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|
|Location||Cachi, Cafayate, Colome, Molinos, Salta|
|Dates||April, 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.
Day 2: Cuesta del Obispo - Cachi
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
Day 3: Seclantas to Molinos in the backyards of the Calchaqui Valley
30,5 miles and 3400ft elevation gain
Day 4: Molinos to Colome
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
Day 5: Molinos to Finca del Carmen
21 miles and 1080 ft elevation gain
Day 6: La Quebrada de las flechas
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
Day 7: La Quebrada de las conchas
40,5 miles and 1000ft elevation gain
Día 8: Adios Cafayate!
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.