Footsteps of the Conquistadores

Trip Highlights

Description

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.

Tour info

Duration
6 days
Group Size
1 to 4
Price starts at
600 USD pp
Languages
English, Spanish
Meeting Point

To be discussed upon booking

Dropoff location

To be discussed upon booking

Why take this tour?

We head north from Salta to San Salvador de Jujuy, following the old mountain road between these two historic cities, before climbing into the Quebrada de Humahuaca. This is the old Spanish supply route from Buenos Aires to Lima, and it’s replete with history from the past milennium. The Inca adapted an 11th century indigenous hill settlement at Tilcara, the pukara fort. When the Spanish arrived, they built churches, including Uquia’s San Francisco which has some rare and startling artwork. A Spanish fort at Hornillos has been converted into a museum dedicated to the War of Independence, much of which was fought up and down the Quebrada de Humahuaca two centuries ago.

 

After passing through the relatively heavily populated Quebrada, we rise in altitude into the Puna, the mountain plateau of northern Argentina, through the colourful limestone rockscape of Tres Cruces, and visit the town of Abra Pampa, which remains to this day a hub for indigenous trade in llama, salt blocks, quinoa, and sweetcorn.

 

One of our overnight stops is Yavi, close to the Bolivian border, home to a 17th-century church and an old colonial house with an extraordinary history. At nearby Laguna Colorado there are petroglyph rock paintings from hunter-gatherer times. We also stay in arguably the oldest settlement in Argentina, Santa Catalina (founded in 1547), gateway to Laguna de los Pozuelos, a high altitude Altiplano lagoon that is home to 44 species of birds, including a colony of 25,000 flamingoes.

 

From here we take the classic Route 40, which links Argentina from north to the south along more than 5,000km, through some of the most remote parts of the country, many of them old and existing mining settlements like Pirquitas, Susques, and San Antonio de los Cobres: the latter is where the famous Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) makes its journey. We return to Salta through the Quebrada del Toro, visiting the pre-hispanic ruins of Tastil, and can also take a walk of two or three hours along a little-known section of the Inca trail.

Included

  • Local Tour Guide

  • Own Private Vehicle

Excluded

  • Food

  • Water

Things to know

Your Budget

Argentina has a parallel economy in which the official rate of the dollar is roughly half its real value. What that means is you need to leave your bank cards for emergencies and bring US$ or euros in cash which we can change into pesos for your everyday expenses. You’ll find Salta city is a lo...

Argentina has a parallel economy in which the official rate of the dollar is roughly half its real value. What that means is you need to leave your bank cards for emergencies and bring US$ or euros in cash which we can change into pesos for your everyday expenses. You’ll find Salta city is a lot cheaper than Buenos Aires, and your holiday in Argentina is even better value once we take you on the road on one of our trips. Read our guide to the "Blue Dollar" here.

Covid-19

Our tour company conforms to national guidelines on Covid-19. Social distancing of 1.5m is recommended, and the use of protective hand masks is mandatory in enclosed public areas. Within our vehicles (normally 4x4 pick-ups), we will provide masks and sanitizer, and temperature checks for travelle...

Our tour company conforms to national guidelines on Covid-19. Social distancing of 1.5m is recommended, and the use of protective hand masks is mandatory in enclosed public areas. Within our vehicles (normally 4x4 pick-ups), we will provide masks and sanitizer, and temperature checks for travellers during our trips. Transportation vehicles and all equipment are regularly sanitized between use.

Accommodation & Food

Double rooms at the privately owned B&Bs and small hotels we work with start from US$50 per night. You can eat well in some of the simple rustic places we use where you will be rubbing shoulders with the locals for less than US$10 per person. And splashing out on a three-course meal with wine...

Double rooms at the privately owned B&Bs and small hotels we work with start from US$50 per night. You can eat well in some of the simple rustic places we use where you will be rubbing shoulders with the locals for less than US$10 per person. And splashing out on a three-course meal with wine in a smart restaurant is unlikely to set you back more than US$50 for a couple.

Pricing

Below are our daily rates for Argentina holidays, all with your own private vehicle and English-speaking guide. Prices are per person excluding food and accommodation:

One person - US$350
Two people - US$200
Three people- US$150
Four people (one vehicle) - US$125
Fo...

Below are our daily rates for Argentina holidays, all with your own private vehicle and English-speaking guide. Prices are per person excluding food and accommodation:

One person - US$350
Two people - US$200
Three people- US$150
Four people (one vehicle) - US$125
Four people (two vehicles) - US$200

Prices are per person and valid until 31 December 2022

Contact us for discounts on trips during May and June.

Group Size

We operate with comfortable 4x4s which can accommodate up to four people, but if you’re travelling with a larger group, please contact us and we will see what we can arrange.

We operate with comfortable 4x4s which can accommodate up to four people, but if you’re travelling with a larger group, please contact us and we will see what we can arrange.

Inquire about this trip now