The country of Argentina is known for its wine, beef and tango, but the northern province of Jujuy, founded in 1593 and bordering Bolivia and Chile, is also a unique place to discover, with its salt flats, mountain town and historic archaeological sites. Over the course of a trip to Salta and Jujuy, pronounced “hu-hui”, you can explore high-altitude mountains said to embrace seven distinct colors, taste llama at a local restaurant and walk on vast salt plains.
Getting to Jujuy is a bit tricky. Visitors can take a roughly 2 hour flight to Salta and then take a bus to Jujuy, which takes 4 hours, or they can take a 22-24 hour bus from Buenos Aires (Retiro) to Jujuy. Say Hueque Tours can help coordinate your trip. Below we also highlight a few activities to make it easier for you to plan a trip to Salta and Jujuy.
Salt Flats (Salinas Grandes): While cruising along the wide open landscapes of Jujuy, you will eventually approach the Salinas Grandes (Salt Flats) of northern Argentina, spanning 8,300 square kilometers at 1,300 meters above sea level. Surround yourself in the endless landscape of white, where the space that appears to be right in front of you may be miles away. The quiet area looks like a vast white desert of completely flat land, fresh air and a bright view. The Salt Flats a source of income that is increasingly important for the region, namely for salt and potassium mining. You can learn about the process of salt extraction and see the small rectangular salt pools. Be sure to bring a camera as the blank canvas is ideal for creative photos.
Purmamarca: From the Salt Flats, venture out to the mountain village of Purmamarca, Jujuy. Purmamarca, literally translating to “the desert village” or the “lions village” in Quechua, is a popular visit in Jujuy. The village sits almost 2,200 meters above sea level in the Humahuaca Ravine. The Humahuaca Canyon, or Quebrada de Humahuaca, is a narrow mountain valley, receiving its name from Humahuaca, a small town of 11,000 inhabitants. The Humahuaca Canyon was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003.
With beautiful scenery, a laid-back feel and great hotel options, the small town of Purmamarca is located directly below the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors), a group of hills made up of various colors due to the diverse mineral content. You can visit mountains at 4,200 meters high and drink coco tea or chew on coco leaves like locals do at high altitudes.
Purmamarca is a great place to enjoy mountain hiking and horseback riding, but it is also a good idea to get to know the town. The village’s main church was built in 1648 and houses ancient artefacts from the region. The colorful artisan market takes place daily in the square around the village and sells regional products, pottery, handicrafts, rugs, clothing, traditional ponchos, instruments and regional cuisine at reasonable prices.
Pucará de Tilcara: The Pucará de Tilcara is a pre-columbian fortress built in Inca times located on a hill just outside the small town of Tilcara, Jujuy. The location was strategically chosen to be easily defendable and to provide a beautiful view over a long stretch of the Humahuaca Canyon. The Pucará de Tilcara was declared a National Monument in 2000. It has been partially rebuilt and is the only publicly accessible archaeological site in the Humahuaca Canyon. Founded in 1568, Tilcara itself is a larger town of about 10,000 residents.