by Marcelo Verde
Travel Specialist in Trips SouthAmerica
My Trip to the Argentine Northwest
Hi! Before starting I must declare myself a fan of our North Region in Argentina.
Each circuit, each gorge, each valley offers countless landscapes and experiences, all different between each other.
In this opportunity I am going to tell you about my trip to Iruya in the Province of Salta.
The trip begins in the city of Salta, a city that is easily accessible, since it has good national and regional connectivity.
It is very easy to get accommodation of any category, from 5 * to hostels, plus many things to do and gastronomic options.
My Trip Tip
I recommend staying 2 nights on arrival and one more night when you return from the Humahuaca Gorge.
I suggest renting a car in the city of Salta for two days, as a minimum, and sleeping one night in the Humahuaca Gorge.
https://quebradadehumahuaca.com (in English and Spanish)
The trip begins early in the morning towards the city of Jujuy on the paved road on the mountain edge that connects this city with Salta.
From Jujuy we start the journey along National Route No. 9 that crosses the entire Humahuaca Gorge, a UNESCO declared Site.
We will have the chance to know the beautiful towns of Purmamarca (where the 7 Colors Hills is located), Tilcara town with its Hornocal and the open-air museum of Tilcara, Maimara, until we reach Humahuaca town. Here we can spend the night – bear in mind that here most of the lodges are inns. Both in Purmamarca and Tilcara there are also good places to stay, with a more variety of categories.
http://www.turismosalta.gov.ar (Only in Spanish!)
In the morning we start the road to Iruya along the National Route No. 9 (asphalt). 26km from Humahuaca there is a sign saying “To Iruya -> 54km.” You have to follow this path.
The road to reach the town is a gravel road on the edge of the mountains, and at times, only one car can go along. It is mostly uphill: it goes up to 4,000 meters above sea level, especially at a point called Abra del Condor. It takes between 2 and three hours depending on the stops made along the way.
My Trip Tip
Altitude Sickness it is not unusual in the Andes. Take it easy.
Iruya is one of those towns that invites you to walk its cobbled streets… Go up, walk slowly, keep going up, turn and go down… without stopping and knowing very well where and for what purpose you are strolling.
Once there you will find some emblematic places to visit: “The viewpoint of the cross”; travel on the Iruya riverbank towards San Isidro; the Church at the entrance of the Town; the viewpoint from the walkway; among many other things that will keep you busy all morning. Walking through the town or along the river side is also a good option. People here are extremely friendly and helpful, so don´t mind asking them for some options to do, visit and even having a bite to eat!
At lunchtime, there are many alternatives, most of them regional food, and very cheap. You can eat in the restaurant of the only hotel (Hotel Iruya), in a typical restaurant and even in a house that offers traditional food in their patio.
My Trip Tip
Don´t leave this place tying some of the typical dishes of the place: Dishes with Quinoa, “Humita en chala”, “locro” stew and empanadas.
Once lunch was over we returned to get directly from Iruya to Salta, it took us 3 and a half hours by car. Another option is to sleep one more night or in Purmamarca or in Tilcara.
I want to come back , I hope you enjoy your trip!
For futher information, don’t hesitate in contact me!
Travel Specialist, Trips SouthAmerica.