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Colores Andinos

A 13 days / 12 nights program

This is the ideal proposal for those willing to go beyond the traditional itineraries of the Northwest.

This region of our country has a very special charme, related to its history, which dates back to the Incas, its landscapes, full of colourful contrasts, and its native population, which has preserved practically intact their ancient customs and traditions: their polychromatic dresses, their expressive artwork and handicrafts, their music, their colorful markets and street fairs and delicious gastronomy are eloquent expressions of the soul of these people and their love for Pachamama (Mother Earth).

You will travel along the Calchaquí Valleys, Humahuaca Gorge, Great Salt Mines, Iruya - a little pedestrian town, all made in adobe and stone, located at the end of an spectacular road and at the other side of a high mountain pass, the Abra del Cóndor- and Yavi, silent testimony of the history of the area since 1667.

A great opportunity to immerse into this unique combination.

Fixed departures 2009:











Price per person:U$D 2750 (SGL Supp. U$D 825).

Season: April to August

Minimum/Maximum: 2 - 12 pax


Accommodation in hotels mentioned (combination of 4 and superior 3 star hotels ) all with private facilities and breakfast. In Yavi the hotel is very simple, characteristic of the Puna.
Transfers and excursions mentioned in the itinerary.
Assistance of expert bilingual guides.
Meals as stated on the itinerary (without beverages).
Entrance fees to National Parks and Reserves. 

Does not include:

Airline, airport departure taxes.
Tips for luggage handling and optional gratuities for guides and crew.

Extras and personal expenses.



Passengers must be prepared to travel long distances by car.
Passengers are to travel with health insurance.
Meals are based on meat and fresh vegetables. Vegetarians or any other special diet must be informed at least 15 days prior to departure.
Before traveling, please consult your doctor yet maximum heights of 4.200 m will be reached.



A basic pack should include:

Day pack.
Trekking and comfortable shoes.                 
Warm parka and windbreaker.                                
Polar wear / warm sweater.
Light pullover / sweatshirt.                            
Gloves, hat / cap, bandanna, sunglasses.
Sunscreen / sun block.
Bathing suit
Water bottle.                                                 
Camera & extra batteries.





Itinerary +

Day 1

BUENOS AIRES:Arrival at Buenos Aires International Airport. Meeting and transfer to the hotel (40 minutes).


The “Queen of the River Plate Basin” or the “Paris of South America”, as Buenos Aires City is called, can be a superlative introduction to the exploration of Argentina, from both the cultural and wildlife points of view. What is certain is that this cosmopolitan city, European in appearance, can keep any culture-oriented visitor busy indefinitely. Its intense cultural and commercial life can fill every minute of any visit with pleasant experiences.


In the afternoon, you will enjoy the unique FOUR BALCONIES OF BUENOS AIRES Tour, a trademark of Lihue Expeditions that approaches Buenos Aires in a peculiar way.
It is an exclusive visit of Buenos Aires, in which a guide uses four parks or squares of the city to introduce visitors to Argentina, its history, its contrasts, its contradictions and the characteristic psychology of the “porteños”, the inhabitants of Buenos Aires. The places to be visited are Plaza de Mayo in Montserrat, Parque Lezama in La Boca, Plaza San Martin in Retiro and Plaza Alvear in Recoleta.
Back to the hotel.

Overnight at Elevage Hotel


Approximated kilometers: 35 / 22 miles


Day 2

TIGRE & DELTA OF THE PARANA RIVER:Today you will explore one of the most beautiful areas of Buenos Aires’ surroundings, the northern riverside districts of Tigre and San Isidro.
In the morning, you will be picked up from the hotel to reach San Isidro city.

The history of San Isidro begins in 1580, when Juan de Garay carried out the first distribution of the lands situated north of the City of La Santísima Trinidad (current City of Buenos Aires).
It has an important colonial heritage reflected in its houses and buildings. This is one of the most characteristics aspects of San Isidro, that you will have the opportunity to discover visiting the Pueyrredon Farm, the San Isidro Cathedral, several colonial mansions and the Victoria Ocampo's Mansion (once, the cultural center of South America).

You will continue to Tigre, a city overlooking the Delta of the Paraná river. Here, you will explore the Fruit Market, a different, almost magical world.

The port has three inner docks. The central docks concentrate the grocer's boats, which supply the inhabitants of the islands with the most varied products. In the last harbour, the timbering boats full of poplar and willow logs from the forested islands of the Delta are unloaded.

The Market takes place at the last dock, with streets full of colorful rustic fabric, furniture and accessories made in cane and willow, delicious jams and honey, brilliant flowers, and of course, all the variety of native fruit.

After free time to have lunch (not included) you will enjoy a riverside walk and a boat trip through the countless islands of the delta of the Paraná River to have beautiful views of the riverside villas, Victorian docks, English gardens, and traditional rowing clubs.
If weather conditions allow, you will sail by the River Plate reaching Buenos Aires city (additional cost).

Late in the afternoon, return to the hotel.

Overnight at Elevage Hotel


Approximated kilometers: 60 / 37 miles

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3

BUENOS AIRES / SALTA / CAFAYATE:Transfer to Buenos Aires domestic airport to board the flight to Salta city.


One of the most fascinating aspects of visiting the Northwest area is the chance to mingle with the native population, who preserve practically intact their ancient customs and traditions: their polychromatic dresses, their expressive artwork and handicrafts, their music, their colorful markets and street fairs and delicious gastronomy are eloquent expressions of the soul of these people and their love for Pachamama (Mother Earth).

Since this area was originally colonized by the Spaniards, this region holds the most ancient traces of Spanish heritage: towns with typical colonial architecture, adobe churches and hidden chapels, old traditional fincas (ranches), etc.


Arrival at Salta, meeting at the airport and transfer to Cafayate, along breathtaking Las Conchas Gorge, with peculiar rock formations which, due to the effect of wind and water, have formed almost real shapes like the amphitheatre and the monk’s statue.

Cafayate has become the most important site in the Calchaquí Valleys. Located at 1,660 m above sea level, it is well known because of its famous torrontes wine, product of the exquisite combination of temperature and humidity that provides the ideal environment for the growth of this sweet and deep fruit flavour vine, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah and Chardonnay.

During the afternoon, you will visit some of the famous wineries of Cafayate.

Afterwards, you will be transferred to the hotel, Cafayate Wine Resort. Located in the outskirts of the town and at the foot of San Isidro Mount, surrounded by vineyards. 

Overnight at Cafayate Wine Resort


Approximated kilometers: 195 / 121 miles

Meals: Breakfast

Day 4

CAFAYATE / CACHI: Northwards departure following Calchaquí River Valley. During the trip, you will be able to enjoy amazing landscapes and small towns which preserve their colonial heritage as if time had stopped.


San Carlos is a town with colonial houses and narrow streets. Since its foundation it was destroyed many times by the Indians. The Jesuits settled here and founded the "San Carlos Mission", giving origin to the actual town.


Then you will start traveling along the impressive Quebrada de las Flechas (Arrows Gorge), with its extraordinary geological formations produced by erosion on the colorful sedimentation of sandstone over the past 60 million years.


Molinos was founded in the middle of the XVII century. The plan of the town is completely irregular, with adobe houses and clay roofs.  


The road continues northwards until Cachi, a beautiful town with white buildings, adobe houses, stone-paved streets and impressive architectural and cultural constructions. Cachi means "salt" in quechua due to the fact that natives mistook the top of "El Nevado" with a salt mine. Visit of the town, its church and museum. In the evening, transfer to the hotel. Overnight at Hostería Cachi


Meals: Breakfast + Box Lunch

Day 5

CACHI / SALTA (SAN LORENZO): Departing from Cachi eastwards, the trip continues along the Calchaquí Valleys until Salta city. At both sides of the road tall and elegant cacti will start to appear, indicating the proximity of Los Cardones National Park, which will be seen while traveling through Recta de Tin Tin. After Enchanted Valley, you will start a spectacular descent through Cuesta del Obispo, a landmark that gives a wonderful panoramic view of the surroundings. Running down, you will reach Valley of Lerma dominated by the city of Salta.

