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Salta and Northwest Argentina Itinerary Help

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Sep 26th, 2012, 04:38 PM
  #1
Jen
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Salta and Northwest Argentina Itinerary Help

I am planning a first time trip to Argentina in early April, during which I will have 5 nights in the Northwest. I am having a terrible time deciding where to go, it all sounds wonderful... but with the time I have, I can't do it all at a pace I will enjoy. I must spend my last night in Salta, as I will have a very early flight to El Calafate the next morning. So the question is, go north of Salta, or south to explore? I am interested in Purmamarca, Humahuaca and Cafayate. My two options, as I see them, are go north to Purmamarca and Humahuaca, spending 3 or 4 nights between them, and back to Salta for the last night, or go to Cafayate and environs for 3 or 4 nights and Salta for the last 1 or 2.

Here is what I am looking for: beautiful natural scenery, with the opportunity to do some hiking, biking, or other outdoor activities, quaint towns/villages to nose around in, and a taste of the Andean culture. Visiting wineries would be wonderful, but not essential. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Also, if I've missed something in the region that fits the above bill, please let me know! Many thanks in advance!
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Sep 26th, 2012, 11:48 PM
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You don't say whether you are planning to rent a car and drive yourself or hire a guide, but with just 5 days, I think I would consider hiring a guide driver in order to make the most of your time and to see as much as possible. The scenery is as spectacular as I have seen anywhere in the world. There seems to be something new around every corner and the variety of landscapes is staggering. Annie, a guide in Salta will probably chip in with some specific suggestions for routes (and would be a good choice if you intend using a guide). We did a loop of the NW region beginning and ending in Salta spending, I think, around 8 days driving but this could be compressed into 5 or 6 but with 4 nights on the ground, you would have to miss out on something.

All of the places on your list are great and the travel between is just as impressive. Cachi is worth inclusion and Salineras Grande is simply amazing ( but a long drive as I recall).

Lots of quaint villages to hang around and explore but with limited time, I would give the vineyards a miss unless that is a major interest as there is so much else to see. A link to our blog with some more info on travelling the NW loop

http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blo...ai/1/tpod.html

Entries start at # 75

If you are driving yourself, we found Hertz in Salta to be very good and the tourist office there has some very good free maps of the loop.
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Sep 27th, 2012, 05:56 PM
  #3
Jen
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Thank you, Crellston, your blog is fantastic and very helpful. I will be traveling solo, so renting a car and attempting to navigate and drive in a foreign country alone is too daunting for me! I have no qualms with taking local busses, but with my limited time, I don't want to be a slave to bus schedules and would consider a driver for longer trips... hopefully I can work out a combination of busses and private drivers? I suppose I can work that out later.

I think I will skip Cafayate this time, and though Salinas Grandes looks amazing, I think it's too far given the time I have. Cachi looks very nice, I think I would enjoy spending some time there. How does this sound: fly into Salta, then go directly to Humahuaca, then Purmamarca, then Cachi, and final night in Salta. I'd like to at least overnight in each place, and spend two nights in one of them... again, I'd like to be able to spend a morning or afternoon or two hiking, and wandering the towns. What are your thoughts? Which of these places would you spend 2 nights? Or would you, in my position, abandon the idea spending 2 nights in any of these spots to see more of the area? Thanks again, your input is much appreciated!
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Oct 1st, 2012, 09:11 AM
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Your plan of a night in each place sounds great all three places are quite small and oaf the three, I think I would prefer to spend the two nights in Cachi the town itself seemed to have a bit more to do and see. Huamhuaca seemed to have more hiking options around. Tilcara is also quite geared up for visitors but a bit more "touristy" than the other places.

Personally, the region is so beautiful and has so much to see that I think I would try to get around as much as I could which is why I feel a car & guide would be a good idea if you are going solo as you will maximise the use of your time. I really hope flintstones aka angie, sees this post as she will have some great suggestions and you could even use her services as a guide. I have an email address for her somewhere if you contact me via my blog, I will send it to you ( I am always reluctant to post address here without the owners permission.alternatively she has a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/angie.valdez.5
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Oct 4th, 2012, 11:19 AM
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I suggest you take advantage of all teh time you have for the NW and see the most ass possible but not to be so in a rush... DO you understand what I mean?
I think this would be a nice itinerary
SALTA - Cafahate visit to wineries and wine tasting
Visiting a goat farm with cheese tasting...back to Salta -
Salta - Purmamarca - Visit to the salt flats at sunset.
Purmamarca - Uquia - Humahuaca - Tilcara and back to Salta and also, take at least a day for the town itself. Salta is a beutiful town and has alot of things to do.
Do not miss to eat our famous emoanadas and our unique torrontes wine!!!
HAve a wonderful time!!
Angie/Flintstones
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Oct 7th, 2012, 12:17 PM
  #6
Jen
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Thank you both for your advice, it has been very helpful, and has given me a lot to think about! I have decided to add one more night to my time in the NW, so now I have 6 nights to work with. Angie, I may contact you via your Facebook page if that's ok. And no worries, I will partake in lots of empanadas and torrontes wine while there! I am very excited to visit your beautiful country!
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Oct 10th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Dear Jen, I will be pleased to help you, feel free to contact me via facebook as Angelica del Valle Valdez or at my hotmail account angie_guide.
In the NW you can find not only what you are looking for but much more. You will be amazed!
Flintstones.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 11:30 PM
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Apologies flintstones, it seems that I provided the wrong Facebook details for you in my previous post!
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Oct 12th, 2012, 05:20 PM
  #9
Jen
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Ok, here's what I've come up with: First night in Salta, then the next two days doing the Quebrada de Humahuaca, overnighting in Purmamarca. Using a guide or a tour, I think I can fit in the Salt Flats too, which look really cool! I think using busses for this portion will eat up too much time, and coordinating the schedules too complicated. So, third night back in Salta, then the bus to either Cachi or Cafayate for two nights. I'm leaning towards Cachi-- I like little chilled out towns, an it seems there are some hiking opportunities there as well. But if anyone has opinions on which to go to, please weigh in! Then the bus back to Salta for the last night. Thoughts?
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Oct 12th, 2012, 11:22 PM
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Sounds good to me! Choosing between Cachi and Cafayate is hard as Both have lots of reasons tto go, particularly the secenery en route to both place. However, as far ast the towns thenselves are concerned, i much preferred Cachi. It fits your requirement for " a littler chilled out town perfectly" very pretty in deed. There is an amazing cemetery high on a hill on the edge of town, a bit of a steep hike but worth it. A few decent places to eat and stay in town. I can't recall the name of the place we stayed at in Cachi town but it was perfectly fine but we wanted to check out Finca La Paya which was fantastic but is 8 km or so out of town so may be difficult if you don't have a car (but you could check if they do transfers). There was also some reasonable hiking round and about the property.

Absolutely, nothing wrong with Cafayate, but we found it expensive and just not as much to see as Cachi. The vineyards around the town were also pretty expensive if you wanted a tour.

If you can fit in the salt flats, do it. They really are spectacular but do take good sunglasses and sun screen. I don't think I have ever been anywhere where the light is so blindingly bright! If you are a photographer, don't forget your polarising filter.
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Oct 13th, 2012, 05:47 AM
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Agree with crellston - we like Cafayate but it's it much more like a Napa wine town than a "chilled out town"....that's more like Cachi!.
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Oct 14th, 2012, 02:22 PM
  #12
Jen
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Cachi it is! Thank you all so much for your help.
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