Tucumán

With a tiny aspect on the map, but rich in wildlife and national history, Tucumán is a land of mountains covered by green rainforest to the east and bare stones to the west. At the same time beautiful Tafi del Valle surfaces in the mist of this sharp transition. The Pre-Colombian past has left its mark on the Quilmes Indians’ ruins whereas the provincial capital, San Miguel de Tucumán, is the keeper of a major historical fact: The declaration of National Independence. The past lives together with the present in harmony with a both calm and frantic pace since Cadillal, San Javier and Villa Nogués, among others, welcome both adventure sport practices as well as quiet contemplation.

Travel to Tucumán

Excursions to Tucumán

Knowing San Miguel de Tucumán: San Javier & Villa Nougués

We will start visiting the historical center and its surroundings, with places full of history which are reflected in their buildings. The Independence Square (Plaza Independencia) is our departure spot, so we can go to the Government House (Casa de Gobierno) and all the historical houses which surround it.

Then, we will go the Cathedral, the Church and the San Francisco Convent, a national monument because of the old relics it preserves, like the first national flag that was rised in Tucumán in 1814, among others; Nuestra Señora de la Merced Church has a neoclassical style with a simple interior, the Nicolás Avellaneda Historical Provincial Museum (Museo Histórico Provincial Nicolás Avellaneda) which is the house where he lived as many other politicians in the XIX Century, the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, among other buildings and representative houses.

Once the tour is finished in the historical center in the city of Tucumán, we will continue to 9 de Julio Park, designed by Carlos Thays, a french artist who designed gardens and Parks. This park has a very beautiful clock made of flowers, very colourful and paths to walk between the trees. Then, we will go to the Museo de la Industria Azucarera "Casa del Obispo Colombres", in which we will learn the history about the sugar industry in the province from its origin. We will continue to the most distinguished area in the city of Tucumán, the outstanding Urquiza Square because of its paths and spaces so people can skate and ride a bicicle, it is also a green area to rest which has a french style in its surroundings; San Martin Theatre, the Legislature Building and the Casino. Alberdi Square is another green area with its very well preserved grass and benchs and it is located in front of the General Mitre Railway Station which will be our last spot in the tour.



El Cadillal, Raco, El Siambón, San Javier & Villa Nougués

Breakfast in the Hotel. We leave from the capital of Tucuman to make the Grand Tour, passing localities representative of this interesting province, taking the National Route 9 until we enter Tafi Viejo (Old Tafi). We divert at kilometer 20 to visit the Celestino Gelsi Dam, found in the locality of El Cadillal, and its town, Veraniega. We appreciate the very beautiful adjoining lake of nearly 3,000 acres surrounded by mountains marking the ultimate elevations of the Sierra de Medina (jagged mountain range of Medina). This is an ideal area for adventure sports such as kayaking, aquatic skiing, diving and amongst others, point to point trekking in the jungle or simply to refresh in the hot summer months.

We continue to the towns of Raco and El Siambón, the first, located at 48km from city Tucuman and dates from the 17th century. It is a small picturesque town that has the river Raco running through it and has a club for diverse activities. A few more kilometers and we find El Siambon, another beautiful place know for its gentle green slopes in harmony with the blue skies and pretty houses, here we also find the Benedictine Monastery built in 1955.

After visiting these places we go to the town of San Javier situated some 1150 metres above sea level that beholds a mountain park of the same name and an ideal place to relax amongst this natural beauty or take in other activities such as parapenting, trekking and horse riding. On the way to the park we pass through an attractive residential zone. After, we visit el Cerro San Javier, a special hill top viewpoint where we can also see el Cristo Bendicente, a 28 metre statue. This is followed by a visit to Villa Nogués, another picturesque locality in the middle of the valley amongst zones of yungas jungles that are notable for this region. We then return to San Miguel de Tucumán.