Overnight at Selva Montana Hotel, located at San Lorenzo village, 15 minutes away from the city.

Overnight at Selva Montana Hotel

Approximated kilometers: 160 / 100 miles

Meals: Breakfast

Day 6

FINCA LESSER:Transfer from the hotel to Finca Lesser to enjoy a full day in the 11.000 hectares estancia, which is dedicated to the breeding of cattle and equine livestock, among which Peruvian horses stand out.

You will visit the main house and have lunch. It is also a great opportunity to enjoy horse riding with Peruvian horses. 

Back to the hotel. Overnight at Selva Montana Hotel


Approximated kilometers: 10 / 7 miles

Meals: Breakfast + Lunch


Day 7

SALTA (SAN LORENZO) / TILCARA: Departing northwards, today you will start to discover the magnificent Humahuaca Gorge until reaching Tilcara. This town is located at 2.465 m.a.s.l. on the verge of Grande River.
Surrounded by an incredible scenery of multicolored hills and gorgeous panoramic views, its colonial heritage can be seen in low adobe buildings and narrow streets everywhere. 
It is considered the Archaeological Capital of Jujuy due to its museum, one of the most important in this specialty, and the Pucará - meaning fortress- which has been built by the original inhabitants of Humahuaca Gorge on both polychromatic hillocks. Discovered in 1903 and restored in 1951, nowadays it has a cactus garden. Overnight at Rincón de Fuego


Approximated kilometers: 190 / 118 miles

Meals: Breakfast


Day 8

TILCARA / HUMAHUACA / IRUYA HUMAHUACA GORGE : Full day expedition enjoying the multicolored landscape of the Humahuaca Canyon, the peaceful villages, old chapels, native markets, small museums with astounding archaeological pieces and remains of ancient pre-Inca fortified towns, since the gorge once served as a route for the Incas, a required passage for expedition parties and settlers, and an important commercial route in the vice regal period.
Today, little towns conserve their religious believes, rituals, ceremonies, art, music and agricultural techniques; a unique living patrimony in the world. For this reason, it was declared Humanity Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in the year 2003.

Humahuaca, Uquia, Tilcara, Maimara and Purmamarca will be some of the fascinating stops during the day.

Before reaching Humahuaca, you will cross the Capricorn Tropic. Humahuaca (2.939 m.a.s.l) is a colonial city: its worth walking narrow stone-paved streets with streetlamps and adobe houses that made it one of the most important trade centers of Alto Perú until the end of the XIX century.

After visiting the town, the trip continues to Iturbe, where you will start going up until Abra Cóndor (4.000 m.a.s.l.). This place, the Altar of Pachamama, is the beginning of the “Silent Valleys”, of extraordinary beauty. Finally, the steep streets of the little town of Iruya welcome you.

Iruya is placed in a mountain area that ends in a slope near Iruya River.  Inhabitants have preserved their traditions and customs for more than 250 years. The streets in this town are narrow and cobbled in order to avoid ground’s erosion caused by rain. This town has an ancient origin, since it was an important stop in the route from Potosi (Bolivia) to Buenos Aires.

Accommodation at Hostería de Iruya. The building has a large terrace and an under cover gallery overlooking the valley and hills that surround it almost completely. Overnight at Hosteria de Iruya


Approximated kilometers: 115 / 71 miles

Meals: Breakfast + Lunch


Day 9

Iruya/ LA QUIACA / YAVI: Departing from Iruya the trip continues northwards until La Quiaca (3.450 m.a.s.l.), in the Argentinian-Bolivian frontier, founded in 1907 with the arrival of the train. You may cross on foot to Villazón, in Bolivia. The market is interesting, besides fruits and vegetables you can find coca leaf. 
15 km ahead lies Yavi (3.450 m.a.s.l.). During the way you will see the Siete Hermanos Mountain Range (sedimentation deposits from the Mesozoic Era). Behind, you will visit Laguna Colorada, to appreciate petroglyphs representing human figures, llamas, spirals and enjoy a box lunch in this incredible landscape!

