Culture and nature treasures of Argentina
This tour of Argentina is for travellers interested in ancestral culture, stunning nature and high-quality cuisine. You will start the trip in the Andes region, where you will experience the beautiful mountains, taste incredible wine and get to know the Gaucho culture (Argentinean cowboys). Then, you will visit the hills of the central region in Cordoba, admire its salt deserts and get close to the Jesuits heritage. Finally, you will be amazed by the colourful landscapes of Northwest Argentina and its millenary traditions.
- Unique wine-tasting and delicious food in different domains near Mendoza
- Horse-riding in the mountains of the Andes region with an authentic “Gaucho”
- Discover the ancient Jesuit Estancias and taste typical salami from Cordoba region
- Hike around the eroded landscape of the Valle de los Lisos near Cordoba
- Relax during a light-experience at sunset in the salt flat of Sierras Grandes
- Visit high elevation salt flat near Purmamarca: Salinas Grandes at 4,100 m.a.s.l.
- Cultural heritage in the archeological sites and villages of the Quebrada de Humahuaca
- Exchange with rural communities and their traditional way of life, including a cooking workshop
- Horse-riding to get magnificent views of the Hornocal, a 14-colour mountain
This is a private tour and you will be accompanied by an English-speaking local guide for all the activities and excursions. Most activities and excursions in this Argentina tour are as part of a small group. The price displayed is per person based on two people sharing. All tours can be tailor-made to suit your interests and requirements.
In this tour, you will get to know three completely different regions of Argentina. You will start on the west of the country, in the Mendoza province, known worldwide for its delicious wines and also for the amazing Aconcagua and the Andes mountain range. An introduction to different wine varieties and a horse-riding experience with a real local “gaucho” will allow you to learn more about Argentinian culture and cuisine.
Later, you will go to the province of Cordoba, rich in terms of nature and culture. At the very beginning, you will discover the Jesuit estancias, which were built in the XVII century. Today, we can find factories in the surroundings that produce regional food, such as salami. On the following days, two outdoor activities will give you the chance to enjoy a unique landscape: a hiking in Los Lisos Valley, a very fertile zone with eroded blocks, walls and rivers, and a full day in a salt flat, where you will observe incredible light changes and a beautiful sunset in the horizon.
Last, you will head to the northwest of Argentina for an immersion in amazing scenery and panoramic routes between colourful mountains. After a day in Salta, the capital city of the province, you will continue towards the village of Purmamarca, passing by the small village of San Antonio de los Cobres and the magnificent salt flat of Salinas Grandes. During this part of the journey in Argentina, you will enjoy many meaningful encounters with the local population, starting with the Andean cooking class with Teresa and then spending time in Ocumazo rural community, where you will come close to ancestral customs and their traditional way of life. Finally, you will learn about local heritage during your visit to the small towns of the Quebrada de Humahuaca and the Pucara of Tilcara.
Day 1: Welcome to Mendoza City (-/-/-)
An English-speaking guide will welcome you at the Mendoza airport and drive you to your well-located hotel in the city. This incredible city is well-known for its big avenues surrounded by trees and its gorgeous parks, such as the Independencia Square, the San Martin Park and the greenbelt of the city built by Charles Thays. Free afternoon and evening. You can make the best of your free time by enjoying an optional bike tour or just by taking a stroll around the main sights of this cosmopolitan city.
Day 2: Lujan de Cuyo - Wine-tour in the surroundings of Mendoza City (B/L/-)
After breakfast, you will join a small-group on a tour to learn about delicious, high-quality red wines that were praised by the finest wine tasters in the world. These premium wines, produced in small and limited editions, are a perfect fit for the majestic views of the Andes mountain range in the background. During this tour, you will be accompanied by a certified sommelier who will show you how to pair these incredible wines with your gourmet lunch. You will visit three vineyards: Finca Decero, Bodega Caelum and Bodega Renacer. You will have the chance to taste more than 10 Argentinian wine varieties! Free afternoon and evening back to the hotel.
