Bicycling Northern Argentina

Bicycling 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'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. Click here to review our Bicycling Northern Argentina Plus! the Ruins of Quilmes.***

Is cycling in South America for you? Check out our What to expect: Cycling in South America page.

There are no upcoming tours scheduled at this time.

Tour Style: Classic Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 383 - 463 km (236 - 286 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 64 - 77 km (40 - 48 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 4.0 Classic
  • Countries / Argentina
  • Begin/End / Salta / Shuttle back to Salta
  • Price / From USD$3745
More Photos
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Ruins of Tilcara--the Pucará, Salta, goat cheese tasting, 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 lush green valleys, quiet villages, and 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 to Salta airport at the tour end; 8 days, 7 nights accommodation; Guided tour in Salta; meals as noted in itinerary.

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Salta Int'l Airport (SLA). There might be a reciprocity entry fee for entering Argentina through an international airport.
  • Overall Tour Level
    4.0 difficulty level 4.0

    Some high elevations and strong winds are possible. Varying road surface quality.

  • 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
    Hike day
    5km / 61m
    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
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download 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: 93km (58mi)
  • Gain: 1201m (3939ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty 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. Just before the descent into Salta we'll recommend a great place for lunch where you can relax and enjoy views of the city. We'll reconvene this afternoon for a guided walk of the city to learn about its pre-Columbian history.

  • Distance: 31km (19mi)
  • Gain: 535m (1755ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • 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: 87km (54mi)
  • Gain: 473m (1551ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty 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.

  • Distance: 80km (50mi)
  • Gain: 1234m (4048ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Shuttle to Salta

Highlights: Tour ends - back in Salta

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

***Extend this bicycle tour by 4 days and join us to Bicycling Northern Argentina Plus! the Ruins of Quilmes.***

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Salta loop ride and bike fitting

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 Day 1 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 8: Departure Information

Shuttle to Salta

Your trip ends on the final day after the complimentary ExperiencePlus! shuttle either drops you off in Salta town or at the Salta Airport (your spot on the shuttle is already reserved for you). Take note of the shuttle drop-off times below and plan accordingly.

If you can't make the shuttle, then you will be responsible for your own transportation. It's about a 3-hour drive or a day trip on public transportation.

Two complimentary ExperiencePlus! shuttle options:

  • Option A: Drop-off at the Salta Airport at 12 noon
  • Option B: Drop off at around 12:30 p.m. at the Meeting Hotel in Salta specified in the arrival instructions
  •  

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 Today!

3–6 Months Prior to 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. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/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 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

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

What to Expect on Tour

Classic Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic page.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • 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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