Altiplano Tours

High and Mighty

A voyage into the stark beauty of the Andean mountain plateau, in the footsteps of the Inca and the Spanish invaders.
The Argentine Altiplano is part of a 100,000 sq km bowl that starts in Catamarca and stretches up to the Bolivian border, extending into the Salar de Uyuni and the Atacama desert in Chile. Over three days, our Salt & Seven Colours tour gives you a flavour of the mountain plateau, combined with the historic and colourful Quebrada de Humahuaca.

Our longer 4x4 overland Andes tours are rugged adventures taking us close to the borders of Chile and Bolivia, offering incredible wide-open landscapes, like the pumice stone fields of Campo Piedra Pomez, the Cono de Arita pyramid, the sunken landscape of Cusi Cusi’s Valle de la Luna and the river trail of Quebrada de Paicone.

Cono de Arita

Altiplano Tours

Salt & Seven Colours

This trip combines the historic UNESCO site of the Quebrada de Humahuaca with the Salinas Grandes salt flats of the Altiplano mountain plateau.

We can often combine this trip with our Classic Wine route by taking the mountain pass of Abra el Acay, the highest road crossing in the world outside the Himalayas, at just under 5,000m altitude.

from
300 USD

Footsteps of the Conquistadores

A high altitude 4x4 adventure along the old colonial mining route: bringing you into close contact with the Altiplano wildlife of vicuña, flamingoes, and rhea.

This tour combines the must-see highlights of the UNESCO-protected Quebrada de Humahuaca with little-explored sections of the Argentine mountain plateau, close to the border with Bolivia.

from
600 USD
Vineyard La Rioja

Wine and Mountains

A 4WD safari tour of the heart of Argentina’s Andean mountain plateau, combined with the Valles Calchaquies wine region.

It’s combined with a tour of the Valles Calchaquies wine region, where the white grape of Torrontes finds its best expression, and apart from the classic Argentine Malbec, you can also sample Tannat, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Wine lovers should see our Classic Wine route or Salta to Mendoza trip for more details on the sacred grape: either of those trips can be combined with this one.

from
900 USD

Vicuna watering Hole

Join our Altiplano Safari

The inhospitable Puna (“cold land”) of the mountain plateau is home to wild vicuña, condors, rhea, and the only big cat in this environment, the puma: we should at least be lucky enough to see the first three.

The inhospitable Puna (“cold land”) of the mountain plateau is home to wild vicuña, condors, rhea, and the only big cat in this environment, the puma: we should at least be lucky enough to see the first three.

SF pano

Photography tours of the Andean Mountain Plateau

The huge open skies of the Altiplano (“high plain”) provide the perfect backdrop for photographers. And in the remote towns where we stay, we are often far from artificial light, so the starscapes are amazing to behold.

The huge open skies of the Altiplano (“high plain”) provide the perfect backdrop for photographers. And in the remote towns where we stay, we are often far from artificial light, so the starscapes are amazing to behold.

The Salt Trail

For centuries, indigenous miners earned their corn digging crystal salt from high-altitude pools. You’ll now meet ex-workers who, thanks to tourism, carve salt blocks into ornamental llama and cacti, and etch impressive carvings on slates mined from the surrounding hills.

For centuries, indigenous miners earned their corn digging crystal salt from high-altitude pools. You’ll now meet ex-workers who, thanks to tourism, carve salt blocks into ornamental llama and cacti, and etch impressive carvings on slates mined from the surrounding hills.

salt llamas Salinas Grandes

Argentina’s Largest Salt Flats

We carve our way through the Salar de Arizaro, Argentina’s largest salt flats in the Andean Altiplano. They’re home to the monumental Cono de Arita, a giant naturally formed Pyramid of Salt, which was once an important place of worship for local tribes. The silence is broken only by the creak...

We carve our way through the Salar de Arizaro, Argentina’s largest salt flats in the Andean Altiplano. They’re home to the monumental Cono de Arita, a giant naturally formed Pyramid of Salt, which was once an important place of worship for local tribes. The silence is broken only by the creaking of the salt plain as it warms in the 30˚C sun after a night of sub-zero temperatures.

A word on the altitude

The Puna of Salta and Jujuy is a mountain plateau more than 3,000m above sea level. At this height, some people can suffer from apunamiento, or altitude sickness. Symptoms include headaches, fatigue, and dizziness.

The best way to avoid sickness is acclimatisation, so our trips are designed to rise gradually in altitude. It's also advisable to avoid large meals, and too much alcohol or coffee while you're travelling. Most importantly, don’t over-exert yourself, and tell your guide if you’re not feeling well.

Our guide will always have a bag of coca to hand: it's rather an acquired (and bitter) taste, but we recommend you try it. The locals will be impressed, and you'll be taking part in a holy ceremony that has existed for centuries. If you really don't like it, there's always coca tea...