Day 3: “Gaucho” Experience on the Aconcagua (B/L/-)
After breakfast, you will join a small-group tour led by Daniel, a real Gaucho horseback rider, at the foot of the Andes. Much more than horseback riding, this immersion in the Gaucho culture is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After leaving Mendoza you will arrive at Daniel’s ranch (2 hours approx.) and learn the authentic ritual of preparing Argentinian “mate” (strong herbal infusion) with some delicious homemade “sopaipillas” (similar to donuts). Afterwards, you will start a 4-hour horseback ride (medium difficulty) into the Andes. Half way through, enjoy a traditional lunch while appreciating the majestic views of the snow-capped mountains, which include the Aconcagua, the highest peak in Latin America (almost 7,000 m.a.s.l.). Free evening back in Mendoza.
Day 4: From Mendoza to Cordoba (B/-/-)
After breakfast, a private transfer will take you to the airport for your 1-hour flight to Cordoba, a city located near the Sierras Grandes, which are known for its natural beauty. Upon arrival, a private transfer will take you to Sinsacate (approx. 1 hour). Check-in at a well-located hotel and then join a small-group tour to visit the Jesuit Estancias of Jesús María, Colonia Caroya, followed by a tour of the Caroyense Winery with regional wine-tasting. Then you will visit the Qualitá Factory where you will learn about the elaboration, conservation and production of the local salami. Free rest of the afternoon and evening.
Day 5: Los Gigantes - Valle de los Lisos tour (B/BL/-)
After breakfast, 2-hour transfer to join a small-group tour to Valle de los Lisos in the Sierras Grandes area, one of the most amazing landscapes of the Pampas region. The different erosive periods have formed a natural labyrinth that combines walls, blocks, ravines, rivers and caves. During this tour you will enjoy a few short treks (medium difficulty) to explore this magnificent area. Free late afternoon and evening back to the Sinsacate.
Day 6: Salinas Grandes - Salt desert day-trip (B/BL/D)
Free morning. At noon, get ready for a 2.5-hour transfer to Salinas Grandes, where you will join a small group for the Lights of the Salar tour. You will arrive in full daylight and be able to observe the changes that occur in this incredible place. At 14h00, after enjoying a boxed lunch, you will visit a salt company and the flooded area to observe the "infinite mirror" effect. Get lost in its vast immensity while you walk around the saline (medium difficulty hike). You will arrive to a modest camp, where you will observe the sunset and enjoy a delicious dinner. Later, finish the day in style, by walking under the greatest sky of stars that you can imagine. Back to the hotel at around 23h00.
Day 7: From Cordoba to Salta (B/-/-)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Cordoba for a 1.5-hour flight to Salta, a mountainous city known for its colonial architecture and indigenous heritage. On arrival, transfer to a charming and well-located hotel in town. You have the rest of the day free to explore the city. In the afternoon we suggest you walk around the historic center to see the main buildings of this beautiful colonial city, such as the Cabildo, the Cathedral, the Convent of San Bernardo and the Church of San Francisco. Don’t miss the High Mountain Archaeological Museum (MAAM) with the famous mummies of 2 children sacrificed on the mountain. At night, we recommend visiting the famous peñas (traditional tavern) where you can have tasty empanadas, local wine, and folk music.
Day 8: Salinas Grandes, colourful landscapes and gastronomic immersion (B/-/D)
After breakfast, you will join a small-group tour from Salta to San Antonio de los Cobres, travelling by car using the old path of the Tren de las Nubes (Cloud Train). You will continue to Salinas Grandes, an impressive salt desert at over 4,100 m.a.s.l., located at the border between the Salta and Jujuy provinces. At the end of the excursion, transfer to Purmamarca, a tiny village built at the foot of the Seven Colours Mountain. On the way, you might observe condors and llamas while descending from Cuesta de Lipán, the highest point of this tour (4,170 m.a.s.l.). Check in at a small B&B. In the evening, you will meet Tere, a woman from Jujuy that will welcome you at her place and will show you how to cook traditional dishes (Andean cuisine).
