Posted by: Bert and Tania | January 2, 2012

Our North of Argentina Roadtrip: Salta (and a bit of Jujuy) with our Dads + 3min 500mph video

On the 17th November, we had another visitor arrive in Buenos Aires – Bert’s Dad. Unfortunately, Ali had to fly back to the UK a few days later but not before we’d all had some Buenos Aires fun. On 20th November, after waving Ali off at the airport, we set off to Salta in the Northwest of Argentina on an extremely posh coach. It wasn’t even the poshest one, but it still had meals with wine and business class seats. Just as well for a 20hr journey.

In Salta, we stayed at Las Rejas B&B for a night or two to get our bearings (Thanks to Fi and Dunc for the recommendation), see a bit of the city and to sort out hiring a car. We also went to a ‘Peña’, or folklore music and dance show over dinner. Then came that awkward ‘I’d like to be invisible’ moment of the evening when the dancers looked for partners from the audience. Bert and I, seeing all exits blocked, obliged and donned the necessary outfit in order to provide quality entertainment to the masses. We think our Dads were impressed!?!!

We then spent six days driving around the amazing landscapes of North Argentina, sampling empanadas and drinking beer in the square of every town we stopped off at. And eating llama. Oh, and visiting vineyards (Bodegas) where wine like Torrentes and Malbec is made. Apparently, the extreme range of temperature between night and day results in grapes with tough skins and intense flavours. We visited the organic ‘Nanni’ bodega as well as the ‘El Esteco’ bodega, both at Cafayate.

Our drive took us through stunning scenery; dusty orange rock formations, winding valleys with river crossings, steep gorges, enchanted valleys, cactus fields whipped by dust devils, stripy coloured rocks, wide open high altitude puna, salt flats… you name it. Los Cardones National Park has an incredible cactus field. The huge cacti have a hollow wooden structure that when dry is a fascinating material and we enjoyed seeing the endless examples of how the local people put this material to use: picture frames, roofs, bins, doors, lampshades, furniture.

The ‘Salinas Grandes’ were the first salt flats I (Bert) had ever seen. Vast white solid lakes of (a bit dirty) white salt. These were being harvested by having rectangular pits dug in them which seems to serve to crystallise purer salt. Amazing. One restaurant we went to had tables made out of massive slabs of salt. Bizarre.

The other cool place we went to was Purmamarca with a ‘Seven Coloured Rock’, in Jujuy. It’s true. There are seven colours. Or five. Or nine. Depends on how picky you are! You can count for yourself in the picture. We stayed in Tilcara, a town about 22km north of Purmamarca and whilst our accommodation was basic it had the BEST breakfast view ever. As we sipped our coffee, beautiful hummingbirds darted around the flowers in the garden. Unfortunately we didn’t catch them in a photo – we were too chilled out man.

The landscape was mind blowing. I (Bert) have made a 3min video of what it’s like to drive through the North of Argentina (very fast). We held a camera out of the window and took five and a half thousand photos, which we made into a video. Luckily it omits the loo stops… and the bit where Tania managed to beach the car on a sandy kerb and everyone had to get out… oops.

Click here to watch the video.

Doesn’t play properly? download it instead

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