The Northwest

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Northwest - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Basílica Menor y Convento San Francisco

    Every salteño's soul belongs to the landmark St. Francis Church and Convent, with its white pillars and bright terra-cotta-and-gold facade. The first sanctuary was built in 1625; the second, erected in 1674, was destroyed by fire; the present version was completed in 1882. A 53-meter (173-foot) belfry houses the Campaña de la Patria. This bell, made from the bronze cannons used in the War of Independence, sounds once a day at 7:30 pm. In the sacristy, the Museo Convento San Francisco displays religious art. Guided visits are at 11, 12, 4, 5 and 6, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and at 5 and 6 pm on Saturday. 

    Córdoba 33, Salta, Salta, 4400, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Church free; museum 400 pesos, Closed weekends
  • 2. Bodega Colomé and James Turrell Museum

    Remote wineries and museums are one thing; Bodega Colomé is something else altogether. Yet finally arriving at this world-class spot puts the miles of driving along bumpy, unpaved roads firmly into perspective. Established in 1831, Colomé is Argentina’s oldest winery. A visitor center runs daily tours and offers tastings, while a terrace restaurant serves delectable lunches with views of one of the world’s highest vineyards. Colomé is also home to the breathtaking and unexpected James Turrell Museum, which showcases five decades of the artist's works with light and space, and includes a fun tunnel of color (book in advance).  Turrell’s contemporary light installations are at their most striking at sunset.

    RP53, Km 20, Molinos, Salta, 4419, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings with lunch and guided visit, 8,800 pesos; museum free
  • 3. Bodega Fernando Dupont

    On the lovely grounds of this bodega, cardon cacti mingle with Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah vines, which thrive at 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) thanks to hot days and very cool nights. The Paleta del Pintor hill provides a stunning and vibrant backdrop. You can call ahead for a brief yet interesting tour; take home the Rosa de Maimará Rosé or the Sikuri Syrah. Although there is a bridge, reaching the winery remains impossible when the river floods in the rainy season (summer).

    RN9, Km 1776, Maimará, Jujuy, 4622, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free tour; 3-wine tasting 600 pesos, Closed Sun.
  • 4. Casa de Gobierno

    The 1907 Casa de Gobierno (Government House) fronts the plaza on San Martín and contains the provincial government offices. A first-floor hall, the Salón de la Bandera, displays the original Argentine flag donated by General Belgrano in 1813, a gift to the city after it cooperated with the Belgrano-headed Exodus of Jujuy during the War of Independence. Entry is on Sarmiento street. The flag was replaced a few years later by the current white and sky-blue stripe version, and the one here is now used as the national coat of arms.

    San Martín 450, San Salvador de Jujuy, Jujuy, 4600, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 5. Cerro de Siete Colores

    Looming above Purmamarca is the brightly tinted Cerro de Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors). Look closely and see if you can find all seven—most people can pick out only four. The best way to see the hill is by walking a 3-km (2-mile) loop called the Paseo de Siete Colores, which starts to the left of the church on the main square. This one-lane gravel road winds through bizarre, humanlike formations of bright, craggy, red rock, before passing a series of stark, sweeping, Mars-like vistas with stands of trees in the river valley. The road then passes a few family farms and ends with a striking view of the Cerro itself before bringing you back to the center of Purmamarca. The colors are most clearly visible in the morning. The tourist office on Florida Street has a map showing the best points for photos.

    Purmamarca, Jujuy, 4618, Argentina
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  • 6. Domingo Molina

    About 2 km (1 mile) north of Cafayate, Domingo Molina has been making Torrontés, a 90-point Malbec, and various blends since 2000. Tastings are available, and you can book in advance for a picada or asado. A drive leads you high up into the hills, offering stunning views of the wine lands to the east.  Take a look at Domingo Molina's oldest vine—a 130-year-old Malbec, still providing excellent grapes. Domingo Hermanos, a sister winery in town, is one of Cafayate's biggest operations, producing 3 million liters a year.

