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Bienviendos a Argentina! Upon arrival into the international airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel where the rest of the day can be spent at leisure.
This morning enjoy a guided city tour taking in the Neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral, the unusual dusty pink Government House and the history-packed Plaza de Mayo. Head to the neighbourhood of San Telmo where street performers gather to display the sensuous dance of tango, and continue to La Boca, a colourful suburb popular with local artists. Wander the attractive streets of Palermo until you reach Recoleta and the famous cemetery of the same name. This evening we have included a spectacular Tango Evening with dinner.
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to the colonial city of Salta in the northwest of Argentina. An appealing mix of festive atmosphere and handsome architecture, Salta sits between two rivers with steep, rippling mountains off in the distance. Rest of the day is free. Why not head to one of the lively peñas, informal folk-music clubs where you can usually enjoy dinner and drink.
Founded in 1694, the charming village of Cachi features whitewashed streets branching off the delightful Plaza Mayor with the permanently snow-capped peak of Nevado del Cachi providing a spectacular backdrop. Visit the pretty church with a roof made from cactus wood, the anthropological museum and the craft market. The drive here is as picturesque as the village and along the way you’ll pass quaint little towns and old Inca roads, entering the desert land of Cardones National Park also.
This morning follow the Quebrada del Toro gorge to the pre-Inca city of Santa Rosa de Tastil, home to some of the most important ruins in the region. Continue to a pass of 4,080m above sea level and stop for lunch at the small town of San Antonio de Los Cobres. Route 40 brings you to the Salinas Grandes, a glistening expanse of salt-flats ringed by mountains on all sides. Downwards along the zig-zagged Cuesta de Lipan, one of the region’s most dramatic roads, you might be lucky enough to spot condors cruising on the air thermals. Arrive in the tiny, picturesque village of Purmamarca.
Spend the morning touring Purmamarca and its tranquil main square, pretty 17th century church and the famous Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colours) so called for the candy stripes of shades that mark the dramatic bluff of rock. Continue to the town of Tilcara to visit the local pucará, ruinous fortifications originally built by native Andean cultures. Cross the Tropic of Capricorn at Huacalera and head to the town of Uquía to see the beautiful paintings hanging in the Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula. From here it is a short journey through brilliant gorge scenery to the town of Humahuaca and on pass the striking La Paleta del Pintor (Painter’s Palette), sloping mountains banded with hues of pink and burgundy. Return to Salta.
Touring of Argentina’s rugged northwest continues with a scenic drive to Cafayate, the centre of the region’s wine industry. Traversing the Lerma Valley and historical towns along the way, stop at Shell’s Gorge where wind and water have eroded curious shapes into the rocks.
Spend the day exploring Cafayate your own way. Visit Cafayate’s high-altitude vineyards and enjoy wine tasting at a local bodega or set off on bike or horseback and soak up the surrounding scenery.
Departing Cafayate continue south to the attractive village of Tafí del Valle. Along the way stop at the ruins of Quilmes, one of the most extensively restored pre-Inca archaeological sites in the country. The fortified citadel was built by the Quilmes Indians, an indigenous tribe who fiercely resisted the Inca invasions of the 15th century and the Spanish invasions 130 years later. Explore the terraced fortifications and the site museum.
Spend the day at leisure. Perhaps trek in the surrounding mountains or sample Tafí’s delicious cow’s and goat’s cheeses at one of the small farms or stalls that dot the town.
After breakfast transfer to the airport in Tucuman for your flight back to Buenos Aires. The afternoon is free for last-minute souvenir shopping.
Your unique journey comes to an end after breakfast and hotel check out. We’ll transfer you to the airport for your onward departure journey, bidding you a fond farewell.