Salta, Argentina

Where are you starting from?

To deeply explore Salta, we created a tailor-made journey over The Andes called Travesía

The following itinerary spans 9 days and 8 nights

Day 1: Arrival in San Pedro de Atacama

We will welcome you at Calama’s airport and take you to explora Atacama, located in the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, at 2,500 m.a.s.l.

Days 2 & 3: Exploring the desert

During two days, we shall get to know the surprising wilderness and cultural wealth of the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world. Bicycle tours, horseback riding outings, and trekking of various levels of difficulty, all of them designed with expertise and care, will present our travelers with a vital experience of connecting with and discovering the surroundings and the atacameño culture.The hotel itself is located in lands which used to belong to old local families, and they have been preserved in time just as they were organized by their original dwellers. A small oasis in itself, with leafy trees and soft meadows, with a view that seems endless and faces our destination, the altiplano and the Cordillera de los Andes.

Day 4: Towards the mountain

We shall begin our journey through the high mountain early in the morning, traveling towards the South-East to the border with Argentina. After a few hours by car, our first highlands exploration shall begin towards the salt-pan known as Salar de Aguas Calientes and Tuyajto Lagoon. Walking above the 4,000 meters, we shall cross fabulous landscapes of salt-pans, mountains and volcanoes, all of them boasting ever-changing colors that will introduce us into the unique and secret beauty of this highlands’ region.By dusk, we will reach our shelter, El Laco, one of the highest and most isolated in our journey, located in one of the old commercial routes of the region. Its solitude and minuteness amid such an ample setting will remind us of the pioneers who travelled these lands, sleeping under a star-spangled sky and waking up to a furiously red-pink-and-yellow sunrise.

Day 5: Crossing to Argentina

Hinging on the interest and ability of each traveler, during the morning we may trek towards the top of the Laco Volcano (5,300 m.a.s.l.) or choose a quieter walk following the trail of some old trooping route.By noon we will set off for Argentina through the crossing at Sico, a unique place in this area in which the mountains completely dominate the scene. Taking a few steps away from the customs office and losing oneself in this seemingly-endless space is a gift we may seldom be presented with. Breathe in deeply, close your eyes, and get ready for the sinuous journey that has only just started. The Andes wait, as do the countless marvels we will encounter along the way.We follow our travel through Abra del Acay, a zone that has been declared a natural monument and considered one of the highest highways in the world, with its 5,061 m.a.s.l. at its highest point. It is here, as well, where the mythical Ruta Nacional 40 that crosses Argentina North to South runs, and where the Calchaquí River is born, running down from the cold and dry mountains to the valley rich in thawing-waters, green agricultural fields and reddish hills.Late in the evening we shall reach our second encampment, La Quesera, a group of stone cabins lost amid the mountains that now let us plunge into the life and standpoint of the shepherds of this mountain range, the peacefulness and silence in which they live their day to day and, also, the joy and simplicity with which they welcome the few visitors that stop to greet them.Also there to greet us, will be our explora team. They will be our guides and cooks for the remaining part of the journey. Remoteness is no excuse; we shall enjoy a delicious dinner paired with great Argentinean wine.

Day 6: Always in the mountain

A morning stroll through the surroundings of La Quesera will leave us full of stamina to then go down through the valley towards La Poma, a traditional mountain village that focuses on goat and sheep breeding at 3,000 m.a.s.l.From there we will work our way up to the crater of one of the Volcanes Gemelos [Twin Volcanoes] to reach at dusk the oldest village in the Calchaqui Valley, Cachi, which in the Quechua language, that of the Incas, means “salt” .The ranch Finca Rancagua is located 8 k South of Cachi. It is a highlands’ hacienda located between Calchaquí River and its ample ravines, which on a daily basis presents us with magnificent vistas of the valley and the surrounding mountains. We shall stay here for 3 nights, enjoying the fabulous Argentinean cuisine, naps that will recharge our energy, and of course various explorations to the surroundings.

Day 7 & 8: Valles Calchaquíes (Calchaqui River Valleys)

We will hike through the intricate Calchaquíes Valleys and through Finca Rancagua, which boasts 5,000 hectares. The landscape shall be mountainous and semi-dry, and we shall encounter countless rock formations sculpted by the wind, besides cool freshwater courses that run down from the mountains to mix themselves with the salty waters of the Calchaquí River.Crossing through agricultural dwellings and various types of crops, we shall visit ruins, archeological sites and rock-painting sites of the native Calchaquíes indians. We shall also approach the Nevado de Cachi, with 6,380 m.a.s.l., the highest summit in the region.We will end each day by the fire, in a pleasant conversation that will accompany the silver-strickendusks and a soft breeze that will take to us the aromas of faraway lands, barbecued meats and wool.

Day 9: Journey to Salta

Another wonder will welcome us on our ninth day of journey: the Cuesta del Obispo [Bishop’s Slope], a sinuous route that meanders downhill along cliffs and precipices. All year round, from its top, it is possible to see different cloud formations suspended halfway through the road and condors flying over the area a few meters from our heads. We shall also catch a glimpse of the agricultural valley and its multi-colored hills.From here, we shall take off towards Salta, located at 1,200 m.a.s.l. Salta, one of Argentina’s oldest colonial cities, has a pleasant climate. We shall reach the city a little after midday.Depending on the time of your flight, we may have lunch or take you to the airport. If you choose to visit Salta, we may drop you off at the hotel of your choice.

The following itinerary spans 9 days and 8 nights

Day 1

We meet in Salta and travel to Cachi.

Days 2 & 3

Exploring the Calchaquíes Valleys.

Day 4

To the highlands of Cachi (Volcanes Gemelos and outing in La Quesera).

Day 5

Crossing to Chile. In the afternoon we will hike up the volcano or do some high-altitude trekking. El Laco camp.

Day 6

In the mountain. We arrive in San Pedro de Atacama.

Day 7 & 8

explora Atacama

Day 9

Departure from San Pedro de Atacama.

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