Colors of Northwest Argentina

Savor the region’s vivid terrain and culture

  • Salta’s exquisitely preserved colonial center and impressive archaeological museum
  • The Calchaquíes Valley’s mineral-tinged rock walls in reds, purples, and greens
  • Hiking, horseback riding, and wine tasting near the colonial village of Cachi
Argentina with GeoEx
Trip Type: Sample Itinerary
Trip Length: 8 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour, Day Hiking, Horseback Riding, Food and Wine
Trip Extensions: Argentina & Chile Extensions

Argentina’s sere and volcano-dotted north, on the other side of the Andes from the Atacama Desert, is little known and less traveled—always a good reason to go exploring. Other reasons: The villages are remote and inviting, and the red-rock canyons breathtaking.

Start out with a taste of Buenos Aires before flying north to Salta, just on the edge of the high country. Then continue by road, passing through the brilliantly colored hills and ochre-kissed gorges of Quebrada de las Conchas en route to Cafayate. After reaching the tiny colonial village of Cachi, enjoy a couple days of hiking and horseback riding, as well as wine tasting at Colomé, the region’s acclaimed estancia. From here you travel through the cactus-studded landscapes of Los Cordones National Park back to Salta, one of Latin America’s best-preserved colonial cities.

Have a little more time? We recommend extending your trip north to the province of Jujuy, which hugs the edge of the Atacama Desert. Discover the area's rich pre-Hispanic traditions and otherworldly scenery. The town of Purmamarca, situated in the shadow of the vivid Hill of Seven Colors, beckons with its serene adobe ambiance, vendor-filled plaza, and exquisite colonial iglesia. Then wend your way up to the salt flats and extraterrestrial landscapes of the puna, gazing at snowcapped, volcanic behemoths like Cachi and Llullaillaco.

Argentina tour map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive Buenos Aires
  • Day 2: fly to Salta, drive to Cafayate
  • Days 3 & 4: on to Cachi; hiking, horseback riding, and wine tasting
  • Day 5: return to Salta via Los Cordones National Park
  • Day 6: tour Salta
  • Day 7: fly to Buenos Aires, evening at your leisure
  • Day 8: depart.

  • Purmamarca and Atacama Desert Extension:
  • Days 8 & 9: Purmamarca and Quebrada de Humahuaca
  • Day 10: drive to San Pedro de Atacama, visit Salinas Grandes salt flats en route
  • Days 11 & 12: exploring moonscapes, sand dunes, geysers, salt flats, and desert lagoons
  • Day 13: fly to Santiago to connect with international flight home.