From the very cold high Andes to the sub-tropical jungle, with mountains and fertile sun-drenched valleys in between, North West Argentina holidays really do have it all... minus hordes of visitors, as it has been slow to establish itself on the tourist trail. The city of Salta was founded in 1582 and still has a distinct Hispanic character with its colonial houses and churches surrounded by hills. An attractive place for a luxury holiday in its own right, with several delightful boutique hotels, appealing bars and restaurants around its main square, and panoramic views from Saint Bernard Hill,
it is also the base for explorations into the surrounding area. Northwards lies the Humahuaca Gorge and the pretty village of Purmamarca, with its famous Hills of Seven Colours. Several hours' drive south of Salta through spectacular gorges and valleys is the town of Cafayate, located in an area renowned for its wine production. Claiming to be some of the highest vineyards in the world, at over 6,000ft above seal level, the wineries benefit from strong sunshine and big differences in day and night temperatures, producing outstanding results which you must sample while there, although the majority is produced for export. En-route between Salta and Cafayate, you will pass through spectacular Andean scenery such as the Quebrada (gorge) de Las Conchas, with colourful and unusual sandstone rock formations; part desert, part lunar.
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Our Argentine experience was great, thank you for all your hard work. Buenos Aires was an amazing city, we had a wonderful guide and the Tango, I know a bit of a tourist trap, but it was terrific. We were most impressed by the level of professionalism. Both hotels were perfect. Glacier was also simply perfect.
North West Argentina holidays suit travellers dreaming of wide open spaces, magical landscapes and limitless skies (so, everyone). If history and culture are your passion, picture yourself lingering in fascinating adobe (mud-brick) villages, or admiring the architecture of colonial towns set back from the flow of tourists. For photographers and arty types, the heavens don’t get more picturesque than the incredible flaming red skies of Argentina and nature’s flamboyance doesn’t stop there, with vivid emerald forests, crystal lakes and soaring gorges to marvel at. Got a taste for adventure? At the base of the magnificent Andes there’s the chance to jump into an array of action sports, from hiking and mountain biking to climbing and white water rafting. Or if you prefer things a little more low-key, explore some of the many magnificent wineries in the region, learn about the subtleties of Argentinian wine and savour every last drop.
What can you find in North West Argentina that you won’t find anywhere else?
Argentina’s legendary National Route 40 road, also known as Ruta 40, is the country’s longest road. It stretches from Cabo Vi´rgenes in the south and meanders up to the northernmost point of the mainland, Cie´naga, on the Bolivian border. It winds through eleven provinces, twenty national parks and across 24 rivers. Here you can embark on a road trip to end all road trips; cruise past the incredible UNESCO-accredited Talampaya National Park and its giant burnt red rock formations and it feels like you’re on another planet. Cross Ischigualasto Provincial Park, known as The Valley of the Moon due to its lunar-like rock formations, and you’re immersed into a geological gem of a landscape surrounded by massive rock sculptures and some of the world’s oldest dinosaur remains.
Special things to do in North West Argentina
North West Argentina holidays are all about letting go of your expectations and diving into the unexpected. The mammoth beauty of the mountains and valleys in this part of the world lend themselves to an intense feeling of freedom and the slowing down of time. Take a road trip with the silhouette of the Argentine Andes looming overhead, stop in a mud village and observe the peaceful way of life, view incredible geological formations and feel the fresh, pure air on your skin. North West Argentina holidays are filled with the sort of experiences that will give you a dizzying sense of life and perspective.