Tilcara Calilegua – Inca Trails
TILCARA CALILEGUA / INCA TRAILS
The province of Jujuy in Northwestern Argentina borders Bolivia and Chile. Jujuy has 1,500 archaeological sites spanning the hunter-gatherers of the late Stone Age to the Indigenous Pre-Columbian civilizations and the colonial Hispanic period. The history and culture of this region plus the unique geography prompted UNESCO to declare The Quebrada of Humahuaca as a “Cultural and Natural World Heritage site”.
During the last 11,000 years of inhabitation, Jujuy was populated by numerous cultures and each one of them contributed to our archaeological heritage. Among these people, The Incas, who turned up to be the greatest road builders in the Americas, planned and erected numerous pieces of infrastructure in this region. All across the Northwest of Argentina there are Inca trails, but only in this section you can find such an impressive and interesting transition of landscapes and diverse ecosystems. In only 64km you cross from a semi-desert environment full of cactus and vicunas to a high cloud forest with gigantic trees, monkeys and jaguars.
The possibility of accessing in such a short distance several ecological enviroments and its multiple resources, made the Incas interested in this area and in the way left for us to enjoy the most beautiful section of Inca trail in Argentina.
5 DAYS - TREKKING - NATURE - ANDEAN CULTURE
In these communities we get to learn about how difficult and rustic life can be away from everyday technology, but most important they teach us to value and realize that technology is not the only recipe to enjoy a happy and full life. This section of the Inca Trail is beautiful, it is not well known yet so you can still enjoy it in solitude without the armies of hikers you find on the more famous Inca Trail in Peru.
70% of the trail is located above 3000m and the superb views and photo opportunities you encounter at every turn are countless. The absence of tourists and the magnificent panoramic views are two of the most highlighted qualities appreciated by hikers who were fortunate enough to walk the Inca Trail in Argentina and in Peru.
Our team of guides is 100% native Argentines from the Northwest area of the country. They are highly qualified professionals selected for their skills and natural predisposition to take care of all visitors.
Our Guides love their work and the land. Their experience and good energy allows them to create an excellent bond with our guests, in addition to identifying or being proactive with those who might need special attention to overcome any obstacles and to fully enjoy the trek.
Day 1 – Salta / Tilcara – Salta, Purmamarca, 4 hour hike, Tilcara. 2500m.
Day 2 – Tilcara / Huaira Huasi – Start the trek here, Casa Colorada, Abra del Sucho, Corral Ventura, landscape starts to change. Huaira Huasi. 3200m.
Day 3 – Huaira Huasi / Molulo – Abra Colorada, Laguna Colorada, Molulo School, Molulo. 3000m.
Day 4 – Molulo / San Lucas – We begin to walk through birch forests at 2900m, Cuesta de San Lucas, San Lucas. 1950m.
Day 5 – San Lucas / Salta – San Lucas Canyon, Peña Alta, end of the trek, we continue to walk to our transportation, San Francisco, Calilegua National Park, Salta. 1200m.
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 4×4 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?
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.