Salta & Atacama
The northwest is one of Argentina’s least visited regions – a true hidden gem tucked into the shadow of the Andes. In this forgotten corner, imposing red valleys, vast salt flats, and puffing volcanoes create a surprising landscape of contrasts against impenetrable jungles. It is a step back in time, a place where the smell of local empanadas wafts down the cobbled streets of Incan towns, and markets are laden with woolen garments made from the soft fleece of alpacas.
Salta is the capital of the region, a pretty and cultured colonial city steeped in Incan traditions. With a stunning cathedral, leafy squares, and good museums, most choose to stay a while before setting off to explore the landscape. And what a landscape it is. Adobe villages and small Jesuit chapels spread along unpaved roads and sacred valleys. Indigenous llamas, alpacas and vicuñas wander the dusty landscape, where both giant cacti and patches of vineyards thrive in the blistering sun.
Driving the Valles Calchaquies from Salta to Cayafate is one of the most rewarding experiences in the region. Allow Oyikil Travel to arrange a comfortable multi-day tour which takes in the ever-changing landscape, from flat tobacco plantations to cloud forests, up into the altiplano, past forests of cacti, and deep red canyons. At night, the cloudless skies erupt into a burst of starlight, in some of the best star-gazing on the continent.