the Cabildo, the Cathedral, the Church of San Francisco, the Convent of San Bernardo de las Monjas Carmelitas, one of the oldest buildings in the city which was the entrance door to the convent and it is made of carob wood that was carved by the natives in 1762; its old houses complete the historical quarter, which are today very important monuments.

Then, we will go to the impressive and most recognised hill in the salteña city: Cerro San Bernardo. Before getting to it, we will tour along the streets, getting to Güemes monument, an argentinian general who is known because of its ideals of freedom, dispise to materialism and his love to his Motherland. We will get to San Martín Park where we will find the cable railway station, our means of transport to get to the hill so we can have an amazing panoramic of the city and its surroundings, with the hills at the background.

After the ascent, we will continue to a really charming place, which is chosen by many tourists because of its wonderful natural attractions and the different activities to do: the summer village of San Lorenzo, where we will find the Quebrada, an ideal place to spend the day at the edge of the river, listening its relaxing sounds. We will enjoy our way to it, as we will go through flowered Gardens, mansions and castles which are surrounded by small hills and where we can do (horse) riding, trekking and pic-nic. We will go back to the city, going through the Handmade Market (Mercado Artesanal) first, where we will be able to get some souvenirs from this beautiful city, such as silver and pottery pieces, rustic fabric of llama wool, craftwork in leather, among others.



Calchaquíes Valleys through Cachi

Breakfast at the hotel. We will do the way around through the Calchaquí Valleys, this time through Cachi, driving between extremely lovely landscapes. During our tour to this charming town, we will be able to see beautiful tourist spots in particular, starting in Quebrada del Escoipe, almost a wild region followed by the homonymous river and it crosses several Bridges until getting to Cuesta del Obispo. This last one is also a nature work, as we start the ascent by a twisted and cornice road, where we will be surrounded by impressive green coloured hills, an indescribable view together with the vegetation, in contrast with the sky. The highest point in this way is Piedra del Molino, to 3348 metres above the level of the sea and, from where we will have a unic panoramic of the Quebrada del Escoipe.

Two kilometres before getting to Piedra del Molino, we will be able to appreciate the sign which says that we are in Los Cardones National Park that protects its vegetation, such as Neblina, Monte, Puna and Alta Montaña bushes. Some fauna like the taruca, vicuña, guanaco, puma, red fox, wild cat, Wessel, quirquincho, condor, carpintero de los cardones, ututo lizard, coral, yarara, among others, are preserved in this national park.

After coming through the highest point, Piedra del Molino, we will arrive at Valle Encantado, a place where shapes and colours are mixed and where the action of the wind and water sculpt the landscapes with curious shapes and reliefs. There we will find a small lagoon and cave paintings. Of course, if we are lucky, we will be able to watch condors flying through the sky. Later on, we will get to a small soft mountainside valley covered of bushes, which is eaten by the cattle, that we are surely going to cross during the tour. If we continue a few kilometres more, we will appreciate an enclosed basin and El Hervidero lagoon, the favorite place to graze by the guanacos.  

The Tin Tin Straight Line (Recta de Tin Tin) will be another unforgettable spot in our tour as we will watch it along the way we go, as it is a perfect straight line of 18 kilometres, from where we will be able to watch a great quantity of thistles and looking at our right we will see the Tin Tin Hill and at our left we will see the Negro Hill. We will go through this old inca road so we can get to Payogasta where we will be surprised with the red and reddish pepper plantations, now descending to Cachi town, which is located at the base of Nevado Hill between the homonymous river and Calchaquí. There we will go for a walk along the streets watching its dazzled white buildings, its houses made of adobe and paving streets, but the town stresses more because of its kindness and warm contact that the local people give. We will return to Salta in the afternoon.



Calchaquíes Valleys through Cafayate

We will continue our journey from Cafayate, by visiting the Calchaquí Valleys. We visited the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in contrast to the hills in the background of various shades, and then cover the most traditional wineries in this beautiful city between valleys and hills of an impressive green color, which is the most important outstanding Valles Calchaquíes above all, for its Torrontes wines, ideal for temperature and humidity to the development of this kind of grape with a sweet and fruity flavor, along with goat cheese instead. The name of the city is due to an old native settlement, which means "Burial of the penalties."

We will have the pleasure to taste wines from some wineries. We continue to visit the Archaeological Museum where many objects that belonged to aboriginal people and has led to much research, excavation, restoration and exhibition of the same is to be made.

We marvel when entering field curious and very striking ways, through Quebrada de las Conchas, where we see figures like the Devil's Throat, the Amphitheater, wonderful place where you can hear the echo of any sound perfectly and which are carried out various folklore festivals, the Obelisk which is a solitary rock, Castles bright red reminiscent of medieval castles, Yesera with clear sandstone formations, the House of Parrots as the stone walls have holes that are home to large flocks of parrots during the summer, the Friar, the Frog and the impressive Garganta del Diablo Salta, shaped like a human trachea and also named for its color.

We stop in Germany, one, impossible not stop to admire the old manor houses among green hills in station no longer used, now we can see the beautiful works of craftsmen who invite lead lonely people a cute memory of this town. We prepare to descend through the valleys.

We get to Dique Cabra Corral, near Coronel Moldes, an ideal place for water sports site, passing through towns where the farming activities such as El Carril, where several foragers companies snuff and develops can also be seen plantations fig, walnut and peach trees, La Merced with its clean streets and green spaces make it very picturesque, and Cerrillos. All these towns belong to Valle de Lerma, where it is said, according to the legends that have arisen, there are treasures which come from mines that were found and they are hidden somewhere between the hills. We will continue towards the city of Salta, through stunning scenery changing with every curve colorful magnificent as the reddish hills, ocher of dry grass, gray stones and green cactus. We sleep in Salta.



Train to the Clouds

Breakfast at the hotel. We will get ready to travel on the Train to the Clouds from the city of Salta to Viaducto La Polvorilla, the highest spot in the tour. As we do this crossing on the train, we will see some different towns, valleys, quebradas and stations, such as Cerrillos, Rosario de Lerma, Campo Quijano, where people say hello when the train makes the horn sound. We will arrive at El Alisal, a place named this way because of the landscape which shows us many aliso trees and it is the station where the train makes the first zigzag while it moves back to reach altitude. We continue visiting some other towns like Chorrillos, Puerta Tastil, Incahuasi, Abra Muñaco, Los Patos, then we arrive at San Antonio de los Cobres, a centennial village which is located at the edge of the river with the same name and it offers many legends and natural resources, we will continue to Mina Concordia where we will ascend 4144 metres over the level of the sea, the place where the engine´s coach will remove to be put behind and we can come back to Salta city. Our last spot in the tour on the Train to the Clouds is the Viaducto La Polvorilla where we will descend and we will be careful, as an example we will walk slowly because we will be at the highest point and the oxigen reduces itself, so we will be careful not to suffer from "apunarse" (get sick). In some stations, we will be able to get souvernirs that the craftsmen offer us, such as the vicuña poncho, among others.



Safari to the Clouds, Salinas Grandes & Purmamarca

Breakfast at the hotel. We will tour the road that the Train to the Clouds does, even visiting the Big Salts (Salinas Grandes) to Purmamarca. Campo Quijano will be the first village that we are going to cross, it is a peaceful town in which we have to highlight Las Lomitas Dike, where we are going to get beautiful views of its farms and green hills such as the Arenales river landscape in El Encón, it is a traditional town in the Lerma Valley, very well known for being the entrance door to the Puna, where the Train to the Clouds railway tracks go past.

We will continue our tour going through Río Blanco, which is surrounded by pure nature, we will get to Quebrada del Toro, which stretches to Puerta Tastil, a small precolumbian city which has its higher development in the XIV century and then, it strangely disappeared, in this very same village it appears the Río Blanco again that goes along the way. The prehispanic city of Tastil represents the entrance "door" to Quebrada de las Cuevas, where we will find the archaelogical Ruins of Tastil. We will continue by Abra Blanca which is located at 4080 metres over the level of the sea to San Antonio de los Cobres, a small village that is found at 4000 metres over the level of the sea and it is famous because the Pachamama (Madre Tierra) National Festivity takes place there. Besides, it is the best spot in the Train to the Clouds.