    RN40, Km 6, Cafayate, Salta, 4427, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 500 pesos, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 7. El Porvenir de Cafayate

    Old blends with new at Bodega El Porvenir. Founded at the turn of the 20th century by Italian immigrants, the winery was bought by the Romero Marcuzzi family in 2000 and brought up-to-date. The result is a small yet sleek facility surrounded by old carob casks and presses. Drop by the tasting room to sample the Laborum-label Malbec and Torrontés, as well as the top-end Amauta three-grape red blend; ask to see the small olive oil factory. If you have time, book a private asado or picnic at Finca El Retiro, the family's downtown vineyard, for lunch among the vines. 

    Córdoba 32, Cafayate, Salta, 4427, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 250 pesos for 3 wines
  • 8. Estancia Los Cardones

    Head south out of Cafayate toward Tolombón, then drive 7 km up the eastern mountain to this remote vineyard and winery. One of the valley’s newer projects, Mendoza winemaker Alejandro Sejanovich teamed up with the Salta Saavedra Azcona family to create this project, named for the towering cacti. The mica-speckled rock ensures terroir characteristic wines; try the Tigerstone line that includes Garnacha and Malbec. 

    Road to Hualinchay Km 7, Cafayate, Salta, A4141, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Guided visit and tasting from 1,000 pesos, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 9. Museo de Árqueología de Alta Montaña

    The fascinating Museum of High Mountain Archaeology (MAAM) holds the mummified remains of three children born into Incan nobility—aged 6, 7, and 15—and the 146 objects buried with them in sacrificial services some 600 years ago. They were discovered at the summit of the 22,058-foot Volcán Llullaillaco, on the Argentine–Chilean border, in 1999. The high altitude and freezing temperatures kept their skin, hair, and clothes in impeccable condition, although the face of one was damaged by lightning. The museum also contains an exhibition about the Qhapaq Ñan Inca trading route from southern Colombia to Mendoza and another mummy, the Reina del Cerro (Queen of the Mountain), which for decades was illegally in the hands of private collectors.

    Mitre 77, Salta, Salta, 4400, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 400 pesos, Closed Mon.
  • 10. Museo en los Cerros

    You'll find this surprising photography gallery by following a stony road that runs alongside the River Huichaira up into the mountains. The brainchild of photographer Lucio Boschi, the "museum in the hills" has two spaces displaying permanent collections as well as a temporary exhibit room. For the ultimate in artsy tranquility, kick back in the library while browsing coffee table books with a coca leaf tea.

    Quebrada de Huichaira, Tilcara, Jujuy, 4624, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 11. Plaza General Belgrano

    Orange trees and vendors populate the central square, which is surrounded by colonial buildings—including the imposing government palace. It's empty by day, but starts to fill with gossiping jujeños, old and young, by late afternoon.  The plaza benefits from free Wi-Fi.

    San Salvador de Jujuy, Jujuy, 4600, Argentina
  • 12. Pucará de Tilcara

    Set on a hill above the left bank of the Río Grande, this fortified, pre-Inca pucará (settlement) is the best-preserved of several in the Quebrada de Humahuaca and the only one that can be visited. Its different areas (some of which have been rebuilt) can be clearly discerned. Allow at least 90 minutes to walk around the site, where an estimated 2,000 Omaguaca once lived, worshipped, and kept their animals. On your way out, turn right at the entrance to the fort for the Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden): inside you can admire a large array of cacti and other plants. Don't miss the chance to strike the Piedra Campana with a mallet disguised as a stick—true to its name (Bell Stone) it rings like a bell.

    About 1½ km (1 mile) south of Tilcara, Tilcara, Jujuy, 4624, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 500 pesos, Closed Mon.
  • 13. Quebrada de Humahuaca

    About 60 km (37 miles) north of San Salvador de Jujuy, the inimitable Ruta 9 runs into the Quebrada de Humahuaca—a riotously colorful gorge that ranks among Argentina's most distinctive landscapes. Running alongside the Río Grande, variegated tones of pink, red, and gray brighten canyon walls. As the gorge deepens approaching Humahuaca on its northern tip, the colors become more vibrant. Brilliant-green alamo and willow trees surround villages, contrasting with the red hues in the background. In summer and fall, torrential rains mixed with mud and snowmelt from the mountains rush down, carving ravines before pouring into the chalky gray river.

