Our World Our Way

Traveling the World in Our Way and On Our Own Terms

Cafayete & Salta Argentina

Salta and Jujuy Region of Argentina

July 31 through August 2, 2018

Author: Jetta Washington

After having spent nearly a full week in and around the Mendoza province, we decided to make our way to the Northern part of Argentina with a road trip to the Salta and Jujuy provinces.  

CAFAYETE 

Cafayate is a town in the Salta province. It lies in the Calchaquí Valleys and is an area known for its red rock formations and specialties in white wine vineyards.

The drive itself was hypnotizing. Winding curved roads with rugged and metamorphosizing landscapes, dry desert air, blazing sun and a magnified moon in the dark night sky, gave us awe and an ‘other wordly’ geographical experience.

National route 68 is a beautiful stretch of road. Somewhat reminiscent of our time at Nevada’s Valley of Fire park, this Argentina highway has withstood the span time. Slow erosion caused by an overflow of water cascades, produced and helped to shape some of the most unique rock formations in the world. Our goal for spending a day here was to explore a couple of vineyards for its white wines and Quebreda de Cafayete.    

Cafayete, Argentina: White Wine Country

The best way to explore Quebrada de Cafayete is slowly. You do it slowly so you can take it all and enjoy nature along with the views. It felt good to be in charge of our time by renting a car. We weren’t on anyone else’s schedule, but ours. With the ability to pull over and stop and stay for ever how long we wanted is what it truly means to travel the world ‘in our way and on our terms’.

Our stay at Hostel Benjamin, which for 1 night was reasonably priced, very clean and well kept. B&T Car Rental in Mendoza was also relatively cheap or inexpensive. The bulk of our spending went toward the cost for fuel, but we would jump at the opportunity to do it all over again.  

SALTA 

Also located in the northwestern part of Argentina, Salta is a large populated city in the north. We stopped here overnight on our way up to Quebrada de Purmamarca in the Jujuy province.

With a brief tour of the city center, relaxing at the main plaza, 9 de Julio and a walking through Museo Histórico del Norte, the Musem of Northern History, we left Salta early the next day on our way to Cerro de los Siete (The Hill of Seven Colors) in Purmamarca. 

Plaza 9 de Julio
Jetta outside of Plaza 9 de Julio, on the balcony of the Museum of Northern History

MENTA

As we continued our road tripping through the Salta province, a mural of Nelson Mandela in the small town of Cafayete caught us off guard and really told us how far his message reached the world. Our traversing through various roads and terrains eventually found us in the town of Menta, where we stopped for food and met this beautiful family who are owners of a small bodega. The family treated us like rock stars and celebrities; feeding us freshly prepared empanadas, interviewing us on camera and asking to take photos with us and for our autographs. We left there literally full off of the food and full off of the experience.

“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

CERRO DE LOS SIETE

With close to a 3 hour drive ahead of us, we departed Salta’s city center headed to Purmamarca. The travel there via route 9 and 16 involved an ascension we had never experienced. We ascended so high up that we felt as if we were literally with the clouds.

Purmamarca is a very small town populated mostly by indigenous inhabitants. Reminding us a bit of Pisac, Peru and known to frequented by international tourists, (UNESCO world heritage site of Quebrada de Humahuaca is nearby), Purmamarca is also bordered by Cerro de los Siete (The Hill of Seven Colors). 

The hills themselves are comprised of various different types of rocks and because the rocks are said to come from different periods of time, they all differ, carrying seven vastly unique color ranges. The seven colors include; yellow, brown, pink, white, red, green and a purplish brown. We met a geologist onsite who was kind of enough to take our photograph (see below). Studies estimate that the age on some of the rocks go as far back as 600 million years. Talk about Rock of Ages!

“Rock of ages cleft for me

Let me hide myself in Thee;

Let the water and the blood

From Thy wounded side which flowed

Let the water and the blood

From Thy wounded side which flowed

The Lord God is my rock

He is the hope of my salvation

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

On Christ the solid rock, I stand

All other ground is sinking sand

The Lord God is my rock

He is the hope of my salvation

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

On Christ the solid rock, I stand

All other ground is sinking sand.”

Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady

Jetta standing at ‘The Hill of Seven Colors’, above the town of Purmamarca
Close up shot of Cerro de los Siete
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