24 October 2016
On this adventurous self drive tour you will get to see the real Argentina away from the usual tourist spots of Buenos Aires and the Iguazu Falls. Your journey begins in Tucuman and includes rural activities such as horse riding and trekking, visits to historic ruins, luxurious estates and vineyards, breathtaking gorges, magical valleys, national parks, spectacular canyons and colonial cities. Throughout the tour you will meet local people in their villages and get to understand their way of life.
On arrival at Tucuman airport you will pick up your hire car and immediately start to explore. San Miguel de Tucuman (usually referred to as simply Tucuman) is the capital of the province of the same name and is located in the north of the country around 800 miles from the capital Buenos Aires. It is the fifth biggest city in Argentina and was founded in 1565 by Spanish Conquistador Diego de Villarroel during an expedition from Peru, and was moved to its present site in 1685.
Spend a full day today enjoying the rural activities offered by your estancia, which include horse riding and trekking. Also explore the town of Tafi, which is around 2,000 ft above sea level and sits at the foot of the Aconquija Mountains. The area was originally populated by Aymara-speaking peoples, who gave the site its name with a term meaning "where the cold winds blow." The arrival of the Northern Central Railway in 1882 made the location a popular weekend getaway for San Miguel de Tucuman gentry during the late 19th century.
Today you leave Tafi and head north to the beautiful wine town of Cafayate. On the way you pass through indigenous Amaicha del Valle stopping to visit Quilmes Ruins. Any place that enjoys 330 days of sunshine each year should automatically get your attention, but in Cafayate, that’s just the beginning. Here you’ll also see picturesque Spanish-colonial architecture town, dramatic scenery, and experience a clean, safe environment…not to mention the great wine industry.
Today in Cafayate is all about relaxation and you will have the perfect place to do it at one of Argentina's most luxurious estancias. But while in this part of the country make sure you visit at least one of the fine vineyards and sample the products. Cafayate has that laid-back, Spanish-colonial look and feel, with its town square, Spanish architecture, and red-tile roofs. The central plaza is ringed with sidewalk cafes, upscale restaurants, wine shops and souvenir outlets.
Leave Cafayate and drive on the famous Ruta 40 pass through breathtaking Las Fechas Gorge. Today is all about scenic splendour as you arrive in picturesque Molinos. Take one of the many hiking trails around this lovely town or spend some time searching for bargains in the local shops before getting back in your car and continuing on to Cachi.
Cachi is a site for both those interested in history and in the splendour of nature. The town offers an array of masterful architectural structures from pristine white buildings of colonial aristocracy to modest adobe houses. Walk among the quiet streets, and take in the slow pace of life of the village. Later drive through the splendid Los Cordones National Park and magical Encantado Valley on the way to the town of Salta where you spend tonight.
A free day today to explore the wonderful colonial city of Salta. Known in Argentina as Salta the beautiful, this surreally lovely northwest province is punctuated by mountains and canyons and also boasts first rate wineries and miles of open road to make driving around a pleasure. Chances today to go off the beaten track and explore this stunning region. Maybe take a trip on one of the the world's most amazing trains - the Train to the Clouds.
Enjoy a full day excursion to the famous canyon Quebrada de Humahuaca, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Quebrada de Humahuaca follows the line of a major cultural route, the Camino Inca, along the spectacular valley of the Rio Grande, from its source in the cold high desert plateau of the High Andean lands to its confluence with the Rio Leone to the south. The fascinating valley shows evidence of its use as a major trade route over the past 10,000 years and features visible traces of prehistoric hunter-gatherer communities. Later visit the indigenous villages of Purmamarca and Tilcara.
Today your wonderful tour of northern Argentina comes to an end. But before taking the short drive to the airport to drop off your hire car and catch an onward flight or begin your journey home there may be time for some more sightseeing or souvenir shopping in Salta with a chance to enjoy more of those beautiful mountain vistas.
Deluxe Rate fr £1788pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated