Bicycling Northern Argentina Plus! Ruins of Quilmes

  • Itinerary Summary

    Get off the beaten path in Latin America. Explore the famous Inca Trail, a major trade and cultural route between Buenos Aires, Bolivia and Peru. Pedal paved roads through deserts, canyons, cloudforests, and wine country. Bike through Argentina's rich of once-prosperous, pre-Incan societies that thrived amidst the splendor of the spectacular Rio Grande Valley.

    - QUEBRADA DE LAS CONCHAS - See these twisted, dazzling geological formations.

    - PURMAMARCA - A gorgeous village at the base of a mountain of seven colors.

    - CUESTA DE LIPAN -. See wild guanaco, and llama as you ascend 26+ switchbacks before reaching the 13,600 foot summit.

    - QUILMES - Explore these justly famous ruins.

    -THE CANYONS OF CAFAYATE - Hike these gorgeous canyons.

    If this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour check out our Bicycling Northern Argentina tour, which includes the first 8 days of this tour.

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    1. Day 1: Salta loop ride and bike fitting

      Highlights: Salta, bike fitting, warm-up ride

      We'll meet early this afternoon in Salta. After introductions we'll do a bike fitting, and take a short loop ride. Known to Argentineans as "Salta la linda," or "Salta the beautiful" because of its delightful colonial architecture, pleasant weather and beautiful natural surroundings. We'll be back in Salta in a few days so on your first day we recommend you enjoy the town square and lively city. Dinner is together this evening.

      Distance: 20 kms (12 miles). Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel Villa Vicuna.

    2. Day 2: Bicycle to San Salvador de Jujuy

      Highlights: Cycle through cloud forest, views of the Andes

      Today we'll shuttle to the suburbs of Salta to cycle through a cloud forest to the outskirts of San Salvador de Jujuy, capital of the Jujuy Province. Today's ride highlights the contrasts of the area as you pedal in and out of a cloud forest with song birds, ferns and bromeliads before descending back into desert and cactus country. We'll have a picnic lunch at the border between the Salta and Jujuy provinces. San Salvador de Jujuy offers tremendous views of the Andes range which run the length of Argentina.

      Distance: 78 km (42 miles) - Ride directly from Salta for 100 km (62 miles). Meals: B, L

      Lodging: Altos de La Vina

    3. Day 3: Purmamarca

      Highlights: Hike through the Cerro de Siete Colores

      We have a rest day today as we shuttle further north to Purmamarca, the town famous for its mountain of seven colors the "Cerro de Siete Colores." Put on your walking shoes and join us for the 4 km gravel path around the colorful mountain, or extend your hike further into the hills. This small village is also a great place to wander and shop for souvenirs at the traditional market in the square. Potter, painter, and ballad singer Barbarita Cruz was instrumental in preserving traditional pottery methods by offering workshops for both adults and children. You'll also find woolen goods, musical instruments, and traditional food like empanadas, and dulce de leche in numerous forms. We recommend visits to the church and cemetery, the 600+ year old Algarrobo tree, We'll have dinner together this evening.

      Distance: 4 km (2.5 miles) walking with options to go further. Meals B, D.

      Lodging: Hostal Posta de Purmamarca

    4. Day 4: Bicycle to Salina Grande

      Highlights: Cuesta de Lipan, Salina Grande

      Today you have an optional ride up to the great salt flats above Purmamarca. Considered one of the most epic and scenic rides in the region you'll begin in Purmamarca at 2,325 meters (7625 feet), up the Cuesta Lipan to 4170 meters (13678 feet), downhill to the Salt Flats. The ride starts gently and offers stunning views from the first pedal stroke. The van will support the climb so if you decide to take a lift over the pass you can shuttle to the salt flats, or get back on your bike at the top and ride. There is nothing quite like the surreal feeling of walking in this immense basin of salt so we encourage everyone to give it a go! This afternoon we shuttle back to Purmamarca and our hotel.

      Distance Optional: 70 km (43 miles). Meals, B, L.

