Salta & Jujuy

ATN - Salta

This tour will cover over one thousand kilometers. We will go through small towns, many dirt-roads, wildlife, super hot sunny weather, ups and downs, curvy paths, and views that no photo can do them justice.

Salta, la linda

ATN - Quebrada de las Conchas

I have traveled to this region many times. I love this place. Nowadays I am lucky enough because my parents are living in Salta. They go from Salta City Center to a small town called El Galpon back-and-forth every week. They also travel from Buenos Aires to Salta, and vice-versa every month.

This route is to be able to share with you a quick view of a somewhat circular map in where our start and endpoint is Salta City Center.

We will begin getting to know a few spots you might want to visit while staying in Salta. My main recommendations are two places for which you will have to walk through Salta's City Center.

Our first stop will be the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology. Although it is temporarily closed at the moment due to COVID-19, this place has one of the most comprehensive exhibitions I've seen regarding High Altitude history and background. You will be able to learn about its communities, activities, rituals, props, and more. A few years back, they found three mummies of children which they exhibit one at a time. The entrance fee is low, and I guarantee it is worth your time.

Our second destination within the city will be our Craft Art Market. When I went, this was a place where local people would go, and there were very few tourists. I haven't been there in many years, but I will describe it for you.

It is a big shed with many stalls of artisans and vendors; you can find everything from handmade crafts, spices, vegetables, to spicy chilies. Here is a great place to buy any typical souvenir or a high-quality handcraft wooden mate.

My main recommendation for this city would be to carry just what you need, have your camera with you at all times, and make sure you walk around the city. It is full of majestic views, churches, parks, and you will notice the historical buildings.

Roadtrip through Salta

ATN - Quebrada de las Conchas 2

We will begin our route heading south on our way to Cafayate. I will always remember this place as the place where I saw "La Sole"; an Argentinian folk singer who was very popular at that time. One summer, my family and I were traveling on vacation when we happened to pass by Cafayate where there was a festival happening; and that specific night she was signing. Therefore, we stayed and enjoyed a great night filled with local vibes, food, and traditional music.

In this region, I recommend you do a Wine-Tour. Torrontes wine is famous here because the grape thrives in cold-dry, windy conditions.

The road here is also a trip itself. It is called the Shells' Ravine (La Quebrada de las Conchas). You will find yourself surrounded by rock formations embedded with marine fossils; there is even a natural amphitheater.

Continuing with our trip, we will start going north along the well-known and famous National Route 40. We will make a minor detour to pass by Los Cardones National Park before we arrive at our destination: Cachi.

ATN - Los Cardos

This small town is a wonder in this world. You can enjoy a great meal while walking through its streets, and like all central squares in Argentina, it will have a school, the municipality, and a church around it. The views and connection with nature (in a completely different climate) can be breathtaking.

Now is time for our next stop: San Antonio de los Cobres.

ATN - San Antonio de los Cobres

This small town is a wonder in this world. You can enjoy a great meal while walking through its streets, and like all central squares in Argentina, it will have a school, the municipality, and a church around it. The views and connection with nature (in a completely different climate) can be breathtaking.

Now is time for our next stop: San Antonio de los Cobres.

This place is a place known for its adobe houses. Its main activity is related to mining and railway.

While we continue our route through La Ruta 40, we will start to see the railroad for the famous Tren de las Nubes (The Cloud Train). It ends near the Salta's borders before crossing to Jujuy.

Just getting to see its structure is outstanding. You will be able to appreciate the engineering work it requires to make something of that magnitude.

ATN - Tren de las Nubes

Jujuy & more

During this trip, remember that we are traveling in heights. Therefore it is highly recommended to chew coca leaves or drink coca tea to avoid altitude sickness.

Now we will continue going north through National Route 40 as our next destination is a rural village at 3.896-meters height from sea level: Susques.

ATN - Ruta 40

This small town that seems lost in the middle of nowhere has a distinctive charm. Its houses made of adobe, surrounded by these mountains, all in the same reddish terracotta hue.

Now it's time to swift route and leave National Route 40 and start heading east. We shall continue our road to Salinas Grandes in Jujuy.

This place is a must. It is a very visited place by locals and tourists. A few years ago, it was open to the public, but now some people started to charge an entrance fee offering a Tour Guide to accompany you. If you have the possibility, I recommend you go before the sun comes out to see the dawn.

I was traveling by bus to San Pedro de Atacama. I was deeply asleep, and for a second, I open my eyes to be amazed and shocked by the view. For a second or two, I swear I thought I was dead. I couldn't see the horizon line until a tree came across the scene that made me realize that I was much alive. I instantly felt grateful for being able to view one of nature's majestic works of art.

ATN - Salta-10

After you visited the salty waters and land, we will continue to travel east and north; until Humahuaca. Passing through many popular towns and you will see mountains with more colors than you can count.

One of my favorite towns is Purmamarca and its hill of seven colors. Other villages you will come across are Tilcara and Maimara.

At Humahuaca, you have to go to The Serranía de Hornocal; it is a line of mountains at over 4.000-meter height from sea level.

ATN - Hornocal

The beginning of the end

We are starting the end of our journey. And it is time to start heading back to Salta.

Now I'd like to share more details about these small villages you will come across: Purmamarca, Tilcara, and Maimara.

My personal favorite one is Purmamarca because I always felt such a familiar vibe in some weird way, but they are all equally as charming as the other.

Purmamarca has two hiking paths. One is within the town and the other one across the street (which is the national route). Both of them have a marvelous view of the village, and you will cross paths with local people selling their handmade art craft.

In Tilcara, I had the opportunity to crossways with a local. He took my parents and me to a mountain where the sunset view was indescribably beautiful. The sun hid behind the rocky mountains, and the full moon came out from behind us.

ATN - Purmamarca

I always recommend this place to foreigners when they ask me what to visit in Argentina. Why? Because I believe it is one of the most authentic and unique places in this world. It's climate, wildlife, culture, communities, and food are just an unseen combination in any other place in the world.

I hope you were able to travel with me through these challenging roads and still enjoy the journey through Argentine Northwestern Region.

Live, Love & Laugh
A True Nomad - Sol Acevedo

PS: Here is the link to the road map. Go to Map.