Puna & Humahuaca
Starting in Salta city, we will take the same road than that of the famous Train to the Clouds over El Toro gorge and deep into a nice ravine surrounded by huge mountains and beautiful landscape. Slowly, we will get higher and higher and will see the railroad of the train crossing over bridges and doing an amazing zigzag to get higher. After a few hours, we will stop in Santa Rosa de Tastil, a small village where we can visit a 700 year-old Indian ruins and then, we will continue in our truck, crossing a path of 4000m to arrive in the plateau of Puna region which is at 3500m above sea level. The only place to stop for lunch is San Antonio de Los Cobres city (4000 inhabitants), and then, we can drive to the famous bridge of the Train to the Clouds, if anybody wants, named La Polvorilla, which is located in a remote place. This bridge is 200m long in curve and 70m high from the ground level at 4200m above sea level. This bridge is still part of Salta symbols during advertisement campaigns. Returning to San Antonio de Los Cobres, we will continue our trip to north direction over the old Route 40 getting into Jujuy Province. There, we will see one of the highlights of this trip: Salinas Grandes. Believe it or not, this is a huge salt flat of pure salt compacted and concentrated after million years of geologic process where the salt soil from all the mountains around drained the water to the lower part of the valley and then, thanks to the sun evaporation and insulation, the salt is like we can see it today. After visiting the salt flat, we will continue driving towards the east, climbing again another mountain crossing at 4170m; and then, we will drive down on the road known as Cuesta de Lipán and will get to Purmamarca village, famous for its seven colors hill and then, we will drive 15 minutes more to get to the place where we will spend the night: Tilcara village.
Declared as World heritage by UNESCO, Humahuaca gorge is a special area where we can see the merger of culture and nature. In Tilcara, we will visit the ruins of Pucará de Tilcara and the Archeological Museum of the site with the same ticket (not included in the price). After that, the street markets of handicrafts along the main square are very interesting to see. Only 30 minutes away from Tilcara, we can drive up to the city of the same name of the gorge: Humahuaca, where we can visit the historic town with a nice and old Church (1692), the town hall building and the Indian monument. Then, at the difference of the 2 days trip, we will continue driving up to the north and we will get into the high mountains on a gravel road again, crossing a small village on the way, which was built on the river bed called Iturbe and we will cross another path of 4000m (Salta Province again). We will go down into an amazing landscape of a deep canyon where there are a lot of farms on the way and at the end of the road Iruya village is located (1200 inhabitants), which was built on a very steep part of the mountain.
Once in Iruya, we will stay at a Hostería which is very comfortable and has a nice view of the canyon as well as good food.
We will get up in the morning, have breakfast and begin our return journey to Salta city, taking the same road to Humahuaca, Tilcara and then Purmamarca where we can have lunch. Then, we will start to drive down into the lowest valleys of Jujuy where its capital city is, and we will take a road surrounded by an area of subtropical forest with lush vegetation that makes a huge contrast with the last journeys over the high desert of Puna de Atacama region.
Estimated time of arrival in Salta city: 6:00 PM.