The Andean Northwest

25. Jan – 2. Feb 2019

Having arrived in Salta, we did the check-in at our hostel La Salamanca, took a shower, and slowly began feeling like human beings again after 20 hours on the bus… Then it was time to get something for lunch – at Rey Carancho where we got a great menu deal (bread + main plate + dessert + lemonade) which was delicious. Afterwards, we took a stroll in the city center which is declared to be the most beautiful one in colonial style in whole Argentina, and then climbed San Bernardo hill with a great view over the city.

The next morning, we had to get up early in order to take the bus to Humahuaca where we were taken by a taxi driver to the 14-colored-mountain Hornocal – a truly amazing view! Our hostel Alojamiento El Cardon (Don’t stay there – the owner tries to trick you, turns off the wifi, and locks the kitchen at night) was situated in Tilcara. In this cute little town in the middle of the mountains, I climbed the Cerro de la Cruz and bumped into the first carnival parade – what a spectacle it was! 🙂

The next day, we went to Iruya, a town amidst the giant Quebreda, where we did our first more requesting hike to the Mirador de los Condores. What a breathtaking view we had on top of the mountain! Afterwards, I went to the river and did a second, smaller hike to the Mirador de la Cruz. That night, we stayed in Tilcara again, but this time in the hostel Tierra Andina near the terminal.

In the early morning, we took the first bus (5:35 am) to Purmamarca in order to see the sun rise at the Hill of Seven Colors. It was an amazing view and definitely worth postponing breakfast to this spot where we were all by ourselves. Afterwards, we went to the Salinas Grandes, Argentina’s salt desert where it is possible to take funny photos.

Having taken a Bus to Yuyui and then to Salta, we finally had been able to board the one to Cafayate and arrived there in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, we were warmly welcomed at our hostel Lo de Chichi (definitely one of the most idyllic hostels ever with lovely people, a wonderful garden, and a very reasonable price). The next morning, after we’ve had breakfast under the grapevines, we went to the goat farm passing huge vineyards on our way. In the afternoon, we took a walk though the city and then went on a tour to the Quebrada de las Conchas – an amazing sight with its colorful rock formations. At night, we had a BBQ in the hostel garden and in the morning, we went to one of the vineyards for a tasting before boarding the bus to Tucuman where we entered the night bus to Mendoza.

In Mendoza, we had a bed in Hostel Suites which was great for a very low price. On the day of our arrival, we just took a stroll through the city and the huge city park San Martin where we even got a free ride by the police since it apparently was not as safe as we thought it would be… The next day, we had booked a tour to the Andes with Backpackers Travel: first, we visited the two towns Potrerillos and Uspallata, then the huge ski area Penitentes (of course, there was nobody during Summer). One of the highlights was the Inca Bridge which just looked like in a fairy tale with all its natural colors. Afterwards, it was time to at least set foot to the area directly next to the highest mountain outside Asia: the Aconcagua (6.961m). There, we did a small hike in the national park passing lagoons and enjoying the views before our last stop was Las Cuevas, a village situated just 2km away from the border to Chile. On our last day in Mendoza, we finally went to Maipu, where most vineyards are situated, despite heavy rain… There, we got a private free tour at Bodega Lopez which was great since it finished not just with a small tasting but six glasses of wine for each of us at the bar.

Being already a littly tipsy, we took a taxi from the hostel to the airport, flew to Buenos Aires where we had a delicious BBQ and a few drinks with Franco, Emiliano (You should definitely check out his brand BORN TO TRAVEL!), and Martin before we had to catch our flight to Ushuaia at 4:35 am in the morning.

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