Day 9: Ancestral history and Ocumazo community experience (B/-/D)
After breakfast, you will join a small-group tour for a visit to the towns of the Quebrada de Humahuaca. This spectacular valley was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the importance of its landscape and richness of its cultural Andean heritage. First, discover Tilcara and its picturesque market and streets filled with vibrant restaurants. Next, you will visit the Pucará archaeological site, where you will appreciate the vestiges of the pre-Inca civilisation. You will then continue touring Route 9 until you arrive to Humahuaca, heart of the valley and the biggest city of this region. After some free time for lunch, take a short walk to the town’s markets, the main square and the Monument of the Heroes of the Independence. From there, continue on to explore the rural community of Ocumazo, that preserves the traditions of their ancestral people in the magnificent environment of the Quebrada de Humahuaca. A local family will welcome and make you discover their way of life. Tonight you will stay in a community homestay (private room with ensuite bathroom).
Day 10: Ocumazo horseback riding and cooking workshop (B/L/D)
After breakfast, join a small-group half-day tour for a horse riding adventure in the surroundings of Ocumazo rural community (medium difficulty). You will enjoy the magnificent landscapes from the Cerro Santa Ana, where Mount Hornocal is located and also appreciate the views of this beautiful valley, dedicated to the production of fruits, vegetables and grains. At noon, you will take part in an Andean cooking workshop, while you discover more about the agricultural activity in the region learning about produce such as corn, potato, ollucos, habas (broad beans) or the breeding of goats. In the afternoon, you will walk to an ancient hydraulic mill to learn about the structure and operating mechanism of a mill from the colonial era, still working. This is a day for cultural exchanges with local farmers to learn about their daily activities in this beautiful valley. Back to the homestay late afternoon. Dinner will be served by the host family.
Day 11: Hornocal tour by car and departure (B/-/-)
After breakfast, you will venture along with a local guide in the direction of the Hornocal (around 40 minutes by gravel road). Then, ascend the mountain trails until you reach the entrance to the indigenous community El Hornocal, from where you will appreciate the magnificent views of the 14-colour mountain. Afterwards, you will be transferred by private car to Jujuy airport or bus terminal (approx. 2.5 hours), from where you can continue your adventure in Argentina or cross over to Chile or Bolivia. End of tour!
- Trip duration: 11 days
- Countries visited: Argentina
- Level of difficulty: Low to medium
- Accommodation: 3 nights at a hotel in Mendoza, 3 nights at a hotel in Sinsacate (near Cordoba), 1 night at a hotel in Salta, 1 night at a B&B in Purmamarca and 2 nights in a family guesthouse in the Ocumazo community
- Transport: Internal flights, mini-van, private car
- Meals included: 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
You will be greeted at the airport on arrival by a local guide who will take you to your hotel and will be able to answer any questions, make any additional arrangements and generally ensure everything goes smoothly.
No minimum number of passengers required and you will not be travelling with a group of people you do not know. Prices quoted are per person and based on at least 2 people travelling. You should expect a cheaper price for bigger groups.
Your passport is required at time of booking. For information on visa requirements and health formalities please visit the FCO Travel Advice Website or the US Travel Advice Website (direct links to Argentina page).
Information on money changing in each destination, as well as what it is customary to tip for various services, will be provided.
This tour of Northwest Argentina, like most of our adventures through Latin America, has a low level of physical difficulty and participants can choose to do as much or as little as they like.
What to bring: Travel insurance, passport, binoculars, alarm clock, walking shoes, water bottle, daypack, sun protection, insect repellent, sun glasses and hat, swimwear, flip-flops, torch with extra batteries, wind and waterproof jacket, warm clothes to layer, warm socks, fleece, hat, gloves, scarf.
- Best time to travel: From October to March. January and February is the rainy season in Northern Argentina but it is possible to travel during those months.
- Extra budget recommended: Around £200 / $250 pp to cover meals and all other expenses not included in the itinerary
- What is included: Welcome reception at the airport. Internal flights (Mendoza - Cordoba - Salta). Overland transport. Accommodation. Entrance fees to sites of interest, museums and national parks mentioned in the itinerary. Guided activities and excursions with English-speaking guides (some private, some as part of a small group). Meals as stated in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, BL= Box Lunch, D= Dinner). Contributions to the community-based tourism initiatives visited.
- What is not included: Flights from your country of origin. Travel insurance. Alcoholic drinks. Additional meals or snacks. Visa fees (if any). Tips. Souvenirs.
There is no minimum duration and you can take only the activities or destinations you want. To start creating your ideal, tailor-made tour to Argentina, please complete and send this form. Our Argentinean partner will be in touch shortly: