Exploring Argentina’s Northern Realm


With surreal landscapes that beckon the hiker, classic colonial towns, and a proud cultural heritage, the provinces of northern Argentina are utterly intriguing. We’ve woven together the many strands that make this region so captivating on a journey that will bring you from the beautifully preserved colonial city of Salta to the renowned Calchaqui Valley, home to the highest vineyards in the world, to dreamy Cachi, and the extraordinary “painted mountains” of Purmamarca. Our hikes and explorations will lead to ancient ruins, into wind-sculpted canyons with towering red-rock formations, across shimmering salt pans, and into isolated valleys suspended in time. Along the way we’ll learn how to make savory empanadas at a private estancia, sample elegant vintages with a winemaker, and enjoy historic inns and estancias filled with character. Join Trip Leader Rob Noonan for an adventure into the incredible vistas, culture, and cuisine of this enchanting corner of Argentina.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2

In Salta’s well-preserved colonial capital, we enjoy a private viewing of rare 14th century Inca mummies and hike in the montane forest of the Reserva Finca Las Costas.

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Days 3-5
Vineyards of Calchaqui / Cafayate

The wine town of Cafayate is stunning, with the snowy peaks of the Andes rising beyond the vineyards. Our vineyard walk with a geologist-winemaker unlocks the secrets of this unique terroir, and we’ll sample the aromatic Torrontés and spicy Bonarda, specialties of the region. We hike up to Yesera for panoramas across the multicolored hills of the high desert, visit a ceramicist’s studio to try our hand at the wheel, and hike through the ruins of the ancient city of Quilmes.

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Days 6-8
Quebrada de las Flechas / Cuevas de Acsibi / Cachi

Traveling the iconic Ruta 40 highway, we explore the Canyon of the Arrows, an incredible rampart below the desert sky, and the adobe village of Cachi, set below snow-capped Nevado de Cachi (20,931'). Amid towering red walls where condors nest, our hike to the Cuevas de Acsibi takes us through a spellbinding world of orange sandstone to a hidden cave illuminated by a shaft of sunlight. From our estancia, we’ll hike up through a wonderland of giant cardon, the tree-sized cactus of the high desert.

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Days 9-13
Private Estancia / Purmamarca / Salinas Grandes / Salta

Our route crosses an 11,000-foot pass into the Valle Encantado and our private estancia. A new landscape unfolds as we enter Jujuy Province and discover Purmamarca’s striking mountains, with their layers of color. We’ll even hike across the gleaming white Salinas Grandes, with blue skies above and red mountains all around. We return to Salta on the historic Yunga Road and depart on Day 13.

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Hike and explore the incredible red-rock canyons and salt deserts of northern Argentina
Walk in a historic vineyard with a winemaker, meet a potter in his studio, learn to make empanadas
Savor fine Argentinean wines at some of the highest vineyards in the world
Overnights in colonial inns and historic estancias


Length: 13 days
Cost From: $7295  
Arrive: Salta, Argentina
Depart: Salta, Argentina
Lodging: 12 nights hotels and haciendas
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Moderate day hikes, 2-5 hours a day, cultural exploration, altitudes between 3,700-8,300 feet