In the heart of quebradas, road cycling in the north of Argentina

from 2 545.00 $

The north of Argentina and more specifically the surroundings of the city of Salta offer a perfect scenery for this 13-day circuit in the heart of the “Quebradas”.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Trip > 13 days
  • Activity Level Hard
  • Group Size Medium Group
    < 12 people
All about the In the heart of quebradas, road cycling in the north of Argentina.

A 13-day bike tour exploring the unspoiled wilderness of the Lipan Pass, the Calchaquies Canyon at the foot of Mount Cachi (6380m), the ruins of the Quilmes people, and the tropical rainforest of the Sierra Cornisera. You’ll also have the chance to visit world-renowned points of interest like the Humahuaca Canyon (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the salt flats of Salar Grande, the Inca ruins of Pucara, and the much-treasured Cafayate vineyards with their highly-esteemed wines.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 13 nights COMFORTABLE accommodation (3 stars).
  • 28 meals.
  • All land transport as described in the contract.
  • All activities as described in the contract.
  • All entry fees to activities.
  • English speaking guide on site.
  • Basic mechanical support.
  • Support vehicle throughout the tour following behind the group
Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Lunch for the days …  and diner for the days …
  • Drinks
  1. Buenos Aires Day 1

    Depending on your flight, you’ll arrive either in the morning or during the day to Buenos Aires, a capital city as impressive for its size as for its history and its rich culture. Your English-speaking guide will meet you at the airport and accompany you to your hotel located in the bohemian district of San Telmo.

    Welcome meal at a local restaurant, or restaurante porteno, near the hotel.

    The tour of Buenos Aires – known as the Paris of Latin America – begins early afternoon. It’s a city famous for its architecture and gastronomy, but more importantly its cultural influence over Latin America. You’ll visit the city’s principal neighbourhoods starting in El Centro with its old colonial buildings housing the various government offices. Then on to Recoleta, the diplomatic quarter where most of the embassies are concentrated. The tour continues onward to the popular district of La Boca, famous for its colourful houses, before heading to Puerto Madero with harbourfront parks and terraces. The day ends in San Telmo, an eclectic neighbourhood with a bohemian vibe.

    Return to the hotel at the end of the afternoon.

    Overnight in Buenos Aires.

    (Lunch included)

  2. Buenos Aires - Salta Day 2

    With your English-speaking guide, you’ll be transported from your hotel to Buenos Aires Airport.

    You’ll take an unaccompanied flight to Salta (price not included) and arrive in Salta at 1187m, welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

    As a small welcome, you’ll be treated to a delicious sampling of matambre. From there, you’ll receive a briefing of the coming days’ itinerary followed by a bicycle mounting workshop on the hotel patio led by your guide as well as a mechanic.

    In the late afternoon, head up by cable car to the top of Mount San Bernardo, to enjoy the vastness of the green valley of Salta, in the centre of which is located the colonial city and its 500 000 inhabitants.

    Salta is considered the most well-preserved colonial city in the country and the cradle of the ’’gaucho’’ culture of the Argentine cowboys. This capital city of the northeast is a university town that’s both dynamic and tranquil. The ”saltenos” still observe the siesta and all the shops close up during the afternoon.

    Enjoy a meal and an old-world gaucho music show on the famous avenue Balcarcel which has seen the birth of many artists from the region!

    Overnight in Salta.

    (Full board included)

  3. Salta - Cachi Day 3

    Depart from your hotel by vehicle, heading south, toward the valley region.

    The first kilometres of cycling are on a small country road leading into the Calchaquie Valley backcountry to the adobe village of Cachi (2280m). This road, lined with trees and majestic peaks, begins with a long plateau before it starts to climb, becoming more curvy as it heads into the forest.

    The forest eventually gives way to the more arid landscape of Quebrada de Escoipe and the climb continues to the Piedra del Molino Pass (3457m) which offers a magnificent view of the entire valley before a long descent into the Calchaquie Valley. We’ll make a stop at Cardones National Park, where you’ll find one of the largest fields of ancient cactus on the planet (650kms squared). The descent then continues to the colonial village of Cachi, considered one of the most well-preserved colonial villages in the country.

    Overnight in Cachi.

    Breakfast and lunch included.

  4. Cachi - Ruines de Quilmes - Amaicha del Valle Day 4

    Depart by vehicle from your hotel towards the vineyards of Cafayate (1680m) with its world famous Merlot and high elevation wines.

