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Quilmes - Ruin Tafí Del Valle - Argentina

Up the slope of Cerro Alto del Rey is Quilmes, a sacred city to the Quilmes nation and Argentina’s most important archaeological site. Founded in the early 9th century AD, it grew to be a city of 4,000 inhabitants. Quilmes was a center of resistance against Inca invasions in the 15th century and later against the Spaniards. After 130 years, the indigenous were defeated in 1667. Over 2,000 were forcefully relocated on foot to near Buenos Aires; that town came to be called Quilmes. Only 200 survived. Their sacred city fell into ruin. All that remains today are the circular foundations of their homes and temples.


18 kilometers (11.2 mi) north of Amaicha, 5 kilometers (3 mi) off Ruta Provincial 307

Tafí Del Valle , Argentina

Ruin Types:
Ruins, Fortress

Getting There

Tour agencies in Tafí and Cafayate offer tours to Quilmes ($50-70), though most time is spent on the road. Sumajpacha Ecoturismo offers four-hour tours twice daily with native guides ($13) (Padilla s/n, Amaicha, Tel: 03892-42-1433, E-mail:, URL: / To do it on your own, take an Aconquija Cafayate-bound bus (2 hr from Tafí del Valle, $9) and alight at the turnoff, from where it’s an unshaded 5 kilometer (3 mi) walk (try hitching). A taxi from Amaicha costs about $15. Hostel El Archa rents bikes (San Martín, facing plaza, Amaicha, Tel: 0381-156-265-415).

Travel Tips:

The Quilmes is part of the Diaguita, or Calchaquíes language group. The ruins were partially rebuilt in 1977. In 1992, the Tucuman government assigned the ruins’ administration to a private company, who built a hotel. The Quilmes successfully forced the closure of it. Litigation is underway to decide who will manage the site. Backpacks can be stowed at the entry gate.

Price Description:

Foreigners $3, Argentines $1.50

Relative price: Budget

Open Hours from:Daily 8 a.m.-.

Open Hours to:Daily 6:30 p.m.

Travel Skills: None

You Need to Bring:

Bring along water, snack, sun protection (sun block, hat) and sweater.

Visit the various museums in Amaicha and Tafí del Valle. Go hiking or horseback riding around Amaicha and Tafí.

Currencies accepted
Argentine Peso

Contact Information:

By Lorraine Caputo

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

18 Oct 2010

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