In the evening, you will finally arrive to Yavi. This small town was founded in 1667 and it belonged to the Marquis of Tojo until 1707. This feud used to occupy the Argentinian Puna and the south of Bolivia.
The colonial style ranch house of the Marquis, which today is a museum, and the magnificent Chapel of San Francisco are worth visiting. 
The pulpit, the altars, and the altarpieces are gold-plated. It has paintings and outstanding sculptures, that were brought from Cuzco. Overnight at Hosteria Pachama.


Approximated kilometers: 200 / 124 miles

Meals: Breakfast + Box Lunch


Day 10

YAVI / SALINAS GRANDES / PURMAMARCA: Leaving Yavi behind, the trip continues to Abra Pampa (3.848 m.a.s.l.). You might see vicuñas and llamas and be amazed at Salinas Grandes, the great salt plains of 12.000 ha.


After enjoying a box lunch, you will start descending through the Lipan Slope, a winding road that leads to Purmamarca.


Purmamarca is a small town of prehispanic origin settled at the foot of the polychromatic "Cerro de los Siete Colores" (Seven Colors Hill), where purple, reddish, green, ocher, brown, yellow and white rocks illustrate various geological ages.
The village, with adobe buildings of cardon roofs and mud tiles, was designed around the Main Church, built between 1648 and 1779 in front of an “algarrobo”, characteristic tree of the region, more than 500 years old! As in many churches of this area, you will notice they are built with cactus wood and house paintings and outstanding sculptures brought from Cuzco.

A crafts fair takes place in the square, with regional products such as pottery, handmade tapestry, ponchos, musical instruments and typical clothes from the Quebrada. Overnight at Manantial del Silencio Hotel


Approximated kilometers: 260 / 162 miles

Meals: Breakfast + Box Lunch


Day 11

PURMAMARCA / SALTA: Morning at leisure to enjoy the garden and the pool of the hotel. You will also have time to visit the crafts fair and/or walk around. In the afternoon, return to the city of Salta.

Overnight at Papyrus Hotel


Approximated kilometers: 155 / 96 miles

Meals: Breakfast


Day 12

SALTA / BUENOS AIRES: Transfer to the local airport to board the flight to Buenos Aires. Arrival, meeting at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

In the evening, you will be picked up to enjoy a Dinner & Tango Show at Café de los Angelitos, one of the most prestigious houses in Buenos Aires of historical value as well.
After the dinner & show, return to the hotel.


The birth of tango took place towards 1880 in the suburbs. Although at first it was rejected by the high society, little by little this new musical expression began to scale to the highest levels, turning into a world wide recognized argentine product.

Overnight at Elevage Hotel


Meals: Breakfast + Dinner


Day 13

BUENOS AIRES: Morning at leisure to enjoy the city and its surroundings. Transfer to the International Airport to board your flight back home


Meals: Breakfast

Photo gallery

Plaza de Mayo & Cabildo in Buenos Aires Architecture in Buenos Aires Paraná Delta sailing with “Cascotito” Salta City – Photo: Lo GallGoats – Finca Lesser – Photo: Lo GallVineyards in Cafayate – Photo: Lo Gall Salta's Cathedral - Photo: Lo Gall. Lipan Slope, from the Great Salt Plaines to Purmamarca Tilcara`s Pucará – Photo: Lo Gall Purmamarca/ Regional corns – Photo: Lo GallArrows`Gorge – Photo: Lo GallCave painting in the way to Yavi – Photo: Lo GallRoad to Cafayate – Photo: Lo GallChurch in Cachi – Photo: Lo GallGreat Salt Plaines
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