Individual and groups:
The Magnificent Northwest
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• The northwest of Argentina is an area with the most abrupt changes of climate and landscape in the country.
Hispanic culture has left a strong mark here, and one can see adobe homes and modest churches in nearly every community, and the remains of pre-Hispanic culture are everywhere. Variegated barren hills rise all around, large cacti dot the landscape and the deep blue of the sky is only occasionally interrupted by clouds. There are a number of places in the region that don't fit into this category at all, and the scenery ranges from jungle gardens to icy Andean peaks, from moon landscape to deciduous forest, and from adobe villages to streams and rivers of clear water; but wherever you go in the northwest, there's always something interesting to do or see, and certainly, friendly people and plenty of sun.

Salta:
San Lorenzo
Calchaquí Valleys & Río las Conchas Gorge
Cafayate
Train to the clouds
San Salvador de Jujuy:
Humahuaca Gorge
San Miguel de Tucumán:
Quilmes Ruins
   


 
Salta:
Salta gets her name from the Aymara word "sagta", meaning very beautiful, and is known today as "la linda" (the beautiful one). Located in a very fertile valley "Lerma", this city is the only one which has preserved best its patrimony of colonial architecture, such as San Bernardo Convent, San Francisco Church, and the Cabildo (city hall) with its graceful row of arches.
San Lorenzo:

San Lorenzo, only a few minutes away from Salta (13 km), grew as a summer village because of its quietness and beautiful atmosphere, as it is in the heart of the gorge that gives it its name, surrounded by the blue waters of the river and the green of the vegetation.

 
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Calchaquí Valley & Río las Conchas Gorge:
(Salta / Cachi / Molinos / Salta) Full day tour - 12 hrs - 320 km.
For thousands of years the Calchaquí valleys have seduced man by the climate and landscape: the mild dry climate at 2.000m, the dawn light reflected on the western mountains and the colors of the sunset glowing on the eastern sierras, the scent of mint and aniseed, the fruit flavor of torrontés wine, empty roads, geological curiosities, ancient rock carvings, ruins, colonial churches and towns, crafts and regional products, and the people of the valleys, noble descendants of two noble breed.
In the Calchaquí Valleys one can feel a strong, almost magical attraction that is experiences in very few other places around the world which may be due to the volcanic origins of this land. These valleys were not formed by slow, gradual processes of erosion, but by the upheaval of ancient crystalline masses that the Andean orogeny thrust thousands of meters high. In this way this "fertile crescent" was created, where the southernmost pre-Columbian civilization developed: walled in by long, high mountain ranges, between the inhospitable Puna and the infinite plains, it was one of the sacred valleys of America.
This trip will depart from Salta, crossing Cuesta del Obispo and passing by Cachi, a beautiful Spanish small town, with a very interesting archeological museum. Then on to Molinos which is a small town with one of the prettiest chapels in the valley. Opposite is the large old house of Isasmendi family, which has been turned into the HOSTAL MOLINOS, a simple and austere but very comfortable hotel; luxury is not going to be found here, but a very friendly and cozy atmosphere.
There are very interesting excursions to be made on foot or horseback, to the adjacent valleys. Seclantás is as small village with its houses, church and tree-lined square. You can reach the Brealito lagoon deviating from the route: this is a lovely deserted spot, with interesting small and artisan cellars that one can visit. 8 km from Molinos, you will find the archaeological ruins of Churcal. Some artifacts from this area are exhibited at the small Isasmendi's house museum


 
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Cafayate:
CAFAYATE and Calchaqui Valleys Full day tour - 12 hrs - 390 km.
Drive from Salta through the spectacular Calchaqui Valleys, crossing Quebrada de las Flechas, up to the village of Cafayate, famous for its wine cellars, which produce the "torrontés", a typical argentine white fruity wine. Visit of this picturesque village surrounded by mountains and vineyards.
Continue to visit Quilmes ruins, an impressive fortified city, located on a natural formation, carefully chosen by its builders, the Quilmes tribe. Then on to Amaicha del Valle, where local traditions says that the sun shines 360 days a year.
On the way back to Salta, we will be crossing Quebrada del Río Las Conchas or Quebrada de Cafayate, with spectacular and natural formations like the amphitheater, famous for its particular acoustics. Continuing along the road, we will be arriving into the Dique Cabra Corral, an impressive "water mirrow", and closing the trip, the tobacco plantations to the right and to the left before arriving in Salta again.
 
