Bicycling Northern Argentina Plus! Ruins of Quilmes

Bicycling Northern Argentina Plus! Ruins of Quilmes

Get off the beaten path in Latin America. Explore the famous Camino Inca or 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 past and experience the archeological ruins 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 - Visit a gorgeous small village situated at the base of a mountain of seven colors: a hub for artisans from Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.
  • CUESTA DE LIPAN - this pass is rightfully gaining notoriety with cyclists throughout the world. 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.

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Apr 6-17, 2019
USD$4795
USD$700
 
Sep 7-18, 2019
USD$4795
USD$700
2 More to Guarantee the Departure.
Sep 7-18, 2020
TBA
TBA
 

* 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.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 12 Days
  • Total Distance / 639-719 km (394-444 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 30 -86 kms (18 - 53 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 3.5
  • Countries / Argentina
  • Begin/End / Salta / Tucuman
  • Price / From USD$4795
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  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • 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

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    Road surface quality varies significantly expect sections of rough chip seal and potholes. Because there are very few roads in this area we'll shuttle in and out of towns to avoid traffic.
  • Includes
    Shuttle from the Salta airport, 11 nights accommodation, 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners with wine, guided visit of Salta; and the usual (see below).

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Salta (SLA) / Tucuman (TUC). 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.
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    93km / 1201m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 4.0
    3
    Hiking day
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 0.5
    4
    71km / 1942m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    5
    31km / 535m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.0
    6
    87km / 473m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    7
    80km / 1234m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 3.5
    8
    Hiking day
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    9
    66km / 544m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    10
    53km / 1191m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    11
    80km / 261m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    12
    Last day

    Tour Level Note: 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.

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

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.

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: 93 km (58 mi)
  • Gain: 1201 m (3939 ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: Day Level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Lodging:

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. Our hike today will be at least 4 km long (more for those who wish)

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.

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: 31 km (19 mi)
  • Gain: 535 m (1755 ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: Day Level 3.0
  • Lodging:

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: 87 km (54 mi)
  • Gain: 473 m (1551 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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.

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.

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 Amaich?, 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!

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 Taf? 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!

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 (50 mi)
  • Gain: 261 m (856 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.5
  • Lodging:

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!

Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Salta loop ride and bike fitting

Lodging: Hotel Villa Vicuna

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Salta Airport (SLA).

  • Taxi from the Salta Airport to the Meeting Hotel (25-30 min/250 pesos).

A Note on Flights: For information on transferring between Buenos Aires’ international and domestic airports see our information here.

Day 12: Departure Information

Journey's End

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

We recommend flying out of Tucuman Airport (TUC)

  • Taxi from the Ending Hotel to the Tucuman Airport (10-15min/200 pesos).

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

Road surface quality varies significantly expect sections of rough chip seal and potholes. Because there are very few roads in this area we'll shuttle in and out of towns to avoid traffic.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two) and a water bottle (or two) and in some cases a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Another great ExperiencePlus tour!

    Harold M., Centerville, UT
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Everything was perfect. The guides, scenery, hotels, other cyclists and our friend, Doug, became a bike vacation convert!

    Jean A., Seattle, WA
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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