Tafí del Valle

Breakfast in the hotel. We visit one of the special summer places of Tucumán where lies the remains of one of the most ancient precolombian cultures of the region. We leave from San Miguel de Tucuman by the south. Before reaching our destination we visit the Jesuit Ruins of San José Lules that date from 1670 and was the site of the Jesuits until they were thrown out a century later. We also pass by the locality of Famaillá which celebrates the National Fiesta of the Empanada, a famous Argentinean food. Continuing our journey we pass by Acheral and Santa Lucía and climb the slopes between the citrus and sugar plantations. Near to La Quebrada de los Sosa we begin the mountain way and encounter the vast vegetation classic of the Tucumán forests.

We observe places like El Indio, Fin del Mundo, la Heladera. During the climb the vegetation changes significantly. We cease to find the large trees and begin to encounter other species such as alisos, sauces and pines. We then arrive at the La Angostura dam, the door to the valley. We drive for 38 Km. along this beautiful valley beginning at Tafi del Valle, and after by La Banda, El Churqui, San Isidro, Rodeo Grande, Campo Carreras, La Quesería, El Rincón, Potrerillos, El Mollar and La Angostura.



Archeological Ruins of Quilmes

Breakfast in the hotel. Crossing the Abra and on the way to Ampimpa we can observe the giant cactus to our sides. A natural balcony of the Yocavil or Santa Maria valleys affords a good view of the town, Amaicha del Valle at a few kilometers. In this town live a unique indigenous community of the north east, the diaguita culture who make unique things and is a famous locality for wine in earthenware pots, alfajores, nougats and small cheeses. Furthermore we can visit and explore the pre-Columbian settlements of Fuerte Quemado and el Pucará de Loma Rica, remains that have been well conserved of this town with pebbled walls using a mortar of mud and filled with debris and there you can see some of the diverse elements that they use such as San Jose and San Maria urns and objects of bone and stone.

Also the Pucará de Los Cardones is an archeological site that is conserved naturally. Here we pass trails, rivers, gorges, the dam, amongst other attractive features that we meet. Crossing the river Yocavil we enter to the ruins of the Quilmes, the remains of the biggest pre-Columbian settlement in Argentina. When defeated by the Spanish, the residents were forced to walk thousands of kilometers to Buenos Aires, to a locality that now bears its name. We make a visit to the museum and later to the fortress constructed for this community. We pass El Bañado, Colalao del Valle and continue to the town Tolombón to enter to Cafayate. On the way the countryside changes from arid to vineyards, where we meet the Cafayate soils. We sleep in Cafayate.



Tafí del Valle, Archeological Ruins of Quilmes & Cafayate

Breakfast at the hotel. We will get ready to start this tour which will take us to Tafi del Valle, the natives Quilmes Ruins and, our last stop, Cafayate. We will go through the national route 38 to visit, as a first stop, the Jesuitical Ruins of San José de Lules, which has a chapel and a convent which was found by the jesuits in 1670. We will continue our tour going through Famaillá, Acheral and Santa Lucía which is the road that will take us to Tafi del Valle and the one from which we will be able to watch some sugar cane, citrus and other fruit farm fields.

After a few kilometres, we will be getting to Quebrada de Los Sosa, we will travel by the Cornice Road (Camino de Cornisa) which offers us a spectacular vision of the wild tucumana vegetation and we will go through spots like the Indio, Fin del Mundo and Heladera along all the way, which are attractive to people because of their curious geoshapes. We will continue ascending and as we do it, we will notice some changes in the landscapes, because it starts appearing lower vegetation, between willows, pines and alisos which give a special and beautiful touch to the green hills, crossing streams in an admirable light blue sky.

We are ready now to come into the valley, which offers a huge green postal right in front of us, so we can go to El Mollar, a tourist village in the province of Tucumán, which was a very important archaelogical settlement, where some ruins of an ancient civilization that dates from 300 years b. C. has been discovered in the XX Century. We will be surrounded by pure nature and green landscapes; we will continue to see La Angostura Dike, a wonderful water mirror which is an ideal place to practise aquatic and adventure sports.

