our destination expert
Explore the remote reaches of northern Argentina and discover a region as geographically and culturally diverse as any you will find on the continent. The north is way off the typical tourist trail of Argentina, yet the region – which includes Salta, Quilmes, and Mendoza – is among the most enchanting lands to explore in South America.
Colonial Salta is the capital of the region, a vibrant and lively city with interesting architecture, pretty squares, nightlife and the superb MAAM Archaeological Museum. Roughly located in the centre of the region the city serves as a handy gateway to the northern reaches towards Bolivia and along Route 40 to Cafayate which eventually leads to Mendoza and finally Patagonia.
To the north find the high Andean villages such as Purmamarca, sleepy Tilcara and further towards the Bolivian border Iruya. Hike or horsehide through the stunning multi-coloured hills and explore the Humuhuaca Gorge by 4×4. A drive towards Chile across the stunning Salinas Grandes salt flats is a must do, perhaps enroute to Salta, travelling on unpaved roads through some of the most spectacular scenery in the region.
Heading south of Salta, there are beautiful drives to Cachi and Molinos towns, via Los Cardones National Park, the Flechas & Conchas Gorges and the green plains of the Calchaqui Valley before dropping down to the rolling hills and vineyards of Cafayate. Here the wine tasting options are plentiful with some of the highest altitude produced wines in the world and for those not wishing to visit the Argentina’s finest Incan ruins, Quilmes, relax beside the pool or in the gardens of the luxurious lodges found in the area.
Even further afield towards Chile, the Puna region is set above 3,400 metres, the prefect off the beaten track destination to experience the deserts, sand dunes, pumice stone fields and the blue holes at Tolar Grande with no crowds whatsoever.
The region is a year round destination with a dry season and a wet season; the dry season from April to November, experiences very little if any rain however it can be cold whilst the wet season from November to March will bring rain closing some roads but it is a very beautiful time of year. Our favourite months to travel and March and April early in the summer with less rain and October to mid-December in late summer with very little rain.
The region lends itself to some of the finest road trip opportunities in South America. Here at Lightfoot Travel we can organise private driver guides with fine first-hand knowledge of the region, or for the more adventurous jump into a rental 4×4 to explore at your own pace. We provide maps, GPS systems as well as 24 hour contact for peace of mind.