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Discover Northern Argentina
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Bicycle Tours in Argentina: Discover Northern Argentina

Here's an exciting opportunity to get a little further off the beaten path in Latin America. This tour presents irrefutable proof that there is a lot more to see and do in Argentina than visit Patagonia! Once home to a thriving Incan population, Northern Argentina enjoyed the prosperity that came with being located in the spectacular Rio Grande Valley. The area is part of the famous Camino Inca (Inca Trail) and a major trade and cultural route between Buenos Aires, Bolivia and Peru. We start with three days of glorious downhill riding as we come down from our 10,000 foot perch in Salta. We'll pedal through lush valleys, stopping to explore Incan ruins, deserts, cloudforest, and wine country. The grand finale is a ride through the twisted and dazzling geological formations of Quebrada de las Conchas.

***Extend this bicycle tour by 4 days for just $1200 per person. Click here to review our Discover Northern Argentina Plus! the Ruins of Quilmes.***

Day 1: Shuttle to Quebrada de Humahuaca

Highlights: Quebrada de Humahuaca, Tilcara, Pucara' de Tilcara

We'll offer a shuttle from the Salta International Airport at 2:30 pm or from the center of Salta at 2 pm and drive north to the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a UNESCO World Heritage site and our home for the next few nights. We stay in colorful and delightful Tilcara, one of the most famous towns in the province of Jujuy which merges indigenous cultures with modern times. We'll plan to fit bikes and suggest a ride north up the canyon, toward Humahuaca and Bolivia (about 240 km away). We'll enjoy a welcome dinner together tonight. Mileage: Your choice for a short ride.

Lodging: Hotel Viento Norte

Day 2: Ride to Purmamarca

Highlights: Ruins of Tilcara, Cerro de Siete Colores, small indigenous towns, Purmamarca

After a safety talk this morning, we encourage you to either visit the Pucará de Tilcara if you have not already done so, or ride north in the canyon to see its colorful walls. The Pucará de Tilcara is a restored Incan fortress that overlooks the modern town of Tilcara; you can see the strategic position the Incas chose to build their fortress! When ready, glide down the canyon; none of the tourists traveling by bus have the opportunity to stop at the small villages along the way, so be sure to take time to explore places like Posta de los Hornillos or Maimará on your way. Delight in the vibrant walls of the Quebrada, made up of a variety of mineral deposits that merge to create a rainbow of rocks. We'll see this very well in Purmamarca, which is famous for the Cerro de Siete Colores, the mountain of seven colors. Mileage: 28 km (18 miles) to Purmamarca; as much additional mileage as you want north.

Lodging: Hosteria Posta de Purmamarca

Day 3: Purmamarca

Highlights: Rest day, bike up to 13,000 feet, Cerro de Siete Colores, walk or bike the surrounding hills, salt flats at 12,000 feet.

We have a rest day today in the town famous for its "Cerro de Siete Colores." Walk or bike the 4 km gravel path around the colorful mountain, or head off for some other hiking in these sedimentary rock hills. Anybody wanting a challenge can bike up the 25+ hairpin turns to reach 4170 meters (13,681 feet). Or, we'll help arrange a visit to the salt flats high above to see the incredible expanse of white, bordered by dominating mountains. Or, relax and wander the village, visiting the church and shopping in the main square where street vendors sell traditional crafts as well as woolen goods from nearby Bolivia. Dinner is on your own. Mileage: Optional; approximately 40 km (25 miles) up to Abra de Porterillos at 4170 meters.

Lodging: Hosteria Posta de Purmamarca

Day 4: San Salvador de Jujuy

Highlights: A 3000 foot descent, optional ride to thermal spas, Capital of the Jujuy Province

We fly downhill today to the capital of Jujuy province, San Salvador de Jujuy. Stop along the way at the villages of Tumbaya and Volcan or bike an extra ride up to thermal pools. Our landscape changes as we lose the sandy, rocky colors of the desert and enter a more urban area. San Salvador de Jujuy is a well-preserved colonial town and is home to a lovely cathedral, built in 1750, surrounding Plaza Belgrano. If the Indian market is open be sure to visit; most vendors dress in traditional costumes selling food, indigenous crafts and textiles. Mileage: About 60 km (37 miles).

Lodging: Jujuy Palace Hotel

Day 5: Salta

Highlights: Cloudforest, Salta, our first climb

Today is our first day with some physical effort as we climb out of the Jujuy valley to enter the Salta basin through a cloudforest. We spend tonight in the city of Salta, the capital of the Salta province, known to Argentineans as "Salta la linda," or "Salta the beautiful." Take time to visit the famous archaeological museums and the important sites of the city. Dinner is on your own. Mileage: 91 km (56 miles).

