Latin America Travel & Tour Information
La Quebrada de Humahuaca Travel Information
Here you will find a territory that expands 170 km of valleys and mountains. It begins 39 km from San Salvador de Jujuy and runs north along Route 9.
A trip to this area not only offers the opportunity to enjoy incredible scenery, but also the chance to approach the local culture through its architecture, beliefs, rites and traditions inherited from the ancestral ethnic cultures that inhabited the area.
The visitor will experience altitude changes , for it is situated in between 2,000 and 4,000 meters above sea level. The mountain ranges stand out by their impressive color spectrum created by diverse mineral deposits found exposed in the rocks.
The beautiful surroundings and the strong cultural influence make Quebrada de Humahuaca the starting point for an attractive and different excursion.
Each of its lively villages have a peculiar feature of their own: Volcán Tumbaya with its ancient chapel; Purmamarca with its crafts fair; Posta de Hornillos with its18th-century museum; Maimará and its carnivals; Tilcara and its traditions; the ancient Pucará; Huacalera where you cross over the Tropic of Capricorn; and colonial Humahuaca.
Purmamarca is regarded as one of the loveliest and most colorful towns at the foot of the Seven Colors Mountain, 1.590 km from the Federal Capital of Buenos Aires. It is a settlement whose origins date back to the 17th century, reflected in several constructions of the time. The Main Church, consecrated to Santa Rosa de Lima, was built in 1648. It features adobe walls and the original teasel carpentry work. The teasel is a typical local wood which abounds along the multicolored hills that embrace this community.
The dwellings are chiefly made of adobe, a kneaded mud-and-straw mortar, that combine colonial and pre-Hispanic features. This is a spot where the natural beauty of the landscape converges with the local ancient culture, which makes Purmamarca a must for everyone who chooses to take the Quebrada or the Puna Circuits.
An array of crafts floods this tiny village, displayed in exhibits at the Artisans Fair available everyday on the Main Square. Surely a place not to overlook: captivating vases, colorful ponchos and rugs, attractive musical instruments and the typical local clothing.
If you are in the area around the 30th of August, you have the possibility of attending the Patron´s Feast, a local celebration full of typical traditions: dancing performances in which people clad in "suri"-feathered costumes and imitate the bird´s movements; the "sikuris", people who play the "Sikus", reed flutes; and the "misachicos", simple familiar or communal religious festivities in honor of a saint that fuse Christianity and Paganism. If driving a car, it is possible to reach Purmamarca from San Salvador de Jujuy on Route 9, making a left turn on Route 52. Another option to get there is using some of the regular bus lines that depart from San Salvador.
The most recommended attractions:
An excursion to the Seven Colors Mountain, located in Purmamarca´s background, a delightful display of different shades and colors. Amazing photo-safaris, horse riding, bicycle tours and walks appear among the choices of exploring the place, although there is always the possibility to drive there.
A white hexagon-shaped crunchy-looking spot lays 126 km from Purmamarca along Route 52, on the way to Paso de Jama. It is a startling incandescent landscape called las Salinas Grandes (The Large Salt Beds). Solitude, immensity, whiteness and dryness coexist in this inhospitable place, where the workers will explain the entire process of salt extraction. This whitish sea captivates every visitor´s imagination.
In order to reach the Cuesta (summit) del Lipán, it is necessary to ascend gradually up to 4,170 meters above sea level. Up there, it is surprising to find at such height, tiny houses surrounded by sheep and llamas. The main access is via the Jama´s border pass on Route 52.
The "Paseo de los Colorados" expands along Purmamarca´s backdrop, a series of formations along the length of 3 km that will challenge every observer´s imagination. The incredibly shaped landscape makes this a must to visit, and it is easy to cover on foot.
This small community features good accommodation, restaurants and tour operators who supply comfort and excellent service. Located 2,192 m above sea level, the average temperature in summer is 24º C (day)/ 14º (night) and 19º/ 5º in winter.
This is a typical town in the Quebrada region that features a dry climate, scarce vegetation and a population of 3,100 inhabitants. Although separated by some 1,609 km from Buenos Aires, it is one of the favorite tourist destinations in the Argentine northwest. The former local aboriginal community gave it its name and the town was officially founded as a settlement in 1586.
The town of Tilcara has been labeled as Jujuy´s Archeological Capital, for the great amount of archeological material already extracted from its soil. The most remarkable discoveries happened at Pucará, a fortification network that vividly brings back the region´s aboriginal era.
The ancient aboriginal settlements gave way to the subsequent populations of the colonial era, chiefly characterized by its adobe constructions. On an elevated spot in town, rises the "pucarás", the landscape sentinels created to protect the harvest from the invading eastern gatherers´ tribes.
A great deal of evidence reflecting the indigenous past is to be found here: pucarás, archeological remains and cave paintings. History breathes in every steep alley and adobe house. Everything here is earth-colored, the color of local nature. The territory is equally shared by men, vicuñas, guanacos, ferrets and condors, many of which constitute the raw material for local manufacture.
Several museums have been created to show the region´s idiosyncrasy. The "Hugo Irureta" Fine Arts Museum stands on the corner of Belgrano and Bolívar streets, is devoted to the promotion of northwestern art and culture. It is open to visits everyday from 10am-1pm and from 3pm-6pm. Another good choice is the "Ernesto Soto Avedaño" Sculpture Museum, on Belgrano between Rivadia and Bolívar streets. Available from Wednesday to Sunday: 9am-12.30pm and from 3pm-6pm. At 459 Rivadavia Street, there is "José Antonio Terry" Regional Painting Museum, which displays the local traditions through the various paintings by different Argentine artists. Open 8am-12.30pm and 4pm-8.30pm.
Dr. Eduardo Casanova Archeology Museum opens its doors at 445 Belgrano Street from 9am-7pm. It takes the name of the man who restored the Pucará of Tilcara. It exhibits excellent materials about the pre-Hispanic cultures of the Andean area at Tiahuanaco de Bolivia and one of Argentina´s northwestern civilizations.
Barely 1 km into Tilcara, the Pucará of Tilcara and High Botanical Garden will spring into view. The second is a site consisting of the ruins of an ancient indigenous settlement. The Pucará stands on top of a hill, 70 meters from the Río Grande´s course, at present a spot with a formidable view of the surroundings. In the lower section, lies a lovely Botanical Garden dotted with the autochthonous species of the Quebrada and Puna regions. Open to visits from Monday to Saturday: 8am-12.30pm and 4pm-8pm / Sundays from 9am-12m and 6pm-9pm.
"Utama" Workshop at 425 Belgrano Street is a colorful place that combines shapes and traditions, a whole world of paintings and ceramics.
Music flows everywhere here and is born out of typical instruments such as the sikus, the sikuris, the Indian flute and the box. Every single town in this region features an ancestral idiosyncrasy where pagan and religious traditions coexist.
The accommodation infrastructure counts on 180 rooms, distributed in hotels, cabins, bungalows, inns and hostels, plus a local camping area for 200 tents.
Located 2,461 m above sea level, average temperature in summer is 22º c (day) / 12ºC (night) and 16º/ 2º in winter. This tiny picturesque town in the Quebrada region is surely an excellent choice for a visit.
Humahuaca lies on the right hand side of Route 9, at a distance of 1,621 km away from the Federal Capital, 2,939 meters above sea level. Up until the late 19th century it was one of High Peru´s most important trading centers. Founded in 1594, it owes its name to the indigenous tribe that inhabited the area in the Quebrada region.
The settlement is located north of Quebrada de Humahuaca, characterized by narrow cobblestoned streets, lined by adobe houses that still preserve their ancient look. It is a highly visited place and the starting point for many interesting excursions. There is also a series of attractive places, museums and monuments to visit and the following are the most remarkable:
Our Lady of Candelaria & San Antonio Cathedral: located on the main square and built in 1641, its interior treasures the sculptures of the Cuzco Art School.
The Council´s Clock, also across from the main square, the huge clock shows a life-size image of San Francisco Solano. It comes out every day at noon to offer his blessings. It is a highly anticipated moment by every local and visitor.
The steps on the main square hold the Monument to Independence, also the venue for the "Tantanakuy", a gathering of musicians from the northwestern Quebrada region. The artist Soto Avendaño, mixed the autochthonous and European figures´ faces on the monument, thus representing the country´s inhabitants.
A stroll around the Main Square will help you discover the attractive local shops of Humahuaca, full of all sorts of crafts, ponchos, woolen shirts, ornamental and functional ceramics and wood carvings.
The Municipal Archeology Museum is a must, located at Santa Fe close to the Main Square. It harbors a magical ancestral world, a full display of the evolution of the region´s aboriginal communities´. The Museum´s specialists will guide you along the visit through the four rooms and will explain the significance and use of rocks, axes, burials, harvests and petro-glyphs.
The traditions that characterize the region´s identity are well promoted at Tantanahue Crafts Center at 276 Buenos Aires Street. The wool from sheep, llamas and vicuñas, turn into the most colorful sweaters in the hands of professors, students and aboriginal communities that exhibit and commercialize these quality products, at the same time displaying a cultural expression from the Argentine northwestern region. There are also silver items, ceramics and home-made desserts. The Yuyos´ fair by the Train Station, is another place to find good handicrafts.
The Folklore and Carnival Museum or Regional Folklore Museum at 435 Buenos Aires Street makes for an interesting visit and explains the different traditional burying and unburying practices during the carnival, the elaboration of "chicha" from corn and the making of costumes and typical clothing. Open every day from 10am-2pm / 3pm-8pm.
Coctaca´s Archeological Ruins lie barely 9 km from Humahuaca. Iruya, 76 km away in Salta Province, makes for another interesting destination. This is a world of steep cobblestone streets and picturesque old houses, surrounded by imposing mountains that create a fantastic picture.
February is the best time to travel because of the 8-day carnival, one of the country´s most famous. Every sense is flooded by the colors, masks, costumes and ancient rites during this huge spectacle.
Average temperature in summer is 23.5ºC (day) / -1º (night) and 20ºC / -3º in winter. The population remains stable at 6.300 inhabitants.
Humahuaca is a major destination in the Quebrada de Humahuaca region, a place of amazing beauty, high mountains and cultural wealth.