  • 14. Salinas Grandes

    West of Purmamarca you can ogle one of the area’s most eye-popping sights: the Salinas Grandes, more than 200 square km (80 square miles) of dazzling salt flats at the top of a mountain. Take the sinuous Ruta 52 for 64 km (40 miles) over the majestic Cuesta de Lipan (Lipan Rise)—which tops out at 4,170 meters (13,700 feet) above sea level—and cross Ruta 40. The salty landscape is surreal, and it's made even more so by a building constructed entirely out of slabs of salt turned a brownish color and salt furniture set up like church pews, complete with lectern. A series of small pools have been cut out of the salt flats' surface, revealing a layer of water and freshly forming crystals underneath. For 1,000 pesos, you can contract a guide from the kiosk at the entrance to lead you in your vehicle through the flats. Remember to carry a camera, a hat, some water, and sunblock.

    Purmamarca, Jujuy, Argentina
  • 15. San Pedro de Yacochuya

    Head 8 km (5 miles) northwest of town toward the hills to find the Etchart family's boutique winery. Born into the local winemaking dynasty, Arnaldo Etchart established it in 1988, collaborating with flying winemaker Michel Rolland to create a trio of award-winning wines; today it's run by his sons Marcos and Arnaldo. Book in for a tasting to sample the Coquena or San Pedro de Yacochuya lines while enjoying stunning views over the valley.

    Cafayate, Salta, 4427, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 3-wine tasting 1,050 pesos, 5-wine tasting 2,400 pesos, Closed Sun.
  • 16. Barrancas and Casabindo

    From Purmamarca, it's a two-hour drive up into the high-altitude Puna past the Salinas Grandes on RN 9 to visit the rural Andean community of Barrancas (also known as Abdón Castro Tolay) to see cave paintings and petroglyphs. Also stop by the new (2020) Centro de Interpretación Arqueológica de interpretation center and base for archeologists for a glimpse of an 8,870-year-old mummy. The center also houses a fascinating replica of a stone map.  Continue getting to know the Puna driving north for another hour to Casabindo, a 17th-century Spanish founded village found at 3,606 masl known for the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción church and Toreo de la Vincha, an annual bull fighting contest that takes palace every August 15th in honor of the said virgin in the main square (no bulls are harmed). 

    Purmamarca, Jujuy, Argentina
  • 17. Bodega Kindgard

    A new bodega that opened its doors in 2022 while marking its third grape harvest, Kindgard was set up by two Jujuy cousins who come from winemaking and agricultural backgrounds. Offering one of the Quebrada’s more complete wine experiences, buoyed by a unique view of the Siete Colores mountains, visitors can enjoy a three-vintage tasting and vineyard visit with charcuterie plate (3,500 pesos) or a paired three-course lunch in the restaurant (12,000 pesos).

    RN9 km 1739, Purmamarca, Jujuy, Y4600, Argentina
  • 18. Bodega Nanni

    Nanni has been in the same family and in the same building—just a block from the main square—since 1897. Thanks to its organic certification, much of its small production of Torrontés, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat is exported to the United States. Book lunch or dinner at Retoño, the rustic little restaurant in the back garden, for hearty stews and regional cuisine.

    Silverio Chavarria 151, Cafayate, Salta, 4427, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 400 pesos for tour and 3-wine tasting
  • 19. Bodega Tacuil

    A 20-minute drive on from Colomé is Tacuil, a tiny community crowned by this lovely winery, whose simplicity is notable in comparison with its neighbor. Run by the sixth generation of the Dávalos family, Alvaro Dávalos uses little oak in his world-class vintages, allowing the elevated terroir to shine through. Book ahead for a tasting with cheese platter. 

    Tacuil, Molinos, Salta, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from 1,000 pesos
  • 20. Cabildo

    Humahuaca's cabildo (town hall), the most striking building in the village, has a beautifully colored and richly detailed clock tower. Each day at noon crowds fill the small main square outside to watch a life-size mechanized statue of San Francisco Solano pop out of the tower—it's kitschy fun and one of the world's few clock performances. You can't enter the cabildo, but you can peer into the courtyard.

    Humahuaca, Jujuy, 4630, Argentina

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