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Train to the Clouds:

-from April to November-
A 438km long journey to the impressive Polvorilla viaduct (224m long, 63m high) It takes about 13 hours.
The train, fully equipped with dining car, leaves Salta's main station in the morning and enters the deep Quebrada del Toro gorge about one hour later. Slowly, the train starts to make its way up. The line is a true work of engineering art, and doesn't make use of cogs, even for the steepest parts of the climb. Instead, the rails have been laid so as to allow circulation by means of switchbacks and spirals. This together with some truly spectacular scenery, is what makes the trip so unique and interesting.
After passing through San Antonio de los Cobres, the old capital of the former national territory, Los Andes, the train finally comes to a halt at La Polvorilla Viaduct, an impressive steel span amidst the breathtaking Andean landscape. At this point one has reached an altitude of 4.197 meters above sea level.
From here the train returns to Salta, where it arrives late in the evening. This is a journey of great worth!
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San Salvador de Jujuy:

This charming city is the capital city of the northernmost Argentine province.
Don't miss the extraordinary gilded pulpit at the cathedral, a 17th century wooden piece and the most important colonial Barroque church in Argentina. The Town Hall has four sculptures by Lola Mora, famous for the criticism and magnetism her work and personality aroused.

 
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Humahuaca Gorge:

Full day tour 14 hrs - 520 km
The most picturesque part of the Valley, between Tumbaya and Humahuaca, is some 80 km long. Next to Tumbaya village, that has a pretty church, comes Purmamarca. Here, the multicolored sediments from the Mesozoic have been folded and eroded into strange shapes on the Mountain of Seven Colors, and together with the brilliant green vegetation and simple adobe constructions, make Purmamarca one of the loveliest places in the Northwest. By the church there is a carob tree over five centuries old.
The road continues and behind the village of Maimará, on the eastern side of the Valley, the Painter's palette, will catch your eye. .
Tilcara attracts for its famous Pucará, which is not precisely a fortress but an Omoguacan village probably built in the 10th century at the top of a mountain southwards of present-day Tilcara. It was rebuilt in the 60's along dubious lines. There is a garden of cacti, the most common specie in the Northwest.
In Huacalera, the local church is on the outskirts of the village, a few paces away from the Tropic of Capricorn. In Uquía, once inhabited by the Uquía Indians, there is a chapel built in 1691; the wooden altarpiece is the most ancient in the region.
And Humahuaca. Its streets have irresistible charm: they are cobbled, lit by old-fashioned street lamps, and lined with reddish adobe walls. The village known for it's Carnival has a museum of the Carnaval Norteño (Northern Carnival), and an archeological one


 
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San Miguel de Tucuman:

Tucumán is the capital of the smallest and most densely populated province in Argentina, as well as the most important city of the Northwest for its commercial, industrial and cultural life.
A tour of the city will show Tucumán's unique character. The spacious 9 de Julio Park, the baroque Government Building and several patrician edifices, together with a number of venerable churches, are reminders of the town's colonial past. This might best be sensed by visiting the Casa de la Independencia. In a large room of this stately house, part of which has been rebuilt, the Argentine national independence ceremony was sworn on July 9, 1816.
However, it is not so much the town but its surroundings which make San Miguel de Tucumán so interesting. Villa Nogués and San Javier, high up in the Aconquija range, give a splendid view of Tucumán, its outskirts and the extensive sugar cane and tobacco fields surrounding it.

 
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Quilmes Ruins:

After visiting Quilmes and going up to 3000m above sea level, you'll reach El Infiernillo (Little Hell), and from there a dusty gravel road goes into Tafí del Valle. This valley is situated in the heart of the Aconquija range at an altitude of 2000m, where the subtropical vegetation disappears. It is considered the sacred valley of the Diaguita natives, who, with different tribal names, inhabited the area. The valley is littered with clusters of aboriginal dwellings and dozens of sacred stone circles. The most outstanding attraction at Tafí are the menhires of standing stones. These dolmens, which sometimes sand more than 2 meters high, have recently been assembled at the Parque de los Menhires, close to the entrance of the valley.
After 25km, Tafí Valley opens into the lush valley of Sosa River. The paved mountain road winds its way through a jungle of lapacho, cedars, oleander, walnut and tipa trees, covered by Bromilaceae and ferns.

 
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