September 1st, September 29th
Departure day
Salta
Destination
Advanced
Difficulty level

 

A bike journey packed with highlights, through a region that can truly be called magical. You will climb above high mountain passes, reaching the very edge of the great Altiplano (the highest inhabited mountain plateau in the world, after the Tibetan highlands). The Calchaqui Valleys don´t cease to surprise, with amazing desert landscapes, wonderful colonial towns, and a people marked by an ancient indigenous culture mixed with colonial Spanish heritage. A fantastic way to delve deeply into a region that is fast becoming a world-class destination. Come experience the magical Northwest with us!

DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL Salta/ San Miguel de Tucumán
DEPARTING TIME 8 p.m. in Buenos Aires
SERVICES INCLUDED
18 Seater exclusive van equipped with TV and video
Mountain bike transportation during the extent of the tour
4×4 support vehicle equipped with two-way communication radios (everyday, with on-board service, including granola bars, fruits when possible, and other snacks and drinks)
Bilingual Tour Leaders, equipped with two-way radios, and local guides
Mechanical assistance and spare bike available (in case yours break down)
Half board: breakfasts and lunches included, dinners and meals while on transit not included
Seven nights at hotels and inns in double and triple base
 Medical insurance
Entrance fee to “Quilmes indian ruins”
 Daily Trip Information Notes, with maps, routes and detail on the region
Pre-trip information package with details on how to prepare, what to bring, and more detailed information
NOT INCLUDED
Meals not detailed in the program, drinks, alcohol drinks, air tickets, transfers not detailed in the tour program, bike parts, phone calls, laundry expenses and personal expenses
MTB rental

Additional information

LocationCachi, Cafayate, Colome, Molinos, Salta
Duration9 days
DatesApril, May, September, October, November

Fantastic mountain bike tour in North Argentina, from colonial Cachi to the vineyards of Cafayate, through Colome, Molinos and San Carlos.

1

Day 1:

Guests starting with us in Buenos Aires will depart in our van on Friday afternoon in route to Salta (flight to, and accommodations in Buenos Aires are not included in tour price). The shuttle from Buenos Aires to Salta takes 20 hours, arriving on Saturday.If you choose to fly to Salta, we will meet you there on Saturday. The group will rendezvous in Salta this afternoon. Transfer to Chicoana and time for an Argentinean asado(Barbacue), while we receive a briefing for the next days program.
2

Day 2: Cuesta del Obispo - Cachi

Down the Bishop´s Slope and into the Andean Plateau
After our detailed welcome and safety speach, we’ll start our tour with one of the trip’s highlights! Leaving on our comfortable van, we’ll cross the town of El Carril, and begin climbing the “Quebrada de Escoipe”, following a canyon sculpted by a river flowing down from the mountains. This beautiful place is surrounded by verdant vegetation and huge mountain chains. We keep climbing the famous “Cuesta del Obispo” (the Bishop´s Slope), an amazing climb that seems to never end. We’ll reach “Piedra del Molino” (the Millstone), which lies at 3,348 ms above seal level (10,980 ft). After being amazed by the views atop, we’ll get on our bikes and descend over the wonderful “Camino de los Colorados” (the Red Road), the name coming from the eroded slopes surrounding us, exposing all shades of red – a fantastic sight. We´ll also cycle through the Cardones National Park named after the huge cactus that grows everywhere and that is protected here. We’ll arrive in Cachi tonight, sleeping in a cozy hosteria.
31 miles + 13 optional miles and 750ft elevation gain
3

Day 3: Seclantas to Molinos in the backyards of the Calchaqui Valley

After a hearty breakfast, we’ll head to one of the most surprising places of the journey, landing in the middle of red, dry mountains, surrounded by the incredible cardón cactus (a relative of the saguaro). At Laguna Brealito we’ll have our lunch. This scenic and rocky path will offer a challenging ride, with plenty of climbing and descending. In the afternoon, we’ll ride over another isolated backroad, used only by the few locals existing in the region. We’ll arrive in Molinos, after 1kms of loose sand, where we might have to do some walking. The enchanting landscapes we’ll cross are well worth the challenging ride. Tonight we’ll be lodged at the Hacienda de Molinos, a restored country manor set in a fantastic location.
30,5 miles and 3400ft elevation gain
4

