Home > South America > Argentina > The Andean Northwest > Puna Jujeña  > La Quiaca
Page Rating
Content Quality:

Page Importance:
Author Pick:
Close Map

Book a Hotel or Hostel

Hotels Hostels & Budget


Check in Date

Check out Date

Number of Rooms

Top Argentina

La Quiaca

Resting right on the Bolivian border, La Quiaca is usually the first—or last—Argentine stop for travelers. From the frontier crossing to the bus station treads a steady ant line of Bolivians bowed beneath huge bundles and foreigners beneath knapsacks. For most, La Quiaca is just as it has been for centuries: a transit point to other destinations. The town itself may not offer much, but nearby are colonial villages, lagoons and pre-Columbian rock art to merit a few days of exploration.

Before the Europeans came, the indigenous nations traversed this stretch of puna, carrying goods from one region to another. In 1771 the Spanish established a post here, on one of the minor Potosí-Buenos Aires commercial routes. By 1883, the settlement had begun growing into a town. After the train line arrived in 1906, La Quiaca became a major border pass.

The railroad is no longer in service. Its old yard is now a large park and the focal point of the village. These grounds are where the traditional Manka Fiest (also called Fiesta de las Ollas, or Feast of the Pots) occurs every year, in the third week of October. Dating from pre-Hispanic times, this week-long fair draws salt miners from Salinas Grandes villages, livestock raisers who bring llama and sheep wool, and pemmican (charqui), potters from the border region and traders with dried fruits and nuts from Bolivia's warm valleys.

In front of the former passenger station is the pentagon-shaped Plaza Central. In olden days, this was the main hub of La Quiaca. Travelers descended the train to the hotels and restaurants around the main plaza. On the far side of the park is the rough-stone church with a broad, central bell tower. A few blocks away is the “new” main street, Belgrano, lined with hotels and restaurants.

La Quiaca itself has few attractions for tourists. During Argentine vacations, the Casa de Cultura La Quiacamarca, an anthropological museum, opens (Balcarce 33). Another museum in town is Museo Mosoj ñam (Av Sarmiento 60).

East of La Quiaca, along Ruta Provincial 5, are Laguna Colorada, an intensely azure lake at the foot of a hill covered with petroglyphs, and the colonial village of Yavi, with a fascinating church, museum, rock paintings and waterfall.

From La Quiaca, trips to Laguna de los Pozuelos may be arranged. Located 60 kilometers (37 mi) southwest of La Quiaca, national park Monumento Natural Laguna de los Pozuelos protects a 15,000 hectare (37,066-ac) lake that is an important refuge for endemic and migratory birds, including Andean Gull (Gaviota Andina, Larus serranus), Mountain Caracara (Matamico Andino, Polyborus megalopterus), Andean Goose (Guayata, Chloephaga melanoptera) and 25,000 Chilean (Flamenco Austral, Phoenicopterus chilensis), Andean (Parina Grande, Phoenicopterus andinus) and Puna (Parina Chica, Phoenicoparrus jamesi) flamingos. The park has no services.

(Altitude: 3,442 m / 11,290 ft, Population: 13,761, Phone Code: 03885)


La Quiaca’s tourism center has an office downtown at the Sede Universitaria, which gives out maps and has a small archaeological museum (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m., 4-9 p.m. Árabe Siria, between 25 de Mayo and Avenida San Martín, URL: The city also has a kiosk at the south access to town (Monday-Friday 8 .m.-1 p.m., 3-7 p.m. Ruta Nacional 9 and Av España s/n). A private tourism office is conveniently located across from the bus terminal (Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-noon, 3:30-8:30 p.m. Av España and Belgrano). La Quiaca also has police posts, a Bolivian consulate (9 de Julio 109), post office (Av Sarmiento and San Juan), phone centers, internet cafés, Hospital Jorge Uro (Patricias Argentinas 185, Tel: 42-2270) and pharmacies. Banco de la Nación has an ATM, is a Western Union agent and exchanges US dollars (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Pellegrini and Lamadrid). Banco Macro has an ATM (Árabe Siria, between 9 de Julio and Belgrano).


Artisanos Quiaqueños (Av Sarmiento, next to the church)—carved slate, ceramics, woolen crafts


Julián Ochoa Gaspar (Tel: 42-3545 / 0388-154-865-187, E-mail:—regional guide

Santos Roldán (Tel: 42-3039, E-mail:—rural guide

Turismo El Amigo (Av España 550, Tel: 42-4357 / 0388-155-090-310, URL:—to Laguna Colorado, Yavi, Yavi Chico and other destinations

Another way to get to Laguna Colorada or Laguna de los Pozuelos is to negotiate with local taxis or ask your hotel for assistance: Laguna Colorada-Yavi-Yavi circuit $15-20, Laguna de los Pozuelos $43.


Hostel Copacabana (Pellegrini 141, Tel: 42-3875, E-mail:, URL:—$10 per person

Hotel del Turismo La Quiaca (Áraba Siria and San Martín, Tel: 42-2243, E-mail:, URL:—single $27, double $40, triple $50; includes breakfast, parking

Munay La Quiaca (Belgrano s/n, Tel: 42-3924)—single $43, double $52; includes breakfast, parking


The Mercado Central has cheap eateries (Pellegriuni, between Lamadrid and Rivadavia).

Las Nonas (Av Sarmiento and 25 de Mayo, Plaza Central)

Restaurant Club Social Sirio (Belgrano 150, Tel: 42-2226)

Restaurant y Parrillada El Buen Gusto (Balcarce 508, Tel: 42-3270)


Other places nearby La Quiaca : Yavi,

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

16 Jul 2010

View La Quiaca Map

South America | Central America and Mexico | Antarctica |
Advertise | Anúnciese | Jobs | Alliances | Alianzas | Terms of Use | Contact Us | About Us | Blog | Administradores |
You must register as an owner for access to these listing tools and benefits.

Notification of new reviews: receive your latest reviews by e-mail

Customized request-a-review link: encourage guests to spread the word about your property

Our owners' newsletter: stay informed about our latest tools and benefits for you

User login

Enter your username and password here in order to log into the website:


Create a new V!VA account

Forgot Password