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Nestled in the shadow of craggy rocks and multicolored, cactus-studded hills—with the occasional low-flying cloud floating by—the colonial village of Purmamarca is one of the best bases from which to explore the Quebrada. Its 2,195-meter (7,200-foot) altitude, dry air, and dearth of artificial light also make it a great spot for stargazing.

Here blazing red adobe replaces the white stucco used in architecture elsewhere, and the simple, square buildings play off the matching red rock. Come quick, before it's completely transformed from a two-horse town with basic stores and artisans selling their wares in the pleasant, tree-shaded plaza into a more exclusive destination.

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Fodor's Essential Argentina: with the Wine Country, Uruguay & Chilean Patagonia

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