170 kilometers of winding roads, imposing landscapes of colorfull hills and mud villages, folklore and joyful celebrations of ancient cultures and delicious flavors. This is the Humahuaca Ravine, declared World Heritage Site in 2003, located in the province of Jujuy, in the North of Argentina. A magical place, beyond time, where the fabulous natural attractions merge with the mystique of its people and culture, to delight each visitor.
In this article we’ll travel along the Ravine in a South-North direction, beginning at the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, and highlighting some spots that definetly worth the visit.
The picturesque town of Purmamarca, by the foot of the famous Seven Colors Hill, is our first selected spot. Located 65 km from the city of Jujuy, it can be reached by land, by bus or by private transfer.
While walking around its red color soil streets, you cannot miss the visit to the main square, where a craft fair is performed everyday, offering a wide variety of regional products.
At lunchtime, we strongly suggest the tasting of “tamales” and “humitas”, two local dishes. The first one usually prepared from corn dough stuffed with meats and vegetables, wrapped in vegetable leaves; the second corn-based wrapped in its “chala”.
In the surroundings, incredible landscapes can be enjoyed through different activities that include trekking and horseback riding. One of the most traditional walks near Purmamarca is the Red Colors Walk, sightseeing the most striking shades of the rock formations.
Our second second selected spot are the Great Salt Flats. Departing from Purmamarca and riding 126 km through winding paths and beautiful landscapes, you’ll reach this breathtaking desert of more than 30,000 acres of salt. The Great Salt Flats, defined by National Geographic as one of the “17 most wild and beautiful places in the world”, are for sure one of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the region.
The village of Tilcara, just 26 km from Purmamarca, is our third spotted destination. From there you can visit the ruins of Pucará, an ancient fortress built by local peoples over a thousand years ago, to guard the area. Located 2500 meters high, in the center of the Humahuaca Ravine, it gives priviliged views of the surroundings.
Back in Tilcara, we suggest walking around the town, visiting its museums, its main square and its handicraft fair. By night, you must to attend a folk party, locally known as “peñas folclóricas”. There you’ll not only enjoy live folk music, but you’ll also be able to catch the real native spirit, while you taste exquisite typical regional dishes such as Andean llama and lamb.
The visit to the Devil’s Throat is one of the main highlights during your visit to Tilcara. An impressively high rock formation that stands at each side of the Huassamayo River and houses a waterfall of about 15 meters height.
Humahuaca, our fourth outstanding destination in this journey. More mud houses, churches, handicraft fairs, museums, flavors and local culture. But this town hides a particular and fantastic wonder that is worth visiting, and this is Hornocal Hills. If you felt excited when you visited the Seven Colors Hill in Purmamarca, Humahuaca and this amazing chromatic beauty of “14 colors”, will leave you amazed.
Our two last recommended spots are not part of the Humahuaca Ravine, and are not even in the province of Jujuy, but their outstanding beauty and proximity turn the visit to these two places into a must. It is about Iruya and San Isidro, both located in the province of Salta. Iruya is a small colonial-style town that seems to hang from the mountain. San Isidro is a much smaller town -of about 350 inhabitants- immersed in the mountains, which is only accessful after a 2 and a half-hour trek from Iruya. This easy but stony path, by the bed of the Iruya river, opens the way across the colorful mountains giving the possibility to see guanacos, llamas and condors.
We’ve come to the end of our journey by the Humauaca Ravine and surroundings. We hope you have enjoyed our selected destinations and experiences; and we also add that this itinerary is perfectly combinable with the visit to the city of Salta and the town of Cafayate, in the North of Argentina as well; and Iguazu Falls and Iberá Wetlands, in the litoral coastland region. For more details about it, visit this link.
See you soon in our next edition!