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The Andean Northwest

Although it is often overlooked by travelers, the Andean Northwest is one of the most unique regions in Argentina. Bordered by Bolivia to the north and Chile to the west, indigenous traditions are more alive here than anywhere else in the country; many people speak Quechua, and their handicrafts resemble those made by the Andean people in nearby Peru and Bolivia. Although seeing the rich and ancient indigenous culture in action is enough of a reason to visit the highlands, this region is also home to some of the most spectacular and varied natural attractions in the country. A large part of the region remains in the lowlands, with the Altiplano beginning around the rocky cliffs of Quebrada de Humahuaca and climbing into altitudes of over 4,000 meters in the mountains. A stunning array of landscapes and climates, ranging from the lush, humid cloud forests of the Yungas national parks to the chilly, arid deserts of Parque Nacional Talampaya, has led many outdoor enthusiasts to discover the appeal of Argentina’s northwest.

That is not to say that the cities in the area don’t hold anything to interest tourists; the colonial city of Salta, appropriately nicknamed “Salta la Linda” (Salta the Beautiful), dates back to 1582 and is full of stately antique buildings. It also holds a wide variety of restaurants, nightlife, and accommodation options. The hillsides of Quilmes in the Valles Calchaquíes contain ruins of a pre-Colombian fortress that is one of Argentina’s most important archeological sites. If you wish to experience a truly unparalleled part of Argentina, the Northwest is not to be missed. Updated: Sep 08, 2010

Valles Calchaquíes, Puna Jujeña , Quebrada de Humahuaca, Tucumán & Around and Puna Catamarqueña.







24 Nov 2010

Ruins and History of the Andean Northwest

Pucará

Looming over Tilcara is the sprawling pre-Incan hilltop fortress, Pucará. The partially reconstructed ruins are one kilometer south of Plaza Prado and include homes, corrals, a temple and a ...
Activity Info., Ruin
Tilcara, Argentina

Las Pailas

Las Pailas is an intriguing set of ancient ruins approximately 16 kilometers (10 mi) west of Cachi, including a complex irrigation system and intricate circular dwellings. The view of white-tipped ...
Other Activity
Cachi, Argentina

Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montana

This archaeological museum chronicles the 1999 dig that unearthed the three Llullaillaco children, who were sacrificed over 500 years ago on the summit Mount Llullaillaco near the Chilean border. ...
Museum, Activity Info.
Salta, Argentina

Huachichocana and the Cave Paintings

Just 10 kilometers from Purmamarca is the small town of Huachichocana, a pretty part of the gorge that makes an excellent bike or horseback riding day trip. Perhaps more interesting, however, are the ...
Cultural Tour
Purmamarca, Argentina

Cerro San Isidoro

Cerro San Isidoro, located five kilometers (3 mi) west of town, contains ancient cave paintings from the region’s indigenous people. From the top of this 2,700-meter (8,858-ft) hill, there are ...
Other Activity
Cafayate, Argentina

Museo AntropolĂłgico

For pre-Hispanic history, Salta’s thorough anthropological museum is the place to be. It began as a study of the Tastil ruins, but today contains both pre-Columbian and Incan artifacts. Some of the ...
Museum, Activity Info.
Salta, Argentina

Museo Provincial CĂłndor Huasi

The Museo Provincial CĂłndor Huasi has an impressive collection of Diaguita artifacts. The vast quantity of ceramics, along with bronze and silver items, cover all four archaeological periods. The ...
Museum
Belén, Argentina

Museo ArqueolĂłgico

Museo ArqueolĂłgico is a petite museum with an impressive collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts from the local indigenous ...
Museum
Tucumán, Argentina

Museo ArqueolĂłgico Provincial

The Museo ArqueolĂłgico Provincial is a good walkthrough on a lazy afternoon, but not an essential sight. For most visitors, short of archaeology buffs, the highlight of the five-room museum is ...
Museum
Jujuy, Argentina

The Great Outdoors of the Andean Northwest

Parque Nacional Calilegua

Located to the east of San Salvador de Jujuy, Parque Nacional Calilegua covers 76,306 hectares of mountainous terrain that include faults, glens and very steep mountain ranges originating in the ...
Other Activity
Jujuy, Argentina

Rafting

All the rivers and waterworks in the area make it easy to believe how popular rafting is in Bariloche. Most rafting takes place on the Rio Manso, which is broken into three main sections: Manso ...
Other Activity
Bariloche, Argentina

Paseo de los Colorados

Starting at one end of town and winding around the Cerro de Siete Colores to the other, this circuit affords spectacular views and an up-close look at the amazing rock formations of the mountain. ...
Hiking
Purmamarca, Argentina

