Hidden Argentina: Northern Province

Travel Idea:

Hidden Argentina: Northern Province

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Length of trip:

3 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 3195

Best travel dates to go:

Aug 10, 2008 to Aug 22, 2008;


Detailed Description of this trip:

Northern Argentina is part of a colorful, wind-sculpted, montane desert traversed by green river valleys. Slow-paced village life is enhanced by comfortable inns, (many recycled from colonial structures) as well as delectable local cuisine and numerous wineries. All of this makes a leisurely drive through the valleys an unforgettable experience. These are the least-seen places in Argentina. Most of the villages along the way sum up the history of the area in their archaeological and wine museums as well as the workshops of local artists and artisans. Explore colorful villages, canyon lands, and valleys of outstanding beauty. Enjoy meeting the friendly local people and take pleasure in the warm sunny days and cold nights sheltered in the most lovely hosterías and estancias.



Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - Buenos Aires

    Buenos Aires.

    The “Queen of the River Plate Basin” or the “Paris of South America,” as Buenos Aires is called, can be a superlative introduction to the exploration of Argentina, from both the cultural and wildlife points of view. What is certain is that this cosmopolitan city, European in appearance, can keep any culture-oriented visitor busy indefinitely. Its intense cultural and commercial life can fill every minute of any visit with pleasant experiences. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

    Hotel

    Stay at Elevage Hotel.

  • Day 2 - San Isidro

    San Isidro - Tigre and Delta of the Parana.
    Sightseeing

    Today you will explore one of the most beautiful areas of Buenos Aires’ surroundings, the northern riverside districts of Tigre and San Isidro. The history of San Isidro begins in 1580, when Juan de Garay carried out the first distribution of the lands situated north of the City of La Santísima Trinidad (current City of Buenos Aires).It has an important colonial heritage reflected in its houses and buildings. You will visit the Pueyrredon Farm, the San Isidro Cathedral, several colonial mansions, and the Victoria Ocampo's Mansion (once, the cultural center of South America).

    Shopping

    Then you will continue to Tigre, a city overlooking the delta of the Paraná River. Here, you will explore the Fruit Market, with streets full of colorful rustic fabric, furniture, and accessories made in cane and willow, delicious jams and honey, brilliant flowers, and of course, all the variety of native fruit.

    Sightseeing

    After free time to have lunch (not included) you will enjoy a riverside walk and a boat trip through the countless islands of the delta of the Paraná River to have beautiful views of the riverside villas, Victorian docks, English gardens, and traditional rowing clubs.

    Sailing

    If weather conditions allow, you will sail by the River Plate reaching Buenos Aires city (additional cost).

    Kayaking

    As an optional activity, we offer the opportunity to enjoy a kayak expedition (that it is not included in the rate). You will go out in double kayaks specially prepared for long trips and built by the coordinator of the program, Ricardo Kruszewski, who was the first Argentinean to reach Cape Horn rowing, besides of being several times in Antarctica. The kayaks are very safe and there’s no need to have previous experience. The trip allows to discover the different woods and it lasts 1-2 hours approximately crossing 10-20 km depending on the passengers’ experience. After the rowing, you have the club’s showers where you will be provided with soap and towel. Every year more passengers want to discover El Delta from a kayak.

    Hotel

    Later this afternoon you will be returned to the Elevage Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 3 - Buenos Aires

    Buenos Aires - Salta - Cafayate.
    Commercial Flight

    Transfer to Buenos Aires domestic airport to board the flight to Salta city.

    Arts, Crafts and Antiques

    One of the most fascinating aspects of visiting the northwest area is the chance to mingle with the native population, who preserve practically intact their ancient customs and traditions: their polychromatic dresses, their expressive artwork and handicrafts, their music, their colorful markets and street fairs and delicious gastronomy are eloquent expressions of the soul of these people and their love for Pachamama (Mother Earth).

    Sightseeing

    Since this area was originally colonized by the Spaniards, this region holds the most ancient traces of Spanish heritage: towns with typical colonial architecture, adobe churches and hidden chapels, old traditional fincas (ranches), etc. Upon arrival at Salta, you will be met at the airport and transferred to Cafayate, along breathtaking Las Conchas Gorge, with peculiar rock formations which, due to the effect of wind and water, have formed almost real shapes like the amphitheatre and the monk’s statue.