Lodging: Altos de Balcarce

Day 6: Coronel Moldes

Highlights: Lush green valleys and quiet countryside

We leave the city for the quiet countryside and green valleys south of Salta: as we ride we'll see many whitewashed colonial farm houses amid fields of one of the finest types of tobacco in Argentina. Our destination is the small village of Coronel Moldes; you can relax or take an extra ride into the verdant hills around the lake resort area of Dique Cabra Corral. In the late afternoon we'll visit a finca, a typical tobacco farm and we'll learn about the gauchos and their work in the field. We'll enjoy dinner together at the finca, where the owner will cook us a delicious asado. Mileage: 61 km with optional 8-20 km available (37-49 miles).

Lodging: Hotel del Dique

Day 7: Cafayate

Highlights: spectacular scenery, Quebrada de las Conchas, Cafayate

We'll start our day with a shuttle to a goat farm, where you can buy some cheese, or maybe some "dulce de leche" made with goat milk! Today's ride could easily be labeled "the most beautiful ride ever." We'll pedal through the Quebrada de las Conchas, riding by geological formations eroded into forms such as the "Devil's Throat," the "Frog," the "Amphitheater," the "Monk," and more. Take your time through the canyon as the late afternoon light creates an explosion of colors over the last 30 km. We arrive in the colonial town of Cafayate tonight, famous for its wines and a base for adventure travel in the area. Take a stroll through town before enjoying our final dinner together. Mileage: 88-130 km (54-81 miles).

Lodging: Hotel Killa

Day 8: Journey's end

Highlights:

We'll provide a shuttle back to Salta this morning. Buen viaje!

***Extend this bicycle tour by 4 days for just $1200 per person. Click here to review our Discover Northern Argentina Plus! the Ruins of Quilmes.***

  • Highlights
    Salta la Linda (the Beautiful), Geological formations at Quebrada de las Conchas, Colorful deserts, goat cheese tasting, UNESCO World Heritage Site Quebrada de Humahuaca, Incan ruins, Rides through lush green valleys, quiet villages, and wine country
  • Includes
    "The Usual" plus... Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; Shuttle to and from Salta airport; 8 days, 7 nights accommodation; 7 breakfasts, 2 packed lunches, 5 dinners with wine including a special "finca" visit
  • Countries
    Argentina
  • Begin/End
    Salta / Shuttle back to Salta
  • Arrive/Depart
    Salta Int'l Airport (SLA). There is a reciprocity entry fee for entering Argentina through an international airport; USA, Canada and Australia passport holders are required to register and pay the fee online prior to arrival.
  • Total Distance
    328 - 542 km (202- 334 miles)
  • Daily Distance
    28 - 100 km (17 - 60 miles)
  • What to Expect
    Highest point nearly 10,000 feet with a day trip to the salt flats which are 13,000. Great downhill rides for the first 3 days.
  • Rating
    201
    Some climbing on Day 5 and 7; shuttles available. Spectacular scenery along the rides. Extra mileage available all days.
  • Notes
    If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour check out our, Discover Northern Argentina Plus! the Ruins of Quilmes tour, which extends this itinerary by 4 days.
  • Terms
Dates Price Single
Supplement*
Notes Next
Step
Apr 27 - May 04, 2015 $3495 $550 Book by August 31st and Save $200, per person. Book It
Sep 11 - 18, 2015 $3495 $550 Book by August 31st and Save $200, per person. Book It
*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
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Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.

Map Key

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Yellow pinCity (on route)
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Great scenery, super guides, easy rides, good weather. Lovely balance of cultural themes.
Herb K., Wayland, MA
I loved the whole trip. The rides through the colorful canyons was almost like being home, just not so many people. The change of scenery from reds and oranges and desert like to green lush tropic like vegetation was great.
Carolyn M., Centerville, UT
Another great ExperiencePlus tour!
Harold M., Centerville, UT
The tour leaders were amazing. Each offered different skills and personality. Javier is a real asset with his language and history skills.
Rich H., Cheyenne, WY
Everything was perfect. The guides, scenery, hotels, other cyclists and our friend, Doug, became a bike vacation convert!
Jean A., Seattle, WA
My favorite experience was biking through the scenery, which was unbeatable. A great trip.
Russ A., Seattle, WA
I'm back home and not quite over my trip after almost a week. Loved Argentina and wanted to let you know how impressed I was with ExperiencePlus!. We had excellent guides who were efficient, fun and interesting. The country was vast and gorgeous, often feeling bigger than anything that we have in our West. Our week came off without a glitch and I would do it all again. Thank you for your help and support. I was the only one in the group who had not ridden many times with your organization and that says it all.
Doug W., Tiburon, CA