Salta | Purmamarca | Salinas Grandes | Quebrada de Humahuaca | Tilcara | Valles Calchaquíes | National park Los Cardones | Ruta 40 | Cachi | Cafayate
At the airport in Salta you will receive your rental car, with which you will explore the surroundings in the following days. The city of Salta owes its nickname “La Linda” (the Pretty) to its picturesque location and impressive colonial architecture. Today you have time to explore the city on your own.
Today you leave Salta and head north. We recommend you to take the scenic Ruta 9 towards San Salvador de Jujuy. Green fields, forests and hills alternate until the landscape becomes drier and drier and the mountain ranges shimmer in all kinds of beige, red and brown tones. Turn left towards Purmamarca where you will reach the small mountain village at the foot of the Cerro de los Siete Colores.
Today you will explore the Quebrada de Humahuaca, which stretches between Purmamarca and Humahuaca with its small mountain villages and fascinating rock formations. An absolute highlight is the Serranía de Hornocal, a mountain range that looks like a painting due to its shapes and colors. On the way back, we recommend a stop in Tilcara and a visit to the former fortress Pucará de Tilcara, from where you have great views over the valley.
You leave Purmamarca and follow the asphalted Ruta 59 westwards over the Cuesta de Lipan. On the other side the bright white Salinas Grandes present an incredible view. Via Tres Morros you then take a gravel road through the plateau to San Antonio de los Cobres. From there you follow the rails of the Tren a las Nubes through the Quebrada del Toro back into the mountains. Today you will stay overnight in the Finca de las Margaritas near Chicoana.
After an abundant breakfast and a small tour of the finca you will leave towards Cachi. Via the Cuesta del Obispo the road winds its way through the Valles Calchaquíes, where you will make some photo stops. A detour to the Valle Encantado is certainly worthwhile. Afterwards, the panorama of the National Park Los Cardones awaits you, a high plateau from which countless cacti protrude as if from a pincushion.
Today you follow the Ruta 40 from Cachi to Cafayate passing the fields and small villages of the Valles Calchaquíes. On the way it is worth stopping in the charming village of Molinos. You will drive through the bizarre rock formations of the Quebrada de las Flechas and finally reach the peaceful vineyards that stretch around Cafayate.
The last stage back to Salta leads you today once again through an absolute scenic highlight, the Quebrada de las Conchas. Along the river of the same name, the rock formations in various shades of red are the perfect scenery for taking pictures. You can enjoy this drive, because the route is completely asphalted.
In due course you will drive to Salta airport, where you will return your rental car and start your journey home or onwards to your next destination.