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Destinations

Total Northwest

Total Northwest

Argentina is a very interesting country given its cultural and natural treasures. Its Northwest region is wonderful but largely unknown and it’s defined by challenging mountains in the Andes Range and exuberant jungle on the East. Nestled in between these two interesting regions we have The Calchaquí Valleys and Quebrada de Humahuaca, with their strong cultural and historical ties to both, ancestral and colonial periods. This itinerary is designed to show you in 15 days, the most beautiful places in the region. In the spirit of adventure, this trip takes you through more than 3000km in 4×4 vehicles and will include close to 40hrs of walking, as always accompanied by our specialist guides proud to call this land their home.

15 DAYS - 4X4 VEHICLES - WALKS - NATURE - PHOTOGRAPHY

Total Northwest is an itinerary we have designed to visit an immense region called The Puna or Argentine Altiplano. The Puna is dotted with countless volcanoes, colorful high elevation lagoons, large salt flats, hidden archeological sites, multicolor mountains, ancestral culture, history and awesome natural landscapes. The road takes you through The Yungas (mountain forest) where the vegetation is green and exuberant and home to wild life. Every year many birdwatchers form around the world, flock to this area attracted by the amazing diversity of this ecosystem. In the past this region was home to hunters and gatherers. Later, the area fell under Inca rule. At the time, hundreds of trails were cut through the jungle in order to connect the most distant lands of the empire. All these little known treasures and many more make this itinerary an unforgettable adventure.

ABBEVIATED ITINERARY

Day 1 – Salta / Cafayate – City Tour in Salta, Quebrada de las Conchas, Cafayate. Elevation 1650m.

Day 2 – Cafayate / Cafayate – Walk and barbecue at La Yesera, Visit to a Winery, overnight n Cafayate. Elevation 1650 m.

Day 3 – Cafayate / Colomé / Cachi – Quebrada de las Flechas, Winery and Museum James Turrell in Colomé, Molinos, Cachi. Elevation 2400m.

Day 4 – Cachi / Cachi – Walk at Brealito Lagoon 2 hs, Camino de los Artesanos, Los Colorados,  Los Cardones Nat’l Park, Cachi. Elevation 2400m.

Day 5 – Cachi / San Antonio de los Cobres Walk to Volcanoes Gemelos 2hs, Abra del Acay, San Antonio de los Cobres. Elevation 3700m.

Day 6 – San Antonio de los Cobres / Tolar Grande Viaducto La Polvorilla, Abra del Gallo, Pocitos Salt Flat, Los Colorados, Laberintos, Desierto del Diablo, 7 Curvas, Tolar Grande. Elevation 3450m.

Day 7. Tolar Grande / Mina Casualidad / Tolar Grande – Arizaro Salt Flat , Mina Casualidad, Mina Julia (providing it’s not snowing), Estación Caipe, Tolar Grande. Elevation 3450m.

Day 8. Tolar Grande / Antofallita / Antofagasta de la Sierra – Arizaro Salt Flat , Cono de Arita, Antofallita, Salar de Antofalla, Vega Colorada, Calalaste, Antofagasta de la Sierra. Elevation 3400m.

Day 9. Antofagasta de la Sierra / Volcán Galán / Antofagasta – Campo Las Tobas, Real Grande, Caldera del Volcán Galán, Laguna Diamante, Laguna Grande, El Peñón, Antofagasta de la Sierra. Elevation 3400m.

Day 10. Antofagasta de la Sierra / Campo de Piedra Pómez / Antofagasta – Laguna Colorada, Volcano Carachi Pampa, Campo de Piedra Pómez, Dunas Blancas, Optional walk to Antofagasta Volcano. Antofagasta de la Sierra. Elevation 3400m.

Day 11. Antofagasta / Tilcara – Salar del Hombre Muerto, Pocitos Salt Flat , Susques, Salinas Grandes, Cuesta de Lipán, Tilcara. Elevation 2500m.

Day 12. Tilcara / Purmamarca / Tilcara – Walk to Paseo de los Colorados y Abra de Tumbaya Grande 5 hs, Cerro de los 7 Colores, Tilcara. Elevation 2500m.

Day 13. Tilcara / Hornocal / Tilcara – Uquía (Church and walk to Paseo las Señoritas), Humahuaca, Hornocal (Cerro de los 14 Colores), Tilcara. Elevation 2500m.

Day 14. Tilcara / San Francisco – Yungas o selva de montaña en el Parque Nacional Calilegua, San Francisco. 1400 msnm.

Day 15. San Francisco / Salta – Walk to Río Jordán Hot Springs, Calilegua Nat’l Park, 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 tuve 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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