    Hotel

    Afterwards, you will be transferred to the hotel, Cafayate Wine Resort, which is located in the outskirts of the town and at the foot of San Isidro Mount, surrounded by vineyards.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 4 - Argentina

    Cafayate - Cachi.
    Sightseeing

    Today you head north, following Calchaquí River Valley. During the trip, you will be able to enjoy amazing landscapes and small towns which preserve their colonial heritage as if time had stopped. San Carlos is a town with colonial houses and narrow streets. Since its foundation it was destroyed many times by the Indians. The Jesuits settled here and founded the "San Carlos Mission," giving origin to the actual town. Then you will start traveling along the impressive Quebrada de las Flechas (Arrows Gorge), with its extraordinary geological formations produced by erosion on the colorful sedimentation of sandstone over the past 60 million years. Molinos was founded in the middle of the XVII century. The plan of the town is completely irregular, with adobe houses and clay roofs. The road continues northwards until Cachi, a beautiful town with white buildings, adobe houses, stone-paved streets, and impressive architectural and cultural constructions. Cachi means "salt" in Quechua due to the fact that natives mistook the top of "El Nevado" with a salt mine.

    Museums

    Today you will enjoy visiting the town, its church, and its museum. In the evening, transfer to the Hostería Cachi.

    Hotel

    Stay at Hosteria Cachi.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 5 - Argentina

    Cachi - Salta - San Lorenzo.
    National Parks

    Departing from Cachi eastwards, the trip continues along the Calchaquí Valley until reaching Salta. On both sides of the road tall and elegant cacti will start to appear, indicating the proximity of Los Cardones National Park, which will be seen while traveling through Recta de Tin Tin.

    Sightseeing

    After Enchanted Valley, you will start a spectacular descent through Cuesta del Obispo, a landmark that gives a wonderful panoramic view of the surroundings. Running down, you will reach Valley of Lerma dominated by the city of Salta.

    Hotel

    Stay overnight at Selva Montana Hotel, located at San Lorenzo village, 15 minutes away from the city.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 6 - Argentina

    Finca Lesser.
    Sightseeing

    Transfer from the hotel to Finca Lesser to enjoy a full day in the 11,000 hectares estancia, which is dedicated to the breeding of cattle and equine livestock, among which Peruvian horses stand out.

    Food and Dining

    You will visit the main house and have lunch.

    Horseback Riding

    It is also a great opportunity to enjoy horseback riding on Peruvian horses.

  • Day 7 - Salta

    Salta - Tilcara.
    Sightseeing

    Departing northwards, today you will discover the magnificent Humahuaca Gorge on your way to Tilcara. This town is located on the verge of Grande River. Surrounded by an incredible scenery of multicolored hills and gorgeous panoramic views, its colonial heritage can be seen in low adobe buildings and narrow streets everywhere.

    Museums

    It is considered the archaeological capital of Jujuy due to its museum, one of the most important in this specialty, and the Pucará - meaning fortress- which has been built by the original inhabitants of Humahuaca Gorge on both polychromatic hillocks. Discovered in 1903 and restored in 1951, nowadays it has a cactus garden.

    Hotel

    Stay overnight at Rincón del Fuego.
    Meals: Breakfast.

  • Day 8 - Argentina

    Tilcara - Humahuaca.
    Sightseeing

    Enjoy a full day expedition through the multicolored landscape of the Humahuaca Canyon, to the peaceful villages, old chapels, native markets, small museums with astounding archaeological pieces and remains of ancient pre-Inca fortified towns, since the gorge once served as a route for the Incas, a required passage for expedition parties and settlers, and an important commercial route in the vice regal period.

    Sightseeing

    Today, little towns conserve their religious believes, rituals, ceremonies, art, music, and agricultural techniques; a unique living patrimony in the world. For this reason, it was declared Humanity Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in the year 2003. Humahuaca, Uquia, Tilcara, Maimara, and Purmamarca will be some of the fascinating stops during the day. Humahuaca is a colonial city of narrow stone-paved streets with street lamps and adobe houses that made it one of the most important trade centers of Alto Perú until the end of the XIX century.

