History Tours

Inca and Colonial Heritage

We follow old colonial trails packed with history from the time of the Spanish empire and delve into the indigenous roots of Argentina.
The multi-coloured canyon of the Quebrada de Humahuaca north of Salta was gouged out of the landscape with the eruption of the Andes between 12 and 15 million years ago, and it developed into an essential link in the Spanish colonial route between Lima, the capital of Peru, and Buenos Aires on the Rio de la Plata.

All our trips north pass through here, on the way to the Bolivian border. Our longer 4x4 excursions follow the trails of indigenous tribes who crossed from the Andean salt flats in the west to the Yungas Cloud Forest in the east.

Route 40

History Tours

Duration
2 days
Group Size
1 to 4

Essential Humahuaca

Combine the highlights of the colourful Quebrada de Humahuaca with the other-wordly Salinas Grandes salt flats in the Argentina Altiplano.

Rich in indigenous culture and colonial history, the old trade route from Buenos Aires to Lima features the Seven Coloured Hill of Purmamarca, and Hornocal's lesser known sierra of Fourteen Colours.

A side-trip to appreciate the immensity of the Salinas Grandes salt flats makes this one of the most diverse two day trips available from Salta or San Salvador de Jujuy.

Click here to view map route.

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$250
Duration
6 days
Group Size
1 to 3

Footsteps of the Conquistadores

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

This excursion combines the must-see highlights of the UNESCO-protected Quebrada de Humahuaca with little-explored sections of the Argentine mountain plateau.

Far from artificial light, enjoy the breathtaking night sky in remote hamlets places like Yavi and Santa Catalina, close to the border with Bolivia.

Click here to view map route.

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$900
Duration
4 days
Group Size
1 to 4

Fourteen Colours & Cloud Forest

Hike Argentina’s Inca trail, linking two completely different eco-systems, the dry canyon of Humahuaca and the Cloud Forest of Calilegua.

We take a narrow mountain road which was only finally completed in October 2019, tracing the footsteps of Inca explorers of northwest Argentina from the 15th century.

This trip can be extended to include a visit to the gorgeous mountain town of Iruya and the historic settlement of Yavi on the Bolivian frontier.

Available April to November.

Click here to view map route.

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$500
Duration
6 days
Group Size
Up to 4

Mountains to Cloud Forest trekking

This is one of our most challenging north west Argentina hiking trips, recommended only for experienced trekkers: covering 58km over four days, we climb to an altitude of 4,200m, gradually descending to 1,325m, following the contours of mountain tracks along the way.

This hike offers a complete change in eco-system during four days: starting in the mountains which enfold the Quebrada de Humahuaca, we descend into the Yungas Cloud Forest of the east, following the trail of indigenous traders who travelled between the salt flats and the sub-tropical jungle.

There is an extraordinary range of landscape in these four days, and a warm welcome for modern hikers from the families in the refuges where we sleep overnight.

Available April to November.

Pukara Tilcara

Explore Ancient Ruins

The old Spanish supply route is peppered with history from the past thousand years, including colonial churches fashioned from adobe and cactus-wood, one of the few remaining Spanish forts, and pre-Inca pukaras at Tilcara and Tastil.

The old Spanish supply route is peppered with history from the past thousand years, including colonial churches fashioned from adobe and cactus-wood, one of the few remaining Spanish forts, and pre-Inca pukaras at Tilcara and Tastil.

Camino Inca

Argentina’s Inca trail

On our Fourteen Colours and Cloud Forest trip, we hike a well-preserved stretch of the Camino Inca which linked the jungle with the mountain plateau to the north and valleys of the Quebrada de Humahuaca to the west. It’s part of the Inca trail network of routes that once crossed the continent.<

On our Fourteen Colours and Cloud Forest trip, we hike a well-preserved stretch of the Camino Inca which linked the jungle with the mountain plateau to the north and valleys of the Quebrada de Humahuaca to the west. It’s part of the Inca trail network of routes that once crossed the continent.

Route 40 and Camioneta

4x4 Adventures

The rugged open spaces of the mountain plateau invite contemplation of our ancestors, who crossed the Andes on foot or on horseback, dug salt in 30C-plus temperatures and carved their way through sub-tropical jungle. Happily, we have air-conditioned 4x4s.

The rugged open spaces of the mountain plateau invite contemplation of our ancestors, who crossed the Andes on foot or on horseback, dug salt in 30C-plus temperatures and carved their way through sub-tropical jungle. Happily, we have air-conditioned 4x4s.

Valle de la Luna

Multi-coloured canyons

The UNESCO-protected site of the Quebrada de Humahuaca is famous for the Seven Coloured Hill of Purmamarca, and the Fourteen Colours of Hornocal. Another spectacular place is Valle de la Luna, part of our high altitude Footsteps of the Conquistadores adventure tracing old Spanish mining routes.

The UNESCO-protected site of the Quebrada de Humahuaca is famous for the Seven Coloured Hill of Purmamarca, and the Fourteen Colours of Hornocal. Another spectacular place is Valle de la Luna, part of our high altitude Footsteps of the Conquistadores adventure tracing old Spanish mining routes.

A word on the history

Northern Argentina has been a hub of historical importance for centuries, in pre-Inca and Inca times, for the Spanish empire, and during the struggle for Independence. It's home to some fine colonial churches and forts, as well as pre-Hispanic ruins dating back to the 11th century.

As you might expect, historical sites in northern Argentina related to the War of Independence 200 years ago are well-preserved and promoted. As Argentines come to value their indigenous culture, pre-Hispanic sites (including Argentina's Inca Trail) are also now much better conserved, and often curated by descendants of the original tribes themselves. All these sites are set against the backdrop of some of the most mesmerisingly beautiful landscapes imaginable.

When you're planning your tour to Argentina, don't hesitate to get in touch.