Road trip around Salta

serrania de hornocal

After a quick trip in Brasil we arrived in Salta from where we started a 4 days road trip.

Note: When we talk about “Salta Valley” we are often mistaken: in this North Western part of Argentina you have Salta but also Tucumán and Jujuy regions. 

Quebrada de las Conchas 

First day we rented a car in Salta and took the road direction to Cafayate (on road 68). After 2h driving through vineyards and green mountains we arrived in this magical valley of colored mountains and crazy points of view. It took us around 4h to get there (with a lot of stops!). We slept at Tierra de Vinos Hostel.

Garganta del diablo


Los Castillos

Quilmes Ruins

After a night in Cafayate and 1h30 drive (part of road 40 in a good shape), we arrived in Tucumán region and visited the sacred city of Quilmes (entrance to the site: 400 pesos including a nice museum plenty of information about the story of this place and people). 

We crossed the mountains to go to Tafi del Valle where you have the huge Angostura lake. Sadly we didn’t have time to stop by as we needed to be in San Salvador de Jujuy for the night… We crossed the Parque Aconquija: after the desert you are here in a huge rainforest! We arrived in our hostel (Patricia’s 381) by night after a long national road (5h from Tucumán). 

Tip: From Cafayate if you have a 4×4 I advise you to take North and go to Cachi and San Antonio de los Cobres by road 40 and join directly the Salineras Grandes. You can still visit the ruins (1h30 from Cafayate), and you will only loose Tafi del Valle and the nice forest but you have an other one between Salta and Jujuy on road 9).

Quebrada de Humahuaca

1h north of San Salvador de Jujuy you have this marvelous valley to visit! Only entrance fee to pay: at Garganta del Diablo (150 pesos, time spent there: 40min).

Purmamarca & Los Colorados

Small but so cute village at the feet of colorful mountains. You can park your car at the entrance fence and climb to the Belvedere to have a full view on the city. You can also drive (or walk) into the colored canyon right behind and go to the Mirador los Colorados

Maimara & Cerro Paleta del Pintor

This small city is again at the feet of crazy stribed mountains. You can climb the Mirador el Monolito to have a nice global view. 

Tilcara & the Garganta del diablo

Tilcara is a beautiful andinian city with a famous celebration in january: Enero Tilcareno
From the town you can go up to Garganta del Diablo (30min driving) offering a huge view on the city and the valley. You also have a small Tilacarian Pucara to visit. 

Quiaca & the Quebrada de las Senoritas

Cute but very small village, it’s the entrance to a small trekking where you will walk into a reddish canyon and white and gold picks. Total: 4km, 1h30 walk (easy). 

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Humahuaca & Serrania de Hornocal

Nice city and stop of most of the tours (a restaurant didn’t accept us because we were not part of a group). It’s also where your start your 40min ascension to the magical Serrania where the access is managed by the community of Hornocal. 

Entrance: 10h-18h, 50 pesos/person
Tip: Remember to bring water and to climb in zigzag if you don’t want to feel the 4300m high. 

Salineras Grandes

We slept there to see the sunrise and enjoy the place when it’s still peaceful, before the tourists arrival! On the north side you can go freely. Between the salar and Purmamarca you also have the beautiful Cuesta de Lipan road with a lot of Miradors. 

To access to the southern part of the salar you need to ask a guide or to take a tour.

Our best moments

Summary of our trip:
Day 1 – Salta, Quebrada de las Conchas, Cafayate
Day 2 – Ruins of Quilmes, Tafi del Valle, Parque Aconquija, San Salvador de Jujuy
Day 3 – Tilcara (garganta del Diablo), Humahuaca, Serranias de Hornocal
Day 4 – Salineras Grandes, Purmamarca back to Serranias, Quebrada de las Senoritas, Tilcara, back to San Salvador de Jujuy
Day 5 – Back to Salta via the nice Caldera road (needed to be there at 1pm for the car)
About the car:
– To rent a car you will need a credit card for the garantee! We didn’t but we negociated with Ô Carrol to use my mother’s one (7500 pesos/day).
– We did all those roads with a compact car, no need 4×4 (only for the road 40 we didn’t take).
– Only parking we paid was in San Salvador de Jujuy: 700pesos a night (with our hotel).
– Only toll: 80pesos from Tucumán to San Salvador de Jujuy

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2 thoughts on “Road trip around Salta

  1. Hi, A lovely blog post :). Did you visit in January during rain season? What was the weather and how what was the condition of the roads?

    1. Hello Anne and thanks for your comment! The weather was quite good and the roads perfect (only the one between Tilcara and Garganta del diablo was a bit bumpy). The only annoying moment was to visit Serrania de Hornocal: you need to be there early because clouds arrive after noon). Enjoy your trip and do not hesitate if you have more questions!

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