    On the way, we’ll pass (by vehicle, the road is not paved) several canyons including those of the Quebrada de Las Flechas. Here, we’ll stop for a 15-minute walk to access a viewpoint, taking in the truly breathtaking vista.

    Arrive in the sleepy village of San Carlos around 10:30 am and begin cycling on a country road toward the small town of El Cafayate (population 11 000), the northern capital of Argentine wines. You’ll even have a chance to sample its famous Cabernet Sauvignon ice cream.

    Meal at a vineyard.

    In the early afternoon, we start cycling through the desert, towards the Quilmes Ruins which date back to the year 1000. We’ll also visit the city of Quilmes, named after the 5000 people or so who built it. Historically, the Quilmes were able to resist first the Incas then the Spanish, until 1667, when the survivors of the last battle were deported to Buenos Aires, lending their name to a district in the capital city that today produces the famous Quilmes Beer, one of the most popular beers in the country.

    After the visit, you’ll be transported to Amaicha del Valle, a remote village in the desert and, if time permits, we’ll visit the small but interesting village museum (Pachamama Museum).

    Overnight at Amaicha Del Valle.

    Breakfast and lunch included.

  5. Amaicha del Valle - Enfernillo - Cafayate Day 5

    Depart by bike from the hotel to climb 1200m in elevation to the Enfernillo Pass (Little Hell) which will be the first real pass of the circuit. The road winds slowly through the desert to reach the lofty mountain line that separates the Cafayate Valley and Tafi Del Valle in the neighbouring province of Tucuman. The climb is gentle but continuous.

    Once we arrive at the pass, take a break to enjoy the scenery before we return to Cafayate via the same route.

    Shower and eat before heading to the vineyards of the Cafayate Valley. You’ll visit 3 types of vineyards: an artisanal vineyard, an industrial export vineyard, and an organic vineyard. Cafayate is considered the world capital of high elevation wine and, in the evening, the small town comes alive with several restaurants offering excellent local cuisine.

    Overnight in Cafayate.

    (Full board included)

  6. Cafayate - Salta Day 6

    Early departure by bike from the hotel to take advantage of the fresh morning air. Crossing the lush valley of Cafayate and its vineyards, we enter the Las Conchas Canyon, a red canyon with a multicoloured gleam. The mountains, eroded by the passage of the Las Conchas River, make this route one of the most beautiful in the country; the shape of the cliffs and their bright and varied colours make it seem like you’re on another planet.

    Over this 50 km stretch, the impressive landscape changes with each curve, showcasing its great diversity of geological formations. We’ll stop en route to visit one of these formations, the Devil’s Throat, then descend to the mouth of the Salta Valley through a cloud forest called Yungas.

    The ride ends in the village of Talapampa with lunch at a local restaurant that specializes in regional pastries.

    Return to Salta in the late afternoon passing through sugar cane fields and olive groves.

    Overnight in Salta.

    (Full board included)

  7. Salta Day 7

    A rest day in Salta, a city that knows how to live the good life…

    Enjoy Salta’s noteworthy museums and beautiful colonial churches. In the afternoon, we’ll walk to Salta’s city centre to enjoy its wonderful architecture and distinct atmosphere. The city, which was founded in 1582, was an important stop for the gold and silver caravans from Bolivia that were en route to the port of Buenos Aires. We’ll then head to the Alta Montana Archaeological Museum to get a better understanding of the Incan history of the region, its crown jewel being the mummy of a small child.

    Dinner around an asado – an Argentinian-style barbecue – shared with the locals, known as salteños!

    Overnight in Salta.

    Breakfast and lunch included.

  8. Salta - Termas de reyes Day 8

    Leave Salta for the village of Vaquero where we begin a fantastic bike ride on a narrow path used often by cyclists in Salta, passing through dense and undulating tropical forest – a breath of fresh air in a protected area. The path is built on an old colonial road linking Lima to Buenos Aires, but the road is so narrow and winding that it seems more like a bike path following the ridge line than a road.

    Arrive at the small lake of La Cienaga for lunch at a lakeside terrace and enjoy their fish “special of the day”!

    Transfer by vehicle in the early afternoon to the hotel to take full advantage of the hot springs nearby.

    Overnight in a country hotel in the small village of Termas de Reyes.

