Argentina,  south america

24 hours in Purmamarca, Argentina

The small town of Purmamarca, Jujuy, is one of the key backpacker stops for those exploring the north of Argentina. With so many backpacker stops along this route, we met tons of travelers who had skipped Purmamarca, but we found it to be one of our favourite Jujuy towns. This little post covers why I think it’s a must, and what to do there with 24 hours to explore.

Visit Purmamarca’s Plaza central

purmamarca plaza

One of the most vibrant squares we visited, Purmamarca’s plaza central is a hive of activity throughout the day. With most locals depending on the trade from passing tourists, there are literally tons of stalls selling theirs wares; scarves, gloves, hats, knitwear, and souvenirs. We picked up a few jumpers for only £12 each.

In the evening, take the opportunity to purchase some matte (Argentina’s go to hot drink)  from one of the local shops, and take it to the plaza to watch the children gather after their schooling to play. Many of the locals social here, and it’s a great place to simply people watch.

Eat in a Comida

purmamarca restaurant

The Spanish word ‘comida’ (meaning ‘food’), is also used on signage around Jujuy’s small towns to indicate cheaper eateries. If you’re on a budget, then these really are your ‘go to’ locations, with corn and rice dishes coming in at around 50-60 pesos. Purmamarca’s comidas felt especially homely, decorated with hanging chimes and colourful cloths.

Stay in Misky Pacha hostel

purmamarca hostel

Finding cheap budget accommodation in Purmamarca wasn’t as easy as it was in some of the other Northern towns. Most rooms came from hosterias and hotels, charging a good 1000 pesos+ a night (way out of our budget). We stumbled upon hostel Misky Pacha after arriving in the town without a booking. At 550 pesos a night for a private double room, it’s by far one of the most budget friendly, and comes with cool communal balcony views of the mountains. Hot water, wifi and a quirky little old lady host. No frills happiness.

Visit the local shops


Our favourite comida (above) also teamed as a small tourist shop, selling small cacti, incense, interiors and the usual touristy gifts. Around the plaza central, there are a multitude of these little shops just waiting to be explored.

Take a walk around the rainbow mountain trail

purmamarca view

purmamarca walk

Purmamarca’s main draw is the surrounding mountain landscape, in particular, the rainbow mountains. The vivid colours are the result of different layers of mineral deposits, over hundreds of years. Minerals containing iron colours large areas red, yellow sands and clay make for orange and yellows, glauconite sandstone (green sand) turnings layers blue, green and gray.

You can explore these trails for hours, finding hidden weather worn caves along the routes. Take note, don’t do as we did and start your trek at the red hot time of 2pm!!!

Visit a restaurant with a vegan menu

purmamarca vegan

The Argentinians are certainly not known for their vegan delicacies, steak being one of their main tourist attractions. Travel through the North as a vegan was tough. Really tough! Most of my meals consisted of bread, tomato, and an avocado (if I was lucky). Purmamarca not only had a restaurant with vegan options (a rarity in itself), but also advertised this as one of their features on their outside boards. Happy food times!!! After days of bread, this was reason to stop in the town alone!

Thinking of doing a trip around the North of Argentina? Check out ‘6 reason to travel North Argentina’  and give yourself some serious wanderlust.

Travel writer, marketing adviser and blogger based in Edinburgh, with a focus on budget and vegan travel. 39 countries to date, with extensive knowledge of travel within Asia, particularly within Thailand.


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