11/2004 - Argentina 2nd part, northwest Andean

20-day trip to Argentina visiting Buenos Aires, the Parana Delta, Island of Martin Garcia, Delta del Tigre, Salta, Cafayate, San Salvador de Jujuy, Quebrada de Cafayate, Quebrada de Humahuaca, Purmamarca, Tilcara, Maimara, Iguazu Falls, Trelew, Puerto Madryn, Peninsula Valdes, Puerto Piramide, Caleta Valdes, Punta Delgado, Punta Tombo, Patagonia, Lake Argentino, El Calafate, Puerto Bandera, Glacier Spegazzini, Onelli, Bolados, Agassiz, Upsala and Perito Moreno Glacier, Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, Bahia Lapataia, Beagle Channel
We landed in Salta, awaited by the Italian speaking guide William Panzeri (e-mail: panzerigui@yahoo.com.ar) of Italian origins, he has been with us for five days showing us his knowledge and innate kindness. As well as Luis who has been very friendly and a good driver. Our tour began the following morning with destination Cafayate that we reached through a panoramic road crossing the green Lerma Valley, ascending through the Quebrada de Escoipe, up to the Cuesta de Obispo at 3,348 meters high. Unfortunately, we could not enjoy the wide panoramic view because of low clouds.

Beyond the pass, a straight road of 11 kms. (“Recta de Tintin”) led us to the National Park “Los Cardones” where we could admire huge and numerous cacti, some in bloom.
We stopped in Cachi, with an interesting archaeological museum, then we passed along the valleys of Calchaquies visiting the church of Seclantas. We arrived to the Quebrada de Las Flechas which is very fascinating for its strange rock formations. Only one regret: the sun was absent. Soon after, the scenery changed completely: it was arid and became rich in vegetation, above all in vineyards.

We slept in Cafayate where Pablo booked the guesthouse of the Etchart winery located in the middle of the vineyards; it’s the “Hosteria La Escondida” (e-mail: ltoren@prargentina.com.ar).
Our accommodation was excellent and even better the dinner served by Mrs Amalia, a beautiful lady who looked like the “Mammy” of the movie “Gone with the Wind.”

A pretty well preserved colonial city, is also known because here they play the best folk music. We could not miss a visit to a local restaurant (we chose “La Vieja Estacion”) to listen to music and so we could appreciate the touching song “Todo cambia”. We visited the city admiring the most significant monuments and then we climbed to Hill San Bernardo. The residential villas of San Lorenzo District are very beautiful.

 

The next day we went to the Quebrada de Humahuaca. We passed “Sierra de Zenta” and “Sierra de Florida” and reached Purmamarca, famous for the “Cerro de Los Sietes Colores” (Seven Colours Hill).

We quickly went up to the Quebrada to visit the Church of Candelaria in Humahuaca. The town is located at more than 3,000 meters high and gives its name to the scenic valley recently declared a World Heritage Site.

In Uquia we visited the Church of San Francesco da Paola (it’s very interesting the cross made in 1691 by local artists with natural colors). In Tilcara we visited the pre-Columbian fortress “El Pucara” and the museum rich in exhibits of ancient Andean life. Finally, in Maimarà (whose name means “falling stars” because it’s a place of falling meteorites) it is interesting the picturesque cemetery; you must also admire the “Paleta del Pintor” (the painter’s palette), a name given to this mountain because of the variety of its colours.

We slept in the quiet Hotel Termas de Reyes, located at the beginning of the Canyon del Rio Reyes, 12 kilometers from the city that we were going to visit the next morning.