    (Full board included)

  9. Termas de reyes - Huacalera Day9

    Departure by bike from the hotel towards the famous Quebrada de Humahuaca, known especially for its multihued mountains situated in the heart of a narrow valley. The deep blue of the Andean sky combined with the intense green of the land creates a colourful and surreal landscape. This special place was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

    The route climbs gently at the beginning but ends with 10kms of steep climb to the bridge that indicates the entrance to the Quebrada. The landscape changes drastically, from the thick foliage of the rainforest bathed in tropical humidity to a semi-arid climate dotted with cactus. Despite the gentle slope, we still climb 840m of elevation gain, going from 1620m altitude to 2461m at the village of Tilcara, where we stop for lunch.

    In the afternoon, we’ll visit the charming and historic village of Tilcara as well as the pre-Incan ruins of Pucara. Pucara is an ancestral site of the local Aymara culture but was later taken over by the Incas. The latter came down from Bolivia through this quebrada to colonize the Salta Plains and leave one of the few significant Incan remains in Argentina.

    Transfer by vehicle from Tilcara to the village of Huacalera (2769m) at the end of the day (a 20km distance that is possible to cycle).

    Overnight in Huacalera.

    (Breakfast and lunch included)

  10. Huacalera - Iturbe - Huacalera Day 10

    Depart by bike from the hotel to climb gently towards the upper part of the Quebrada de Humahuaca towards the Bolivian border.

    We pass through traditional villages, including the village of Humahuaca, along the river to the exit of the quebrada and its highest point, ITURBE (3885m). Known as the gateway to the Bolivian Altiplano, the high altitude landscape is made up of wide plains where herds of llama easily can get lost.

    Return via the same road to the hotel in Huacalera.

    Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

    (Breakfast and lunch included)

    You’ll climb 716 of elevation gain on a total of 50kms, which gives an average percentage increase of 1.4%. You’ll then return to the same altitude.

  11. Huacalera - Purmamarca Day 11

    Depart from the hotel by bike to cross the Humahuaca Valley in the opposite direction. The serenity of the landscape in the rays of the early morning lets you enjoy the Quebrada in a new light.

    The morning departure is a peaceful start to the descent leading to the small postcard-worthy village of Purmamarca (2190m). The stretch of road between Huacalera and Tilcara is mainly countryside dotted with working farms, which will surely charm you with its warm traditional vibe.

    The ride will take just about 2 hours and the remainder of the day will be dedicated to resting and exploring Purmamarca and its local market.

    Lunch in Purmamarca. The village is built around its small 17th century church at the foot of one of the most spectacular multicoloured mountains – Siete Colores.

    You’ll have the chance to take a walk (about an hour) in the afternoon to visit this mountain and enjoy all seven of its colours.

    Overnight in Purmamarca.

    (Breakfast and lunch included)

  12. Purmamarca - Col de Lipan - Purmamarc Day 12

    Today, you’ll enter a wild and sparsely populated region where the road (which is impeccably paved) crosses the desert before reaching the Chilean border.

    Depart from the hotel early in the morning to tackle the only truly big pass that you will have to face during the trip, the dreaded climb to the Lipan Pass, from 2200m to 4170m in elevation over a distance of 35kms. It is necessary, therefore, to expect an average of 7% during the ascent.

    The panoramic road climbing the steep face of the canyon wall resembles, on a GPS, a snake wrapping around the mountain. It’s an early start due to the hot daytime temperatures at the bottom of the canyon, but as the ascent progresses, the temperature eases, topping out at around 12C at the pass. There can often be a temperature difference of up to 20C during the 5 hour ascent.

    From the pass, we make the descent to the Andean Plateau, reaching the salt flats of Salinas Grande (3350m) where we’ll end the cycling day. The largest salt flat in the country with 525 square kilometres of white salt, Salinas Grandes offers an impressive contrast between the deep blue sky, the mountains tinged yellow from the sun’s rays, and the white salt that extends as far as the eye can see. Explore a bit, soaking your feet in one of the small salt lagoons, and enjoy the landscape.

    We’ll have a picnic in the salt flats before returning to the Lipan Pass by vehicle. For the bravest, there’s an opportunity to make the descent by bike to reach the hotel.

    Overnight in Purmamarca.

    (Breakfast and lunch included)

  13. Purmamarca - Salta Day 13

    Depart from the hotel by bike for an easy 55 km ride to the city of Jujuy, the capital city of the region of the same name, where we’ll visit briefly before we transport you by vehicle to Salta.

    We’ll put the bikes away and have a small closing ceremony to end the trip.

    A celebratory meal as a farewell to northern Argentina.

    Overnight in Salta.

    (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included)

  14. Salta - Buenos Aires Day 14

    Early morning transfer to Salta Airport to catch your flight to Buenos Aires and connect to your international flight.
    End of tour.