Province Salta, Argentina
The province of Salta, northwest of Argentina, is one of the few Argentine territories by its extension, rather elongated, limited to six other provinces and also with Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay, a condition that allows large air accessibility and land. Located some 1,600 kilometers from Buenos Aires, Argentine Northwest home in a broad cultural itinerary, historical tours and adventure tours for all tastes.
Producer of the best wine Torrontés, Salta is world renowned for its delicious meat pies cooked in clay oven and by treasuring the provincial capital in the Train to the Clouds, one of the three highest trains in the world. Moreover, among the most attractive and visited by tourism circuits it is an unforgettable journey through the Calchaquíes Valleys.
The Valles Calchaquíes circuit begins in the city of Salta and Cafayate extends to one of the shafts wine territory. A walk that takes between two and three days, which is recommended through a guided tour or by renting a vehicle that allows greater freedom for various stops along the way. In total, there are 530 kilometers, much of it to rubble.
The expedition has many scenic attractions and a great heritage value, for its architecture, culture of peoples and traditional festivals. While the Valles Calchaquíes also extend over the provinces of Tucuman and Catamarca, Salta territory in the itinerary travels mostly on National Route 68 with scenarios that exceed the 3000 meters high.
One of the particular characteristics of the walk through the Valleys is the amazing relief, geological result of millenarian movements constantly modified by erosion from wind and water, such as the Quebrada de las Conchas. A destination that combines nature, history and customs, also near the renowned Los Cardones National Park.
Formerly known as “Camino Real” or “Inca Trail”, the circuit now travels the Valles Calchaquíes was busy in pre-Columbian times by diaguitas communities, also called calchaquíes- crossing the Valle de Lerma. These groups were engaged in cast bronze, pottery, stone carvings and manufacture of fine fabrics.
The Calchaquíes Valleys and its former inhabitants also witnessed events of great importance as the first settlements of the Jesuit missions. A route that served the trans-Andean trade and llama caravans heading or down from the Alto Peru.
Circuit Valles Calchaquíes
The circuit of the Calchaquíes Valleys in the province of Salta has its kickoff in the provincial capital and ends in the city of Cafayate. Along the way a number of towns and areas of natural beauty magical run through. Here a detail of the main destinations and recommended sections.
In the capital, some of the most important attractions are the Church and Convent of San Francisco; the original Cabildo, where imbibe the anecdotes that made Argentina an independent nation; the Cathedral, one of the most beautiful temples in the country; and the Train to the Clouds rises to 4,200 meters.
The next destination is Cerrillos, only 15 kilometers from Salta, a site of historical value there was signed the so-called Pact of Cerrilos. A city that summer is known for its colorful carnivals, and is surrounded by crops of snuff and cereals. National Route 68 then reaches the town of La Merced, where a visit to the Sanctuary of the Lord of Sumalao is recommended, in which historians say they prayed Independence Patriots.
Later, El Carril, a typical village of Valle de Lerma, which preserves old houses and deep-rooted traditions such as those exhibited every March during the Festival of Song and Jineteada appears. There is a brief high on the road to continue along National Route 68 to Cafayate or the Provincial Route 33 bound for Cachi.
If you continue to Cafayate the next destination is Coronel Moldes, a leading city for its old parish church. Among the tourist activities include sport fishing for kingfish and gold in the river Oath; Sport hunting in the surrounding hills; and water sports at nearby Cabra Corral Dam. Just five kilometers further on is Ampascachi, ancient settlement of an aboriginal tribe.
The route then continues through La Viña, a town chosen by the Jesuits, responsible for growing the first vineyards in the area. Just a few kilometers before also recommended a stop at the Finca El Carmen, where an old sugar mill preserved.
The prelude to the Valles Calchaquíes is called Quebrada de las Conchas, which stretches for about 83 kilometers on National Route 68. The road crosses villages as there Aborigines Quitilipi Ruins; adobe buildings in the tannery; the Abritas; the flags; and some semisepultadas homes. The hallmark of the place are the extravagant natural formations that took the names of Amphitheater, Devil’s Throat, the Obelisk and House of Parrots, among others.
On the route the traveler also found Los Medanos or Dunes, small white sands composed of calcareous mica (mineral), ideal for exploring the full moon nights. Finally, you get to Cafayate, one of the most important tourist centers of the province of Salta surrounded by rivers, dunes and vineyards that produce the strain of Torrontés, a variant known worldwide for flavor, body and color. In addition, the wineries wine tasting pateros is recommended.
From there, some of the unmissable visits are San Isidro, where cave paintings are preserved; the winery La Rosa, one of the traditional in the region; Regional Archaeological Museum Rodolfo Bravo, with over a thousand pieces that tell the local origin; and a Jesuit mill that works after 350 years of use.
Some of the sites that are recommended adding to the circuit of the Calchaquíes Valleys are Yacochuya, with green gardens and a beautiful lake; San Antonio, with paintings; Quilmes City, about 60 kilometers from Cafayate and 17 Amaicha del Valle; Tombolón, ruins of a fortified town of pre-Columbian times, where it was built a large wine cellar and champagne; and San Carlos, a town of colonial homes was settlement of the Jesuit missions.
In addition, they add back to the capital salteña: Mills, one of the mountain towns of the Valley, with adobe houses, a church built in 1639 and aboriginal ruins; Brealito, protagonist of a lagoon for fishing and camping days; Cachi, 157 kilometers from Salta; Cuesta del Obispo, on Provincial Route 33; Y; Escoipe Gorge, an agricultural valley of multicolored hill, among others.