      Lodging: Hostal Posta de Purmamarca

    5. Day 5: Salta la linda

      Highlights: Guided walk of Salta

      We shuttle back towards Salta today and then mid-morning jump on our bikes and pedal through the hills and back into town. You'll be in Salta in time for lunch so check our list for suggestions. We'll reconvene this afternoon for a guided walk of the city to learn about its pre-columbian history.

      Distance: 30 kms (15 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel Villa Vicuna

    6. Day 6: Dique Cabra Corral

      Highlights: Lush green valleys and quiet countryside

      Leave the city for the quiet countryside and green valleys south of Salta. As you ride today notice the whitewashed colonial farm houses amid fields of one of the finest types of tobacco in Argentina. Our destination is the lake resort area of Dique Cabra Corral and our hotel tonight has a beautifully situated pool!

      Distance: 86 km (53 miles). Meals: B, L, D.

      Lodging: Hotel del Dique

    7. Day 7: Cafayate

      Highlights: Spectacular scenery, Quebrada de las Conchas, Cafayate

      We start our day with a shuttle before embarking on what some people consider their "most beautiful ride ever." Decide for yourself as you pedal through the magical Quebrada de las Conchas, passing 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. Our destination is the colonial town of Cafayate, famous for its wines and a base for adventure travel in the area.

      Distance: 80 km (48 miles). Meals: B, L, D

      Lodging: Hotel Killa Cafayate

    8. Day 8: Day off in Cafayate

      Highlights: Hiking through canyons

      Enjoy a relaxing morning exploring Cafayate. This afternoon we have a hike planned with a local guide to dive a little deeper into the rock formations and landscapes of Quebrada de Las Conchas. Dinner tonight is on your own and opportunities abound to sample local wines and specialties.

      Distance: 5 km (3 miles) hiking. Meals: B.

      Lodging: Hotel Killa Cafayate

    9. Day 9: Quilmes and Amaichá del Valle

      Highlights: Wine country, famous ruins of Quilmes, Pachamama ("Mother Earth") museum complex

      Our ride from Cafayate takes us by several of the vineyards that make this area's wine famous. We are riding along the valley toward the most famous ruins in Argentina - Quilmes. The indigenous community here resisted the Inca invasion first and the Spanish occupation for 130 years until 1667 when the Spaniards forced the population to march toward Buenos Aires. Hundreds died along the way, and the town of Quilmes fell into ruin. Wander through the partially restored ruins for a stunning view of the entire valley and visit the museum. Ride by Amaichá, famous for its museum complex dedicated to Mother Earth. The museum's buildings, statues and exterior features are all made from stone and were all the work of one man, Hector Cruz!

      Distance: 66 km (41 miles). Meals: B, L, D.

      Lodging: Hotel Altos de Amaicha

    10. Day 10: Tafí del Valle

      Highlights: Biking over "Infernillo" pass

      We leave the Quilmes valley to ride (or shuttle) up and over 1000 meters (3300 feet) to enter the valley of Tafí del Valle. Set in a fertile valley this famous town acts as the local resort for the people of the nearby city of San Miguel de Tucuman. The climb takes you through a desert environment with cactus covered mountains to the summit - Spanish conquistadores used this pass to enter Argentina as they traveled East from Peru. You'll notice a dramatic difference in the landscape as soon as you begin your descent to the valley; the vegetation suddenly becomes lush. Explore Tafi and enjoy lunch on your own before we rendezvous to our shuttle to our hacienda!

      Distance: 53 km (33 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Estancia las Carreras en Tafi

    11. Day 11: Downhill ride to Famailla and shuttle to San Miguel de Tucuman

      Highlights: Tropical forest, San Miguel de Tucuman

      We have a 50km downhill through a luscious tropical forest, "the yungas," a stark contrast from the Alpine meadow valley area of Tafi and the desert like environment of the previous days. The last 10 km of the ride takes us through one of the world's largest lemon groves. We'll shuttle into the city of San Miguel de Tucuman, the largest city in northwestern Argentina. This provincial capital is where delegates declared the country's independence from Spain on July 9, 1816.