    Sightseeing

    After visiting the town, the trip continues to Iturbe, where you will start going up until Abra Cóndor. This place, the Altar of Pachamama, is the beginning of the “Silent Valleys,” known for their extraordinary beauty. Finally, the steep streets of the little mountainous town of Iruya welcome you. Inhabitants have preserved their traditions and customs for more than 250 years. This town has an ancient origin, since it was an important stop in the route from Potosi (Bolivia) to Buenos Aires. Stay overnight at the Hostería de Iruya. The building has a large terrace overlooking the valley and hills that surround it almost completely.

    Hotel

    Stay at Hosteria de Iruya.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 9 - Bolivia

    Iruya - La Quiaca - Yavi.
    Bus

    Departing from Iruya the trip continues northwards until La Quiaca on the Argentinian-Bolivian frontier. You may cross on foot to Villazón, in Bolivia. 15 km ahead lies Yavi.

    Sightseeing

    Along the way you will see the Siete Hermanos Mountain Range (sedimentation deposits from the Mesozoic Era).

    Sightseeing

    You will also visit Laguna Colorada to appreciate petroglyphs representing human figures, llamas, spirals, and enjoy a box lunch in this incredible landscape!

    Sightseeing

    In the evening, you will arrive at Yavi. This small town was founded in 1667 and it belonged to the Marquis of Tojo until 1707. This feud used to occupy the Argentinian Puna and the south of Bolivia. The colonial style ranch house of the Marquis, which today is a museum, and the magnificent Chapel of San Francisco are worth visiting. The pulpit, the altars, and the altarpieces are gold-plated. It has paintings and outstanding sculptures, that were brought from Cuzco.

    Hotel

    Stay overnight at Hosteria Pachama.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

  • Day 10 - Bolivia

    Yavi - Salinas Grandes - Purmamarca.
    Sightseeing

    Today you depart to Abra Pampa. You might see vicuñas and llamas and be amazed at Salinas Grandes, the great salt plains encompassing 12,000 hectares.

    Sightseeing

    After enjoying a box lunch, you will start descending through the Lipan Slope, a winding road that leads to Purmamarca.

    Arts, Crafts and Antiques

    Purmamarca is a small town of prehispanic origin settled at the foot of the polychromatic "Cerro de los Siete Colores" (Seven Colors Hill), where purple, reddish, green, ocher, brown, yellow and white rocks illustrate various geological ages. The village, with adobe buildings of cardon roofs and mud tiles, was designed around the Main Church, built between 1648 and 1779 in front of an “algarrobo,” a characteristic tree of the region, more than 500 years old! As in many churches of this area, you will notice they are built with cactus wood and house paintings and outstanding sculptures brought from Cuzco. A crafts fair takes place in the square, with regional products such as pottery, handmade tapestry, ponchos, musical instruments, and typical clothes from the Quebrada.

    Hotel

    Stay overnight at the Manantial del Silencio Hotel.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

  • Day 11 - Salta

    Purmamarca - Salta.
    Relaxation

    Spend the morning at leisure to enjoy the garden and the pool at the hotel.

    Arts, Crafts and Antiques

    You will also have time to visit the crafts fair and/or walk around this beautiful town.

    Hotel

    In the afternoon, return to the city of Salta. Upon arrival in Salta, you will head directly to the Papyrus Hotel.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 12 - Buenos Aires

    Salta - Buenos Aires.
    Commercial Flight

    Transfer to the local airport to board the flight to Buenos Aires.

    Hotel

    Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the Elevage Hotel.

    Performing Arts

    In the evening, you will be picked up to enjoy a dinner & tango show at one of the most prestigious houses in Buenos Aires. After the dinner & show, you will be returned to the hotel. The birth of tango took place towards 1880 in the suburbs. Although at first it was rejected by the high society, little by little this new musical expression began to scale to the highest levels, turning into a world wide recognized Argentine product.

    Hotel

    Lodging at Elevage Hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

  • Day 13 - Buenos Aires

    Buenos Aires - Onward.

    Spend the day at leisure until it is time for your transfer to the international airport to catch your onward flight.
    Meals: Breakfast

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