The Northern Ruta 40 (Route 40) covers a vast array of landscapes, from the dry high altitude deserts and mountains of the Andes near the Bolivian border to the lush vineyards of Mendoza, every corner of this journey presents a jaw dropping, beautiful vista. It is also home to some of the oldest cultures in Argentina and many pre-Columbian ruins such as Quilmes and the Pucara di Tilcara can be explored. The main attraction, however, is without a doubt the countryside itself. The National Parks of Talampaya and Ischigualasto offer some of the world’s most unusual geological and palaeontological treasures and the multi coloured hillsides around Pumamarca have got to be seen to be believed.
From Salta to Mendoza: 13/05/19, 07/10/19
From Mendoza to Salta: 29/04/19, 23/09/19
Day 1 Salta
Arrival, pre departure, overnight.
Salta is the most beautiful city of northern Argentina. Home to stunning colonial architecture of Salta, Salta’s fascinating history can be seen through the age-old monuments and its extremely rich culture.
Day 2 Salta - Pumamarca
Today we will visit Humahuaca, an ancient picturesque village. In the afternoon we head to the quaint yet beautiful village of Purmamarca where you will be taken aback by the vast and unspoiled terrain and the picturesque hill of seven colours.
Day 3 Pumamarca - Salta
This morning we will visit Salinas Grandes, a spectacular salt plain in a remote part of the puna. We will also visit Tilcara, where we visit the Archaeological Museum and the amazing indigenous ruins of Pucara. Tonight enjoy an evening savouring the typical dishes of Northwest Argentina and enjoying traditional folklore music.
Day 4 Salta - El Cafayate
This morning we will set off from our hotel on foot to see some of Salta’s must-see landmarks. Continuing, when we leave Salta we will cross through the lush Lerma Valley before entering the Quebrada (gorge) – one of the world’s many great drives. Here you will see spectacular natural formations like the amphitheater, characterised by its unique acoustics.
Day 5 Cafayate
Today we will spend the day sampling wines in some of the most unique and beautiful settings.
Day 6 Cafayate - Belen
Visit the Quilmes ruins as we head south on Ruta 40.
The Quilmes ruins, located in the province of Tucumán, are the remains of the largest pre-Columbian settlement in Argentina, a once great city with high population density, complex sociocultural processes and highly developed irrigation mechanisms.
Day 7 Belen - Villa Union
Relax and enjoy the view as we travel south along the famous Ruta 40.
Argentinas longest road is one of the wildest and least-travelled roads on the planet.
We make a stop near the town of Chilecito to discover the old cable car system. In the afternoon we travel the Cuesta de Miranda canyon, where the red, yellow an orange colours of the canyon light up as the sun goes down.
Day 8 Villa Union
With an early start to the day, our first stop is Ischigualasto Natural Park, also known as The Moon Valley. The park was declared as a natural heritage for its high scientific value in 2000, since it preserves an important palaeontological reserve. The park offers a strange landscape, where the scarcity of vegetation, the range of colours of its soils, and the unique geo-formations provide an incredible back drop.
In the afternoon we discover Talampaya National Park, a UNESCO Natural Heritage site. Talampaya National Park is a gift of nature and home to treasures from the Triassic period, some 250 million years ago. Surrounded by extensive white deserts, towering walls of red sandstone, valleys, ravines and whimsical stone shapes carved by nature, at each step we will discover the traces of the ancient dinosaurs that inhabited these lands for thousands of years.
Day 9 Villa Union - Barreal
Today we travel off the beaten track, passing through small rural towns with a strong feeling of the past. Old factories and work yards are left like ghost towns of a former glory. The scenery although familiar will change as the sun rises and falls throughout the day.
We arrive into Barreal, a small town of less than 2000 people but flanked by the monstrous Andes range. We see 7 peaks over 5000m and on a clear day you can also see Mt Aconcagua (6974m) South America’s tallest peak.
Day 10 Barreal
After a slow start to the day and a wonderful homemade breakfast at our accommodation we have a number of short hikes in the area to decide from. All are low to medium grade hikes that enable you to enjoy the local environment and discover some of the secrets and legends of the region.
A few kilometers from Barreal within Parque Nacional El Leoncito are two of the most important astronomical observatories in the southern hemisphere: CASLEO and CESCO. The combination of a fantastic location and the clearness of the sky make this a "starlight destination", a name given to only five places in the world.
Day 11 Barreal - Mendoza
As we continue south along Ruta 40, the landscape will gradually evolve as we enter Argentina’s most famous wine growing region.
Day 12 Mendoza
Today we head for the most important and interesting places in Mendoza city.
This afternoon sip wine and learn about Argentina’s wine making practices in the Maipú valley. We will go to the Zuccardi Family winery, founded in 1963. Your tour around the winery will include tasting of magnificent wines followed by an amazing 9 course food/wine pairing meal in the beautiful vineyard.
Day 13 Mendoza
You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight out.
NOTE : Option to add on our post-tour of Highlights of Argentina & Uruguay Tour (14 Days) - Selected Dates. Please ask for details
Prices are correct as at 20.06.18. are subject to availability & are subject to change without notice. Valid for sale unless otherwise stated, withdrawn or sold out prior. From price based on travel from 13.05.19 -23.09.19, in a standard room. Prices are per person in NZ dollars, and are land only, and do not include airfares unless otherwise stated . Accommodation/tour is based on twin share unless otherwise specified. Accommodation star rating is based on our rating & is a guide only to the overall quality of the property. All prices are based on payment by cash or EFTPOS only. Seasonal surcharges may apply depending on the date of travel. Supplied by Viva Expeditions. For full terms & conditions please contact a World Travellers consultant.