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Destinations

Full Tolar Grande

Full Tolar Grande

In the Argentine Altiplano or Argentine Puna , right in the middle of the majestic Andes Range, there is a small village surrounded by amazing and out of this world landscape… it’s called Tolar Grande. In this 4 days itinerary we will focus on this particular área of the huge and extensive Argentine Puna.

4 DAYS - 4X4 VEHICLE - WALKS - NATURE - PHOTOGRAPHY

One of the tallest volcanoes in the world, Mt Llullaillaco at 6.739m, was the site where a 1999 expedition recovered 3 Inca children offered in sacrifice 500 years ago. The Children of  Llullaillaco as they are known today are considered to be the best preserved mummies in the world. The Puna around Tolar Grande has the most beautiful and intense blue sky so it’s a great time to explore the region’s mountains, but the magic doesn’t end there. At night this area has the cleanest and clearest night sky in the country, making it perfect for star gazing. No wonder many astronomers call the observatory at nearby Cerro Macon home. The Tolar Grande greater area, is inhabited by many wild species. Among those, several thousand Vicunas live a carefree existence soaking in the sun while feeding. Other species such as Pink Flamingoes are summer residents only but it is not only the fauna attracting scientists to this remote corner of Argentina. They come to do research on stromatolites forming at an altitude of 3500m in the numerous alkaline lagoons of this region resembling early phase of life evolution on Earth. This magnificent land is surrounded by the largest salt flat in the country, Salar de Arizaro and mysterious Cono de Arita (a natural oddity) together they are a photographer’s dream come true.

ABBREVIATED ITINERARY

Day 1 – Salta / San Antonio de los Cobres / Tolar Grande. Quebrada del Toro, San Antonio de los Cobres, Viaducto La Polvorilla, Abra de Chorrillos, Salar de Pocitos, Los Colorados, Los Laberintos, Desierto del Diablo, Siete Curvas, Tolar Grande. Elevation 3500m.

Day 2 – Tolar Grande / Cono de Arita / Tolar Grande Ojos de Mar (Reserva de Stromatolite’s reserve), Laguna Santa Maria ( pink flamingoes), Cono de Arita, Tolar Grande. Elevation 3500m

Day 3. Tolar Grande / Mina Casualidad / Tolar Grande – Salar de Arizaro, Mina Casualidad, Mina Julia (providing it isn’t snowing), Estación Caipe, Tolar Grande. Elevation 3500m.

Day 4. Tolar Grande / Salar de Santa Rosa de Pastos Grandes / Salta – Santa Rosa de Pastos Grandes Salt Flat, Abra del Gallo, San Antonio de los Cobres, Ruinas de Tastil, Salta. Elevation 1200m

Itinerary
DETAILS OF OUR SERVICES

Guides - Our guides are professionals with years of experience, skills and deep understanding and knowledge of this region. They were handpicked and carefully selected among the best. They have excellent people skills and a true commitment to share and pass on our culture. They are very sensible and great at generating unforgettable memories.

Transportation – all our programs make use of 4x4 vehicles. The vehicles are properly licensed and approved by CNRT (National Transport Regulating Commitee) and properly insured. Any of our vehicles can seat up to 4 travelers plus a guide who is also the driver. On board we have a satellite phone for emergencies, a VHF radio, an oxigen tube and mask and a first aid kit.

Accomodations – The region and every village or town have different categories of places to stay. Equipa Tu Aventura will always proceed to book reservations according to guests preferences and availability at every destination.

Meals – Generaly we eat our meals at restaurants or simple dinners in towns or villages where they offer these services and we will have picnics or packed lunches in remote areas without such facilities. Our picnics are delicious and boast plenty of variety, amazing panoramic views, great Argentine wines and moka coffee. Evenings with an apperitive drink are our specialty. If you are vegetarian, vegan, celiac or have any allergies or dietary restrictions, please let us know in advance so we can make all necessary arrangements.

Walking – Often times, the most beautiful places are away from a road. That’s why our itineraries always feature some walking. The walks have different levels of difficulty according to our travelers preferences and/or physical condition so they can make the best out of these experiences.

What is the price of this trip? – Equipa Tu Aventura is a Tour Operator specialized in adventure tourism. We specialize in off-the-tourist trail travel experiences tailor made to fit every guest’s preferences. This is the main reason why there is no price list. We custom design all our itineraries to fit your interests and budget so you can get the best value for money. In order to do this, it’s important you let us know beforehand your interests, preferences and needs.

TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST VISIT TO ARGENTINA

1. Economy / Inflation – Argentina is a country with great fluctuations in its economy, at least as far as its currency. With double digit inflation and surprise devaluations, the Central Bank has a tight grip on the foreign exchange rate. The official rate is fixed at an under market value so there is a big difference between the black market dollar exchanged on the streets(called Blue Dollar) and the official rate.  Many foreign visitors carry U$D  or Euros in cash to Exchange on the black market where they get a much higher rate than in banks or exchange bureaus.

2. Culture Argentina has the largest cultural scene in South America. Its film industry is vibrant and over the years many local films made successful runs at prestigious awards. Our advice to visitors is to watch a few emblematic films before travelling to Argentina to better understand the country’s history, the local idiosyncrasy and its cultural diversity. Buenos Aires, the country’s capital, is one of the top cultural metropolis in the western world worth a 2 or 3 days stop over to fully enjoy its cafes, night life, theaters, Milonga and Tango dance halls, libraries and museums.

3. Security – The Argentine people is kind and generally a good host to foreign visitors. Through the first half of the 20th century Argentina saw several waves of immigration mostly from Europe. Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Britain, were the origin countries with the biggest numbers of arrivals but many people also came from Eastern Europe, Siria and Lebanon. These new “Argentines” contributed to make our gene pool and cultural diversity even bigger. European visitors will find it very easy to blend in our cities. You will come across very few “Argentinos” that speak a second language, but many will go out of their way despite the language barrier to try to help you in any way or just to talk to you. We are always curious as to where are you visiting from. Argentina is a safe country to travel, but you need to pay attention and not be foolish as you would in any other country in the world.

WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO IN THE PUNA

The Puna or Altiplano is a high altitude plateau at an average elevation of 3500m where our bodies need time to adapt and adjust to the higher altitude and the lower pressure. 90% of our guests do very well in these conditions but the rest must drink more than the usual amount of water to keep hydrated, walk at a slower pace, not undertake strenuous physical activities and drink coca tea during the first few days of the tour to get acclimatized. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before embarking on this trip if you never travelled to places in high elevation before.

 

In the Puna and in many other places in the northwest of Argentina, local people are kind and welcoming but many people are also shy and very reserved. So you should never take a picture of them or their animals without asking them first. Usually after you try to talk to them and they get to know you better there will be pictures with nice smiles from our new friends.

 

In many tour destinations around the world visitors engage in bargaining to lower the asking price of let’s say handicraft. In Argentina due to very high inflation, profit margins are small and uncertain, that’s the main reason our artisans don’t bargain. Prices are already very low at dollar or Euro value so out of respect please do not bargain.

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