We will see the "village of a magnificent entrance" (pueblo de entrada espléndida) just in front of us, a name given by the diaguitas, a native community who lived here a hundred years ago and that is what means "Tafi". Once we get there, we will visit the Jesuit Church of La Banda, a simple colonial relic which dates of the beginning of the XVIII Century. From there we will continue to Abra del Infiernillo, a deserted path between Tafí del Valle and the calchaquí Valleys, where we will be able to watch animals such as llamas and sheeps and it is also the habitat for some animals in extinction danger like the andino cat and the taruca. Once we cross the Abra and go to Ampimpa, we will be able to see cardoons beside us, a natural balcony of the Yocavil Valley or Santa María from where we will see the village of Amaicha del Valle, a few kilometres away. There is only one native community in the northwest who live in this last area, the diaguita culture, manufacturers of unic handicrafts, apart from being a famous town because of its exquisite "patero" wines, alfajores, nougat candy (turrón) and quesillos.

As soon as we cross the Yocavil river, we will come into the Quilmes Ruins, remains of the biggest pre columbian community in Argentina, the name was given because they were forced to walk a thousand kilometres when they were defeated by the spanish, until getting to Buenos Aires, to the town which has that name. We will do a visit to the museum and next, to the fortress built by this community.

We will go through El Bañado, Colalao del Valle. Then we will continue to the town of Tolombón so we can enter to Cafayate. We will be able to watch its arid landscapes and vineyard fields, then we can notice that we are in the Cafayateñas lands. We will spend the night in Cafayate.



The fair of Simoca, Jesuits Ruins of Lules & San Pedro de Colalao

Desayuno en el hotel. Todos los sábados salimos al amanecer desde San Miguel de Tucumán para ir a la conocida Feria de Simoca, la gente va llegando de distintos pueblos cercanos en caravanas de sulkys y carros, a comprar, vender, intercambiar trabajos o sólamente para disfrutar del espectáculo que es la feria en sí, cerca del mediodía se prueba la gastronomia típica de la zona. Luego vamos hacia las Ruinas de San José de Lules.

Por la tarde vamos por los caminos rodeados de plantaciones citrícolas con el objetivo de ir a conocer a San Pedro de Colalao para disfrutar de sus sitios arqueologicos, senderos ideales para realizar extensas caminatas y disfrutar de actividades de turismo aventura. En San Pedro de Colalo se puede visitar la parroquia de la villa, el casco viejo, la plaza Leocadio Paz, la gruta de la Virgen de Lourdes y la reserva fitozoologica.

En las proximidades se establecieron en otros tiempos de la antigua Cultura La Candelaria; San Pedro de Colalao debe su nombre de la época prehispánica, parcialidad pazioca denominada colalao (la desinencia ao, en lule, significa pueblo, kolal, significa jefe o autoridad principal). Durante el siglo XVII se funda la encomienda española San Pedro de Colalao y para fines del siglo XIX empiezan a edificarse las primeras casas de los criollos tucumanos. El pueblo está muy próximo a los Valles Calchaquíes, sobre la Quebrada del río Tipas, sus casas son de afines del siglo XIX y sus calles presentan árboles con moreras y tarcos y sus habitantes la gran mayoría son gauchos criollos.

Nota: La Feria de Simoca funciona los días sábados, el resto de los días vamos a visitar las Ruínas Jesuíticas de San José de Lules y a San Pedro de Colalao.



San Javier & Villa Nougues - San Pedro de Colalao

Breakfast in the Hotel. We take a trip to discover the Tucumán hills, visiting the prettiest residential zone and observe the first park of the Tucumán jungle. We leave the centre of the San Miguel de Tucuman passing by the Nicolás Avellaneda Park that covers a four block area, notable for its trees. Afterwards we make a point of visiting the Guillermina Park or the Batalla Park of Tucumán. When we are close the Camino del Peru intersection we see the Cristo statue that marks the entrance to the Yerba Buena municipality.

The landscape changes towards the West and begins to ascend in the El Corte district by a trail running alongside the mountain surrounded by abundant vegetation until we reach a level of 1200 metres. Here we stop at a viewpoint to take in the fantastic views and also that of the statue, el Cristo Redentor, a work by the plastic artist Juan Carlos Iramaín. We follow the route until we arrive at the picturesque Villa Nougués which dates from the year 1899. We return down the mountain by the mountain way that in turn also has some delightful and unforgettable views.