We will continue on the Route 40 to the Big Salts (Salinas Grandes), now in Jujuy, which are at 3450 metres over the level of the sea, aproximately. These stretch through the Puna Jujeña region. The origin of the salts date from 5 and 10 millions years ago, in which period this salt´s basin was covered with water with a great quantity of salts because of the volcanic activity, and little by little, the evaporation of these waters gave rise to this big salt, which is an spectacle to enjoy and it contrast with the sky. We will descend the Cuesta de Lipán and we will get to Purmamarca town, located at the foot of Cerro de los Siete Colores.



Quebrada de Humahuaca

Breakfast at the hotel. Today a full day of history and landscapes will be waiting for us, as we will do the circuit to Quebrada de Humahuaca, where we will visit its prehispanic villages which date from hundred years ago and some are so well kept that they shows us its original buildings and houses, so we can visit and tour closer around them.

In first place, the Quebrada de Humahuaca was declared a Natural and Cultural Heritage Mankind in 2003.

We will start by crossing the Siancas Valley through Gral. Güemes town to tour a sugar cane, tobacco, cotton farming area, among others and we will get to the bordering province of Jujuy and its capital in a valley of 155 kilometres extense, which is surrounded of multicoloured mountains and hills, an arid vegetation area and río Grande. We will get into an area of an amazing variety of brown, green, ocres and reddish tonalities. We will continue to Yala, a summer village which is located in the middle of the mountains, rivers and lagoons, with guest houses and weekend houses, there is also the Potrero de Yala Provincial Park which preserves the Lagunas de Yala (Yala Lagoons) where some birds´ species can be watched. We will start ascending the quebrada, going through villages which are kept like the ancient years and they make an unforgettable postal through the landscapes.

We now arrive at Purmamarca, a picturesque town located at the foot of the impressive and unic Cerro de los Siete Colores, which surprise us with its amazing ranges that mixes with the environment tranquility, its vegetation and the blue sky, apart from the hundred ruins of the first villages in the region. We will continue to Maimará, a town which is exactly in the centre of the quebrada, there we will be able to appreciate la Paleta del Pintor (Painter´s Palette), with is multicoloured hills which honours its name; Posta de Hornillos where we will find a museum to live and be witnesses of the prehispanic life; we will go to Tilcara, a famous village because of its caves and its small church, which is one of the oldest ones in the area. We will enjoy some regional and exquisite dishes and then, we can do a tour where the craftsmen are so we can buy some native souvenirs, rustic fabrics made of llama and vicuña, with the company of those kind and thankful people.



Horse riding to las Lomas de San Lorenzo

Breakfast in the hotel. From Salta we take a quick 10km drive to the charming summer town of San Lorenzo, one of the most attractive areas close to the city, surrounded by hills. The combination of pasture lands, rivers, hills and quebradas make it an ideal place for horseriding and afford some magnificent views of the valley of Lerma. Moreover there are many other activities that lend themselves to this area amongst the rolling hillsides.

This horse ride we recommend especially to people with little or no experience of horseriding because it is of relatively short duration and very relaxed with low difficulty. We ascend by a gentle slope that takes us into the rolling hills and rivers with its mountain scenery. It is a very peaceful ride broken only by the sounds of nature and the murmuring river.



Rafting in the river Juramento

For the able bodied and more adventurous we suggest rafting over a course of 12 kms that gets the adrenalin running amongst the rapids of the crystalline clear river and the avoidance of the natural obstacles.

The rafting is moderately difficult but is preceded by a short introductory course for security and to enable full participation in this fun activity. All the equipment such as life jackets, water proof clothing and helmets are provided. The river passes through a wild landscape replete with geological formations that contain the remains of dinosaurs and algae fossils which make this two hour event so visually and physically enjoyable.