Dique Cabra Corral

This placid reservoir is Argentina’s largest manmade lake and Salta’s hub for outdoor activity. Any water sport one might think of, from fishing to jet skis, can be enjoyed here. For the gutsier, ...
Boating, Activity Info., Bungee Jumping, Hiking, Horseback Riding
Salta, Argentina

Tilcara Cycling

So many attractions in the mountains outside the city make two wheels a great way to get around. The Bicicleteria is a small shop at 700 Belgrano, a minute from the tourist office. They are open from ...
Bicycling
Tilcara, Argentina

Quebrada de las Conchas

133945 Some 90 million years ago, before the Andes warped the landscape, the region north of Cafayate was a vast inland sea. Its remains are now Quebrada de las Conchas, stunning rock formations ...
Other Activity
Cafayate, Argentina

Garganta del Diablo

Garganta del Diablo (devil’s throat) is a massive rock formation and waterfall seven kilometers from Tilcara. From town, it is a two hour hike, half hour car ride or it can be reached on ...
Activity Info., Hiking, Horseback Riding, Major Attraction
Tilcara, Argentina

Parque Nacional Los Cardones

Parque Nacional Los Cardones has breathtaking views from altitudes varying between 2,700 meters (8,858 ft) and 5,000 meters (16,404 ft). A walk in this park brings you through an amazing landscape of ...
Other Activity
Cachi, Argentina

Hiking Cerro de la Virgen

Cerro de la Virgen is a nice day hike in the Cachi area, through hanging valley slopes freckled with huge boulders to incredible views of the CalchaquĂ­ Valley. As the trail is not well marked, it is ...
Hiking
Cachi, Argentina

Quebrada de los Flechas

A visit north of Cafayate to the Quebrada de los Flechas (Gorge of Arrows) is a breathtaking experience. Through the RĂ­o CalchaquĂ­ gorge, massive rocks are eroded into impossible-looking shapes ...
Other Activity
Cafayate, Argentina

Aconquija Trekking

116135Things to see: Andes condors, valleys, Calchaquies Valley, jungle, horseback riding, mountain towns, rural schools, native people. ...
Hiking
Tucumán, Argentina

Tours throughout the Andean Northwest

Montanas Tucumanas

Dedicated to adventure tourism and mountain activities in northern Argentina, Montañas Tucumanas offers excursions of all types and at varying levels of difficulty, including trekking, hiking, ...
Tour Operator
Tucumán, Argentina

Tastil

Tastil is one of Salta’s most experienced travel agencies. It offers all-day excursions to regional attractions like San Antonio de los Cobres ($60), Salinas Salt Flats ($90) and the Quebrada de ...
Tour Operator
Salta, Argentina

Nivia Tours

Like many other tour agencies in Tucumán, Nivia Tours guides travelers through the natural and human history of the province. Its city tour pops into Tucumán’s museums, churches and other ...
Tour Operator
Tucumán, Argentina

Balance Travel Adventure

Balance Travel Adventures is a tour operator that proposes several tour options, adapted to all sort of travelers. With the private tailor-made tours, your trip adapts to your own schedule and ...
Tour Operator
Salta, Argentina

Los Alisos

Los Alisos Viajes y Turismo offers three different packages: the Norte Argentino, a seven-day trip covering Tucumán, Salta, Cafayate and Jujuy; and the Tafí del Valle and Tucumán, four-day trips ...
Tour Operator
Tucumán, Argentina

Turismo Del Tucuman

Turismo del Tucuman offers guided trips the province’s hot spots. One such expedition is a 4.5-hour journey along Ruta Nacional 9 into Las Yungas, dropping in at the El Cadillal hydroelectric ...
Tour Operator
Tucumán, Argentina

Poncho Tours

138375Poncho Tours is a British-owned tour company specializing in tailor-made trips at affordable prices. Arrange your holidays throughout northwest Argentina, the Salar de Uyuni in southern Bolivia and ...
Tour Operator
Salta, Argentina

Ortega Turismo

Expect to get about the same offers here as at most of the other tourist agencies. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. If needed, a bilingual guide can be ...
Tour Operator
Jujuy, Argentina

Ser Andino

Ser Andino is another well-respected travel agency located in the vicinity of San Salvador de Jujuy (it's actually in the nearby town of Humahuaca). The bilingual guides know their stuff and are ...
Tour Operator
Humahuaca , Argentina

Elicar Turismo

Elicar Turismo is a respected travel agency that has a lot of experience in national and international tourism. The staff is friendly and professional, and it\'s easy to request a bilingual guide if ...
Tour Operator
Jujuy, Argentina

