Things to do in Salta & Jujuy: ideas for a visit of one week
It’s quite common to get confused at the moment of checking the things to do in Salta and the Northwest of Argentina, due the extension of the territory, the variety of different attractions, or the need to comply with a certain schedule.
The minimum suggested time for a first approach, if you are keen on visiting the main attractions there, is 7/8 days. Not enough to visit all, but yes to have an overview of the essentials.
What to visit:
Things to do in Salta City
Main hub and one of the oldest cities in Argentina; its heritage shows different aspects of the colonial heritage, and its High Mountain Museum (MAAM) shows the pre columbine footprints of the region. The views from San Bernardo Hill, or the greenery at San Lorenzo’s neighborhood, are the perfect complements to optimize your time at the ends of your itinerary (arrival & departure days).
Humahuaca’s Gorge (Quebrada de Humahuaca) – Jujuy
Declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Cultural Landscape category in 2003, Quebrada de Humahuaca stands as one of the musts in Argentina.
Next to the River Grande, the Gorge is plenty of villages (with adobe houses and Inca’s reminiscences) and colorful mountains along the way.
Among the main highlights, you can find: Purmamarca with its beautiful Seven Colors Hill and Craftsmanship Market , Maimará and its Painter’s Pad, Tilcara with its warrior fortress Pucara, Uquía and its old Chapel that homes paintings from the Cusco School, and Humahuaca, capital of the Gorge.
You can visit the Gorge in a full day excursion from Salta, or stay over in one of its villages (for example Purmamarca, taking advance of the spare time to visit the Salt Fields – salinas grandes).
Welcome to one of the Calchaquíes Valley northern gates: Cafayate. The most characteristic aspect of this village is its connection with the wine world. Surrounded by vineyards, the quality and originality of the wines produced in the area are unique in Argentina. The most typical wine grape variety cultivated is “Torrontés” (white wine).
You can either stay in one of its Wine Lodges, or visit the area in a full day excursion from Salta. Either or, don´t miss out the Quebrada de las Conchas, which is a Gorge between both cities (Lerma Valley): its rock shapes an red-like stones, are totally worthy to see (here is the “Devil Throat” and the “Anfiteatro”).
This is an ancient village in the Puna (Altiplano). Usually reached from Salta in a full day excursion, the way that connects both places has as a highlight the incredible “Cuesta del Obispo” (thousands of meters of altitude in a few kilometers), and Los Cardones National Park.
Other way to reach it is through Quebrada de las Flechas (starting from Cafayate), a moon-like landscape that is crossed by the mytical Ruta 40 (the same route that down south reaches Patagonia!).
Puna, San Antonio de los Cobres, and Salinas Grandes
This is usually a circuit that joins Salta with Purmamarca (with optional return to Salta on the same evening), visiting different sites on the way:
The trip departs early in the morning from Salta city, following the tracks of the famous Train to the Clouds (you can opt for a ride on the train, but that´s another experience) through the colorful Quebrada del Toro – a spectacular scenic beauty where we can see how the landscape changes as we climb up to over 4,000 m.s.n.m. Afterwards, we continue to Santa Rosa de Tastil, and then to San Antonio de Los Cobres ( 3,776 m). After lunch, we visit the mytical Viaducto La Polvorilla, and then we head north towards Salinas Grandes, in the province of Jujuy.
After descending the impressive Cuesta de Lipan (maximum height of the trip: 4,170 meters), we reach Purmamarca.
Iruya and other worthy extensions
The suggestions mentioned above belong to the list of “most popular destinations ”, but it doesn´t necessarily mean that they are “your” musts. For instance, many people opt for places such as Iruya, El Hornacal, Tolar Grande, Catamarca (another province), La Rioja (another province), Atacama (Chile), Uyuni (Bolivia), or the Yungas, which are attractions that also deserve to be taken in consideration if you plan to come to this region (you would need more time though).
There are many ways to explore this region, from scenic tours to self drive circuits, from 4×4 crossings, to low tourism cycling alternatives. We invite you to get in touch in order to start planning your next tour to the Northwest of Argentina, and to check out which attractions are the ones that more suit to your wishes and preferences!