      Distance: 80 km (68 miles) Meals: B, L, D

      Lodging: Hotel Presidente

    12. Day 12: Journey's End

      Highlights: San Miguel de Tucuman

      Our tour ends today. Whether you're off to Buenos Aires or heading back home, buen viaje!

      Meals: B

    • Highlights

      Ruins of Tilcara--the Pucará, Salta, Purmamarca's Cerro de Siete Colores, the Mountain of Seven Colors, UNESCO World Heritage Site Quebrada de Humahuaca, Geological formations at Quebrada de las Conchas, Colorful deserts, Incan ruins, Rides through deserts, lush green valleys, quiet villages, and wine country, Cafayate's wine country
    • Includes

      Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; Shuttle from the Salta airport, 11 nights accommodation, 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners with wine, guided visit of Salta plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Salta / Tucuman
    • Arrive/Depart

      Salta (SLA) / Tucuman (TUC). There is a reciprocity entry fee for entering Argentina through an international airport; Canada and Australia passport holders are required to register and pay the fee online prior to arrival.
    • Total Distance

      639-719 km (394-444 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      30 -86 kms (18 - 53 miles)
    • Rating

      301-401 Take this to a 401 level by doing all of the optional rides. Opportunities to climb a mountain pass on Days 3, 5 and 10. Some high elevations and strong winds are possible. Varying road surface quality.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
    Nov 4-15, 2017 USD$4695 USD$700 Book it
    Apr 7-18, 2018 USD$4795 USD$700 Save $200, per person, when you book by August 15th. Book it
    Sep 8-19, 2018 USD$4795 USD$700 3 More to Guarantee the Departure. Save $200, per person, when you book by August 15th. Book it
    Nov 3-14, 2018 USD$4795 USD$700 Save $200, per person, when you book by August 15th. 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • Amazing scenery and great roads for most of the rides. Good cultural introduction to Northern Argentina. The support was over the top and the best that I''ve ever had from a commercial tour company.

      Cindy D., Phoenix, AZ
    • Fantastico trip. The support was beyond my expectations, the combination of landscapes, challenging riding and cultural experiences made this a truly fun and unique experience.

      Nancy K., Phoenix, AZ
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? It is hard to isolate a favorite experience. It rained in the rainforests, was hot in the sunny deserts - Purmamarca and the canyons on the way to Cafayate were highlights for us.

      Victoria L., Falmouth, MA
    • Wonderful, wonderful food including meals that were at the homes of local residents. Consistently good lodging. Excellent, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable guides. Much beautiful scenery.

      David S., Appleton, WI
    • Incredibly well-planned and supported in an exceptionally beautiful locale. My favorite things: The camaraderie of the group, interacting with the friendly, encouraging and knowledgeable support staff and the home-cooked meals eaten at the homes of ordinary local people.

      John T., Portland, OR
    • We went to a small winery on our day off in Cafayate. The guides drove us out in the van and after the tour we had lunch on the porch. It was a sunny day and the view was of the vineyards with the mountains behind us and in the distance. Was perfect Argentinean moment.

      Marion M., Toronto, Canada
    • Loved the trip up to the salt flat. Best bike days were the ride up through the cloud forest en route to Salta and the gorgeous canyon ride to Cafayate.

      Carolyn D., Concord, NH
    • The scenery, the roads, the weather, the food and of course the guides. Michele aka Butter Ball - was a delight and Javier aka Lover Boy was the most pleasant and knowledgeable guide I've experienced. The whole trip was great biking and most relaxing. What else can I say. Perfection!!

      Carol S., Ketchum, ID
    • Just a note to say THANK YOU. We had the absolute best time -- what a wonderful trip itinerary, and our guides, Michele and Javier, were FANTASTIC. They were not only loads of fun, they were always there for us, always wanting to do more, always explaining everything about the trip, the country, the history, the food...Carol and I are brewing up another trip with you -- hopefully next year in Italy.

      Carol H., Bellevue, ID
    • 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
    • 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

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