Cachi

This small colonial village on Ruta 40 is fast becoming a base for exploring the north of Calchaqui Valley. Cachi itself has a charming church, a small archaeological museum, and a couple of decent hotels and restaurants, although there is nothing in the way of nightlife. Watching over it all is the 6,340-meter (20,800-foot) Nevado de Cachi, a few miles away.

The surrounding area is loaded with archaeological sites that have scarcely been explored. El Tero contains the remains of pre-Inca dwellings, and within 15 km (10 miles) are two more important sites: Puerta La Paya to the southwest and Las Pailas to the north (at the foot of the Nevado de Cachi). A little farther north, en route to La Poma, are the Graneros Incaicos, stunning cave-carved granaries from the Inca era.

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