Andes off road

4x4 adventure travel Andes Argentina

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ANDES off road pure
in the sky                                                                                           | departure la rioja


Snow-dusted Andean peaks and glimmering lagoons, majestic volcanoes and enormous salt flats, colourful mountains and moon-like deserts are the natural scenario for this exhilarating off the beaten track tour with much to experience.

DAY 1 | La Rioja - Villa Unión
We start our tour in the city of La Rioja, arriving at Villa Unión, the largest settlement in the Bermejo Valley, a few hours later. It is also possible to meet and start the trip in Villa Unión.

DAY 2 | Laguna Brava
Heading into Andean heights the road winds upwards in the midst of multicoloured gorges. To an altitude of 4,200 m, a magnificent panorama of a sky blue lagoon and snow-capped pinnacles opens up. Laguna Brava (Brave Lagoon) is an extensive altiplanic lake of salty waters. The Reserve was established to protect native fauna like vicuñas, guanacos, foxes and flamingos, and is surrounded by giants like the Veladero (6,436 m) and Bonete (6,872 m) volcanoes. In the afternoon we drive down again to spend the night in Villa Unión.

DAY 3 | Villa Unión - Chilecito - Fiambalá
After following a snaking road along the beautiful Cuesta de Miranda, through 500-meters-tall red rock walls dotted with cactus, we arrive in Chilecito, where Station 2 of the cableway La Mejicana is worth a stop. Constructed in 1903 by the German company Bleichert and Co. to transport gold and other metal extracted from a mine in Cerro Famatina, at an altitude of 4,600 m, in its time it was the longest and highest cable railway of the world, stretching up for 34 km. Passing by olive groves and vineyards we enter the province of Catamarca, sighting age-old adobe houses and churches as part of the attractive Adobe Route. After arriving in Fiambalá (1,570 m) we can visit its invigorating thermal waters, which come down from the mountain to plunge into natural pools set between high granite walls. We overnight in a comfortable hostería.

DAY 4 | Balcony Mount Pissis | Green Lagoon
Spectacular and demanding drive off the beaten track, steadily winding up into the paradisiacal Andean world of 19 sixtyhundreds. Carrying names like Blue, Black and Green because of their intense colour, we pass by shimmering lagoons. At an altitude of 4,200 m a natural balcony unfolds a breathtaking view of Mount Pissis, rising as the highest volcano of the world. It is a glacier-covered massif with five summits and 6,882 (IGN) meters in height, one of the remotest mountains in Argentina. As the track leads down along Black Lagoon and even deeper into the wilderness, we reach the glowing Green Lagoon, which resembles an enormous blue-bordered emerald. Doubling back down we return to Fiambalá, where we overnight in the hostería again.

DAY 5 | Fiambalá - Pumice Stone Field - Antofagasta de la Sierra
An exciting journey of incomparable backdrops and adventurous off road passages: A path meandering along a riverbed in a scenic gorge, a steep road zigzagging up a mountainside with fantastic vistas, and an almost invisible track crossing a sea of sand and white-grey looming dunes. Immersed in this fascinating volcanic landscape lies the enormous, moon-like Pumice Stone Field, its pastel coloured formations eroded into unusual shapes. By exploring it we feel as visiting another planet. After arrival at Antofagasta de la Sierra (3,440 masl), a green oasis sitting in an expansive and arid plain dotted with black volcanoes and lava-flows, we spend the night in a roomy guesthouse.

DAY 6 | AdlSierra - Antofalla|Arizaro - Tolar Grande
On yet another captivating journey we drive along a solitary road snaking up through colourful elevations and crossing a pass at 4,500 m altitude. It offers a magnificent overlooking 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 7 | Tolar Grande - Salta
After an exciting stretch through the bizarre red rock formations of the Valley of the Dreams, 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), the 'gate' to the Puna. 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 site, superbly set on a hillside with overlooking views. Arrival in Salta and end of trip.

in the sky                                                                                           | DEPARTURE MENDOZA
7/8 days mendoza - salta
DAY 1 | Mendoza - Uspallata - Barreal
After leaving Mendoza city the road moderately climbs following the Río Mendoza and the shape of the mountains until reaching Uspallata. From here we head north and enter the province of San Juan accompanied by the highest peaks of the Andes. Displaying a variety of flora and fauna we find the Leoncito (Little Lion) National Park, well known for its two astronomical observatories. A white contrast offers the neighbouring Barreal Blanco, a dried lake bed where enthusiasts of speedy wind cars practice this sport. We spend the night in El Barreal, a lovely town with weeping willow-lined streets and the air smelling of lavender and mint.

DAY 2 | Barreal - Calingasta - Villa Unión
We continue our way in the enchanting Calingasta Valley along a flowing river and enjoying amazing views of snowy Andean heights. The road takes us past coloured-layered rock formations, inviting thermal baths and tiny green villages until we enjoy the view of the attractive sky blue dam Cuesta del Viento (Slope of the Wind) beneath us. Winding through a stunning dark-grey gorge we reach San José de Jáchal, where its church is home to a Black Christ. A further one hour on Route 40 brings us to the small town of Villa Unión, where we will be spending the night.

ADDITIONAL DAY in Antofagasta de la Sierra  Crater Galán Volcano (Photos)



:: Best time to travel: March - May | October - December
:: Itinerary subject to weather and road conditions
:: This tour can be carried out as GUIDED SELF DRIVE TOUR also
:: Itinerary can be customized to your requirements
:: Reservations should be made at least 6 weeks in advance

:: terrestrial transfers with experienced driver and/or guiding fully equipped 4WD
:: coordination, logistic, technical and mechanical assistance
:: bilingual guide / accompaniment (English/German/Spanish)
:: accommodation in local guesthouses based on double room and breakfast
:: refreshments and snacks, 1x pic-nic
:: local guides support
:: access to national parks / tolls
:: meals, alcoholic beverages / additional drinks
:: during guided self drive tour, vehicle, fuel, street tolls
:: individual activities + expenses
:: medical expenses/insurance
:: tips
Laguna Brava
off road Laguna Brava
Balcony Mount Pissis
4WD to Antofagasta
Pumice Stone Field
Salt-flat Antofalla
Tolar Grande
Potrerillos Mendoza
Calingasta Valley
    Wind car Barreal Blanco
San Jose de Jachal
north argentina | puna andes north | puna andes north full
andes route 40 | extreme andes | sixtyhundreds | hidden puna