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The idea for this tour is to discover Salta and Jujuy through a self-drive tour. Firstly, because this is one of the best ways to visit this region: both provinces have an incredible amount of attractions, distributed in Valleys, Gorges, Jungles, and the Altiplano (Puna). As a result, building an itinerary around your interests would be either by hiring a private tour or renting a vehicle. We can do both, and this one is renting a car. Secondly, and most importantly, our goal is to help you to design your tour, providing our best advice and support throughout (and before) the journey. If you’d like to see some other tours, you can check our Argentina road trips page.
The Northwest of Argentina is full of contrasts. The color of the hills in Humahuaca Gorge (so intense that you can distinguish the different layers from many miles away) or the salt fields above the clouds are just some of them. Don’t miss your chance to explore the culture, with its remarkable indigenous influence and the exquisite local cuisine. It’s going to be our pleasure to help you to plan your own adventure!
Arrival at the airport in Salta and vehicle pick-up. There are different kinds of vehicles that you can rent, and we’ll happy to help you chose the right one for you.
Reference map for this trip (flexible itinerary):
Today you will drive to the west in the direction of the Andes, ascending to the Altiplano. The first part of the trip is driving next to the rail tracks of the “Train to the Clouds”. Then, already at the Altiplano, you will reach San Antonio de los Cobres, where you can visit La Polvorilla viaduct.
Afterward, you will turn right (to the North) and continue driving until reaching the Salt Field known as “Salinas Grandes”. The Salt Field is also at a high altitude. During your Salta road trip, you can expect to drive (only in some parts of the altiplano) at 4000 meters over the sea level.
Finally, you’ll descend from the Altiplano through the Lipán slope (Cuesta de Lipán). The “Cuesta de Lipán” is a steep slope that connects Salinas Grandes with Purmamarca (Humahuaca’s Gorge), descending over 2000 meters in just a few kilometers.
This day is probably the longest day in matter of distances: around 500 km (10-12 hours if counting the stops).
Overnight in Purmamarca.
The idea for this day is to enjoy the Humahuaca’s Gorge. The “Quebrada de Humahuaca” is a UNESCO site, with many small villages and colorful mountains.
The main highlights are Purmamarca (7 colors Hill), Tilcara (with its Pucará), Paleta del Pintor, and Humahuaca.
You can visit it at your own rhythm. If you feel very active, you can include as well the “Hornocal”, which is a mountain with more colors than the “7 colors Hill”.
Overnight in Purmamarca.
Around 140 km (about 3 hours) northeastern from Purmamarca, is located Iruya. Iruya is a picturesque village that hangs from the mountains. To reach it, you need to transit again the Humahuaca’s Gorge, and to make a turn when you reach Humahuaca’s village.
The detour is toward the opposite direction of the Andes (the Andes is on the west and Iruya on the east). Opposite to what you may think, to reach Iruya you need to drive again through a slope of high altitude. This is another mountain chain, different from the main Andes.
Once in Iruya, enjoy the views, walk around, and relax.
If you feel active, you can walk to San Isidro de Iruya, another village lost in the mountains. Cóndors will probably accompany you during most of the trail.
Note: in some parts of the year, some sections of the road are wet and difficult to transit. We will sort this out and adapt the itinerary to your convenience. In case it’s not recommended for you to drive, we can put a private car with a local driver, or just change the itinerary.
Night in Iruya.
Continue with your Jujuy & Salta road trip, driving back to Tilcara.
Make the best out of your time in Iruya & Humahuaca’s Gorge.
Overnight in Tilcara.
Return to Salta city, but now through the fast road, which takes way less than the one you did on day two.
If you depart in the morning, by lunch you will be already in the city, having the afternoon free to visit the city or enjoy at leisure.
Overnight in Salta city.
Visit the city of Salta and its surroundings. This is an old town, with lots of human heritage such as the one seen at the MAAM (Museo Argentino de Alta Montaña). Moreover, you can visit San Bernardo hill, which offers perfect views of the city.
In addition, you may visit San Lorenzo, which is a green (lots of trees) neighborhood on the outskirts of the city.
Overnight in Salta city.
Continue with your Salta road trip climbing again to the Altiplano, but now in another latitude. Drive first along the “Cuesta del Obispo”, which ascends to a high altitude terrain in a short distance. Similarly to Cuesta de Lipán, this steep slope can take you literally above the clouds!
Pass then by Los Cardones National Park, which is an area plenty of Cactus spread along both sides of the main route.
End your day in Cachi, an ancient village lost in the “Puna”. The total distance from Salta city is about 170 km, which can take you -with some stops- around half a day.
Overnight in Cachi.
Drive down from the Altiplano in the direction of Cafayate. The part that you will drive today is a very beautiful section of the Legendary Route 40, known as “Quebrada de las Flechas”.
Quebrada de las Flechas is a gorge formed by rocks with arrow shapes, offering to the visitors an incredible visual effect. Drive then to Cafayate, at the heart of the “Calchaquíes” valley, and the main destination for altitude wines production.
Cafayate is a great place to relax and enjoy, being surrounded by beautiful vineyards and incredible landscapes. Stay at a wine lodge, and taste a delicious “Torrontés” (white wine – the local and most important variety).
Overnight in Cafayate.
The distance is around 160 km and takes around half a day.
Note: it’s important to highlight that in some parts of the Jujuy-Salta road trip you will have rubble road, which demands some time to drive through and requires some precautions.
Overnight in Cachi.
After enjoying some time in Cafayate, drive back to Salta city. The road that you will take now is the one that goes through “Quebrada de las Conchas”.
“Quebrada de las Conchas” is another spectacular gorge, with red-rocks formations with interesting shapes. For instance, some of the most popular shapes are the “Anfiteatro” and the “Devil’s Throat” – both huge formations that surround the visitors.
The distance between Salta and Cafayate is around 190 km and takes (paying a visit to the attractions in between) around half a day.
Overnight in Salta.
Drop off your vehicle at the airport, and fly home with your heart full of amazing memories!
If you want, you can extend your Salta road trip by driving to the south in the direction of Mendoza or even further south. For instance, you can get inspired by checking our Ruta 40 Argentina road trip.
Summing up: Argentina is a huge country and we would love to help you find the right itinerary for you!
If you are interested in Patagonia, we invite you to check out our other Patagonia Tours.
We invite you to see our Argentina Tours, where you can experience the true Argentine culture.
Custom must always be personal. Tell us your style and requirements and we will manage the rest. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail, Beyond BA can make it happen in style.
We count with privileged access to live authentic and unique experiences. Would you like to fish and cook your own Crab at a remote village? Would you like to see the falls from the sky? Let’s work together!
Our service is based on relationships, we live in Argentina, we know locals, we are locals. We like to treat our clients as if they were our close friends guests in our countries. Get ready to enjoy!