Day 1, Saturday: Salta. The group will be met in Salta this evening, transferring to the town of Chicoana. We’ll be lodged at the Estancia Peñaflor.
Day 2, Sunday: Bishop´s Slope - Andean Plateau. After giving you all needed information, we’ll start our tour. 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. Total distance: 50 km of dirt roads (31 miles).
Day 3, Monday: Colonial Cachi - High Andes. We´ll awake in the beautiful Cachi, a remote town on the very edge of the Altiplano, originally founded by the Chicoano native indians, and an important outpost during Spanish colonial times. Its beautiful 18th century church, white-walled buildings and old adobe homes make for a picturesque, traditional town. After exploring Cachi, we´ll begin our riding, climbing steadily towards the Nevado de Cachi, a massive snow-capped mountain reaching 6,200 ms (20,340 ft). At Las Arcas, we´ll find an incredible lookout point, after which we´ll descend back to town, cycling on to Route 40. We´ll stop at La Paya, spending the night at the beautiful Hosteria La Paya, a wonderful restored colonial country home with comfortable rooms and plenty of local hospitality. Total distance: 42 km of dirt roads (26 miles).
Day 4, Tuesday: Cachi - Molinos. 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. 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 back road, used only by the few locals existing in the region. We’ll arrive in Molinos, after 3kms 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. Total distance: 47 km of dirt roads (29 miles).
Day 5, Wednesday: The Calchaqui Valleys. 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 Angastaco, with lively regional architecture and plenty of traditional culture. The silence of the Valley and the scenery surrounding us will keep us awed throughout the journey. Overnight at the Hosteria de Angastaco. Total distance: 42 km of dirt roads (26 miles).
Day 6, Thursday: Quebrada de las Flechas - 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. After 24 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. Overnight at the Hosteria Sol del Valle. Total distance: 53 km of dirt roads (33miles).
Day 7, Friday: The 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 ride 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. Total distance: 50 km of dirt roads (31 miles).
Day 8, Saturday: 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 descend a wonderful paved road. This is the mountain pass where the first Spanish conquistadores to arrive in Argentina came through. After lunch in Tafi, we’ll load our bikes, and drive through the amazing sub-tropical rainforest set below the Altiplano. Our tour ends in the city of Tucuman, the oldest city in Argentina, where independence was first declared. Those traveling back to Buenos Aires with us will rest up before beginning an overnight drive. Total distance: 25 km of dirt roads (15,5 miles).
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