Road tripping through North Argentina, we spent 48 hours exploring the surrounding area of the wonderful town of Cafayate. This fantastic little community was definitely our favourite of those we visited in Salta, Argentina. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Cafayate Argentina …
The Devils throat (Garganta del Diablo)
Blink, and you’ll miss the turn off for this as you drive from Salta to Cafayate. The little sign post on the left of the road does not do justice to this naturally formed amphitheatre, cut deep into the mountain. We arrived in winter, meaning that there were only a couple of other tourists around, however, we were informed that it can get busy during high season. If you see a tour bus, wait until it leaves so that you can fully appreciate the acoustics and get that fantastic photo.
National park drives
The road from Salta city to Cafayate alone was one of the best bits of our trip. Sacrifice your lie in and set off early. We made the mistake of leaving around lunchtime and, although it was enough time to do the drive, we could have done with the extra ‘stops time’. The scenery dramatically changes from green canyons, to yellow sand dirt roads, to huge red sand towering canyons; each one more dramatic than the last. There are heaps of little turn offs to look out for (the Devils throat included), and we wished we’d had more time to explore all of them.
The llama house
It’s a building shaped like a llama! No explanation needed.
The Ruins of Quilmes
You’ll need to drive over to Tucuman Province to get to the ruins, but it didn’t take us longer than an hour from Cafayate. The ruins are the remains of the largest pre-Columbian settlement in Argentina. The hike up the mountain to look over the full city is an interesting one, full of little courtyards, irrigation routes, and cactus fields. We spent a half day there, but could have easily done more.
Cafayate wine tasting in the vineyards
There are tons of vineyards surrounding Cafayate. We’d heard that a lot of the hotels and guest houses put on tours, however, we were able to navigate ourselves. For 150 pesos per person, we were able to walk right in and request a private tour, including five tasting wines. I’d recommend the Piattelli Vineyards. They took a little bit more work to find (on account of the winding dirt roads) but it was the one that most of the locals advised us to try. The surrounding scenery was beautiful, and our guide stayed late with us to chat about our trip and discuss Cafayate wineries.