4x4 Andes off road

Salar Arizaro Puna Northwest Argentina

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PUNA ANDES north                                                                                  | DEPARTURE SALTA

5 DAYS SALTA - salta

Archaeological treasures and deep-rooted beliefs, charming colonial towns and remote desert villages, red rock formations and moonlike landscapes -- this trip offers a captivating insight into people and places of Northwest Argentina.

DAY 1 | Salta - Cafayate - Amaicha del Valle
Leaving the city of Salta we head south to traverse the fertile Lerma Valley, the green lowlands of Salta with prospering farms and tobacco plantations, and to travel along the dazzling Las Conchas Gorge, an eroded riverbed-ravine. Its bizarre terracotta coloured rock formations carry names like Amphitheatre, Sapo (Toad) or Castillo (Castle). After reaching Cafayate, north Argentina's wine capital, well known for its aromatic torrontés white wine variety, we will visit a famous winery (optional). 50 km further on we reach and explore the pre-hispanic Ruins of Quilmes, considered the most extensive site in Argentina. Nearby we spend the night at the quiet village of Amaicha del Valle (1,900 masl).

DAY 2 | Amaicha del Valle - Antofagasta de la Sierra
We continue on Route 40 through a setting of hills and cacti, crossing a wide dry valley and also passing by the valleys of Santa Maria and Hualfín. From here the road twists and climbs up towards the Puna's high volcanic steppe in Catamarca, reaching an altitude of over 4,000 m. The landscape starts to change and becomes fantastic as we feast our eyes on the first flocks of vicuñas, on huge sand dunes, gleaming salt flats and snow-dusted summits. We make an off road detour through the otherworldly Pumice Stone Field, embedded in the surreal atmosphere of an endless volcanic scenery. After arrival at Antofagasta de la Sierra (3,440 masl), a green oasis lying in an expansive and arid plain dotted with black volcanoes and lava-flows, we spend the night in a roomy guesthouse.

DAY 3 | Laguna Grande
Yet another fascinating off road excursion into wild beauty. Catching sight of gracious suris and flocks of vicuñas we reach Laguna Grande (Big Lagoon), skirted by a white salted shore and a remarkable mountain backdrop. Making a perfect habitat for thousands of pink flamingos, this sometimes green sometimes sky blue lagoon shelters the three kinds Andean, Chilean and James flamingos. We observe them wading, feeding and flying in all of their majesty, and drive up to an overlooking hill to behold this peaceful, idyllic environment before we head back the same way. Overnight again in Antofagasta de la Sierra.

DAY 4 | AdlSierra - Antofalla|Arizaro - Tolar Grande
This captivating journey offers a large diversity of vistas and unforgettable contrasts. We drive along a solitary winding path amid colourful elevations and crossing a pass at 4,500 m altitude. It unfolds a breathtaking view of Salar Antofalla, the longest salt flat of the world (160 km), and leads to the green settlement of Antofalla. Hemmed in by red, blue and grey mountains, this tiny villa lies at the foot of the huge namesake volcano (6,409 masl). We continue on and enter Salta Province, reaching and traversing for about 80 km the largest salt flat in Argentina, Salar de Arizaro, framing a looming sharp cone named Cono de Arita. We arrive in Tolar Grande (3,500 m), a small village surrounded by stunning nature, and spend the night in a cosy hosteria.

DAY 5 | Tolar Grande - Salta
After an exciting stretch in the Valley of the Dreams among bizarre red rock formations, the road takes us through the empty vastness of the Andean high plateau, called Puna in Argentina, until reaching San Antonio de los Cobres (3,775 m). Not far from here we next head down the long curving mountains and impressive gorges of Quebrada del Toro (Bull's Gorge), almost paralleling the Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds). On half the way, we visit the ruins of Santa Rosa de Tastil, an enormous pre-columbian fortification, superbly set on a hillside with overlooking views. Arrival in Salta and end of trip.

PUNA ANDES NORTH                                                                           | DEPARTURE TUCUMAN
5 DAYS TUCUMAN - salta

DAY 1 | San Miguel de Tucumán - Tafi del Valle - Amaicha del Valle
After leaving San Miguel de Tucumán, the Calchaqui Valley passage in the province of Tucumán takes us through a variety of settings: a curvy climbing road surrounded by a lush cloudforest (yunga), a valley of undulating grassy hills, where we get to know the summer getaway Tafí del Valle and the Dique (dam) La Angostura, and the cloudy Abra del Infiernillo (Little Devil's Pass) at altitude 3,000 m, which we cross to reach the small village of Amaicha del Valle (1,900 masl). Time permitting we visit the interesting Pachamama (Mother Earth) Museum of Geology and Anthropology, also exhibiting stone sculptures in a courtyard. They all describe the former indigenous cultures of the Calchaqui Valley. We spend the night in a pleasent hostería.


ALTERNATIVE DAY 3  incl. Crater Galán Volcano (photos)



:: Best time to travel: March - May | October - December 
:: Itinerary can be customized to your requirements 
:: Reservations at least 5 weeks in advance

:: terrestrial (incl. from/to airport) + overlanding 4WD fully equipped transfers with driver
:: bilingual coordination + accompaniment (English/German/Spanish)
:: accommodation in local guesthouses based on double room and breakfast
:: refreshments and snacks
:: local guides support
:: access to national parks / tolls
:: meals, alcoholic beverages / additional drinks
:: individual activities + expenses
:: medical expenses/insurance
:: tips
Quebrada de las Conchas
Quilmes Ruins
Pumice Stone Field
Antofagasta de la Sierra
Laguna Grande
Tolar Grande "Eyes of the Sea"
Valley of the Dreams
north argentina | puna andes north full | andes route 40
extreme andes | in the sky | sixtyhundreds | hidden puna