Day 4: Molinos to Colome

Today we have an extraordinary program! We’ll ride our bikes to Estancia de Colomé
covering the distance of 19km (12 miles) on a gentle uphill tendency. Colome is the
oldest operating Winery in Argentina; it was founded in 1831 by the last Spanish Governor Nicolas Severo Isasmendi y Echalar. It’s located in the Upper Calchaqui Valley and it’s home of the highest vineyards, sitting between 2.300 and 3100 meters above the sea level and to the exquisite boutique hotel Estancia Colome: http://www.bodegacolome.com/estancia/estancia.php?lang=en
After some stretching we’ll have an explanation about the history of the Winery and the process of the wine production. The delightful lunch will be served in the gallery of the restaurant in front of the vineyards. In the afternoon we’ll visit the James Turrell museum, the private museum of Hess family about space and light: http://www.bodegacolome.com/museo/?lang=en
Afterwards we’ll ride back to Molinos
24 miles and 3400 ft elevation gain
5

Day 5: Molinos to Finca del Carmen

The small town of Molinos dates from the 17th century, and after a bit of exploring, we’ll begin pedaling on the famous Route 40, which stretches the length of Argentina along the spine of the Andes, from the border with Bolivia down to Ushuaia, on the southern edge of the continent. We’ll follow the Calchaquí River Valley, a fertile region settled since pre-historic times. We’ll pass few small towns, and arrive in Finca del Carmen, near Angastaco, with lively regional arquitecture and plenty of traditional culture. The silence of the Valley and the scenery surrounding us will keep us awed throughout the journey. Tonight we’ll rest at Finca del Carmen
21 miles and 1080 ft elevation gain
6

Day 6: La Quebrada de las flechas

 Through the Quebrada de las Flechas into colonial Cafayate
Today, we’ll enter the amazing Quebrada de las Flechas (The Canyon of Arrows), one of the most amazing sites in the Argentine Northwest. The eroded cliffs and slopes, with the high Andes off in the distance; create an almost surreal landscape, dazzling all that come through here. After 31 km of riding, we’ll stop for lunch, and load our bikes to drive into the town of San Carlos. From this town, we’ll again ride but over a paved road, eventually nearing the desert oasis of Cafayate, famous for its high altitude vineyards. The town of Cafayate is another trip highlight – you’ll be made to feel at home by its friendly inhabitants, who still live and breathe Northwest tradition and culture
36 miles and 1800ft elevation gain
7

Day 7: La Quebrada de las conchas

We’ll depart in our van from Cafayate and cycle through the Quebrada de las Conchas, another magical canyon offering enchanting landscapes of strange rock formations and eroded slopes exposing innumerable bands of colors. Similar to the US Western deserts, there are many rock formations to discover, and the colors will change as the sun arches over and behind the canyon. To add to this wonder, the last ride of the tour is entirely paved, allowing for a day of tranquil riding. We’ll return to Cafayate in the afternoon, a wonderful town for strolling and enjoying the evening
40,5 miles and 1000ft elevation gain
8

Día 8: Adios Cafayate!

The Ruins of Quilmes
After a scenic, short drive we’ll arrive in the amazing Quilmes Ruins, set on the slopes of the namesake Sierras. This indigenous fortress is truly surprising – the Quilmes Indians resisted the Inca and Spanish invaders here for many years. Only when their sources of food and water were cut off did they end their resistance. After exploring this amazing site, we’ll shuttle a bit further, to the top of the Cuesta del Infiernillo (the Hell’s Pass), at 3,200 ms, from where we’ll drive down to Tafi del Valle. This is the mountain pass where the first Spanish conquistadores to arrive in Argentina came through. The views on the way down towards Tafi Valley are wonderful. After lunch in Tafi we’ll drive through the amazing sub-tropical rainforest set below the Altiplano – another highlight of our trip! Our tour ends in the city of Tucuman, the oldest city in Argentina, where independence was first declared. Those travelling back to Buenos Aires with us will rest up before beginning an overnight drive to arrive in the next morning.

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