Zelaya Outdoors

116127Land of Volcanos, free camping 5000 msnm, mine region, salt flats, vicuñas, friendly locals, mountain activities, luxurious hotel spas and ...
Tour Operator
Tucumán, Argentina

More Top Places to Visit in the Region

Tren a las Nubes

Originally built for commercial purposes, to link Salta and Chile, the Tren a las Nubes took 60 years to come to fruition from the time it was first conceptualized in 1888. Though the 38-hour ...
Activity List, Transportation Info., History

Visiting Fincas around Salta

A visit to a ranch house near Salta is an ideal way to explore the rugged mountains, azure waters, and verdant landscapes just beyond the city. Most of these sprawling estancias are historic ...
Activity Info.
Salta, Argentina

Maimará

The sleepy village of Maimará, five kilometers from Tilcara, is dominated by the surrounding mountains. The mountains, rightly named La Paleta del Pintor (The Palette of the Painter) for their wash ...
Other Activity
Tilcara, Argentina

Iryua

Pretty little Iruya is about three hours by bus from Humahuaca, a quaint village sheltered on all sides by massive mountains. Its whitewashed buildings and pretty landscape make it a relaxing ...
City
Iryua, Humahuaca , Argentina

Artesanias

107878Buy Artesanias made in Salta in Buenos ...
Market

Museo de Ciencias Naturales

This natural science museum could not have a more suitable location than within the wooded Parque San Martin. In conjunction with the National University of Salta since 1972, the goal of the museum ...
Museum, Activity Info.
Salta, Argentina

Termas de Reyes

Hotel Termas de Reyes is located slightly north of San Salvador de Jujuy along RP-4 at Km 19. If you have a bit of money to burn, this hotel is highly recommended. There is a magnificent outdoor ...
Other Activity
Jujuy, Argentina

Salta Shopping

Salta is a big center for picking up traditional crafts, like alpaca wool clothing and silver work, that can be picked up at shops downtown, the Mercado Artesanal (San MartĂ­n and Usancivaras) ...
Shopping
Salta, Argentina

Bodegas

Bodegas open their doors to teach the history and manufacturing, and of course provide samples, of the traditional wine produced by the people of Salta. The famous white Torrontes has long been a ...
Other Activity
Cafayate, Argentina

Museo de la Industria Azucarera

134077The Museo de la Industria Azucarera is a tribute to the area’s rich sugar-making history. It\'s housed at Parque 9 de Julio, in the former home of Bishop Colombres, who was a central figure in the ...
Museum
Tucumán, Argentina

Convento San Bernado

The beautiful 16th century colonial building evolved from hermitage to hospital to convent, and today it is still home to Carmelite nuns. Though closed to the public, it’s worth a visit to check ...
History, Culture, Activity Info.
Salta, Argentina

Iglesia de Santa Rosa

118988Named for Saint Rosa of Lima, church was built in 1648 and stands guard over Plaza Prado. Its church's squat adobe façade is beautiful in its simplicity, and inside the spare wooden pews and ...
Other Activity
Purmamarca, Argentina

Museo de Bellas Artes

A fine arts museum on a busy shopping street? Yes, complete with goggling tourists and bored-looking teenagers. But once inside the historic adobe Arias Rengel mansion, all the bustle of Florida ...
Museum, Activity Info.
Salta, Argentina

Feria Artesanal

It had begun as a holiday crafts fair, but now is a permanent affair. In the large front hall of San Gil\'s Casa de la Cultura, 17 Santandereano artesanos, mostly women, bedeck their stalls and ...
Shopping
San Gil, Colombia

Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Belén

The Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Belén was inspired by the cathedral that stands in Catamarca, and was designed and constructed, in distinctive bare brickwork, by early 20th-century Italian immigrants ...
Historical Building
Belén, Argentina

Plaza Belgrano

Plaza Belgrano is surrounded by avenues Sarmiento, San MartĂ­n, Gornti and Belgrano at the eastern part of the microcentro. This was the main square of the colonial settlement and is still a vibrant ...
City Plaza
Jujuy, Argentina

Museo de la Vid y El Vino

NOTE: The museum is presently closed for renovation. The Museo de la Vid y El Vino, located at GĂĽemes and Chacabuco, is not the most glamorous museum in Argentina. There is a collection of ...
Museum
Cafayate, Argentina

Iglesia San Francisco

The Iglesia San Francisco is a couple blocks west of Plaza Belgrano at the corner of Lavalle and Belgrano. The church is not as grand as the Iglesia Catedral opposite the plaza, but it's still worth ...
Historical Building
Jujuy, Argentina
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