The MTB tour through Calchaquies Valleys, Northwest Argentina is packed with cultural and mountainbiking highlights.
This region can truly be called magical. On this MTB tour through Calchaquies Valleys, Northwest Argentina you will climb above high mountain passes, reaching the very edge of the great Altiplano.
This is the highest inhabited mountain plateau in the world, after the Tibetan highlands. The Calchaquies Valleys don’t cease to surprise with its amazing desert landscapes and wonderful colonial towns. Local people come from ancient indigenous cultures mixed with colonial Spanish heritage.
They always transmit peace and calm. A fantastic way to delve deeply into Salta, a region that is fast becoming a world-class destination. The tour will take us to Cachi, Molinos, Finca del Carmen and beautifil Cafayate. Riding to Colome is something special to mention! Winetasting and enjoying lunch surrounded by beautiful vineyards is a special time in this tour. Come experience the magical Northwest with us!
1st day: The shuttle from Buenos Aires to Salta takes 20 hours, arriving on Saturday.If you choose to fly to Salta, we will meet you there on Saturday. The group will rendezvous in Salta this afternoon before the start of this MTB tour through Calchaquies Valleys, Northwest Argentina. We then transfer to Chicoana and have time for an Argentinean asado(Barbacue), while we receive a briefing for the next days program.
2nd day: Down the Bishop´s Slope and into the Andean Plateau
After our detailed welcome and safety speach, we’ll start our tour with one of the trip’s highlights! 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.
3rd day: 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 (a relative of the saguaro). 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 backroad, used only by the few locals existing in the region. We’ll arrive in Molinos, after 1kms of loose sand, where we might have to do some walking. The enchanting landscapes we’ll cross are well worth the challenging ride.
4th: Today we have an extraordinary program! We’ll ride our bikes to Estancia de Colomé covering the distance of 19km (12 miles) on a gentle uphill tendency. Colome is the oldest operating Winery in Argentina; it was founded in 1831 by the last Spanish Governor Nicolas Severo Isasmendi y Echalar. It’s located in the Upper Calchaqui Valley and it’s home of the highest vineyards, sitting between 2.300 and 3100 meters above the sea level and to the exquisite boutique hotel Estancia Colome.
5th day: 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. on this part of your MTB tour through Calchaquies Valleys, Northwest Argentina we’ll follow the Calchaquí River Valley, a fertile region settled since pre-historic times. We’ll pass few small towns, and arrive in Finca del Carmen, near Angastaco, with lively regional arquitecture and plenty of traditional culture.
6th day: Through the Quebrada de las Flechas into colonial 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; create an almost surreal landscape, dazzling all that come through here. After 31 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.
7th day: 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 last ride of the tour 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.
8th day: 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 drive down to Tafi del Valle. This is the mountain pass where the first Spanish conquistadores to arrive in Argentina came through. The views on the way down towards Tafi Valley are wonderful.