If you’re an avid photographer, a painter or a collector of stunning scenery the north-west region of Argentina will delight your eye.
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Take a direct flight from Buenos Aires to Salta. Check in and pick up your hire car from your charming boutique hotel just a few blocks from the centre of town.
Despite being in a desert, Salta is famous for its spring like climate and is surrounded by green hills. It was once one of the most affluent cities in all of Argentina, but went into decline after Buenos Aires was declared the capital. Nowadays it’s a popular place to come and enjoy the warm climate, long sunny days and relax in one of the lively cafés and bars surrounding the main plaza.
After settling into your hotel you will be taken on a private tour of Salta’s main attractions, including the beautiful Plaza 9 de Julio, the MAAM (Museum of high altitude archaeology) and get a chance to discover its many well-kept historic buildings.
Stay: Two nights at the Legado Mitico Salta – bed & breakfast
Set off early in the morning into the northern province of Jujuy, home to traditional Andean villages and some of South America’s most remarkable landscapes. Similar to the wild-west, but over 3,000m in altitude, the area is referred to as the puna and comprises of canyons dotted with cacti, charming adobe towns and parched desert.
Over the next two days you will stay in the colonial village of Purmamarca (2,400m), set at the foot of the astonishing Seven Colours Hills where different geological eras are picked out in purple, red, green, ochre, brown, yellow and white rocks.
You’ll take in the main church, founded in 1648, and a 500 year old tree and journey on to the Great Salt Flats, Argentina’s largest and most impressive at over 3,500m high. Here you’ll be able to witness the mirror mirage created by sunshine on the salt surface.
You will also visit the historic village of San Antonio de las Cobres, a high-altitude village on the Argentine puna, known for its handicrafts.
Stay: Two nights at El Manantial del Silencio – bed & breakfast
Today you will head south to the small town of Cachi (2,280m), famous for its white buildings, traditional adobe homes and attractive stone-paved streets.
Giant cacti will point the way to Cachi and the drive takes you along an impressive mountain road known as Cuesta del Obispo, where on a clear day you’re greeted to magnificent views across the mountains. The winding mountain road reaches its highest point at Piedra del Molino (3,367m), before sloping down to Cachi.
Stay: One night at La Merced del Alto – bed & breakfast
After breakfast you embark on a journey to Cafayate (1,683m) that winds through a place called Little Hell, before arriving in the Calchaqui Valleys. The scenery is nothing short of miraculous, and ever-changing. Pushing on, the countryside changes dramatically from svelte grass-cloaked mountains to desert highlands. You pass through the spectacular fortifications of the town of Quilmes dating back to 800 AD and nowadays a centre for the Quilmes Native Community.
After an unforgettable journey you’ll arrive in the small city of Cafayate, known for its Torrontes wine and crafts market. The following day you’ll tour the region’s fine wineries, visit a cathedral with five aisles and tour the Archaeological Museum before exploring the weird natural sandstone sculptures and weather-carved rock formations of the Shells’ Gorge.
Stay: Two nights at Grace Cafayate – bed & breakfast
After breakfast, you’ll drop off your hire car and return to Salta airport to board your onward flight to Buenos Aires.